23 Gray Living Room Ideas (Design Pictures)

Contemporary living room with light gray paint gray curtains and chairs with wood floor

Grays for the living room paint color has really enjoyed immense popularity in the contemporary design scene. Despite the ever-changing color trends, gray has enjoyed steady popularity both as an accent color and as a neutral color.

It is often lauded for its versatility and adaptability, giving your spaces a fresh, modern feel while easily blending in with the other colors in the space. So, if you still have that gray wall or modern gray couch from years ago, don’t worry; it’s not getting out of style soon as it becomes a staple basic color.

Since gray is a neutral color and is very versatile, it is a great color choice for covering large areas, especially on areas and items that you would like to keep for a long time, such as walls, wallpaper, curtains, flooring, and upholstery.

These are items we don’t want to replace too often, so it is better if we select neutral colors, making it easy to update the look of your room by just changing the style or colors of your accessories and accent pieces. [toc]

Gray Living Room Design Styles

We spoke with interior designer Danielle Porter for her ideas for giving gray new life in your living room design, and here’s her response:

When it comes to color, gray is one of the most versatile and sophisticated options.  It can be either warm or cool in tone, light and bright, or saturated and luxurious, and it can work with nearly any design style. We’re going to explore the traditional, contemporary, and modern styles and how you can use gray to set the stage or complement your existing space.  

Integrating Gray into a Traditional Room Design

The traditional design style is founded on the concepts of warmth, harmony, modest ornate details, and symmetry. Gray would be an ideal option in a traditional living room as it pairs nicely with the more classic furnishings and accessories.

It can be brought into the space in multiple shades and textures, creating layers and depth that complement and support the overall design.

Traditional living room with gray brick fireplace, gray-wall paint and linen arm chairs

For example, a multi-toned gray brick around a fireplace would perfectly balance a cozy linen sectional or armchair.  The textures create visual balance and don’t compete or overwhelm one another.

For a different look, a dark gray plush fabric like velvet or chenille adds a touch of luxury and can be balanced by simply patterned pillows and light gray walls.

When determining colors to pair with gray in a traditional space, we recommend using gray as the primary color and colors as the accents. 

Always consider bringing color in through patterns to keep it from dominating the space – think rich jewel tones like burgundy, navy, or forest green.  Even gold can be brought in nicely in moderation.

Bringing Gray into a Modern Room

Characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and overall simplicity of form, modern design shines as a minimalist and even naturalist environment. 

Popularized in the mid-twentieth century – it followed on the heels of Art Deco’s height, where designers and homeowners alike flocked to the simpler, bright whites and uncluttered aesthetic.

If modern design is your preferred style – consider gray your new best friend.  It makes for a great backdrop – particularly the lighter shades but works just as well with unconventional accents. 

Modern living room with light gray walls and modular sectional sofa

Consider bringing in a modular sectional or sculpted armchair – it will create a moment of statement without feeling overwhelming or unbalanced with the overall aesthetic.

To elevate the aesthetic of your space – consider bringing in a touch of an industrial aesthetic through metal accents, which are naturally gray, but simple in nature. 

Keep patterns simple, if used at all, and accent colors neutral – focusing on the contrast of woods, grays, white, and even blacks for starkness. 

If you prefer a luxurious accent, a gray velvet sofa or plush shag rug works well when paired with abstract art or sculptural objects throughout the space.  Using these elements together can evoke a sophisticated, avant-garde vibe that resonates with the modern design style.

Enhancing a Contemporary Style Room with Gray

Contemporary design is thoughtful.  It’s sleek with hidden details that characterize a very curated aesthetic in a way the other design styles seek to achieve.

The use of clean lines, stark contrasts, cool tones, and overall simplicity leaves little room for error and pushes designers to create subtle sophistication.

Contemporary design living room with dark gray leather sofa, brown leather armchair, light gray walls and stone fireplace

When considering how to integrate gray into your living room, think about smooth stone around a fireplace, a leather sofa, or even a glass coffee table with metal structural support. Metallic accents are also a great way to bring gray into the space while adding some visual interest. 

