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Decorating with shades of gray

Gray, like other popular neutrals, blends well with other colors and can help to create environments that can vary from muted and soothing to rich and bold. The beauty of gray is its versatility.

Looking for ways to incorporate gray into your decor? Here are some Design Recipes do’s and don’ts.


1. Consider mixing soft shades of gray with other light colors such as white and cream. The result can feel soothing and fresh.

2. Mix and match different shades of gray. Different shades can provide visual interest.

3. Mix materials. Gray can be incorporated into home decor in different ways, from fabrics to rugs and accessories.

4. Create contrast, mixing gray with bold, striking colors such as black and white.

5. Use gray on your larger surfaces for maximum visual impact such as upholstery pieces and accent walls.


1. Use too many dark shades of gray as the effect can be dark and gloomy.

2. Be afraid to mix warm gray with cool gray. Cooler tones tend to be more blue, while warmer tones tend to be more brown.

3. Use only one shade of a gray in a space, mixing different shades is often more powerful and you may find it hard to match all one shade.

4. Be afraid to mix gray with other deep based colors such as chocolate brown and black.

5. Forget that metallics such as silver and platinum can serve as interesting and inviting ways to incorporate gray into your space.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .

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