Interior Design Trends: NEARLY NEUTRAL

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While the trend for white remains strong in contemporary interior design schemes, gray has overtaken and leads the field as the neutral hue of choice. A natural extension of classics like chrome, stainless, and platinum, shades of gray add depth, texture, and sophistication to any decor. Grays can be tinted with any hue, influencing its ultimate color. 

For one of my favorite kitchen updates, I incorporated various shades and textures of gray combined with wood cabinetry which I guess you'd still call neutral... or nearly neutral. A metallic finish on the dining area wall looks like suede in daylight and shimmers in candlelight for romantic dinners. 

In another kitchen update, I opened the wall adjacent to the dining room, leaving an island. A textured metallic wallpaper on the island provides an elegant transition from kitchen to dining space.

The AC duct work above the island was painted graphite gray carried through into the living room, and covers the only solid wall in the entire living space which features the home’s media center, fireplace, and bar. The remaining 3 walls are all windows.  

A wallpaper in a soft neutral palette ranging from soft white to almost black provides a calming atmosphere in this guest bath.  

Another guest bath uses the same color palette, but the materials, shades, and textures create an entirely different mood. Horizontal tiled wainscoting ties in with vertical striped paper on the walls and ceiling creates drama made even more so with the striped glass shower enclosure.

The dark gray/brown hue of the featured living room is sophisticated and elegant any time of day, but is especially rich in the evening with lamps and candlelight.

I first wrote about the growing popularity of gray for interior design in June 2012. Almost a year and a half later, it remains high on color preference lists. It’s an emotional and inspiring hue. Used in combination with gray, colors are enhanced and seem to pop. 

For my design clients, I prefer using deep shades of gray. In addition to exuding charm and elegance, a dark room appears larger. The corners of the room seem to recede, causing boundaries to disappear. Dark rooms also enhance mood, infusing a peaceful quietness.

Visit my website or browse myportfolio on Houzz for photos illustrating my use of gray.

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