Tips and Guides

5 Unexpected Rooms You Can Paint In Gray

Designers suggest other areas where you can use this soothing and moody neutral

Photography: Dairy Darilag (Main Photos)

Stormy gray, ash gray, charcoal gray—these different shades of gray have become ubiquitous in our homes, and are some of the favorite colors designers love to paint their living rooms and bedrooms in.

This is no surprise, as gray has moved on from being a somber shade to becoming a versatile yet elegant neutral. “Ash or light gray is a neutral that works well to substitute predictable white,” says interior designer Frenjick Quesada, who is known for his use of the shade. “It tones down the mood of the space while keeping it modern and sleek.”

But aside from using soothing gray in general areas like living rooms and hallways, and in places of rest like bedrooms, here are other unexpected areas in the home that you can use the shade in—like baby's nurseries:

In a kid's room

Painting boys’ rooms blue and girls’ rooms pink is cute up to a certain point—like when they grow up. Interior designer Catherine Cena advises to limit bold colors to areas that are easy to change, like bedding or carpets. “It’s easy to put in pops of color as additional feminine or masculine touches,” she says, adding that gray with white and a touch of yellow is a good combination for a kid’s room.

In this photo, the Zuluetas used a warm, almost-khaki-like shade of gray accented with pink and white for their playroom.

In the nursery

It is a scientific fact that newborn babies see in black and white and shades of gray, so it makes perfect sense to paint a nursery gray, as the babies won’t even notice other colors.

Designer Evangeline Lim chose the softest gray tint for this nursery, and the effect is just so dreamy. A nifty designer tip: paint the wooden trim, baseboards, and molding in beige instead of white or dark brown, for a softer look.

In a kitchen

It’s quite unexpected to use gray in a kitchen as it could appear cold in this area, but gray works well in rustic-themed, urban kitchens.

A warm gray paint can look especially stunning when contrasted against a white subway tile backsplash and distressed wooden cabinetry. If you want a bold look, a cool gray can temper bright red cabinetry and stainless steel countertops in a modern kitchen.

In a dining room

The old belief is that dining rooms need to be painted in warm colors like orange or butter yellow to stimulate the appetite. However, this tip has become dated, as dining rooms’ uses have changed to accommodate modern lifestyles—many families now use it as a study room, meeting area, or home office, too.

A beautiful slate-gray shade will look especially soothing and conversation-inducing in a dining room.

In a bathroom

Gray can swing both ways in the bathroom: it could be ultra-cool and urban when paired with concrete and steel, or sophisticated and elegant when juxtaposed against classical toilet fixtures.

Using gray in the smallest room in the house can be tricky though—too deep a shade all over and your loo will appear smaller than it already is, so pick a medium- to light-gray shade, and use this for the upper half of your bathroom instead.

Discover more color ideas in the December 2016-January 2017 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

PHOTOS: Dairy Darilag (Main) | Miguel Nacianceno (Kid's Room) | Tracey Ayton Photography via Pinterest (Dining Room) | DecorPad (Bathroom)

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