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By: | Posted: 03/28/2013
by Taylor Selcke
New news in neutrals: beige and taupe wall paint are out, gray is in. Yes, it's adventurous, but if done right, your abode will be completely in vogue this season. Interior design guru Laura Ramsey Engler of Ramsey Engler shares how to successfully—and tastefully—incorporate the trend into your home.
Mpls.St.Paul Home: First taupe, now gray. How did the color evolve into such a popular hue?
Laura Ramsey Engler: Gray is a natural reaction to the beige and taupe decade we are coming out of. Neutrals cycle in popularity and it’s gray’s turn. Color trend studies say that it is in keeping with the technological age in which we live. Gray is the color of high tech.
MSP: Even so, I’m sure there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to this trend. What should homeowners keep in mind; should they choose to experiment?
LRE: Gray is rich when contrasted against white enameled trim, but it can also be rich against the currently popular teak and weathered walnut wood tones. Surprisingly, when making a bold move, its impact is often lessened by painting a whole room in the color, sometimes including the ceiling because then you have no basis of comparison of its boldness against a neutral wall. Similarly when using a bold or dramatic color for upholstery, go big or stay home! Do the whole room.
MSP: For some, “going big” may be overwhelming. What can homeowners do to incorporate the trend in a smaller, more manageable dose?
LRE: It works very well as an accent band, or as an accent wall.
[caption id="attachment_1077" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Here is one example of a gray accent band."][/caption]
MSP: Obviously, it’s not just about how you use the paint. It’s also about picking the right shade of gray, and here in Minnesota, the color can come off as being cold. How would you recommend someone go about choosing a “warm” gray?
LRE: A warm gray will always take on a color direction evincing greenish, yellow, red, or violet undertones. It’s critical to make sure that the underlying color story of other hues combined with the gray are in the same family. A lovely warm gray is Sherwin-Williams' “Classic French Gray.”
[caption id="attachment_1076" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="An example of "warm" gray wall paint."][/caption]
MSP: Are there any other shades you recommended?
LRE: Sherwin-Williams' “Software” is a good mid-tone gray. Farrow & Ball’s “Lamp Room Gray” is softer and lighter. Benjamin Moore’s “Whale Gray” is classic east coast gray.
Jennifer Blaise Kramer is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s home editor. See bio
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