Is gray paint still in style or is beige the new ‘it’ colour?
While gray was once the GO-TO shade for interior walls and cabinets, things are slowly shifting into the warmer end of things and we’re seeing much more greige, taupe, beige and cream.
So does this mean gray paint colours are OUT and the warmer shades are in? Drum rollllllllll….
HECK NO! We’re not there yet…but we’re gettin’ darn close.
Gray is still kickin’ it in many parts of the world and I get requests for it daily in my E-Design adventures. HOWEVER, while three years ago, eight out of ten consults were on gray paint colours, these days, I’m hitting five out of ten…on a good day, which means it’s slowly on its way out the door.
Sherwin Williams Repose Gray
Here’s the thing…
I’m not here to tell you NOT to paint your walls or cabinets gray.
But if you’re reading this blog post, something tells me that you’re a bit worried about doing so (or you’re just here for my charm and wit, which is cool too). I’m just here to give you some well-intentioned advice that’s geared almost ENTIRELY towards RESALE. If you plan on living in your home forever and ever OR long enough that previous trends are irrelevant and your whole home will need updating anyway, then don’t worry – DO WHAT YOU LOVE, it’s your home! In fact, I’ll TELL you which grays are the most beautiful!
On the other hand, if you read the above and are still concerned, keep on readin’…
Should you paint your WALLS gray in 2022 and onwards?
I have pretty strong feelings when it comes to wine, Cornuts, Ryan Reynolds and trends. If you LOVE gray and have ALWAYS loved gray, regardless of whether it’s trendy or not – paint your walls gray. If your home ONLY SUITS gray and no other colour – paint your walls gray. However, keep this one magical word in mind…
IF YOU PLAN ON SELLING IN THE NEXT TWO+ YEARS & ARE PAINTING YOUR WALLS NOW
If you plan on selling in the next 2+ years, want to paint NOW, and don’t plan on repainting before you sell, don’t paint your walls gray. By the time you list your home, the world will be THAT MUCH CLOSER to the warmer end of things and gray will make your home look dated compared to more UPDATED homes on the market – gray is NOT timeless or trend-proof. Instead, choose a warmer neutral that suits the finishes in your home (hopefully) or at the very least, find your home’s best white.
Sure, if you want to do one or two rooms, it’s cool beans with me, but I’d think twice before doing an open layout or your WHOLE HOME in a gray paint colour.
This living room was updated from the rich beige trends of the early 2000s with a soft greige paint colour
I will say though, that ANY amount of time spent in a home where you don’t love the wall colour is a LOOOOONG TIME. So, if you love gray and aren’t selling for a few years, consider painting your walls gray – definitely, but when it does come time to sell, consider repainting your KEY ROOMS a more modest warm neutral (I’ve included some great tips near the end of this blog post).
IF YOUR WALLS ARE ALREADY GRAY & YOU’RE SELLING YOUR HOME SOON
If your walls are already gray and you’re selling soon – don’t worry, it’s all good. Gray is still popular enough that your home won’t look outdated. However, if you have a room or two that need freshening up, I suggest transitioning into a more modest neutral or at least a good white paint colour.
Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray
Sherwin Williams Light French Gray
IF YOU’RE STAYING IN YOUR HOME & ALREADY HAVE GRAY OR PLAN ON USING GRAY
I’m with you! I have four different grays in our home right now and THREE of them aren’t going anywhere (the fourth is up for grabs). I say – FILL YOUR LIL GRAY BOOTS, in fact, I’ve written dozens of blog posts on the best gray paint colours!
I would suggest WARM GRAY paint colours over cool ones, as if you’re at all concerned about resale, warm grays will have waaaaay more life.
But hold tight if you’re thinking of choosing gray tile, carpet, countertops, cabinets OR wood floor with a gray wash. These finishes could limit you in the long term when it comes to either RESALE or REDECORATING.
Should you paint your CABINETS gray, is it a trend that will last?
HELLLLLLS NO! Wait, was that my inside voice? Now before all of you gray cabinet lovers burn me at the stake for the wicked lil Ginger witch that I am, hear me out…I HAVE GRAY CABINETS IN MY HOME!
