Let’s be honest: Gray gets a bad rap for being boring. As a happy medium between black and white, gray is often used as a subtle accent color—the kind of shade you pepper into your space when you don’t want to make too many waves. And when the rest of the color wheel is packed with fiery warm tones, moody cool shades, and high-contrast combinations, it’s easy to write gray off as a little underwhelming.
But in reality? Not only does gray have the potential to be exciting, but it’s also packed with design potential—you just need to know how to unlock it. "Gray interiors have been on trend for some time, but there’s no need for them to be lackluster," Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors tells MyDomaine.
To help you nail the look, we’re sharing 40 gray living rooms that prove this color is far from boring—plus expert tips to keep your gray space from falling flat.
Layer Light Tones
Historically, gray is used as a soft, subtle alternative to white or cream. However, this classic living room designed by LJ Savarie proves these hues can be used together. "I really wanted to evoke sophisticated and modern sensibilities in what is usually a traditional suburban setting," she explains. Savarie used Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter on the moldings and completed the room with cream cloth chairs, a marble hearth, and a crisp white ceiling.
Keep an Airy Atmosphere
You don’t need to use a dark, brooding shade of charcoal to make a statement. Jade and Anthony of House of Chais created a light and airy environment by pairing a tufted dove loveseat with blush accents and a white coffee table in this living room. A printed rug in shades of light orange, blue, and gray rounds out the look, proving that subtlety will never go out of style. And neither will house plants, if we have anything to say about it.
Dress up Your Beams
We're swooning over this elegant living room by Dan Rak. If you've ever considered painting your ceiling beams, let this be your inspiration: Deep gray paint brings a beautiful sense of contrast to the white walls and ceiling, just dark enough to make the beams stand out without overwhelming the room. Thanks to a gray area rug, the ceiling beams feel intentional and blended in this space.
Jazz It up With Jewel Tones
As this room by Desiree Burns proves, gray and jewel tones are a match made in design heaven. While you’d think an emerald green couch would be an unapologetic pop of color, Burns gives this furniture a subtler approach by pairing it with gray walls and a matching sofa. Together, gray and green are complementary, not in competition with each other. Burns expertly ties it all together with textiles and artwork in shades of blue, teal, and yellow.
Build Layers of Texture
Want to give your space dimension? Take a cue from interior designer Marie Flanigan and couple your gray tones with plenty of texturized accents. "The quickest way to liven up a gray living room is with dynamic textures and materials," she shares. Woven baskets, knit throws and pillows, sculptural artwork, and even unique architectural details will give your gray living room an effortlessly chic vibe.
The rich brown tones of natural materials will also help warm up your gray space if it's feeling a little too cool.
Make a Bold Move
Strike a balance between subtle and statement by mixing gray with a bold hue, like fire-engine red. A red living room might feel overwhelming—we all know how Mr. Big’s red accent wall in Sex and the City turned out—but designer Alexander Doherty managed to soften the look with a small charcoal accent wall and light gray sofas. This setup just gives off such sophisticated energy.
Say Goodbye to Accent Colors
This space is a lesson in minimalism. Liljencrantz Design has mastered the art of the less-is-more aesthetic by blending monochromatic gray tones and skipping the accent colors entirely. Wood floors bring just the right amount of warmth to the design, while mix-matched textures from the marble fireplace to the fur accent chair make the dynamic space feel visually interesting.
Retreat to Nature
As it turns out, gray looks absolutely fierce with earth tones. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this living room by designer Kevin Dumais. Here, a charcoal sofa is deftly combined with an olive green wall treatment, a reddish-brown ceiling, and yellow throw pillows and blankets, mimicking a luscious forest. When all these earth hues are paired together, they create a living room that’s moody but bursting with character and life.
Create an Orange Oasis
If you want to decorate with orange but are nervous your home will veer into Halloween territory, add some gray to the mix to keep things down to earth. In this cozy room designed by Arbor & Co., a slate couch punctuates the tangerine-colored walls. Fluffy throw pillows and a printed rug in lighter shades of gray soften the contrasting color palette, with no sign of Halloweentown in sight.
Add a Touch of Greenery
If you're warming up a gray living room but don't want to mix too many accent colors, keep it simple by adding fresh houseplants. This design trick is an excellent way to make your home feel lively without compromising its clean aesthetic. Here, large branches with lush green leaves create a focal point on the coffee table. In the corner of the room, muted colors come out in the leaves styled in a clear glass vase on the wooden chest.
Wow With an Accent Wall
Want to have a total wow moment with gray? Paint an accent wall. Here, designer Maite Granda zhuzhed up this living room with a moody charcoal statement. When framed by crisp white walls, this gray hue feels dramatic but not as drastic as, say, an inky black. This room might have a neutral foundation, but it’s far from dull. Granda adds a splash of personality with a striped area rug alongside blue and light gray seating.
