Picking the right shade of gray

May 14th, 2016 by Selena Mackay

Choosing the right shade of gray, studio mackay

The design industry has experienced a gray revolution — for better or for worse.

Grays are incredibly flexible and work in many different design schemes. But choosing the right shade of gray can be a challenging conundrum. Clients’ tastes for gray have grown from the typical cool hue to shades that make a big impact in the overall look and feel of a space.

And while it’s true that neutral gray is achromatic (meaning without color), grays today come in many shapes and sizes — much, much more than what you might find at Restoration Hardware.

While grays are associated with a contemporary aesthetic, grays can also feel cold and clinical. When choosing the right shade of gray (there’s more than 50, by the way), the final result can feel sophisticated, stylish and glamorous.

Light grays can actually feel very silvery, adding a shimmer and iridescence to a room that makes everything else sparkle. Pewter-like grays are quite glamorous, chic and sophisticated. Medium grays often couple well with other bold, vibrant colors such as yellow, orange, turquoise, aubergine and auburn.

Charcoal hues, on the other hand, are quite dramatic, especially when paired with lighter neutrals.

Grays also work extremely well as stains on hardwood flooring. Rather than the traditional shades of caramel, beige, brown or cherry finishes, gray hardwoods are stunning when applied with a washed look. Because woods absorb stains in different ways, finding the right stain for the desired effect is a process.

So if you’re looking to redecorate or update a room in your home, why not consider incorporating today’s trendiest neutral? In color psychology, gray represents peace and balance. Gray is the perfect chameleon and has the ability to make the colors around it sing. Because of this, you have the ability and freedom to choose the shade that speaks to you and work from there. It’s best to choose a gray that is from the same harmonious color family as the rest of the colors you’re using — there are warm grays (yellow based) and cool grays (blue based). The gray complements the rest of your color scheme beautifully by really making the other colors pop.

With so many options, the question remains, which shade is most suitable to your taste?

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