According to the dictionary, "gray" is synonymous with words like "dull," "dismal," and "gloomy." Seriously, look it up! And while Merriam-Webster is entitled to their own opinion, it's time to give the neutral hue the credit it truly deserves.
Ranging from deep charcoals to soft pewters, this elegant shade boasts the power to transform any space—especially the bedroom—for the better. While you could go all in and paint the walls gray, simple décor accents can work, too, if you're looking for a small-scale room update. "I would opt for décor accents like bedding (linen and a plaid ), a lamp for the nightstand, gray pillows, and maybe a rug," says interior stylist Mariska Oldenburg.
Meet the Expert
Mariska Oldenburg is the interior stylist behind Corner House Creatives. She specializes in aesthetically pleasing interior design.
Accent With Gray
According to Oldenburg, gray makes an ideal accent color. After recently painting her bedroom, the designer opted for décor accents in a gray hue.
"The room is super light and neutral, which makes it easy to add some contrast with gray," Oldenburg explains. "There is a little bit of gray in the marble heater as well."
Consider accenting a neutral room with gray linens, pillows, or a headboard.
While most coastal designs utilize sandy shades of tan and relaxing blue hues, we love how this bedroom makes gray feel like a seaside escape. The pearly silver on the walls, paired with textured bedding, and black and white surf imagery will transport you to the California coast, no matter where you reside.
Raw concrete walls are usually found in cool city lofts and boast an upscale, trendy cachet. Whether you own a high-rise or not, you can recreate the same look with a couple of gray paint shades and a sponge applicator. The final result will look just as expensive, no city loft lease needed.
Make It Moody
There's something about dark colors and tonal shades that feels incredibly expensive. This cool-toned charcoal on the walls has a blue undertone that pairs perfectly with the sapphire details on the bed. Matching drapes and gold details create a bedroom setting that feels like an opulent hideout.
The best part about the color gray is it's so complementary to other neutral tones. Unlike other hues, mixing a handful of gray shades only enhances the space rather than clashing. To recreate the look in your own bedroom, pile on the patterns in all shades of gray via a printed wallpaper, throw pillows, and additional décor.
If you're looking for proof that the color gray can feel airy and completely sophisticated, here it is. This Parisian-inspired bedroom boasts a color palette that includes grays on all ends of the spectrum, from a barely there pewter to deep charcoal shades. Elements like thick molding, a ceiling medallion, and light fabrics complete the look.
Paint a Single Wall
If you're looking to achieve an upscale hotel feel at home, take note from this gorgeous bedroom. Painting a single wall (preferably the one behind your headboard) in a deep gunmetal shade makes your white bedding and framed art pop without making the rest of the room feel dark. Paint all other walls in a bright white and let the light in for a modern, airy feel.
Opt for Greige
This room is a serene getaway if we've ever seen one. The light warm-toned greige (which is a mix of gray and beige) color palette paired with gold details has a spa-like feel we'd love to retreat to at the end of the day.
Although we've already established that gray pairs well in a variety of tones, we also love a look that incorporates a single shade throughout. This bedroom flawlessly displays a mushroom gray hue from floor to ceiling, including the curtains, bedding, and flooring. The final result is absolute design perfection.
Make It Light and Airy
This is the ultimate grown-up getaway that strikes a balance between light and airy and cozy and inviting. Elements like the tufted headboard, floor-to-ceiling curtains, and pom-pom-lined throw blanket, mixed with a color scheme of white, gray, and pale pink, feel luxurious yet totally livable.
A super soft shade of greige on your bedroom walls makes the perfect backdrop for a midcentury-modern-meets-boho vibe because it pairs well with natural textures like wood and leather as well as black and gold fixtures. Incorporate some greenery, and you have yourself a serene environment with tons of personality.
Keep It Subtle
You don't need a bold shade of gray to make a major impact. Unlike stark white walls, this space boasts a little something extra special, thanks to the barely there gray shade on the walls. Although it almost reads as white at first glance, it feels softer and much less jarring than a bright white wall. Cream-colored additions like the light fixture, bedside lamp, and rug just add to the neutral but not boring vibe.
Try an Earthy Palette
Allow us to introduce you to our new color combo: warm gray and tan. We're obsessed with the neutrals in this bedroom, from the pearly shade on the walls to the camel suede color of the headboard. The palette feels earthy yet glamorous and somehow seems appropriate for all ages.
Choose a Blue-Gray
On the flip side, a darker shade of gray with deep blue undertones has an androgynous feel to it. Upon first glance, it feels mostly masculine, but soft textures via faux fur pillows, a shaggy rug, white curtains, and a dainty headboard make it truly unisex. We also love the color-blocking on the walls, which adds a moody element with the deep gray shade, but doesn't make the room feel too dark.