Get Tangled up in Blues
Anyone who wants their living room to be the design equivalent of a breath of fresh air should consider pairing gray with blue. With gray herringbone wallpaper, a coordinating gray couch, and sky blue wainscoting, this space by Gail Davis Designs is equally soothing and statement-making. This palette will instantly put you at ease without feeling like a snooze-fest.
Find Your Style Fit
"Gray is a perfect foundation and foil for any aesthetic as it is incredibly adaptable," designer Isabel Ladd tells us. To ensure a warm, welcoming environment that still feels fresh, Ladd paired these leather sofas and wooden barn door with Sherwin-Williams’ Dorian Gray walls and printed armchairs. "Combined with the tactility of various textures, patterned throw pillows, and fabrics, this room is anything but boring," says Ladd. We couldn't agree more.
Go Bold With Wallpaper
Alvin Wayne brought bold accents to this living room through a patterned gray wallpaper with light shades of blue. The floor lamp ties the furniture back to the walls, while a jewel-toned sofa becomes the focal point with velvet upholstery. Natural hues in the woven throw pillow set a background for the bright, patterned pillow to rest against.
Aim for High Contrast
What’s black, white, and chic all over? This living room by Katie Hodges Design: While black and white is a timeless color combination, it can feel a little harsh. Fortunately, Hodges peppered the high-contrast room with varying shades of gray to bridge the colors. A charcoal couch, matching throw pillows, and an area rug make the space feel softened.
Take It to the Floor
If you're not ready to commit to gray paint and furniture, take a cue from designer Reena Sotropa and style the color in your space with a large area rug. This living room feels clean and fresh with white walls and accent chairs, but subtle shades of gray on the floor and in the marble fireplace bring depth to the design. We love the use of neutral colors with a custom midcentury wood accent wall to round out the space.
Keep a Consistent Theme
In this open living and dining area, designer Sarah Fultz continued the gray theme throughout both rooms. If you're working with an open concept design, opt for a theme that ties each space together with consistency. Gray barstools blend with gray accents on the living room's rug and throw blanket for a clean, simplistic look.
Craft a Colorful Crib
Calling all maximalists: If you want to mix several bright colors into one space, paint your walls gray. This shade adds extra nuance to your room, making the bold pops of color feel intentional—not erratic. Let this joyful living room from designer Lucy Gleeson show you how it’s done with subtle gray walls and bright-as-can-be blue seating that just works.
Dress the Hearth
Once the temperature drops, your fireplace will become one of the most beloved parts of your entire home, so it might as well look good. We love how this living room from Gray Space Interiors reimagined its hearth in a cool, minimalist slate with texture. The sliver of color makes a statement but isn’t as daring as a full accent wall. Whether you use a coat of paint or slabs of stone, this hearth is just as mesmerizing as the fire raging inside.
To up the warmth and sophistication of your monochromatic gray living room, just add hints of gold to the mix. Designer Jojo Barr of House Nine gave this traditional space a modern edge with a slim gold frame paired with brass accents. Finished with a whiskey decanter, etched glasses, and an oil painting, this space strikes a stunning balance between old and new.
This living room is proof that minimalism can still pack plenty of personality. Designed by Pure Collected Living, the airy room pairs gray wood floors with an upholstered sofa for an inviting, lived-in vibe. The key is in the accents: Dark colors from floor baskets to the side table bring contrast to the room by adding depth.
Have an Artful Eye
If you want to revitalize your gray living room, take a page from A. Lantz Design and wow with a gallery wall. "The good news is if you have gray as your base color throughout your home, you’ve got a blank slate to play with," president Amanda Lantz tells us. "Grays are fabulous when you want the focal point to be on the art." Gold frames and hints of mustard give this space an eye-catching edge.
Keep It Casual
Give your living room a cool California casual look by mixing gray with neutrals like cream, black, and brown. This space by LeClair Decor has a West Coast edge with a versatile wooden coffee table, deconstructed club chairs, and a massive tapestry. Anchoring the entire room is the gray couch, offering the perfect midpoint between the room’s light and dark hues.
In case you didn’t get the memo, painting your walls isn’t the only way to make a creative statement. Interior designer Sandra Weingort took the versatile shade to new heights (literally) by coating this ceiling with a light gray concrete treatment. Layered with blue and wood furniture and blush artwork, this room looks good from all angles. After all, the only way to go is up.
Play With Patterns
If you want to up the ante in your gray living room, incorporate thoughtful patterns. With a textural armchair, printed throw pillows, and patterned area rug, this living room by Tyler Karu is a masterclass in layering graphic prints. Because the designer stuck with monochromatic colors and fairly small-scale prints, the living room feels opulent but not over the top.
