Gray is a neutral color, that goes well with just about any other color. The trick with light gray is pairing the right shade of the matching color to create the impression you want. You can use light gray as the foundation color and use the other colors to create a unique interior space.
Pairing light gray with another neutral color — such as white, black, brown or a different shade of gray — creates a conservative impression. Black, dark brown or dark gray can look stark with light gray, which you might want to avoid. White looks crisp and clean, but can also look bland, so consider easy ways to add a little color or texture to make the room more interesting.
Light gray is a great foundation to offset a bright color. Bright pink, purple, green or blue creates a burst of color to any space. For a bold look, you can use a bright shade to create a lot of contrast with the light gray. The color you pair with gray will be the centerpiece, so choose a hue that suits your personality.
Light gray and pastel colors pair well to create a more subdued look. Pastels and light gray flow nicely with one another without drawing too much attention to any one area. If the colors are close in saturation or shade, the eye will keep moving throughout the room instead of focusing on just one spot.
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People tend to respond to primary colors, so pairing light gray with red, blue or yellow can create a space that exudes confidence. You can lessen or heighten the effect using the shades of the primary colors. A lighter shade will be less obvious, whereas a darker or brighter shade will be a bolder look.
Since pretty much any color matches light gray, you can pair bold and colorful patterns with it if that's your style. Choose something that suits your desired impression – from bold prints to subdued floral or plaid. Light gray is a great foundation to use when trying a new pattern without completely redoing the room.
Maggie Allen is a political science doctoral student and a trained facilitator of environmental conflicts. She has traveled extensively for her work and began writing on these experiences in 2006, including policy papers for international organizations. She holds a Master of Arts in international development from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Northern British Columbia.