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The Gray, Black and White Trend is Here to Stay

By 06/15/2011February 10th, 201929 Comments

People are still telling me the ‘gray trend’ will not last and I’m here to tell you, yes it will.  Just like the brown trend which started in 2002, it will have a 10 year shelf life before it’s on to the next one. Take the home of Courtney Cox, featured in this months Elle Decor Magazine.

Gray flagstone throughout the home. This is ‘trendy neutrals’ at it’s best.
The only thing missing is pops of colour, but if colour is not your thing, this look might be.


When I get asked if a charcoal sofa is a good idea, my response is that it’s a very masculine colour. Looking at this house, you might wonder if a man lives here. It’s all the white and especially the white-on-white kitchen that gives it a more feminine vibe.


If you have brown furniture and love it, then please disregard this post.  It’s like my sunflower yellow sofa. I don’t care whether it’s trendy or not, I love it!


And when you have this much money, you can indulge in a trend because as soon as it’s over, you can totally redecorate!

Many of the 17 Designers in my recent True Colour Expert Workshop said that they were still decorating with brown, while the 10 designers in my Toronto class said, it’s definitely gray that people want these days.

I think the best plan is to incorporate elements of a trend instead of letting it completely take over your home.

I predict that the next ‘trend’ to happen inside the next 10 years–while gray is here–consumers will start choosing a colour they love for their major living room purchase, the sofa. I’m looking forward to that!

What’s your prediction?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

What colour Sofa should you Buy?
What’s next in Colour and Design for 2011
What Everyone Should know about Gray

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  • Brillante Interiors says:

    As you said I hope trend colors will be just what makes you happy! For me…no brown, grey or white (yet), I am happy with my green and pink! In 10 years? I may love purple and red together and I will stick to it for my own home.

  • Kathysue says:

    I never did the brown look nor have I done the gray look so I guess I have not been in for the last 20 some odd years. I think you are right I think people are going to start adding punches of color and before they know it they will gravitate towards one color more than the others. I am a maize yellow gal with green and white and black adn white. I love love your yellow sofa. I have told my clients in the past, that if you choose something that is sooooo different and original it will pass all the trends and always be in. I think that is how your sofa will be. Until you tire of it, it will always look fresh and current, Kathysue

  • gdaybeautiful says:

    Such good news, I hated the brown look with coffees and beige and mushroom. I find the crisp looks of grey, white and black so much more appealing and it adds and edge to traditional schemes too.

  • Rachel Gray says:

    Oh I am all about gray right now! But please tell me, is it grey or gray? I've seen it spelled both! My last name is Gray so I usually refer to the color as grey. But I'd like to be color corrected if I'm wrong :).

    Thanks for this post!


  • The Camellia says:

    While I agree that Gray is here to stay, I think that grays and browns can co-exist in the same space. I don't see the two colours as being mutually exclusive. Too much gray can end up looking like the Office. In North America, we already live in a gray and white world in the winter, the question is, do we also want to have gray in the interior of our homes?

  • barbara@hodge:podge says:

    I have always adored black, white and grey! Love this post Maria! But my Elle Decor has yet to be found in my mailbox!

  • Karena says:

    I adore the gray/blues and I inject color I like. If you mix what you really have a passion for it will work.

    Art by Karena

    I have an amazing Giveaway from the Artisans at Novica. You will love it!

  • Naturally Carol says:

    The dark charcoal grey makes the rooms very masculine looking..I think I prefer the slightly paler greys and a shot of colour, even if it's flowers in a vase or cushions that provide that.

  • Margaret Ryall says:

    In my own home I've always chosen colour based on personal preference and I'm finally in style! Gray appeared in my decor in 1986 and continues. My favouite pairings with gray are green, soft yellow or purple. I never find a charcoal gray sofa masculine.

  • Lynne Allard says:

    There's a raspberry sofa out there somewhere with my name on it!

  • Mira says:

    I am quite "color-sensitive" and I need to be surrounded with colors I like in order to feel good. With that said, gray and white are my favorite colors with a pop or deep blue, deep pink or ligh purple. I wear those colors most often and I want them around me. If these colors happen to be trendi – great, if they are not trendi – I don't care becuse they make me feel great and I love them.

