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Based on our analysis of 220,359 living rooms, gray walls are in 16.9% of living rooms. That’s the third most popular living room wall color.
What does gray mean?
Gray is a conservative color. It’s neutral which makes for a sound wall color choice because it works with many other colors that you might incorporate such as blue, orange, yellow, white, black, etc.
It’s been called a “compromise color” because it sits between two non-colors (black and white) which creates a sense of calm. Calm isn’t a bad emotional response for a living room color.
While the psychology of gray may come across as being negative, it isn’t at all. What gray walls do is create a neutral background within which you can bring your living room to life without being overwhelming. It’s no surprise to me that it’s the third most popular living room color these days.
Below is our photo gallery of “gray living rooms”. Most are gray as a result of the walls, but in some instances we’ve declared it gray due to an abundance of gray within the decor.
Living room wall colors compared
Below is a chart and corresponding table setting out the percentage of living rooms that have various wall colors based on analysis of 220,359 formal living rooms. Gray is the third most popular wall color coming in at 16.9% of living rooms (just behind white and beige. In recent years, gray is becoming more and more popular, especially lighter tones.
- Beige: 31.4%
- Black: .59%
- Blue: 4.13%
- Brown: 3.04%
- Gray: 16.91%
- Green: 2.73%
- Multi: 1.67%
- Orange: .46%
- Pink: .21%
- Purple: .31%
- Red: .69%
- White: 34.4%
- Yellow: 3.56%
Are there styles where gray is the most popular?
No, but gray is definitely more popular with certain living room styles. Examples include:
- Transitional: Gray walls make up 25.77% of living rooms, which is the second most popular; again after beige, but in front of white.
- Industrial: Gray again comes in second, but this time just behind white. Gray walls in industrial style living rooms make up 24.9% of walls while white makes up 45.6% of industrial living room walls.
Gray is more or less consistently popular among most design styles coming in at second, third or fourth most popular wall color.
I suspect given its currently popularity, it may take the top spot for some styles.
Gray Color Combos
When starting out designing your living room and going through color selection, it can be helpful to check out some proven color combinations.
Here are a few examples (we link to the really good resource below):
These types of combos can really help plan your color scheme for several aspects of your room such as walls, art, furniture, rugs, etc.
Do you want the walls of your living room to be a neutral color but want something a little different than white or beige? As you browse our gallery of living room design ideas, you’ll notice that many of the living rooms are painted in a shade of gray or have gray accents.
Out of the 552,888 living rooms and 14 colors analyzed, 11.40 percent (or 63,052) have gray as the dominant color.
Choosing Gray as Your Dominant Design Color
Browse the paint swatch section of any hardware or paint store, and you’ll realize that there are more shades of gray than just light or dark gray. If you choose the right shade of gray, it can reflect the way you want your living room to be (formal, sophisticated, welcoming, or relaxed).
If you’ve never thought of using gray as the dominant design color in your living room, you might be surprised that it’s such a favorite color. When many people think of gray, they often associate it with being “drab” or even dirty. Choosing gray for your living room color works well with most living room design styles and sizes.
As with most colors, it’s important to consider the size of your living room before you start painting. If your living room is small, you’re better off painting your walls a light gray. If you want to incorporate dark gray, save it for an accent wall or furniture.
Larger living rooms are better suited for a dark gray color because it can actually make the room feel a bit “cozier.”
Selecting a Design Style
Although gray is often associated with Modern or Contemporary designs, it works well in all types of designs from Rustic to Scandinavian, just make sure you use the right shade of gray to complement all the features of the design you choose.
Accenting With Other Colors
There’s no rule that you have to add more color to a living room that’s decorated in various shades of gray but accenting in different colors can break up the room a bit. You can always use white as a trim but if you’re looking for a more vibrant hue consider fuchsia, red, violet, pink, or blue.
If you have warm wood tones in your living room, consider skipping the accents of color and letting the wood be the additional color.