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The graying of America -- 50 shades of confusion

Posted by: Kim Palmer under Design + Architecture, Furniture, Decoration and design, Home Furnishing, Shopping Updated: February 19, 2013 - 10:36 AM

 

I was at the paint store last night, struggling to find the right color to complement my countertops without overpowering my cabinets, when I overheard a conversation between another customer and the guy behind the counter.

 

The customer was stumped. He was trying to find the perfect gray for his project. He'd tried several shades already, but nothing was quite right. One gray was too cool. Another was too muddy.

I know the guy at the paint store isn't alone with this color conundrum. Gray has been the "It" neutral for several years, showing up increasingly in chic shops and magazine spreads.

Now it appears the rest of us have gotten the memo -- and fallen madly in love with gray. The latest evidence comes from the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which recently released its 2013 style report (www.nkba.org). 

"Gray color schemes have witnessed a dramatic escalation since 2010, particularly over the last year," according to the NKBA. Gray was used in 55 percent of kitchens and 56 percent of bathrooms during the last quarter of 2012, up from 9 percent of kitchens and 12 percent of bathrooms just two years earlier.

White and beige are still the top colors in both rooms, but gray is coming on strong, while browns are in decline.

Choosing colors is always tricky,  but gray is especially so. The wrong shade can make a room feel chilly and dreary. But adding undertones to warm it up sometimes pushes the gray into purple territory once it's splashed on a wall. That's a good look in some rooms, but definitely not all.

The design/decor website Houzz has some good tips on how to pick the right gray (www.houzz.com/ideabooks/454963/list/Choosing-Paint--How-To-Pick-the-Right-Gray)

How about you? Have you caught gray fever? And if you have, what gray did you choose -- and what did you pair it with?  

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