If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for my favourite grays, I would be a rich woman. For over a year, grays and whites have been the primary selections for paint colours. Yes, I will agree it is a welcome shift after a decade of builder’s beige and coffee inspired neutrals. My issue I suppose with our new palette of neutrals is that most people are still maintaining a monochromatic approach to their interiors. While an all white interior feels crisp and open, it can also feel cold and stark. The same with an interior finished in shades of gray. It is very difficult to create depth, interest or personality in these interiors. So, how can we bring them to life and interject some individuality? Texture and most importantly colour!!
Before I dive into the stimulating world of colour and texture I feel I should start by sharing my favourite whites and grays. After all, every interior needs a good foundation. Living on the west coast, I cannot stress enough the importance of considering your climate when selecting your shade of white or gray. In Whistler with all of our rain, it is important to insure your neutral has a warm undertone. Since I personally avoid pink undertones like the plague I typically suggest interjecting a little sunshine with a yellow undertone. My go-to white for walls is Ivory White CC-130. It is creamy and crisp and has just enough yellow to keep it feeling warm. Every once in a while I do have a customer who is after an even brighter white. In that case I suggest Simply White OC-117. It still has that little hint of sunshine but is much more of a vivid white compared to the Ivory white. With regards to grays, I like to stick with warm grays. Some of my favourites are Revere Pewter HC-172 and Stonington Gray HC-170. Revere pewter being a slightly brown-based gray while Stonington is a cooler gray with a slight taupe undertone.
Once you have selected a neutral that compliments your existing finishes and lighting it is time to have some fun! I believe that a great interiors appeal to the senses. One of my favourite senses is touch. Who doesn’t love the feel of a beautiful silk, linen, soft cotton or wool? Texture is the first element that is essential in creating interest and warmth in a gray or white interior. By playing with contrasting textures you are able to create a sensory journey through your space. For example the transition underfoot from hand planed wood floors to a silk wool rug. Texture can be introduced through the use of natural materials such as wood, grasses, wool, linen and stone. The sky is the limit with regards to options and applications for such an important design element, so have fun with it! Surround yourself with elements that appeal to your senses and you will instantly feel the warmth.
Colour is the other element that is essential to making a gray or white interior successful. Bright, saturated colour is best. It pops against the gray and white adding energy and vibrancy. If vibrant colour scares you, try simply introducing colour through your décor accents, you will be amazed at the life it brings to the space. Area rugs are another great way to introduce colour, they alone can be a piece of art. If you are feeling brave and get on a roll with colour, a fun way of
introducing more is by painting a piece of furniture in a vibrant colour. While there are always trendy accent colours I say pick your favourites. Your home should reflect you and your taste. Good design comes in many forms and styles so jump in feet first and put your personality into it!
Product Images: All available at Mountain Home Décor. 1. Oak and oak veneer coat rack. 2. Bamboo shade pendant light. 3. Colourful ceramic bottle vases. 4 Eclectic interior, image from Houzz. 5. Abstract Garden 3 by Mark Lewis, custom sizing and print options available. 6. Benjamin Moore, Stonington Gray, HC170. 7. Benjamin Moore, Ivory White, CC-130. 8. Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter, HC-172.