HomeTips & IdeasDecorating Ideas and How To'sAre Gray (Graywash) Floors Going out of Style? Are they Still TRENDY?

Are Gray (Graywash) Floors Going out of Style? Are they Still TRENDY?

Posted on January 14, 2023 by KylieMawdsley

Is Gray (or Whitewash) Still a Popular Colour for Wood Flooring, Carpet or Tile?

If you’re looking for a brief answer to whether gray is still popular for flooring, it’s a resounding NO. But let’s be honest; you don’t read my blog because you’re a fan of brevity.

When choosing the best colour or finish for the hard surfaces in your home, you’d be smart to consider what’s TRENDY vs what’s TIMELESS. And while both can live in harmony, not ALL trends can withstand the test of time. Such is the case with gray flooring.

Which types of flooring am I referring to?

  • gray-wash wood floor
  • gray-wash LVT or laminate flooring
  • gray carpet
  • gray tile or vinyl

Of course, there are always exceptions, but assuming your home isn’t one of them, let’s take a closer look at what does/doesn’t work and why.

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray best warm grey paint colour, corner fireplace with stone and shiplap, kitchen island in Dovetail.

Notice how the subtle green undertone in the paint colour sits a bit off with the violet hue in the flooring (LVT)

Let’s start with a little chat to ease any immediate concerns…

1. If you already have gray floors – it’s okay! This blog post isn’t about gray flooring being BAD (in fact, it can be quite pretty)! This post is about not choosing it NOW if you’re updating your home or building a new one (and you’ll find out why shortly).

2. Gray was trendy; it isn’t anymore. HOWEVER, trends only matter if a) you’re concerned about resale or b) you care about trends and like a home that looks updated. If you don’t care about these things, you can fill yer lil gray boots (but seeing as you’re reading this blog post, I’ll assume you DO care or are just here for my wit and charm – let’s assume the latter).

How to Create a Timeless Home: 4-PART SERIES

ARE GRAY-WASH WOOD OR WOOD-LOOK FLOORS STILL TRENDY?

Heck no. The gray trend started about eight-ten years ago, and while it’s had a GREAT run, its time is up. These days, instead of gray-wash floors, my clients are leaning into more natural woods in light to medium depths. And while I still see the odd whitewash come up (also a hard no from this Ginger), the more moderate woods are making a comeback.

These next photos are great examples of the type of flooring many of my clients choose (give or take a bit of depth/warmth/knots)…

Hallway in Sherwin Williams Austere Gray, Pure White trim, warm wood oak flooring. CLIENT PHOTO, Kylie M Interiors Edesign, best gray green paint colours

Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray walls

Interior doors painted grey, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and White Dove, white oak flooring, black hardware. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Benjamin Moore White Dove & Revere Pewter doors

Kitchen with wood flooring, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray painted cabinets, URbane Bronze greige island, black pendant lights. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze island, Agreeable Gray cabinets

Benjamin Moore White Dove walls, Open concept living family room, kitchen, vaulted wood frame beam ceilings, soapstone surround fireplace with tv above, red oak wood floor. Kylie M Interiors

BTW, notice the wood ceiling and its white-wash – PINK UNDERTONES! 

Personally, I’m inclined to the medium depths when it comes to a good ‘happy medium’ between trends…

Kitchen with warm gray, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter cabinets and Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze painted island. White oak wood flooring. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, blog and colour advice online

Why are so many people choosing wood floors like the above examples?

Because they’re more FLEXIBLE and suit a wide variety of styles, tastes and trends. While few things are TIMELESS, these stains will have more longevity than a gray or whitewash.

WHY I NEVER LOVED GRAY-WASH WOOD FLOORS IN THE FIRST PLACE

While you might LOOK at a gray-wash floor and see ‘gray’, every gray has an undertone – even your floor. And while it would be GREAT if there were a ton of exceptions, almost ALL gray-wash floors have a violet (or violet-pink) undertone.

While you might see a ‘gray floor’, I see a wood floor with VIOLET-PINK UNDERTONES.

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray, off white warm gray. Brick fireplace white wash look. Gray wash laminat wood floor. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy blogger

That’s right, with VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS; if you choose a wood floor with a gray wash, it will have a violet-pink undertone.

And don’t get me wrong, as I MADLY love this next little bathroom. HOWEVER, the gray LVT flooring will be tricky to update once trends change.

WHY?

Those DARN violet undertones…

Sherwin Williams Light French Gray, Pure White, wainscoting, beadboard in small bathroom. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, client photos.

As shown in the above photo, I often have clients hire me because:

a) their NEWLY CHOSEN gray-wash (violet) wood flooring doesn’t work with their old paint colour, OR

b) they’ve painted their walls a new colour that doesn’t work with their existing gray-wash (violet) flooring, OR

c) they’ve bought a home with grayish floors and aren’t quite sure what to do.

In this next photo, you’ll see gray-wash wood flooring. Remember, this isn’t about it looking BAD; it doesn’t. In fact, it looks great with Benjamin Moore Classic Gray walls.

It’s just not very timeless. 