Give Off an Inviting Ambiance
When it comes to painting your walls, white might be the go-to hue. However, white walls can run the risk of feeling sterile. We love how Havenly’s Vivian Torres created a warm, inviting atmosphere by coating the walls in a soft gray shade, then grounded the room with a slightly darker gray rug. From the built-in bookshelves to the hints of purple, this living room feels incredibly cozy and chic.
Mix Shades of Gray
Why settle for one shade of gray when you can mix several? While she didn't quite reach 50 shades, designer Gillian Segal offers some visual intrigue by pairing her light gray walls with a curvy charcoal couch and sculptural stone-colored accents. She also adds black, white, and brown details to turn gray into a statement. The result? A living room that’s sophisticated but comfortable.
Blend In Natural Materials
Natural materials like leather and wood are perfect choices to bring some warmth into your gray living room. In this space by Ashley Montgomery Design, a woven accent chair pairs with gray details in the light fixture and soft wall color. Thanks to deep blue built-in cabinetry and gold hardware, this gray design feels anything but bleak.
Pair Paint and Furniture
For a soft, laid-back look, match your wall paint to the color of your furniture. Cathie Hong made this living room feel clean and cozy by pairing fresh greenery with the natural wood tones of the architecture. Monochromatic hues in the throw pillows keep the space feeling intentional while adding a touch of visual interest and depth.
Choose Accents Carefully
In this space by House of Harvee, an almost-white shade of gray on the walls keeps consistent with the room's bright, airy style. The paint color is paired with pink accents that tie the sofa and wall art together for a warm pastel vibe. The marble coffee table contrasts white with similar gray tones to complement a light area rug.
Focus on the Ceiling
This inviting space by Bespoke Only features warm hues on the walls and furniture, but a gray ceiling brings metallic accents to the room. Styled with similar shades on the chair and area rug, the ceiling stands out to make the design's neutral colors blend together. We love the combination of vintage and modern décor that creates an eclectic vibe with plenty of unique character.
Opt for Monochromatic Designs
Designer Kaya Boutique chose monochromatic colors in this space, and the color palette paid off. By opting for white paint on the walls, the stylist was able to achieve a bright, minimalist vibe while incorporating plenty of dark décor. Black-and-white patterns on the throw pillows complement the area rug, while a gray coffee table brings balance to the center of the room.
Warm up Cool Hues
Gray hues certainly don't look flat in this living room by House of Chais. The designers warmed up the space by pairing light walls and furniture with natural accents, from the sofa's wood arms to the archway's shelving. To round out the design, lively plants bring in a hint of color around the room.
Contrast Your Trim
To make your gray walls pop, use a bright, high-gloss white paint on your living room's trim. Home by Polly created plenty of depth in this space by blending in neutral hues throughout the room: Plush throw pillows, woven baskets, and a cozy area rug all stand out against gray walls. A modern leather sofa serves as the room's focal point while bringing warmer tones to the cool, airy design.
Work With Visual Height
This dynamic design by Kendall Wilkinson feels complete thanks to layers of gray from the floor to the ceiling. By styling a modern gray chandelier with similar tones in the furniture and rug pattern accents, the neutral color is apparent throughout the room without overtaking its blue statements. Varying patterns on the chairs and rug help to keep the clean style visually interesting, while soft shades complement sharp lines in the architecture.
Style Earthy Fabrics
In this living area, the main room is open to the staircase which ties together gray accents from the rug to the stairs. Lauren Ashley of LA Designer Affair opted for natural fur-inspired materials on the runner for a unique, eclectic look that complements the room's elegant design. In addition to the stairs, a light gray round rug carries the color across the space and blends with bright floors and walls.
Choose a Vibrant Backdrop
To make your gray accents really pop, choose a bright, rich hue to serve as a backdrop in your space. Mary Patton Design made a bold choice with the dark blue high-gloss wall paint in this room, but it paid off in the end: Styled with gray hues in the patterned area rug and curtains, the soft colors stand out.
Opt for Black Accents
Black accents in your décor are a great way to contrast a light gray living room. In this space, designer Michelle Berwick chose a large gray sectional sofa to complement airy white walls. With the combination of a black area rug, photo frames, and accent tables, the room's bright design still feels dynamic.
Light colors can still be maximal, and this living room is proof. Ana Isaza Carpio of Modern House Vibes styled this space with a variety of textures, patterns, and natural materials, but thanks to a neutral palette, they all come together for an intentional design. We love the soft pink accents and lively houseplants that bring color to this space.
Try a Traditional Approach
Gray is an excellent color choice for traditional, elevated spaces. Patterns are abundant in this living room by Monica Wilcox Design, but muted gray wall paint and a gray sectional sofa keep the dense prints from overwhelming the simplistic look. Dark hardwood floors add another element of contrast to ground the room's lighter pieces.