Color Talk with Stephanie Mesner

Although the color gray is as neutral as can be, gray is also one of the hottest and most up-to-the-minute colors. If you look at the latest styles walking the runway, you get a sense of how popular gray (the “Mother of All Neutrals”) really is. Since Interior Design is a fashion industry, gray is just as super hot in homes and businesses as it is in haute couture.

This season, if you were playing the game of Blind Man’s Bluff and touched gray, you’d be on fire!

Because gray is a subdued color (to color spectrum scientists, it’s actually an absence of color), pairing gray with the right accents can make your space timeless, elegant, and refined. Boy, the things an artist can do with gray!

Grissaille is a traditional decorative painting technique that uses gray, white, and everything in-between. Grissaille can create three-dimensional illusions with two-dimensional painting, offering a world of possibilities for your home.


Dove gray placed behind silver and pearl metallic paint can create a finish that’s both soft and shimmery…


Dark teal blue-gray can create big drama in a tiny bathroom.

A flat charcoal gray pattern stenciled over a graphite metallic finish can add a fresh twist to damask textiles.

Gray embraces somber but rich emotions. Gray is suggestive, like fog on a river. There may be something out there, but you don’t know if it’s an antique sailboat, a sleek yellow kayak, or a Great Blue Heron.

Gray bends towards soft colors, taking on the exact opposite hue of an adjacent primary color. Mysterious in nature, poetic, and elusive, gray brings the quiet mystery of Film Noir to any room. Gray heightens drama and makes spaces more intimate.

Gray also supports higher notes in artwork and ethnic textiles. Putting gray behind a baby grand piano and an easy chair upholstered with hand-woven kilims ends up being nothing short of sensational!

Here are some of my favorite pairings of gray and accent colors:

Gray is the new beige. Just like beige, gray is a tricky color to nail—but gray works perfectly when you nail the color pairings and accents. If you tilt one degree in the wrong direction, the accent colors create visual discordance as dissonant as a child first practicing the violin.

Having a color expert is valuable because expert color provides an extremely cost-effective investment. We can produce a backdrop that lets your visual script shine brighter than the silver screen! 

Arteriors: connecting feeling to art. Expert color and a world of possibilities.