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Gray decorating ideas that still pack a punch


By Rachel Homer, Lovemoney

Keep your favorite neutral feeling fresh


Often dubbed the 'new neutral', versatile gray has been a favorite color in our decorating schemes for more than a decade. But even though it's no longer hot off the color press, it doesn't have to look humdrum in the home. From making the most of striking accent hues to adding a feature wallpaper, these uplifting gray decorating ideas will keep this treasured tone bang up to date.


Dress up the windows in the bedroom


Give a calming gray bedroom extra character with some patterned blinds. This Orla Kiely Linear Stem print is smart and elegant with a retro twist. Extra detailing in the window also means you can swap patterned bed linen for a plainer duvet, adding a touch of hotel chic.


Mirror the clouds in the living room


Draw inspiration from moody yet mellow English landscapes, and opt for gray fabrics printed with trees and cloud shapes. Layer up the room with cushions and curtains in these natural patterns, and finish with smaller furnishings like lamps and side tables. The resulting vibe will be serene yet uber contemporary.


Create a focal point in the bedroom


Give an all-gray bedroom an update with a head-turning feature wallpaper. The fine detailing of this leaf design makes a statement, but it's subtle enough that it doesn't overpower the room. For a contemporary twist, wallpaper just one or two panels behind the bed, or create a 3D effect by papering and mounting a sheet of MDF. This will enhance the headboard and add a luxurious feel to the room.


Introduce some country charm to your dining room


It's often associated with contemporary schemes but gray can look great in more traditional country properties too. Matching wooden dressers like these look fresh and homely when painted in a cool gray, and they're the perfect backdrop for displaying pretty patterned tableware. Sandwiched between them for extra comfort is a delightfully squishy, gray window seat, while a blue Roman blind adds an extra dash of color.


Create a coastal scheme in the living room


Give the popular coastal scheme an update by choosing stormy rather than beachy tones. Start with a gray sofa and white-wood furniture, then layer up fabrics and accessories in pebbly shades. Silvery sand dune-style potted grasses and beige striped curtains will complete the breezy look.


Go tropical in the living room


Add a tropical burst to your gray living room with palm prints and bright citrus shades. A large rug reminiscent of the Amazon jungle makes a bold starting statement here, but it's toned down with the simple gray sofa. The natural materials and house plants complete the exotic vibe.


Cool down with shutters in the living room


Nothing finishes off a sleek gray scheme like a smart window and these custom-made white shutters add to the uncluttered feel of this room, while also adding the illusion of extra space. The muted geometric wallpaper and the subtle pops of yellow make the room even more crisp and contemporary.


Bring blue into the living room


Layer shades of gray and mineral blue for a rich and dramatic living-room scheme. Position an upholstered gray sofa centrally and surround it with moody blue walls and warm wood flooring. You can then soften the dark color combinations with plenty of textured cushions and rugs in lighter colors. The result will be sensible and smart with a deep ocean vibe.


Pop a statement rug in the bedroom


Keep a gray bedroom feeling contemporary and cool by introducing a pattern on the floor rather than on the walls. A large rug will make an impressive statement, especially when contrasted with plain white walls. This hand-embroidered, artisan rug is soft underfoot and breathes life into an otherwise simple white and gray scheme.


Open up the hallway


Take a simple hallway to another level with a dark gray bench and industrial touches. For a bold result, choose practical metal pieces like this clock, coat hook and trendy pendant light. Gray stone flooring ties the minimalist vibe together and is super practical for this heavy-traffic area of the house. The addition of greenery will help make the entrance feel homely and vibrant. 


Go warm with wood in the living room


The addition of wood to a gray scheme instantly warms up the cooler tones and makes a room feel more homely. This modern apartment has gone all out with a retro-look bamboo cladding that takes up a whole wall. Sleek, gray, mid-century-style seating and additional colors like ocher and sea green make this a stylish yet peaceful space.


Go into the woods in the bedroom


Give the muted tone of gray extra purpose by incorporating it into a woodland-themed wallpaper. Cole & Son's 'Woods' wallpaper is an iconic classic, but if you can't afford to invest there are plenty of replicas to choose from. Let the print take center stage with a subtle mix of stone gray and white bedroom furniture to create a unified and minimal space.


Add atmosphere in the living room


Dark gray schemes can be used to create atmosphere and drama. This large living room has been transformed into an intimate, moody retreat with gunmetal gray walls and doors almost the same shade as the large sofa. A cream fireplace mantel and deep red and brown scatter cushions break up the room's darker colors and add to the look of luxury.


Keep the bedroom classic


Light gray headboards have become a popular choice in the bedroom as they usually look sophisticated and inviting. The subtle color pairs well with white-washed walls, and doesn't draw too much attention from interesting prints above the bed. This room oozes timeless and understated elegance and is a simple look to recreate for renters as you can take the valuable furnishings with you.  


