Accent walls can be an excellent way to experiment with color in a space without going all out, but if you're dealing with an all-gray room, you may not be quite sure where to begin when it comes to picking a paint color for this focal area. The good news is that in speaking with designers, we learned that there are a number of appropriate color choices to pair with gray, whether you're feeling fun and fresh or prefer to stick with something a little more subdued.
Below, we walk you through the merits of different color choices for accent walls according to designers. Just note that there is a color combo you'll most likely want to avoid—but don't worry, we'll cover that, too!
Meet the Expert
Bring on the emerald green, ruby red, turquoise, you name it—designer Christine Turknett is all about pairing jewel tones with gray walls. "They are bold enough to stand out but also keep the intimate feel that dark rooms can create," she comments.
Why not go ahead and warm up a gray room with a dose of sunlight in the form of yellow paint? "We love a deep yellow accent wall or ceiling paired with gray walls," designer Shannon Eddings says. "We recently used Farrow and Ball India Yellow as an accent ceiling color in a home office. The room is calming with gray walls, but the yellow ceiling adds happy warmth and energy to the room."
Not feeling jewel tones? On the opposite of the spectrum are pastel tones, and designers Katie DeWitte and Natalie Calderone of Unhinged Design Co. believe that those are fair game to incorporate alongside gray walls, too. "Blush tones work so well because they can pair with nearly every gray undertone—blue, yellow, and green," the DeWitte notes. "Blush pink has a way of complimenting many gray tones and can soften a room without it being too feminine."
Beige may sometimes have a difficult reputation, but it's far from bland when utilized in the right spaces, designers promise. Beige is a classic and sophisticated compliment to the warmer shades of gray," Calderone explains. Plus, beige can be seen as soothing in a space. "Muted monochromatic neutral tones have been a later trend and become a tranquil escape for the eye in our colorful and chaotic world," adds Dewitte. Beige as an accent in the bedroom? Sounds pretty ideal to us!
Go ahead and look to the natural world if you wish, Calderone says. "Certain shades of green can complement gray as well and create a tranquil and elegant feel of bringing the outdoors in."
Orange and Blue
Feeling bold and fun? Orange or blue may be the accent wall color for you. "For the more vibrant at heart, bright colors like oranges and blues can be exciting accents to give gray furniture and accessories life," DeWitte adds.
Love beachy tones? You're in luck; they fit perfectly with gray spaces. "I love using shades of blue and green which are on the cooler side and relate to the gray," designer Nadia Watts says. "I select these colors because the base is gray before blue or green are added. This combination is soothing to the eye and adds visual interest to the space."
The One Color Not to Use: Gray
This is something that DeWitte and Calderone feel pretty adamant about. "The previous trend of all-gray rooms is on its way out, so avoid using a dark grey to accent a lighter grey in the same room," Calderone shares. "The darker shade of the same color can create an illusion to the eye that a room is smaller than it is—something everyone should avoid. Adding a colorful accent can be a great way to transition into 2022 trends!"