Color can transform a space, so getting your palette right counts for a lot. One easy place to start? With a versatile but unexpected neutral—like slate gray.
What Is Slate?
Slate is a dark shade of gray with earthy undertones. The color is named after slate rock, which is lighter in color than charcoal, and which often contains touches of red, blue, and brown.
“Slate gray is the color of dark concrete or natural flagstone,” Brenna Morgan, owner and principal designer at Brenna Morgan Interiors, says. “It is a fantastic deep neutral that plays well with other colors.”
Meet the Expert
In other words? Slate can be an incredibly fun color to decorate with because it can do it all. It’ll make a striking addition to a space in need of a bold accent color, and if you use it from floor-to-ceiling, it’s sure to leave a room feeling incredibly cozy.
Still drawing a blank on how to use the striking neutral? We've got you covered. Ahead, we've rounded up 16 stunning slate gray interiors and 16 different ways to decorate with the color slate.
Spring for Slate Cabinets
Picking a kitchen cabinet color is never easy. You want something that’s bold enough to make a statement and versatile enough to suit your space. It can be tough to strike this balance, but slate does so masterfully.
Since the striking shade is neutral, it should play well with your shelves and countertops as well as everything lining them.
Add Weight With Slate Accents
Slate may be a neutral, but it’s a pretty heavy color. Slate accent pieces can be a great way to add visual weight to your space. Look for bare walls, empty corners, and anywhere else that feels a little sparse. A slate gray décor piece—like a striking mirror—may be just what the spot needs.
Line Your Bathroom With Slate Tiles
Slate gray tiles make a lovely addition to any bathroom. Why? They’re bold without being particularly loud, so you can craft the statement-making space you’re looking for without disrupting the serenity of your next bath.
"High-traffic and high-use rooms are perfect for a slate floor," Morgan says. She adds that the color may be particularly great in a kitchen, laundry room, or mudroom. Since your bathroom is a pretty high-use area, we suspect it also deserves a spot on that list.
Pair Slate With Your Favorite Neutrals
Everything pairs well with neutrals—including other neutrals. If you’re drawing a blank when decorating with slate, consider combining the color with some of your neutral go-tos.
The dark gray will look great alongside shiny golds, crisp whites, sleek blacks, and warm beiges, and did we mention it pairs well with other grays, too?
Invest in Striking Slate Art
Most art is made up of a few different colors, but some art is made of just one color or at least one color predominantly. This can be intimidating if the color you’re dealing with is a bold one. But, if it’s a versatile neutral, like slate, it should make an easy but statement-making addition to your walls.
Cover Your Walls in the Color
Filling a room with color from floor to ceiling can be a daunting prospect. After all, most colors are best in small doses. But since slate is so versatile, it’s actually up to the task. Sure, it’s a darker color than you might be used to seeing in every corner of a room. But if what you’re after is a cozy, sophisticated atmosphere, it’s sure to deliver.
Not sure which room to paint slate gray from top to bottom? Kristin Bartone, creative director and principal designer at Bartone Interiors, has a couple of recommendations. "Slate grey would be a great color choice for bedrooms or powder rooms," she says. "Bedrooms that are painted darker colors evoke a sense of grounded calmness. Powder rooms are typically smaller square footage, and painting the walls a darker color actually helps the space seem larger."
Use Slate in Its Original Form
The color slate gets its name from slate rock—a rock that is, unsurprisingly, slate gray in color. This material isn’t the kind of thing you’ll find in furniture that frequently, but it is featured in some sleek tables, giving you the chance to stock up on slate in the most literal way possible.
Balance Out Black and White
Since gray is part-black and part-white, it can act as an intermediary between the two striking shades. This makes slate gray—and really, any gray—a useful color to have in your palette. While the color won’t blend black and white together, it will soften the contrast between them, creating more visual harmony.
Take a Risk on a Textured Paint Job
Most of the time we see crisp, solid-colored paint jobs, but they’re not the only options on offer. If you’re craving something a little unexpected, you can opt for a textured paint job, one that looks like watercolors have been blended together on your wall.
Of course, a choice like this can easily overwhelm a space. But if you start with a subtler base color like slate, you’re more likely to end up with something that feels striking but serene.
Let Slate Towels Double as Décor
Your bath time necessities may not seem like décor, but if they’re in full view at all times, they’ll begin to function that way. Think of your bath towels as another piece of décor and snag a set in a shade you want more of in your space. Not sure what color to pick? You can always opt for a bold-but-versatile neutral—like slate.
Add Contrast to a Light Gray Interior
When designing a monochromatic interior, you have to stick to just one color, but you can still play with tone. If your all-light-gray bedroom is looking a little drab, add visual interest by throwing a few lighter and darker pieces into the mix. Even one slate gray piece may be what you need to bring your space together.
Make the Most of Grayscale Photography
Remember that every accent piece is adding some kind of color to your space, even if it doesn’t seem like it. A black-and-white photograph can look slate gray from afar, especially if there are a lot of dark tones in it. This can be a clever and textured way to sneak a little slate gray into your space.
Look for Natural Opportunities to Embrace the Color
Slate gray is naturally found in many materials, and we’re not just talking about slate rock. You can also find slabs of slate gray marble. These investment pieces would surely complement your sleekest wooden cabinets, adding color and texture to your space in equal measure.
"I love the color in countertops," Morgan says. Why? Her answer is both simple and practical: "It is very forgiving!"
Layer Different Tones
A gray-on-gray space may sound a little bland. But in reality, it can be incredibly dynamic. If you’ve picked slate gray as your starting point and you’re not sure where to go next, consider layering different shades of gray.
What’s nice? Since the colors are so similar, they’re sure to play well together. And if you really want to bring your space together, you can frame the room by using your darkest tones on the ceiling and along the floor.
Pair a dark ceiling with a dark rug, or pair a dark chandelier with stained hardwood floors.
Use Slate to Balance Out a High-Contrast Interior
If you’ve filled a room with bold shades like black and white, you may be wondering how to bring it all together. When in doubt, you can reliably add slate. Slate gray will mellow out your boldest blacks and your crispest whites, helping you find harmony between the two, and it should also have a softening effect on warmer pieces, like wooden furniture or gold-printed rugs.
Spring for a Few Slate Statement-Makers
A huge couch in a bold color can be a pain to decorate with. That is, unless the bold color in question is slate gray. Since slate is so dark, it feels incredibly eye-catching. But at the end of the day, it’s still a neutral—so it should be about as versatile as a more classic black or white.
If you’re looking for a way to add show-stoppers in your space, consider stocking up on them in slate gray. The color should look pretty great in large doses, and accessorizing should be a breeze.
In addition to making a striking addition to your home, slate can also make a practical one. Since the neutral is so dark, it hides wear and tear well. "If you have kids or pets, slate-colored upholstery on a sofa hides stains and fur," Morgan says.