When designing a room that features gray flooring—in the form of tiles, rugs, or concrete—what is the best route to go when choosing furniture? Are there key colors that work best with gray, or in turn, should definitely be avoided?
To find out, we spoke with top designers to weigh in on what color furniture to choose that matches gray flooring. After all, when investing in pieces like sofas, accent chairs, coffee tables, and the like, you'll want to make informed decisions so to avoid dealing with returns and dissatisfaction.
Read on to learn more about the hues that the pros keep coming back to when working with gray.
Meet the Expert
- Tara Miller is the owner and lead designer at The Heartland Interior Design in Omaha, NE.
- Nadia Watts is the founder of Nadia Watts Interior Design in Denver, CO.
- Amy Leferink is the owner and principal designer at Interior Impressions in Woodbury, MN.
Add Warmth With Brown
Designer Tara Miller has decided to go route as part of one of her current client projects.
"We are working with a beautiful gray slate floor tile in a dining room right now—the tile is a dark grey with lots of natural surface texture," she explains. "We paired it with the client’s dark chocolate dining table, and then we selected new dining chairs in a warm putty color."
Miller finds this to be an excellent way to mix warm and cool hues for a cohesive and timeless look. The above space also features wooden furniture, further emphasizing how great brown can complement gray—who knew?
Look to the Undertones
Designer Nadia Watts will incorporate either one of these colors depending on the undertones present within a shade of gray: blue or taupe.
"Understanding the subtleties of the gray assists me in selecting which colorways of furniture and accessories to introduce into the space," she says. "With the cooler grays, I will introduce shades of blue to the room scheme. With warmer grays, I introduce shades of taupe to the room."
Use a Pop of Taupe
In one of Watts' projects, taupe was indeed the answer.
"I introduced a unique taupe wallcovering by Maya Romanoff and a rich gray/taupe for the custom china cabinets," she shares. "With the rug and fabrics, I selected lighter fabrics for the dining chairs to have contrast against the darker wood case pieces. For the window coverings a wide stripe with multiple shades of gray frames the large windows."
Watts even continued to use a gray color scheme when picking a chandelier. She shares a key tip to keep in mind when working with one dominant hue in a space.
"The different finishes stand out; paint color, wallcovering, fabric, rug, wood, and glass," Watts reflects. "By incorporating multiple textures in a similar color palette a complex and well balanced room is created."
In another one of Watts' spaces, she said yes to the color blue.
"The undertones of the gray carpet flooring were cool, so fabrics with blue undertones were selected on the window coverings and accent fabric with trim in the chair," she explains. "The color of the wallcovering had both warm and cool colors which led us into a taupe fabric for the shade on the light fixture."
Try a Saturated Gray
Designer Amy Leferink is all for working a saturated gray into a room with gray floors. "Gray is one of the most versatile colors, I think, in design," she says. "Depending on undertones, you can work in almost any color."
Leferink explains that she loves creating contrast, whether it's with an icy gray juxtaposed with more saturated shades of gray, or gray against a warm caramel for more of a pop.
Say Yay to Navy
Designer Judy Pickett also enjoys pairing blue with gray, opting for moody shades in particular.
"I love working with different shades of gray, especially with blue undertones," she says. "It pairs perfectly with deep shades of paint like navy or deep teal like in this living room, allowing them to pop, which is especially when working with more neutral furniture."
Make It Colorful
Why go nice and bright when it comes to furniture in a gray room? "Gray is almost a blank canvas to let you go wild with color," designer Eleanor Trepte says. "I like using a soft grey, with a bit of tan in it and doing almost an identical shade on the wall and bring in all bright pieces of furniture and art for a bold moment."
Or Go Tone on Tone
On the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe a tone-on-tone look is more your speed. Say yay to gray by incorporating furnishings in that hue into your space.
"I love when a rug has bits of gray throughout so there is dimension, but also a throughline to the furniture in a space," designer Malka Helft comments. "When it’s a super soft shade like here, you can play up almost any furniture color you want. You could go with a saturated gray for more of a tonal look, or even black for something more bold and modern."
Incorporating a pop of pink brightens up any room in an instant. Here, a pink chair makes a bold statement when styled alongside black, white, and gray pieces.
A setup like this one is an excellent way to enjoy the best of both worlds—there's a bit of tone-on-tone action going on in this space, but there's also plenty of pep. If you're into pink but not absolutely obsessed with it, this may be the solution for you.
Neutral pieces like these woven chairs shine atop a gray rug. They can always be jazzed up with some accents like throw pillows or blankets if you wish to draw in some color. Or place a more colorful piece, like a comfortable sofa or settee, off to the side if you just can't imagine a living room without a bit of vibrance to it.