Move over, beige, there’s a new neutral in town. Beige has had its day as the go-to neutral in home design, with gray steadily overtaking it for the past few years. Now gray is everywhere, from kitchens to roofing.
“Gray has been gaining popularity since 2007," says Kate Smith, president and chief color maven of Sensational Color, a consultation firm. "We are at the top of the trend curve, which means gray will be ‘on trend’ for at least three to four more years. However, the great thing about gray is that it's a classic color that never goes out of style.”
Representatives from both Lumber Liquidators and Formica say gray started showing up at trade shows about four years ago. Lumber Liquidators' Senior Buyer Sarah Schoenfeld believes the gray trend made its way over to the U.S. from Europe largely because of the popularity of stainless steel in kitchens.
Gerri Chmiel, senior design manager at Formica also sees influences from European design. “The Formica Design Team initially spotted this trend at the Milan Eurocucina show in 2012 where almost every kitchen manufacturer used gray stones and cabinetry,” she says, adding that gray began to show up in North America at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in 2014. "For the US market, a blend of warm and cool gray stone patterns tend to work best as they can coordinate with traditional wood cabinetry as well as new trend painted gray cabinets."
With an upward trend comes increased sales. Schoenfeld says, Lumber Liquidators noted an increase in sales of gray-toned flooring, which is why they’ve expanded their gray finish offerings. She expects the gray flooring trend to stick around saying, “dark grays may not be timeless, but lighter grays are going to be a new neutral and will become a color that’s part of our palate.”
Kitchen and bath designers seem to agree that gray is here to stay. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2015 Trend Report, 77% of designers used shades of gray in the last year, and they expect the trend to continue momentum in 2015.
Recognizing this, product manufacturers are responding by offering more products and finishes in gray. If you’re looking to incorporate gray into your project, check out the slideshow for five new releases.