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray. Popular warm gray and off-white paint colour. Gray wash laminate wood flooring and white trim. Kylie M Interiors E-Design, online paint colour advice and blogger

The above combo is great for a homeowner who loves gray…and violet. However, if I PERSONALLY were looking to buy this home…

I wouldn’t buy it BECAUSE of the gray-wash flooring.

Just remember, it’s not that violet isn’t pretty as an undertone; it can be. HOWEVER, it’s LIMITING should you or a new homeowner want to transition to a warmer look or different undertone. And guess where trends are shifting…that’s right, they’re shifting WARMER.

In this next space, Sherwin William’s Mindful Gray isn’t quite jiving with the flooring…

Best warm gray paint colour, Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray with gray wash wood floor and neutral furnishings

Thank you to my clients for their BEFORE photos, as they’re often great lessons in colour! 

Why?

Mindful Gray has a slight tendency to grab a green undertone. This wink o’ green isn’t super friendly with the violet hues in the wood flooring (and I eagerly await the after photos!).

Is Gray OUT on Walls, Cabinets, & Exteriors?

Beige: Is it BACK? Is Beige…dare I say, TRENDY?

CAN YOU GRAY WASH WOOD FLOORS?

Oh, you CAN; the question is – SHOULD YOU? Again, the answer is no, unless you’re not worried about trends and keep your paint palette pretty darn simple.

ARE WHITEWASHED WOOD FLOORS TRENDY OR OUT OF STYLE?

While whitewashed wood floors are still being chosen by today’s homeowners, I almost ALWAYS steer my Colour Consulting clients away from it.

Why?

Whereas gray wash flooring has a violet-pink undertone, whitewash wood floors lean HARDER into the pink. I’m YET to see a whitewashed wood floor that avoids this undertone.

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White and Magnolia Teak Cups island, white quartz countertop, whitewash wood floor. CLIENT PHOTO of Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White

What SEEMS like ‘white and wood’ never is – everything is an undertone, and that undertone is PINK.

This next home is STUNNING. However, the current, slightly cream-inspired walls have a TOUCH too much yellow-orange for the pink-hued flooring…

Magnolia Clunch with whitewash oak wood floor, Teak Cups built in office cabinets, sliding barn door. CLIENT PHOTO of Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Again, this isn’t about these homes not being BEAUTIFUL as they are. It’s about the longevity of a floor like this and how it translates into new trends (should one care)…

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, Classic Gray, Collingwood, Sherwin Williams Pure White cabinets, Mindful Gray island, white washoak floor

IS GRAY CARPET TRENDY OR OUT OF STYLE?

You get a bit more flexibility with gray carpet as long as…

  • you don’t put it EVERYWHERE – it’s only in a few rooms (meaning it’s more affordable to change in the future IF NEEDED)
  • you don’t partner it up with gray wash wood flooring

And this isn’t the ONLY difference when it comes to gray carpets. Whereas you’ll find mostly violet-pink hues in gray wood flooring, you’ll find one of TWO main undertones in gray carpet:

  • GREEN
  • VIOLET-PINK

Gray-green carpet is just about as flexible as gray-violet-pink – both have serious limitations. And don’t kill the messenger – I have gray (gray-green) carpet in my own home, and I love it, as does Doug…

Doug the Golden doodle on gray stairs, Kylie M Edesign

Open staircase layout, carpet stairs, painted stair railing, Sherwin Urbane Bronze, Benjamin Edgecomb Gray. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online (1)

The railings are painted Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze to pick up on the green hue in the carpet

HOWEVER, I’ve balanced it with a more moderate medium-toned wood floor and a few other flexible finishes so I’m not so limited in the longterm.

Why?

Because I care about resale AND trends and like to have a balance of both.

This next photo is of the staircase in our last home. Want to know one of the reasons we sold this house? Well, other than the fact that my soul slowly died every day I woke up in it, I couldn’t transition this house OUT of the gray-zone it was parked in – and this home (and homeowner) needed more warmth.

Stairwell with gray carpet and Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray, lightened by 25%. Benjamin Moore Gibraltar Cliffs feature wall. Kylie M INteriors Edesign

But that whole house debacle is a blog post unto itself. Moving along.

The problem with the gray trend is that, like my cooking, it was OVERDONE. Walk into any gray-inspired home built in the last ten years, and all you’ll see are gray floors, cabinets, walls and exteriors. The more gray you have, the harder it will be for you or a new homeowner to transition into the next style. The LESS gray you have…

a) the easier it will be to find a balance between trends

b) the less expensive it will be to change things around should a new trend or new homeowners come around

This next photo is the home of one of my FAVE long-time clients. And BLESS HER FREAKIN’ HEART, look at that balance…

Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray, gray blue green paint color on walls. Gray carpet, wood floor. Kylie M Interiors

  • gray carpet on the stairs (a small area that’s more affordable to change in the future to accommodate a new style/different tastes)
  • wood-look flooring in a moderate colour/stain (flexible)
  • both warm AND cool paint colours, showing the versatility of both flooring finishes

 

TAUPE OR GREIGE CARPET

While taupe and greige carpet are more flexible than gray (due to their warmth), they’re still pretty limiting based on their undertones.