It’s easy in contemporary design to fall victim to creating a space that feels overtly stark instead of balanced, clean, and simple. 

By bringing in some subtle pops of color through art against a gray wall or a throw pillow on a gray leather sofa – subtle colors can feel more saturated and create depth and interest without being the focus.

When designing your living room and seeking to create a cozy, cohesive, and stylish space – lean on gray to bring it all together – no matter your design style!

Tips For Using Gray Colors

Contemporary gray living room two tone furniture and dark gray fireplace

The living room is a common area where the occupants and guests of the house usually gather; as such, the look of the living room is often made to appeal to a wider variety of tastes.

It often employs classic silhouettes and timelessly beautiful furniture pieces to create a relaxed and welcoming ambiance. This is why grays are popularly used in spaces like the living room.

Here are some ideas you can use to style your own stunning gray living room design:

Tips for Using Gray Color in Living Room
Use metallic colors like silver for an elegant, modern feel
Experiment with different shades of gray for depth and contrast
Add a pop of bright accent color to avoid a boring or cold look

Use Silver & Metallics

The presence of metallic colors gives a touch of elegance with a modern appeal to any space. The metal foil finish of the wallpaper in the example below gives a more contemporary feel to the classic quatrefoil pattern and instantly gives the Living Room a luxurious feel.

By using a refreshing blue color for the accent and warm-toned neutrals for the furniture pieces, the ‘cold’ feel of the wallpaper is toned down and is able to give a more homey feel to the space.

Traditional living room with gray pattern wallpaper and dark wood floors

This elegant living room design uses a variety of patterns and finishes to make a stylish statement. The quatrefoil pattern found on the wallpaper and the area rug is a classic, but the use of metallic gray/silver instead of a flat color gives it a refreshing update.

The other elements in this living room are also tied to the unique wallpaper, such as the brushed metal legs of the furniture pieces and the chrome finish accessories. You will also find the same quatrefoil pattern on the pillows and a touch of silver on the picture frames on the wall.

Play with Different Shades

Like the rest of the colors in the spectrum, many different shades of gray are available. If you intend to use a lot of grays in your living room, make sure you use a variety to create more depth and contrast & avoid making your space look too somber. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There is very little chance you could go wrong with gray.

Traditional luxury living room with tray ceiling and glass chandelier

This beautiful gray living room with chandelier looks impressive with its pairing of gray paint and white molding. Dove gray is one of the most popular shades used as wall color because of its versatility. It is neither too dark nor too light and adds just the right amount of contemporary appeal to any space you use it in.

In the example above, you will see that the living room uses cream and navy blue furniture pieces with nailhead details and classic silhouettes. The very classic style was updated with its dove gray walls, paired with white wall paneling and trims.

Add an Accent

The only danger of using gray is the possibility of making your space feel too boring or cold. A bright or bold accent color can easily solve such concerns. A pop of bright yellow? No problem. Even the most difficult colors to match easily look good when paired with gray, so have fun!

Contemporary living room with box ceiling and white furniture

You can strategically use pops of color through decor pieces to brighten the design. Another subtle way to add a touch of gray is to use an area rug with gray patterns or gray background. A gray area rug will naturally blend with whatever color scheme you currently have and will have no trouble matching with any other color scheme you decide to change into. 

Gray Decor Ideas

Because of its popularity, it’s not very difficult to find gray-colored decorative pieces/accessories. Grays abound in modern living room furniture and accessories, mostly in the form of metals. But it can also be found in other materials, such as natural stones and concrete.

Depending on your budget and where you plan to apply grays in your design, some of our suggestions might be helpful:

Wallpaper – wallpaper is quite expensive, so when selecting one, always consider the longevity of its design and color. Gray is a fail-proof choice for wallpapers as it can easily blend in with other colors. Try wallpapers with textures, such as linen/fabric wallpapers or woven wallpapers to help add more dimension to the surface.

Metals – it is easy to find metal accessories and furniture pieces. You can go for chrome, brushed stainless steel, or painted gray finishes.

