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Shades of Gray

While the 50 Shades of Grey craze is long over, our love affair with using the color gray in the home shows no signs of abating.

With interior design, trends often burn white-hot for a few years – just as with fashion – before flaming out and leaving us wondering “What were we thinking?”  While polished brass fixtures have gone the way of acid-washed denim, incorporating shades of gray – and its warmed-up cousin greige – appears to possess the staying power of a pair of diamond studs. 

In a recent story on, writer Devin Alessio makes the case for gray as the Pantone color of the year, referring to it as “calming, elegant or even electrifying,” while adding that gray is going “super viral” on Pinterest.

The Color Marketing Group also reports an increase of colored grays as the new neutrals for the home interior. The grays predicted for 2017 are softer and lighter, yet still warm and often combined with colorful solar elements such as yellow and orange. Bluish dark grays that combine well with brighter colors such as the de-saturated pastels are forecasted to be popular in 2018.

As gray rises in popularity, paint manufacturers have responded to the demand by adding to an already-teeming spectrum of the hue. Forget 50 Shades of Grey; it’s beginning to feel like there are 5,000 available choices. 

So what are some of the standout tones? Alessio polled respected interior designers for their favorites. Erin Gates, whose Elements of Style blog has become a must-read for many in the design community, chose Benjamin Moore’s Chelsea Gray, which she calls “the perfect medium-dark gray” to use on cabinets and vanities. Virginia-based interior designer Dana Gibson singled out Farrow & Ball’s Elephant’s Breath, saying it’s “warm and luxuriant.”

Elephant’s Breath also makes the list of interior designers Caroline Warner and Robin Violandi, principals of the Scituate-based Violandi + Warner Interiors. Other fave grays of the design duo include Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray and Revere Pewter, along with C2’s Dorian Gray. For a more saturated shade of gray, interior designer Donna Stearns of I Candy Design on Cape Cod likes Sherwin-Williams Mineral Ice, which she says is a “cool, bright gray with an icy blue feel.”

Finally, we put the ‘fave shades of gray’ question to our Facebook friends. Elizabeth Meek weighed in with Benjamin Moore’s Tranquility and Bill Flynn cited Moore’s Metropolitan.

Love a shade of gray that we haven’t mentioned? Share it with the region’s design community by commenting on our Facebook page.


Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray (on left) and Revere Pewter; photos via