How to bring a little more gray inside your home
Sometimes the most peculiar pairings are the ones that work — cheddar cheese and apple pie, Ray Charles and country music or Maria...
Special to The Seattle Times
Sometimes the most peculiar pairings are the ones that work — cheddar cheese and apple pie, Ray Charles and country music or Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It's like that with the color gray in a gray-sky town like Seattle. Color forecasters say gray is the new black, and it's coming our way.
But why would you choose to decorate your home with the same drippy color that appears (on most days) right outside your window? You want a home that's warm and cozy, right, not cold and steely?
Strange as it seems — and I admit it seems very strange — Seattle and the color gray can work and play well together. It's all a matter of which gray you use, how much of it you use and where you use it.
Which shade of gray?
Let's start with which gray. Generally speaking, you'll feel a lot more comfy if you wrap yourself in shades of gray with brown or green undertones. These colors give a warmer feeling than grays with blue or purple undertones.
If you're thinking about wall colors, painting rooms in darker shades (charcoal gray) will be cozier than lighter shades (dove gray).
Personally, I love charcoal. It is a sophisticated color with all the heft and mystery of black, but without black's gloom and doom.
Plus, nothing warms up charcoal gray walls better than creamy ivory trim. Yum!
How much gray?
How much gray should you use? Well, that depends on your tolerance for the color and the statement you want to make with it.
Gray conjures images of maturity, responsibility and conservative practicality (think: the businessman's gray flannel suit).
It's also a restful neutral hue that can have a cooling or muting effect when contrasted with more vibrant colors.
So, four gray walls may be too bland for a kitchen, typically one of the liveliest rooms of the house. But as a backdrop to a retro-themed room full of brightly colored furniture and accessories, gray just might be the ticket.
Add gray to a warm palette of reds or golden yellows, and you'll practically feel your blood pressure drop.
Want to go girly? Light grays paired with pastel blues, greens, pinks or lilacs are decidedly feminine. Darker versions of those colors, along with darker grays, turn masculine.
Use it with anything
Because gray is a neutral color, it is extremely versatile. When you think about it, stainless-steel appliances are just shades of gray, and everybody wants that restaurant look in the kitchen nowadays.
Dark gray walls can make a bold, dramatic statement in a small powder room.
Slate blue-gray walls are as comforting in a living room full of light, blond wood furniture as in a living room full of rich, mahogany brown furniture.
Fluid columns of silk gray drapes against taupe walls are New York chic. Silvery-gray trim on a snow-white, faux-fur throw is the epitome of Hollywood glam.
So the next time someone asks if you're going gray, just remember: They're talking about your décor.
Robyne L. Curry is a Seattle interior designer and freelance writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.