About a year ago, if you Googled the term “shades of gray,” odds are, you’d come up with excerpts from the steamy E.L. James novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Or maybe even a few juicy passages from the two follow-up novels. The trilogy took the “fastest-selling paperback of all time” title away from Harry Potter. Maybe we have Mr. Grey to thank for the fact that the color gray is the hottest hue used in interior design.
Once again, the National Kitchen and Bath Association reports that gray color schemes are on the rise, especially in kitchens and baths. Last spring, the group noted that use of gray cabinetry was on the rise. But they say that finishes have experienced an even more dramatic escalation over the past year. Used currently in 55 percent of kitchens and 56 percent of bathrooms, gray is growing in appeal, creating chic, sophisticated spaces that many consumers desire.
What makes gray so special? For starters, it’s an edgy neutral that combines well with virtually any accent color. It pairs nicely with bold colors like lime green and orange, and it looks striking with whites and blacks as well. It even works nicely with wood-stained finishes. Gray is thought to be an “upscale” neutral with a certain amount of “richness.” Like a well-fitting gray suit, the shade is timeless. It’s sleek, refined, dignified ... classic. With all of its varying nuances, from ethereal and breezy to dark and shadowy, gray is attractive without dominating a design. Most of all, grays are anything but boring and drab. The color sets a tone of allurement and sophistication that’s fantastically versatile.
According to Christopher Grubb, interior designer and president and founder of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills, gray’s newfound popularity is a testament to homeowners’ desire for something fresh and new. “After many years of dark stains and neutral beige cabinet finishes, we’re seeing a distinct shift towards shades of gray in our high-end designs,” he explains. In fact, he just introduced a Dove Gray finished vanity, the MONTEREY, to The C.G. Collection, his signature line of bath furniture.
Major paint companies are also getting into the gray game, with many having launched new lines of gray hues. Benjamin Moore, for example, introduced its “Shades of Gray” collection describing it as a “side of the color palette [which] possesses a surprising amount of nuance and life, due to the variety of brown, blue, and green undertones it contains.”
In the cabinetry world, gray’s also the seductive new shade this spring. Dura Supreme just launched “Shades of Gray,” a palette of 18 new gray-toned finishes. They say one of the reasons that gray has become so popular is that it works well with virtually any other color or it can stand on its own as the dominant hue in any room. Instead of boring, safe beige, gray offers a new take on a lush neutral.
Wellborn Forest announced that it will also be presenting their new “Shades of Grey” collection at KBIS this April. I’m anxious to see what other manufacturers have in store when it comes to the color gray. One thing is certain: It’s going to be hot!
From cabinetry to paint, what’s your favorite shade of gray? We’d like to know.