The Power of Gray in Staging


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Gray is a subtle color that can bring sophistication to interiors while also the neutrality that home buyer crave.

“It’s the hot new neutral, a sleek and sophisticated color option that adds refinement to almost any room,” says Debbie Zimmer, a paint and color expert with the Paint Quality Institute. “Walls that are painted gray are great backdrops for almost any style of décor, and gray is such a dignified color that it can elevate the appearance of even the most modest furnishings.”

Zimmer says that gray can be a great color choice for embellishments throughout interiors, such as a gray wash on wood furniture or the fabric in seating.

In her 2014 color forecast, she expects grey to be used more in homes. “We will even see gray’s flashier cousin, silver, used as an important accent color,” says Zimmer.

Zimmer also predicts “white” to stage a comeback in 2014, with white and off-white back in vogue.

“As with gray, the ease of coordinating furnishings with a neutral hue like white is appealing to almost everyone,” she says. “Those who are downsizing will favor white or very light-colored walls to make their new, smaller interiors look more spacious; and for those who may soon put up a ‘For Sale’ sign, white is the wise paint color to apply before listing a home.”

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. I agree completely. We have been choosing light grey tones when suggesting colors to clients that are getting their homes ready for sale. Greys are so easy to co-ordinate with, and done right, can offer a very modern and elegant flair!

  2. Benita Giovannetti

    Love the article and the advice but everyone always wants to know the paint colors!! Do you have a source for the paint colors in the photos?

  3. When I remodeled my kitchen and repainted my townhome .. we used a light grey accented by gloss white. I love it! We chose granite for our kitchen counters that had a grey sparkle and the tile floors had a natural stone with grey. Glad to see that grey will become a dominate color again.

  4. Great feedback, Benita, thank you! I will try to note the paint colors going forward when available — unfortunately, they aren’t always. But when they are, we’ll be sure to include!

    On the last photo posted, the wall colors are Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin, according to Kits Construction which had posted the photo on Houzz. On the second photo that was posted from Sherwood Custom Homes, there is no color listed by the builder but there was some speculation among commenters on Houzz that it is Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray (some also suggested for a similar look to check out Behr’s Silver Screen or Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray).

    Also, here’s a great blog post from Donna with A Perfect Gray blog about “Find the Right Gray Paint” that I thought had some helpful tips in selecting the best shades of gray.

  5. Gray is soothing colour that can be accented with other colours to creat warm and dimension. It is a neutral colour that goes with anything.
    I am glad that it is so popular as it is a great colour to work with!

  6. We manage over 500 single family homes in the Austin area and we have always used the standard off-white color. On nicer homes that are priced higher, I think this is a great idea that we have not considered for a “neutral option”. Thanks for the colors used and the link to the “A Perfect Gray” blog as well..

  7. Great topic! I would also like to know the gray paint colors most widely used. I know of a couple who could benefit from this information as I am sure others will too. Funny story, the wife let the husband pick the color of “gray” to use in their investment property. It turns out, the color was actually an off purple instead of a true gray. So, the home had to be repainted. And no, I am not the husband in this story (smile).

  8. I love this color but How do you incorporate gold and reds?

  9. These colours are very appealing. I love this floor by Kits as well. I normally go for the browns and reds, but I really like these designs.

  10. Gray is definitely the new tan! It is especially great for home staging because it is sophisticated and neutral, but most importantly- versatile. Gray goes great with a variety of color stories and furnishing styles.

  11. Ken

    Good article. Gray appeals to lots of buyers. But, please check your spelling.

  12. Dove Grey has long been one of the basic whites offered by builders. It was not the most popular choice of new home buyers I have worked with. A piece, like a chair, done in a Rich Dark Grey works however Grey just isn’t that warm inviting color you want to decorate around and I would never recommend it as a color for a Seller to use if they need to neutralize

  13. You’re so right! It also makes photographing the homes so much easier!

  14. Fantastic picture and article. Thank you so much for sharing. Gray is such a wonderful color. It works so great in the Florida Keys decorating and with our color schemes.

  15. I’m with Benita on this one, buyers often ask what shade of paint is on the wall and I don’t want to respond with just “Grey” so thank you for sharing the brand names of each shade. I will sound so much more sophisticated next time a buyer asks

  16. I have grey walls and have incorporated 2 red sofas and it works great

  17. Gray is hot right now! My wife and I agree that it is modern and appealing to buyers.

  18. It’s like most fashion waves, very now but not nessesarily permanent – I use the word TAUPE and he’s the wiki definition.
    Taupe is a dark tan, sometimes grayish brown or brownish gray. The word derives from the French noun taupe meaning “mole”
    Right now, these colors make any room look more expensive and stylish… see mt recent rehabbed space here :

  19. The Power of Gray in Staging…
    Some Great Shades of Gray that I have recently worked with,
    All are Benjamin Moore Colors ;
    Light Pewter, Ashley Gray, Classic Gray, Balboa Mist, Cumulus Cloud, LaPaloma Gray –

  20. nice interior design.

  21. Thanks for sharing with us.

  22. Janice D

    Thank you very much for sharing. I really enjoyed all you had to share..