Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The World is Going Gray

I have several clients who have all decided that this year is the year to paint their interior spaces.  And so far gray is the number one color of choice.  It appears that the color gray has finally become mainstream.  The attributes of gray or grey, if you prefer that spelling, make it a great neutral color. 

A basic gray is a combination of black and white, but there are lots of ways to create this neutral color.  That's what makes the color gray so fascinating.  It can be created through a combination of any of the complementary colors or  a combination of the primary colors: red, yellow and blue.  And depending on that combination it can be a cool gray having blue, green or purple undertones  or it can be warm gray meaning it has beige undertones. Regardless of its category, all shades of gray can be used as a background color to add depth and definition a room. 

As a kitchen designer I've used lots of gray in the color palette of my kitchens.  A cool gray creates an elegant statement in a kitchen that has stainless steel appliances, brushed nickle hardware and a carrara countertop.  The one situation where I don't tend to use this neutral on walls or backsplashes is if the floor or the cabinets are slate in color. Too much of the color could make the room appear  dull and maybe dreary.  Gray needs other colors.  It will support the other colors. It will be influenced by the other colors.  It needs splashes of red, orange, blue, green to enhance its effect.

A cool gray will always appear to lighten the room.  It will never create a heavy feeling in the space.  Recently one of my clients expressed surprise when I put Dunn Edward's Smokey Mountain paint on her living room wall.  "Oh, it still feels lite in here."   Yes, cool gray does that, even when you are painting over a white wall.

A warm taupy gray has a much different effect.  This neutral goes well in a room where you want a comfortable atmosphere for conversation. A warm gray which is also referred to as a French Gray has the red, orange  and yellow undertones and creates a feeling of warmth in the room.

It takes hours to choose paint colors so don't get frustrated with the process.  I don't meet my clients at the paint store, instead I carry my 5 x 7 paint samples to the clients house to help narrow down the colors.  Dunn Edward's Paints are specifically made for the southwest environment and I am comfortable recommending their colors to my clients because  they are eco-friendly and provide a superior quality paint.  At the first meeting I always bring the Cool Neutrals and the Warm Neutrals samples with me.  After we are comfortable with the choices made I'll buy the sample size and paint splotches on  various walls so that my client can experience the color through the day and night light cycles.  It's a process that takes awhile especially if you are doing the whole house. 

Some of Dunn Edward's most popular gray paints:
Smokey Mountain  DE6386
Dangerous Robot DE6387
Porpoise DE6373
Covered in Platinum DE6367

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