Living room with silver walls and hickory wood flooring

Pale gray works just as well as pure whites when it comes to brightening spaces, but it has a bit more personality than the usual pure white. The gray walls also work well with the rustic living room wood flooring and furniture pieces in the room.

Gray sectional couch in contemporary living roomGray sectional couch with ottoman

Aside from furniture upholstery and wall paint or wallpaper, you can also use gray-colored natural materials like the accent wall in this living room, which uses natural gray slate stone cladding to add texture and color depth to its surface.

Luxury living room with corner layout with fireplace coffered ceiling and chandelier

To match the warm color scheme of the living room, the gray upholstery of the accent lounge and armchairs has a warm undertone as well, making it blend with the other chocolate-toned pieces in the room.

Upholstery – Big and expensive furniture pieces such as sofas are something we usually intend to keep for as long as we can, so using a neutral color for its upholstery will save you a lot of money versus constantly reupholstering to the currently trendy color.

Cottage style living room with nautical theme ocean art and crab trap coffee table

Paint it gray – one of the cheapest ways to add a touch of gray to your living area is to paint it. Go for light, soft grays to create a light a refreshing vibe, or go for warmer grays like the example above for a more cozy feel. You can also use gray to paint furniture or other accessories in the living room.

Beautiful living room with tile floors dark curtains and round modern chandelier lighting

Curtains and pillows are another easy alternative: use grays on your curtains or throw pillows. This will work even if your furniture or your walls use bolder/brighter colors.

Gray round area rug made of woolGray wool area rug

This living room space makes a central sitting area around its large gray area rug. These types of rugs are great for designating a seating area as well as unifying functional zones in the home.

Simple Japanese style living room with gray accent wall

You don’t have to cover a large amount of area in gray. Like in this example, only a small portion of the wall was covered in gray wallpaper to add a cool tone to the otherwise warm color palette of this small floor plan.

Small contemporary living room with gray tile fireplace and gray couch

By simply adding gray tiles in the center of the wall, this contemporary living room is already given more appeal and texture versus keeping it plainly white.

Modern sunken living room with white oak floors and gray stone fireplace

Accent wall – You can use gray as an accent wall using paint, wallpaper, tiles, or even natural stones. Grays also look good when combined with color schemes using taupe, beige, creams, and browns, as they help add a touch of cool tone to the warm palette.

Contemporary living room with gray brick fireplace and light gray painted walls

A gray-painted brick fireplace can be an interesting way to bring this color into your living room design. Since one of the things that date a room is its fireplace, painting can be a great way to update the room and create a new look.

Gray sleeper sofa in living roomGray sleeper sofa

This contemporary sofa in gray upholstery would look good in any living room, given its neutral-colored upholstery. You can easily accessorize it with colorful pillows to match the color scheme of your choice.

Contemporary living room with concrete walls wood flooring and high glass windows

Concrete – concrete is a trendy material commonly used in contemporary designs, most especially on industrial style interiors. Concrete finishes add a rough and rugged look to your living space and an industrial gray look that can be adorned with colorful decor to add your own personal touch.

Contemporary living room with gray wall paint purple area rug and chandelier

This grand living room uses a variety of grays combined with touches of color to create a glamorous design. Dark gray furniture and matching curtains combined with light gray wall paint give this space an alluring look.

Contemporary living room with gray theme and grand piano

A paler, more toned-down gray was used for the walls and the carpet flooring in this living room to contrast with the black furniture pieces and brighten up the space. A few accent artwork and accessories in bold and bright colors help spice up the monochromatic color scheme of the space.

Dark decorated contemporary living room with black patterned walls and drapery

If you want a more cozy and relaxed living room design, try using darker grays for a more subdued and moody ambiance. This small living area uses linen-textured wallpaper in dark gray, giving the room a mysterious yet elegant ambiance.

When it comes to finding gray living room ideas the sky’s the limit to the possibilities. Gray is an easy color to work with, so don’t be afraid and have fun with it. For more pictures take a look at our contemporary living room ideas gallery here.

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