Where Do We Go From Gray?

Where Do We Go From Gray_ Wallauers

Gray has dominated the palette for the last several years. Now we’re starting to see the emergence of other colors to enhance or replace this popular hue.

By Diane Franklin

As we spend more time in our homes, we may be thinking about the next big color trend. Grays have been huge in home decorating for quite some time, but it’s not too early to think, “What comes next?” Some of the answers may surprise you.

Darker Neutrals

Grays have enjoyed prolonged popularity largely because they go with everything, and in many ways, they are a chameleon-like color. Of course, the same can be said of many other neutrals—beiges, taupes and off-whites among them.

One surprising direction for the neutral family is a trend toward hues that are darker, more sophisticated and more dramatic. Black is making a strong bid to be a new neutral powerhouse, and we’re not just talking about black cabinets, furniture and light fixtures. We’ll also be seeing black on walls, molding—even ceilings.

As part of the darker neutral trend, earth tones will come into fashion again. Chocolaty browns, olive greens, terra-cotta reds, tans and umber will ease their way back into the palette. With darker neutrals also will come such colors as navy blue and sage green.

Gray will still be with us, but expect darker, smokier and more industrial uses of the trend. Overall, however, gray will dominate less going forward than it has in the recent past. Expect it to be merged with beige, and also be on the lookout for beige to make a comeback in its own right.

Going Brighter

We can all use a decorating pick-me-up in our lives right now, and what works better than colors that are on the warmer side of the palette? Vibrant yellows, juicy oranges, tantalizing lime-greens, eye-popping pinks—all of them can brighter our décor and our moods.

Some of these colors will come in small doses—i.e., as accent walls or as featured colors in wallpaper, draperies, area rugs, accent pillows and accessories. However, for more daring consumers, painting an entire room in a bright and vibrant color will be the best way to express their mood and personality while also adding some cheerfulness to the décor.

Soothing Pastels

Though many of us want hues to brighten our lives, we also select certain colors to soothe our souls. That’s why various pastels such as pale pinks, blues and greens will find their way into sanctuary-type rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Tropical, Caribbean and Mediterranean colors will be a big trend in the coming months. If we can’t go to the beach, we’ll want our homes to evoke a sense of the seaside. Turquoise blues, seafoam greens and palm-leaf greens will imbue our surroundings with the calming qualities that tropical locales provide—all without leaving the comfort and sanctuary of our homes.

Greening of Our Interiors

One color that looks to be enjoying a resurgence as we head toward the summer months is green. We’ll see green in all of its forms, from sage to forest to verdant. Many of these hues work well with the grays that are already dominating home interiors, and it’s also a way to bring the outdoors in. The popularity of floral and vegetation patterns in wallpaper, area rugs and upholstery are helping to fuel the acceleration toward green. Green also is a fantastic companion color for natural materials used in decorating, such as wood, marble, stone bamboo and cork.

Comforting Blues

The versatility of blues always ensures that several forms of the color will be in our interiors. Blues are a huge part of the Caribbean look and the return to pastels as mentioned above. Beyond that, Pantone has named “Classic Blue” as its color of the year 2020. The fact that this color evokes peace, calm and tranquility has only added to its appeal during recent months. Simple but elegant, blue is a color that consumers will continue to embrace throughout the coming year and for years to come.

Gray Will Stay

If you’ve recently painted every wall in your home gray—and accessorized accordingly—don’t despair. Gray is a classic that will stay around forever. It will fit in well with all the new color trends mentioned above. As you introduce new colors from the emerging palette, gray will still have its place as a versatile mainstay color that has earned a place of permanence in our homes.

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