Let’s look at my sister-in-law’s home, as she has a warm gray/taupe carpet (that I chose for her)…

Landing of staircase, shiplap feature wall, Sherwin Web Gray and Pure White, warm gray carpeted stairs. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consultant, diy decorating ideas

The carpet we chose has a violet-pink undertone. Had we clad her ENTIRE HOME in this carpet, we’d be in for a world of hate should trends/tastes shift (I say WE like I live there, which I WOULD if I could; she’s a damn good cook).

But again, when it comes to gray (or taupe/greige), it’s all about BALANCE…

Pure White with gray carpet stairs, white railing, shiplap feature wall in Web Gray. Sherwin Williams. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

As shown in the above photo, the taupe carpet meets up with a natural-looking wood floor, giving WAY more flexibility for my sis-in-law or a future owner.

LONG STORY SHORT (as usual), gray, taupe or greige carpet is good as long as you don’t use it EVERYWHERE. Like Tim says to me regarding my wine consumption – moderation is good, sweetheart.

 

ARE GRAY TILES TRENDY OR OUT OF STYLE?

This is a tough one. There are so many tiles out there, some more flexible than others, that it’s hard to say definitively that gray is OUT. Here’s what I know is true…

  • Ryan Reynolds is a total babe
  • a gray tile that has other neutrals in it (i.e. white/beige/greige/taupe) will have a longer lifetime than a SOLID gray tile
  • gray in marble can be pretty darn timeless, but that’s more about the product itself
  • darker gray tiles can have more longevity than light gray ones (dark gray tiles can act more like an ‘accent’ colour to a new palette)

In these next few bathrooms, you’ll see tiles that look like marble or ARE marble. Tile floors like these will be more timeless than tile floors that a light-toned, more solid gray, although even marble will have its limitations…

Walk in shower, master ensuite bathroom. Marble hexagon floor, accent tile, double shower head, rainshower. Kylie M Interiors Decorating and Design, edecor

bathroom with Sherwin Williams Network Gray shiplap, vanity, gray and white tile marble look floor, black fixtures, Benjamin White Dove walls. Kylie M. (1)

Sherwin Williams Zircon, gray with purple undertone. Marble look porcelain tile bathroom with freestanding tub. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consulting

These next two bathrooms have dark tile floors. On its own, this dark gray can be more flexible than a light one, but in PARTNERSHIP with other gray finishes, the palette will be tougher to accommodate in future years should tastes/styles change…

Bathroom, free standing tub with pebble tile floor and gray porcelain. Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray paint color. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, virtual, online paint colour expert

Sherwin Williams High Reflective White on bathroom vanity, gray floor tile, LG Viatara Quartz countertop, crystal knobs. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

This next tile floor has gray, white, soft white and even some taupe/beige in it. This floor tile will flex into several styles…

Greige and gray bathroom update with Bianco Drift quartz, Metropolis vanity, Classic Gray and subway tile walls in shower

HOWEVER, when combined with the gray vanity, light gray quartz countertop and warm gray subway tile on the walls, it would be pretty hard to get this room OUT of the gray trend and into something different – TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING!

So there you have it. Long story short, gray floors can be GORGEOUS; they’re just limiting if you’re looking for a more timeless approach to your design.

READ MORE

Is Gray Still Trendy on Walls, Cabinets & Exteriors?

How to Create a Timeless Home: 4 PART Series

6 Budget-Friendly Home Update Ideas

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing White Paint Colours

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The best paint colors for your room. Benjamin and Sherwin. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting. Home Decorating and diiy ideas blogger.market

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas



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Comments

  1. Thank heavens! This is so good to know—having lived in a house with Revere Pewter walls since the early 2000s, I’m ready to move on!

    Our new-to-us 1960s ranch house (complete with sunken living room!) needs to have new flooring before we move in and we are leaning towards white oak luxury vinyl flooring. Is this a style that will look dated soon? Thank you!

    1. Post
      Author

      White Oak is definitely still going strong. Everything comes and goes, so it would depend on how long you plan on living there/enjoying the lighter depth 🙂 And as long as it doesn’t have any kind of WHITEWASH on it!

  2. Do you remember the name of your “happy medium” oak flooring by any chance? We’re in the planning stages of changing out our flooring so this article has excellent timing.

    1. Post
      Author

      I do! it’s by Goodfellow, the Riverside collection and the colour, I believe, is Stone :). We’ve been SUPER happy with it 🙂

  3. This post crushed my heart. Mainly because we just (and I do mean JUST, we haven’t moved in yet) bought a house that is entirely gray. Behr Dolphin Fin. Walls AND ceiling. With gray carpet (which I now know has undertones that will probably clash with everything I love– Like Accessible Beige) AND gray LVP in the kitchen. /cry

    I just asked my husband if we could redo at least the main floor in hardwood and he said we have to wait.

    I was all excited because I thought I’d come up with the perfect painting plan after poring over your website (white dove ceilings and trim with accessible beige walls/hale navy kitchen cabinets/urbane bronze stair railing) but now… I probably need a color consult (and new floors).

    I don’t mind gray but there is just too much of it in the house.

    Thank you for posting this and giving me some new perspectives.

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