Is gray going out of style?
Like all home decor trends, paint colors come and go. Yes, even neutrals like gray, beige and tan tend to have their moments. In the 2010s, gray was the ‘it’ neutral, but it’s popularity has begun to fade in the last few years. If you’re considering gray paint or furniture for your home this year, you may be wondering ‘is gray going out of style?’
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The answer isn’t exactly black and white. There’s a bit of a gray area. 🙂
The real answer is this. Gray definitely isn’t as fashionable as it once was, especially in certain applications, which I’ll get to in a minute. But at the same time, it’s also not totally out of style, either. There are certain shades of gray that are actually more in style than ever.
So how can you know how to decorate with gray in 2024? Let’s talk about it.
Overall, cool grays are on the way out and warmer tones are in
The big reason many shades of gray are suddenly feeling dated is because interior design preferences have shifted.
Typically, trend cycles work like this: when a home decor trend is everywhere, the one that follows it goes in the opposite direction. So if cool-toned grays are the big thing in the 2010s, warm-toned colors will be big in the 2020s, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.
Do you remember what was before the cool gray trend? It was all about chocolate browns and tans. I remember when I was in college, thinking I wanted a brown and turquoise duvet cover (I can’t.), and that my friend’s apartment, which had tan-granite countertops and warm-oak cabinets was just the chicest. Then gray happened, and now we’re heading back in the other direction again.
So right now overall, gray is on its way out and beige is back. Designers and retailers are favoring warmer shades of beige, tan, rust, and cream, and doing away with steely, cool tones.
The reason I still say that gray isn’t completely out of style, is because some gray tones, like mushroom-toned grays, geige colors and warm grays are still very much in style.
It’s just the cool-toned grays and charcoal colors that are going out of style.
The shades of gray that are out of style
Because the home decor color trends are moving in a warmer direction, that means cool-toned shades of gray, especially pale ones with blue or silvery undertones, are starting to look dated. Skip these hues when it comes to both paint colors and upholstery/textiles. A light gray sofa is no longer the go-to choice, and neither is a light-gray wall color.
Gray paint colors to avoid this year include:
- Benjamin Moore Gray Cloud
- Benjamin Moore Silver Half Dollar
- Sherwin Williams Silverplate
The shades of gray that are in style
If you love gray, or you’re looking for a neutral color for your walls, sofa or a rug that isn’t white or tan, all is not lost! Just check out all of the gorgeous warm-toned grays out there, instead.
Warm grays, and colors that are more of a greige, taupe or mushroom color, are still considered in style, and they complement the warmed up, more saturated interior design trends we’re seeing right now.
Earlier this year, I chose Benjamin Moore’s Finnie Gray for our renovated family room and I love it. It’s technically a gray, but with sage green and tan undertones that make it feel fresh. It’s also a little deeper and more saturated, which makes the color feel bolder.
Some of the best gray paint colors to try this year are:
- Sherwin Williams Repose Gray
- Benjamin Moore Finnie Gray
- Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
- Farrow & Ball French Gray
- Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
- Benjamin Moore Agreeable Gray
All of these grays have either beige undertones (and read more greige) or green undertones that give them a sage paint color look, both of which feel more in style than cool-toned grays.
How to use gray in 2024
If you’re planning to paint a room gray or buy gray furniture in 2024, there are a few keys to doing it in a way that looks fresh, and not dated.
The first is: Don’t go gray-on-gray. The look that’s most out of style right now is that all-gray everything room design that was a big trend 10 years ago. You know the room: It has silver-gray walls, a silver-gray sofa, a gray-toned rug, mirrored furniture, silver-toned metallics, etc. It’s all very monotone and just a bit, well, sad.
Here’s how NOT to use gray in 2024:
Don’t do this look.
The next big key to using gray in 2024 is to choose warm tones. Like I mentioned, warm toned neutrals are the it neutral this year, and designers are favoring beige, ivory, and taupe over cool gray and stark white.
If you choose a warm toned shade, try one that’s either a bit more saturated than you’d go for in the past, which will give your room a moodier feel. Colors to try include:
- Benjamin Moore Finnie Gray
- Benjamin Moore Tyler Gray
- Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath.
OR, a shade that’s so light it almost reads like an ivory or cream color. White paint with depth (i.e. ivories, creams, and bone-colors) is the new bright white, so a shade of super pale warm gray (try Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White!) will look subtle but stylish.
Finally, you can also use almost any shade of gray with a room that’s decorated in a scheme that feels ‘today.’ For example, I used a mid-toned, cooler shade of gray in my entryway, but I paired it with very traditional details (tradition, ironically, is a big home decor trend for 2024). I used board-and-batten wainscoting, and then a floral wallpaper on the top, and painted the interior doors black, which underscored the wallpaper and gave the room some contrast.
What color is replacing gray?
Now that gray is no longer the go-to paint color, you may be wondering what color is replacing gray. The answer? It’s beige. Yes, beige is coming back in style after years of being synonymous with boring or bland. Warm neutral paint and upholstery colors are now taking favor over grays, with shades like tan, taupe, ivory and beige (even brown!) rising in popularity.