Above – my client’s home
My home – see it ALL HERE
That’s right, I have gray cabinets and I desperately LOVE them and don’t regret them. When we remodelled our home four years ago, I knew I wanted gray cabinets so I CHOSE gray cabinets. However, here are a few things to consider…
- if I were to re-do my kitchen today – four years later, I wouldn’t paint my cabinets gray, I would paint them white (I’m not on the greige/taupe/cream kick)
- I love change, and when I originally painted my cabinets, I knew that within the next 5
monthsyears, I would be changing them to my next colour fetish (which is in my New Year’s plan – don’t tell Tim)
I’m not here to blow smoke up your – wait, there’s a better way to say this…
I’m not here to tell you what you WANT to hear, I’m here to tell you what you NEED to hear.
And you need to hear that painting your cabinets gray will immediately peg them as being painted in 2016-2021. While the gray cabinet trend might get you through the next one to two years, beyond that, I have my concerns.
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
Because more and more often, my Online Paint Colour Consulting clients are looking for white cabinets or at the very LEAST, warm greige, taupe and cream cabinets (which make me INTENSELY nervous for the same ‘trend-based’ reasons). And what my E-design clients are looking for is what many of your future house buyers will be looking for in an updated home – again, gray is not timeless or trend-proof. THE SCALE HAS TIPPED, WE’VE REACH THE TOP AND HAVE ALREADY STARTED DOWN THE HILL. That’s right, gray is slowly on its way out whether you’re happy to hear it or not.
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If you don’t CARE about trends, then you fill yer lil gray boots – it’s cool beans with me! But if you care about resale, you better think twice.
If you LOVE gray and have ALWAYS loved gray, regardless of whether it’s trendy or not – paint your cabinets gray. However, I bet your booty that your cabinets will be better off painted a more timeless colour.
Are you feeling worried about your cabinets which are currently painted gray? Don’t be, just keep on reading!
Should you paint your EXTERIOR gray or will it look outdated?
While walls and cabinets can be more finicky, when it comes to exteriors, gray is a colour that will last LONGER than the average trend.
Well, when it comes to exterior finishes like roofing, brick and stonework, gray is often the BEST COLOUR to suit these finishes. When the exterior of a home is well-coordinated, it will last longer. Exterior finishes also tend to have a longer lifespan in the trend world whereas interior finishes get a GOOD five to ten years…if they’re lucky.
However, there are a few things to be careful of when updating your exterior…
- Right now, it’s trendy to paint the trim and siding the same colour (often dark gray) – this is a trend and will eventually be moved aside.
- A gray exterior will look outdated if gray is the WRONG COLOUR for your home’s exterior finishes. In five years it will just look like you tried to hop on the ‘gray trend’, but didn’t jump far enough and fell flat on your face instead.
- Dark gray and black exteriors are definitely trendy right now, but again, be careful as they won’t last (dark gray will last longer than black, for sure).
- Black windows are definitely a trend, especially as it relates to dark gray homes with dark gray trim. And while I love them on white homes, in particular, white windows are more timeless.
Are wood floors with a gray wash on them still trendy?
Hard no. In fact, it’s such a hard no, I’m getting a little excited…(wink wink).
Benjamin Moore Classic Gray
Gray wash floors are not trendy and started their downward fall a few years ago. While you’ll still see them used quite often in new construction and remodelling, you won’t see them for much longer (I hope).
This is more of a whitewash, but the same idea. LOOK at how it makes the floor look violet-pink!
Are there still people who love gray wash wood or laminate floors, who see them as the epitome of an updated home? You bet, but as of the last few years, gray wash isn’t a finish that satisfies any type of mass appeal (which is the goal if you want to sell your home at any time).
What’s next after the gray trend? White, greige, taupe or beige?
Greige and taupe are great hybrid colours, bridging the gap between the cool look of gray and the warmer beige, tan and cream end of things. And for the thousands of homes dressed head to toe in gray, we’re going to NEED a hybrid to get us to the next step.
As for white, it’s often a great solution when a home that’s committed to ONE trend, won’t translate into another; often, it’s the right white that comes to the rescue!
Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
I’m also seeing more requests for MUTED tan, cream and off-white paint colours – nothing deep or overly warm, but more like ‘polite nods towards the warm end of things‘.
So, if you’re worried about longevity and aren’t sure if gray is the colour for you, maybe you need to warm up to the idea of something a little warmer, or at the very least, consider a WARM GRAY paint colour or WARM WHITE.
Now, of course, this blog post will spawn a whole ASSORTMENT of questions and concerns, such as…
Kylie, I just painted my walls or cabinets gray and now I’m worried.
Don’t be worried, it is what it is. This advice is for those who are THINKING about painting their walls or cabinets gray as a ‘word of caution’ (more like 1500 words of caution, really).
Benjamin Moore Collingwood
IF YOU’VE ALREADY PAINTED YOUR WALLS GRAY. Remember, painting a room is one of the least expensive updates. If you’ve painted your whole home gray and down the road, need/want to make a change, even changing a FEW ROOMS can give your home the shift it needs.
Also, I’ll be putting out a blog post pretty soon on how to transition a home from gray to greige or beige. In the meantime, read this bad boy.
Benjamin Moore Collingwood
IF YOU’VE ALREADY PAINTED YOUR CABINETS GRAY. Don’t worry. Would it be best if your cabinets weren’t gray? Yup, but it’s okay if you’re selling in the next two years or so. Will there be people who don’t like them? Sure, but there’s no product that’s totally fool-proof. Those who don’t like particular finishes will simply accommodate them in their future redecorating plans (but this CAN affect the offer they give you).
Similar to Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray (less green)
Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, an AWESOME & flexible shade of gray
If you’re selling in the next three+ years, you’ll hit even fewer tastes for sure, but again, life will go on and some people would repaint/replace them REGARDLESS of what colour they are (people like me).
But I just put in a new countertop and it ONLY SUITS GRAY?
If you think you’re limited to gray, there’s a 99% chance that there’s a white paint colour that will be BETTER than gray.
But I REALLY want to use gray on my walls or cabinets and now I’m feeling nervous…
Use gray, just consider using it in moderation, for example…
PAINT YOUR SECONDARY ROOMS GRAY
Secondary rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms and family rooms are great places to add a colour you love without committing to it on such a large scale that you have an ENTIRELY GRAY HOME. Basically, any room that isn’t in an open layout could be painted gray as it will be easy enough to repaint it down the road if needed. The KEY is to keep your hallways and open layout areas a colour that is moving FORWARD with the trends, rather than backwards.
Benjamin Moore Trout Gray
CONSIDER A GRAY FEATURE WALL
Accents walls are an awesome way to add a colour you love to a room without a full commitment as feature walls are MUCH easier to change out down the road.
Benjamin Moore Delray Gray
PAINT YOUR CABINETS WHITE & YOUR ISLAND GRAY
If you love the idea of gray cabinets, consider painting the ISLAND only. Repainting an island in five years is MUCH DIFFERENT from having to do the whole shebang.
Similar to Sherwin Williams Gris with High Reflective White
PAINT YOUR UPPERS WHITE & LOWERS GRAY
This isn’t one that I recommend lightly as, a) it’s a trend, and, b) it doesn’t suit every kitchen. However, if it suits yours, it’s a great idea!
BTW, to show you REAL HOMES & REAL BUDGETS, I only use photos from my E-Design clients. Thank you for sending them in, you make my colourful little world go round!
PAINT YOUR BATHROOM VANITY GRAY
If your bathroom finishes suit gray, the vanity is another great place to get a dose of gray without committing to a project so huge that it’s hard to redo in a few years.
Similar to Sherwin Williams Gris with High Reflective White
Is WARM GRAY more popular than COOL gray? Is it a safer choice these days?
HECK YES. As mentioned earlier, if you want to use gray in your home, warm gray will have more longevity than cool gray (as long as it suits the finishes in your space). The exception is the DARKER end of the cool gray range, including some of the popular grays with blue undertones, these are still kickin’ it as cabinets and feature walls.
There you have it! I hope this blog post gave you the answers AND INSPIRATION you were looking for!
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