Why You Shouldn’t Paint Your Dining Room Gray

While grays are uber-popular now, as a Paint Color Consultant I typically steer clients clear of gray for dining rooms.  Here’s the reason:  dining rooms are typically full of wood furnishings. Neutral grays don’t work well as a backdrop for wood tones – the space goes dead, in my opinion.

gray dining roomsource

 

 

The exception would be if you used lots of white in the room – in fabrics and/or painted casegoods,  as well as some pops of a specific color in the space along with the gray.

gray-dining-room-by-kelly-porter2

Kelly Porter

 

 

If my clients want gray, I encourage them to think about color families they are open to.   Grayed down versions of a color can give them a “gray” look without making the wood look drab.  

gray green dining room

grayed green walls

 

  

Greens and blues as a backdrop for wood furnishings actually makes the wood appear richer and more alive than do neutral tans and grays.  

blue paint color dining room blogpost about this room

 

 

So grayed-greens, grayed-blues, and grayed-lavenders are really good choices for a beautiful dining room.

lavender purple dining room

grayed lavender walls

 

I realize that some people may not agree with me.  But just because a color is popular or trendy, doesn’t mean it belongs just anywhere.  So what do you think?

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cassie
Guest

I think the examples you gave are good, but I don’t really agree… I think it’s all in how you accessorize and make it cozy. We painted our dining room kendall charcoal and have dark wood table and wood bentwood chairs and it is my absolute favorite room in the house!

Lauren L.
Guest
Lauren L.

I agree! I know gray is all the rage right now but personally I’m not a fan. I recently painted my dining room Ben Moore Stratton Blue and everyone loves it! I have dark wood furniture and it looks so much better against the blue/green/gray than it did against the red that I used to have.

Holly
Guest
Holly

I think it depends on the color of gray. Dark grays are okay but pale grays that are so popular now don’t do much for wood tones. The grays and whites that fill so many rooms are too bland unless you dress them up and accessorize them. Thanks for the advice.

Eva
Guest

Yeap! I agree, as you say unless you hang a lot of art full of colors or white objects on everything.

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

I totally disagree to rule out all shades of grey totally. I believe if you use a grey with blues and whites it works well with all wood furniture. Your right to suggest decorating with whites, but to totally rule out grey no. Just my opinion! 🙂

Laura @ The Turquoise Home
Guest

I totally agree! My open space in my home is painted Revere Pewter, but my dining room is Wythe Blue. Love the blue/green with my weathered oak dining room table and chairs. 🙂

Cathy Norris
Guest
Cathy Norris

I love the room with the grayed green walls and blue ceiling. I think it perfectly compliments the dark wood table and mix of light and dark accessories. Can you share what that color is?

Lee
Guest

I agree with Cassie. We painted our dining room a dark charcoal and I like it a lot. There is a good bit of moulding and detailing and the area below the chair rail is a picket fence white so the gray does not make the wood floor look drab at all.

Lex
Guest
Lex

I’m so torn! I bought a home with gorgeous medium gray wallpaper in the dining room that has a subtle reflective quality to it on it’s very small scale pattern. The wallpaper really “reads” as a solid color with sheen. I normally wouldn’t have picked gray in there, but I like the wallpaper itself. The problem? This is in a north facing room AND those windows open onto a covered porch. So overall, the light is cool and the room is rather dark. We haven’t bought any furnishings for in there yet, so my options are wide open. To keep… Read more »

Kelly
Guest

I think the medium to dark shades of gray, blue and green look best with natural wood. I do not see many lighter colors I like with the wood and that includes gray.

Donna Frasca
Guest

Hi Kristie! I think when we use any color for a room looking at wood tones would dictate which color we should use. I just designed a gray dining room (you can see it on my FB wall) and it came out beautifully!! Granted the furniture in that room and the surrounding rooms are beige and black so it works well. Oh and the floors are a gorgeous dark brown so that is an added bonus. If they were natural wood, gray would be a NO 🙂

Maria
Guest
Maria

Such a great post! I love color, but could not, would not have bright color in main areas. Just learned the solution: grey them.
The lavender is GORGEOUS and I don’t even like lavender.
The green is a dream, I’m drooling here. This is the third time today that I come back here to drool some more over that green wall, and in hopes to get the name and brand.
Would you share, please?
Thank you.

Jess
Guest
Jess

What about homes that don’t have a formal dining room? In our home you open the door right into a combination living dining room area. We live in a single level, and did I mention we also have rounded corners? What to do about this space???

debbi in Texas
Guest
debbi in Texas

Grey has never been a “color” for me; it’s boring and I don’t use it. I need warmth that can also work with the woods in the house. A rug, however, does allow color to be chosen and creates the coordination necessary for multiple colors. I usually stay within a three color maximum that coordinates with the rug and the other colors in other rooms. It works for me.

T. Hunter
Guest
T. Hunter

I recently painted my dining room Anonymous by Behr and love it. Most of the furnishings are painted black and I have TONS of milk glass on display. I think I will be bringing in accents of yellow and possibly a little bit of brown. My question is, do you think that combination works? Thanks so much for all of the inspiration you provide on your blog!

Gretel
Guest
Gretel

I disagree. Neutral greys look absolutely beautiful with wood. Gorgeous. The problem with the example you’ve shown (imo) is that there isn’t a good contrast of value between the grey wall and the wood floor and they take up a similar proportion in the room so the whole room looks flat. On the other hand if you cover the floor and look at the colour of the wall compared with the darker wood beam on the ceiling, it’s a perfect match. A more masculine feel, but also sophisticated and beautiful. I do however agree with you that greyed down greens… Read more »

Lindsey Hall
Guest
Lindsey Hall

I completely agree. Except I’d go for a more conservative yet practical approach. I applied Drawitpaint to all the walls. I’ve learned with kids that the wall is very food stain resistant and when my children feel inspired and go nuts. I can still wipe it clean in a jiffy after being away for business for a month. (The husband takes care of the kids while I’m gone)

Susan
Guest
Susan

I was thinking of gray for my dining room, but now think I need a color.
I have Brazilian cherry floors and a dining table with red undertones.
Some type of muted inky blue?

rosemary prather
Guest
rosemary prather

I want to use grey in my dinning room on one wall and the other wall a lighter grey. I have carpeting in this room, a royal blue, do you think I should use grey on the walls? Dinning room flows into living room area where there is light grey furniture. Please give me a suggestion as to what will work.

Agnes
Guest
Agnes

I have sombre grey on three walls and red on one wall in dining room. It’s perfect we love to linger there coz of the overall feeling one gets. I’ll do Grey’s again

Agnes
Guest
Agnes

I mean ombre

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[…] furnishing such a dining rooms, which may cause the whole room to lose its lustre. Make sure you check out her ideas for keeping your future grey or grey-inspired colours looking […]