We know we said that warm neutrals are the new gray, and we stand by the rise of all things ivory, cream, sandy beige, and neutral linen. But regardless of color trends, light gray paint is and always will be a mainstay in interior design. It’s a timeless, barely-there neutral that pairs with pretty much every style and color palette under the sun. Plus, it’s a tried-and-true, foolproof backdrop hue for minimalist and bold decor alike.
So, we tapped Havenly lead designer Brady Burke for his thoughts on all things light gray paint. From a quick explainer on undertones to color palette ideas, he’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to applying this classic neutral in a modern way. Ahead, find his pro tips on using light gray paint at home:
1. Go All-In
If you’re a color-averse minimalist that prefers layered neutrals over color pops of any kind, light gray paint is your best friend. Pick two to three of your favorite light gray hues, and wash an entire room in the hue. We love a tone-on-tone look: use a light gray paint on the ceiling to make the room feel larger, a darker gray on the walls to add depth, a medium gray on the trim for contrast, and varying gray textiles and accents ranging from near-white to moody charcoal.
Shop our favorite medium light gray paint colors:
2. Use It As a Blank Canvas for Color
While it can lean cool and moody depending on your chosen shade, light gray paint is generally considered a neutral. In other words, it’s a perfect backdrop for a sunny yellow couch, soft pink accent chair, colorful artwork, or otherwise vibrant furniture and decor. It will ground the look and balance out the bolder hues.
Shop our favorite light gray paint colors:
3. Go Bold & Modern
Bold and contemporary interiors are a perfect pair for light gray paint. Go wild with low-slung yellow accent chairs, poppy red wall art, warm copper ceiling paint, and a dramatic evergreen drape. A hint of brass hardware rounds out the modern-luxe look.
Shop our favorite cool light gray paint colors:
4. Pay Attention to Tone
When it comes to paint selection, undertone is incredibly important. Light gray paint can lean cool or warm. If you’re looking for a more inviting, cozy space, focus on warmer gray or greige tones accented with natural materials. For a more modern look, select cooler, contemporary light gray paint colors to create a sleek, artful environment.
Shop our favorite moody light gray paint colors:
5. Warm It Up
To keep neutral light gray paint from feeling washed out or flat, add warmth and contrast via natural materials like jute, wood, and cognac leather. In the above space, the brown leather couch, tonal throw pillows, ivory drapes, brass candlesticks, and light oak coffee table give the otherwise gray space an inviting touch.
Shop our favorite warm light gray paint colors: