Gray is still here, folks! The new neutral is sticking around, it seems. The thing with neutrals is that they're versatile, but this color really IS versatile and has all sorts of shades and variations that can be mixed and layered. Gray can be cool and warm, light and dark. It can be an accent or the main color and still has depth.
One easy way to create depth in a design is by layering different shades of a single color and gray is no exception to this rule. In fact, laying different versions of the new neutral can be very chic and interesting. Not to mention, you can get all sorts of vibes from rooms with varying shades of gray. It doesn't have to be masculine and dark, it can be very airy and feminine as well. Let's talk about some way we can accomplish this!
You always want a little contrast in a room, so if you're doing a shades of gray theme, pick a light version AND a dark version. The light can go on the walls while the darker gray could be used on the trim to emphasize the architectural features.
Don't limit yourself to just 2 colors in a design. Many people will pick a neutral and a pop of color but with grays, you can just keep layering! Remember, there are gray-browns, gray-whites, gray-blacks, and even gray-blues. Gray can come in with the art and softwoods too.
Consider creating your contrast using the walls and the furniture instead of the walls the trim. Going bold in your wall color is fine, but if you're worried a dark charcoal gray will be too harsh, break it up with lighter fabrics on the furniture. You can still accomplish layers of gray by using a pale gray or beige-gray fabric. Linens are oftentimes the perfect fabrics for this because they are made of natural fibers that can pick up surrounding colors.
If a charcoal gray is too dark for you, you can always layer grays that fall on the cooler end of the spectrum. Start comparing whites and you'll see that most whites aren't so stark--many of them have hints of blue, yellow, brown, and gray in them. Look for the gray whites and work your way down until you have a subtle gray palette that is airy and current.
Textures and patterns work great in giving depth to monochromatic rooms. Don't be afraid to mix gray patterns with gray paint and gray textured fabrics! Each piece will take on a little different shade depending on the finish and the light in the space.
If you like a more streamlined look, with less color variation, it's ok just pick one main color and make it the focal point of the room. If everything else that you bring in the space is contrasting and points toward the main color, that's ok too! You can still create a very classic look that's still warm and inviting!