Wintery Walls

gray and white sitting room by amy d morrisGray and white rooms remind me of this stormy season.

When it comes to wall color, my instinct is to go with walls that reflect — rather than absorb — natural light. That means colors with light to medium values. Lately, though, as I’ve focused on gray in the kitchen (perhaps as a prelude to repainting mine) I started looking at how gray is used in other rooms, some of which are as dark as storm clouds.

There are myriad names for medium gray walls, apart from the generalized Gustavian gray (which varies from pale to dark) or pearl gray. Benjamin Moore offers Stormy Sky, Bullock Gray, Kendall Charcoal and Trout Gray to name a few that, in my monitor, looked close to the handsome winter-white-and gray hue [top and below] by Atlanta designer Amy D. Morris. The picture clearly shows that the space isn’t enormous. So taking the walls dark creates the aura of coziness that’s oh so dramatic against the contrasting mass of white in the curtains, upholstered furniture and carpet. Silver-framed botanical prints play a supporting role in breaking up the wall color.

close up of medium dark gray walls with white upholstery and artAnother view exposes the differences in gray that relate to undertones (at least in my monitor here). For me, the walls appear to have more of a taupe and green undertone than the ottoman fabric, though they blend. Does it look that way to you too?

vintage bath with white tiles and Farrow & Ball Lamp Room Gray wallsWhile the walls of my former apartment bath were done in Farrow & Ball’s Lamp Room Gray, they don’t seem quite as dark. But they are dark enough to work the contrast with the 60s white tile and vintage pedestal sink.

deep gray dining room with white ceiling, floor and upholstery plus shamrock green curtains.A room with similar dark sophistication also has white ceiling, floor and upholstery, which provides the requisite contrast. But the twist is the use of shamrock green draperies — an accent color that screams. I so admire the luxe way designer Kay Douglass’ curtains break on the floor and all their custom-ness. But that’s truly eclipsed by how that green on those curtains seem to pull this otherwise wintery room right into the month of March.

(Source: Amy D. Morris, Veranda)

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4 Responses to Wintery Walls

  1. RHome410 November 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    These are such elegant rooms… Just gorgeous. But since much of our year is gray and coldish out my windows, I don’t think I could go that dark. I can see, though, that the white furniture helps a lot, which would never work around here! It’d have to be plastic-covered, which would slightly decrease the elegance! ;-)

    Don’t worry, I’d rather have dingy than plastic-coated!

    I think maybe the ottoman appears to be a different color because of the different lighting it gets out in the open, and maybe because the fabric reflects light and color differently than the walls? But it sure does look different in the photo.. Almost purply compared to the walls in which I see that greenish hint you mentioned.

  2. Fabric World November 6, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Absolutely gorgeous colours, I have never considered grey as such a dramatic colour to use as decor. But when you see it here in the photos it takes on many hues and shades. The grey brings an understated elegance to all of these rooms that you feature.

    I especially like the brightness of the green curtains and shows that a rich grey colour would contrast wonderfully with any bright colours. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jane F November 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    I couldn’t get by with so much white furniture unless it was slipcovered. I need something I can wash. But I grew up in So Cal and never saw anything but white rugs until I was in my 20s. I think that’s why I still like light floors. In Scandinavia they bleach/ceruse the wood floors so they reflect light. I really prefer light floors.

    As always, it seems latitude is such a huge component of style. One reason I went with so many of the colors I’ve used (especially the yellow) is that our woods and light looked like photos of Scandinavia. Of course, over there, its dark until 9 or 10 a.m. during the Winter. Suppose it cuts both ways.

    The medium gray is far more dramatic than I’d have expected.

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  1. Spring Accent Colors - November 13, 2014

    […] does a big favor for a staid settee. It proved equally successful as draperies in a much-admired gray dining room by Kay Douglass which first appeared in Veranda and which we featured last […]

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