Try an Achromatic Color Scheme
Usually, we'd say sticking to two colors (or lack of) could feel bland, but this modern bedroom utilizes an almost-achromatic color palette in the most sophisticated way. So many elements of this space work like a charm, from the spot-on shade of greige that melts from the walls to the bedspread to the rug, to the mix of patterns that incorporate the secondary color. It's all just *chef's kiss.*
Glam It Up
High-contrast spaces have a way of exuding feminine glamour, and this one is a perfect example. The almost-black gray shade on the walls, paired with clean white bedding and furniture and the occasional hint of gold and metallic surfaces, is as glamorous as it gets. Incorporating a tufted headboard, fresh flowers, and a touch of velvet doesn't hurt, either.
Try Some Texture
Certain shades of gray can lack dimension, but when you compensate with different textures, you can create a truly dynamic look. We love how this gray grasscloth wallpaper acts as the perfect backdrop for a leather fluted headboard, gray faux fur pillows, and chrome accents—all of which come together to make this room feel anything but lacking.
Rethink the Rules
For those who love an eclectic style and collection of decorative elements, an array of color is often infused. But if you're caught between a unique look and one that boasts soft, muted tones, this bedroom is proof you can have it all. A soft gray shade makes for a blank canvas for all your worldly travels, collectibles, and love for patterns and textures.
Work With Lime
A gray tone in a limewash texture is the epitome of a winning interior design combo. Limewash is made of limestone that's been crushed, burned, and mixed with water to create lime putty, then thinned with water and dyed with natural pigments. The mixture creates a matte, chalky, suede-like texture and adds so much depth to any wall.
Don't Forget to Look Up
An accent wall is great, but an accent ceiling is even cooler. Perfect for rooms with an equally dark floor, a dark gray ceiling can work to create balance and symmetry in your space that you didn't know you needed. The matching couch is a nice touch, too.
Paint Your Cabinets
Whether you have custom built-ins or you've moved in store-bought cabinets, painting them to match your wall in a soft gray tone makes any room feel expensive. The addition of jewel tones helps too.
Mix Décor Styles
If you have interest in a handful of design styles, a soft gray tone is the neutral you didn't know you needed to create a harmony between them. This gray room is proof that you can pair Parisienne style with a Mid-century light fixture, minimal furniture and modern art when you have the right backdrop.
Make It Kid-Friendly
If you're struggling to make a children's bedroom feel cohesive with the rest of your home, consider introducing a palette of gray tones. It's sophisticated and allows for fun pattern play. And the best part is you can always infuse additional colors without making it feel alienating to adults.
Update the Traditional Look
While most traditional décor strays away from modern hues, like gray, this bedroom is proof it's actually a cool take on the age-old style. Drive home the traditional style with antique and antique-inspired pieces, but don't be afraid to make it your own with a can of paint.
Break Up the White
If you love an open and airy bedroom abundant with bright whites, some gray tones woven throughout can break up your design (in a good way) without making it feel dark or claustrophobic. A pale greige on the walls makes your bedding look even whiter, and a couple of gray pieces throughout helps the eye dance around the room. You just don't get that same visual interest with an all-white bedroom.
Mix Cool and Warm Tones
In most color pairings, mixing warm and cool tones can be an interior design faux pas. But when it comes to grays, it's perfectly acceptable (not to mention gorgeous) to pair warm and cool tones together. We love how this neutral bedroom boasts tons of dimension with minimal color.
Use Gray as the Secondary Color
If you like the idea of a dark bedroom, but you're not quite ready to commit to an all-black bedroom, we love the idea of using gray to lighten things up. This black bedroom feels modern but somehow doesn't feel too dark, thanks to the addition of light grays and white.
Play With Pattern
With so many dynamic tones, gray is the perfect hue experiment with pattern mixing. We love how this coastal bedroom uses a wave patterned wallpaper as the backdrop for a woven textile pattern, and the stripes on both the basket and pillowcases.
Swap Your Whites
If your room just seems to be lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, something as simple as swapping the white tones in your room for softer grays and beiges can make it feel more inviting. When stark white walls feel clinical, a soft pewter takes care of that, and when bright white sheets look too white to get comfortable in, a warmer off-white does the trick.
Accessorize Like a Designer
Gray looks best when it's dressed up with a curation of accessories that add contrast, texture, and dimension. We love how this nightstand setup looks with a faux stone drawer, lucite and metallic candlesticks, and a modern sconce.