Go with the flow in an open-plan living room


Gray is an 'easy-on-the-eye' shade making it ideal for open-plan living rooms. It creates a smooth transition into other living areas, which can then be zoned off with subtle color changes. Here, a pale gray tongue-and-groove feature wall contrasts with the lighter tones elsewhere. Pastel accents also soften the living room and a white coffee table makes it look clean and fresh.


Start with concrete in the living room


Smooth, sleek and gray, concrete makes a wonderful addition to a modern decorating scheme. This cool living room has been given a unique focal point using a bespoke concrete fire surround and shelving combination. The decor is warmed up with natural textures and soft carpeting.


Coordinate with colored doors


Make the entrance to your home calm and coordinated with a bright white and gray scheme. White walls are a practical choice in hallways as they can be easily touched up to remove the scuffs caused by everyday life. Gray Crittall-style or painted French doors will tie the scheme together and make an impressive walk-through to the next room. Introduce depth and character with a smart gray Roman blind too.


Mix it with mustard


Add personality to a traditional gray living room with a strong dose of color. An energizing ocher sofa will transform a nondescript living room into a strong and impressive space, especially when upholstered in plush velvet. Enhance the color statement with opulent lighting too: gold and copper finishes will add an extra touch of luxury.


Tone down mid-century modern


Mid-tone gray schemes create a vintage style with a hint of laid-back glamor. Go for sleek low-level furniture with mid-century curves. And if you're worried about the room looking dull, try adding a block of color with a rug or a feature wall, like this one in burnt orange.


Take a tip from galleries


Black and white photos are practically made for gray decorating schemes and are a great way of adding a personal touch to your room without losing the contour of the scheme. And as the best galleries know, framed photos and paintings will pop out against a dark gray backdrop. Leave a clean white gap above a picture rail to stop the room feeling smaller and darker than it actually is. 


Pretty up the living room with pink


Gray and pink is a winning duo – and though this color combination has been on the decorating circuit for a long time, it doesn't have to look dated. This living room feels fresh and homely thanks to a few modern updates. A vintage-look trolley, marble-style accessories and pale wood furniture all help give the room a contemporary edge. The pretty flowers add some extra romance too.


Mix it up with metallics


Give your gray living room an opulent facelift by mixing in metallics and reflective surfaces. Here, plush floor-length curtains and a corner sofa create a sleek gray base, while gold and mirrored highlights, like this luxe coffee table and Venetian-style sideboard, add to the drama. Finally, ramp up the bling with animal-print cushions for a playful finish.


Add in some geometric patterns


Team charcoal gray with a geometric pattern for a vintage look with a modern twist. White walls, mid-century furniture and a three-dimensional design rug offers a pared-back look that's effortlessly clean and uncluttered. The barely-there ash-colored carpet and cool contemporary wood burner prevents the minimal decor from looking too cold.


Pair gray with a touch of Scandi chic


Gray schemes are perfect for adding a touch of Nordic style to your home. Paler tones are a Scandi favorite, especially when paired with wood furniture – or go darker and you can create a snug room to see you through the colder months. Offset the scheme with a zingy yellow accent using a chunky throw and cushions for extra character.


Go dark in the dining room


A gray dining room makes a sophisticated change. Dark gray cabinets will allow display crockery to stand out and white tableware looks great when set against a gray tablecloth. Also, don't forget candlelight when entertaining your guests – it gives gray schemes an atmospheric luster.


Create some zen in the home office


Keep your creative juices flowing in the home office with a bright and airy gray and white palette topped up with plenty of green. Choose a gray desk, a gray-wire notice board and pale wood shelves to keep things decluttered and simple. Placing plenty of house plants at varying levels will make for an invigorating finish.


Work gray with white furniture


Gray needn't be dull, especially when pared with bright white furniture and finishings. The white doors, dining table and woodwork in this gray room are a great touch, as they boost the feeling of space without washing things out. For extra lift, only go as dark as mid-tone gray on the walls.


Combine coral and gray in the bedroom


Dressing your bed up with coral bed linen is an easy way to incorporate Pantone's 'Color Of The Year' into your space. Paired with a stormy gray backdrop, the pink-tinted hue jumps off the bed and will brighten the look with grace. By keeping this bold color for accessories, you can easily switch it out when the trend changes – whatever it may be, you can rest assured it will work with gray.


Make the living room a calm oasis


Use gray as a base to create a cool, relaxing environment for the whole family. The scheme of this room is soft and low-key, and the backdrop of on-trend nude seamlessly pairs with the cushioned gray seating. Natural wood accessories and feature pendant lights keep the space feeling up-to-date.

Need more color ideas? These pink decorating ideas will show you how to work this hot shade in your home.

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U.S. Daily News: Gray decorating ideas that still pack a punch
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