I’ve found that just the word “gray” can put some people off from using it in their decor. This may be because the word gray (grey) has long been associated with looking sick, tired or just plain old. It is also an adjective we use to describe a dismal day or something that is faded, dull and worn. Even a gloomy mood is characterized as “gray.”
So it’s understandable, then, that some may be put off by the very mention of the word as part of their design scheme. However, I’ve found—as with most everything in life—it comes down to balance and perspective. Upon closer inspection (a new perspective) one sees that gray is actually prevalent throughout nature. He is the workhorse, the behind-the-scenes element quietly pulling everything together.
If you are skeptical, I challenge you to take a closer look. Notice the gray in nature and see what it does to balance and bring out the beautiful qualities of all the hues. If blended into the hue, it gives a richness and depth that the hue alone wouldn’t have. And juxtaposing it with other colors offers balance, respite for the eye and structure to the whole scheme.
Take the olive tree outside my studio here. Its colors mesh well with the gray browns and dusty slate of the stone walls. This tree, with its silver-gray leaves and mushroom-y gray bark is a feature in my garden and beautiful all on its own, however, it also plays an important “supporting role” if you will. Its gray, muted tones offer contrast and highlight the bright greens of the foxtail and the maiden hair ferns and other plants nearby. It’s the balancing act I spoke of…and one aspect would not be nearly as beautiful—or as interesting—without the other.
I’ve long embraced grays because they are so prevalent in the ancient stone villas and other elements found in the countrysides of Europe I love so much;
not to mention the pewter and zinc metals I adore.
To me, grays are anything but dull and ordinary.
Rather, they are distinguished and classic, imparting an elegant, timeless appeal to any design scheme.
—Now, these rogue grays in my hair. . . well, that’s another story. (sigh)