  • Linda @ a design snack says:

    I love your sofa. Yellow and gray is a great combination. Gray and brown, not so much. But it depends on personal preference and where we are geographically located. New England winters are gray and brown and last a long time. Lots of cool gray and brown in a warmer climate with no winter, like Arizona, New Mexico, would not have the depressing effect it can have up here in New England.

    Did I say I love your sofa? I love yellow.

  • Sally@DivineDistractions says:

    I can take gray in small doses, but I think Courtney Cox's house if boring! I just need color, and I probably wouldn't like it if it was all brown either. I'm hoping that the whole-house-neutral-thing is taking a back seat to color….any color! And I love your yellow sofa too!

  • Heather says:

    i love gray and white, i feel like being an artist and looking at color all day, my home is comforting in all of it's plain gray and whiteness! yay, i hope the trend lasts!

  • kathi123 says:

    Its quite stylish, but reminds me of wall street-hope her daughters room has a pop of color-

  • Coley says:

    I enjoy the masculine look. I hope the grey stays!

  • Anonymous says:

    If you look better in brown, decorate your home in brown. If gray is your neutral in your wardrobe, choose the gray sofa.

  • Christina Rodriguez | Diva by Design says:

    Buy the brown outdoor furniture at a discaount and paint it gray!

  • naif says:

    is this blog only for designers? because I´m not..but I love these blog i recently found it…

  • Sharon says:

    If gray is not to stay I am in big trouble. Currently redoing entire second floor in gray tones. We are replacing all the carpet with hardwood and repainting everywhere. Doing this a room at a time. I absolutely love it. Not cold at all and very sleek. I do like pops of color so I am adding pieces of turquoise, orange and some purple and pink in the kids rooms.

  • Nan @ Playful Decor says:

    Is there such thing as a warm grey? I am done with brown. Been done with black for several years. Give me light & bright! Not a fan of Courtney's house – looks cold. Love your sofa!

    Oh, and already seeing a trend towards brown in appliances – Jenn Aire has them. Remember the brown appliances in the 60's!

  • Arranged To Sell says:

    Oh I hope you're right about gray staying around awhile. I've just started a redesign of my daughters room. Doing a gray comforter, lighter gray walls with curtains to match that shade. We are adding a black,white throw pillows. She hasn't picked her pop of color for a throw pillow and accessories yet. I'm also going to try making a fabric headboard which will bring in a pattern to the space. Can't wait til it's done…Hoping it will look fabulous!

  • Anonymous says:

    i am in the process of building a house. I sometimes had trouble finding the right things to go with my white gray charcoal foundation color scheme. The showrooms are loaded with brown tile, cabinets,carpets, wallpaper and on and on. i felt like i was ahead of my time! i did manage to put it all together, but it was a struggle at times.

  • I've noticed something interesting since I recently made the move from retail design to independent design — I'm seeing lots of bold pattern and/or color on sofas and I'm loving it! I think when people work with a designer they trust and who has a passion for print and color, they are more willing to take the leap and do what they love, despite the trend. So refreshing! I adore your yellow sofa, and I am so charged about seeing pattern come back to big pieces. Personally, I find Cox's home boring and depressing. I couldn't live there for more than a weekend (without some antidepressent medication.)

  • Sian says:

    Maria, I have a question for you. When you say that chocolate brown furniture is over, do you mean dark stained furniture? I'm considering getting a dark stained kitchen table and adding white & metal chairs. And I'd hate for it to be "out" by the time I receive it!


  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Sian,
    Black and espresso brown should be used as an accent colour, it's when it takes over your whole house or kitchen that it screams trendy.

    Personally I like an all white kitchen but I don't think an espresso brown island is a bad thing.
    Hope this helps,

  • Lorie says:

    I would like to say I have been so interested in the comments of this blog and webpage. I have been in design for 11yrs now and I think black and white is so classic it will always look great and never go out, I chose to use it with all kinds of colors it goes well with almost any color so you decorate any room around it I have always thought of grey as a depressing color however I enjoy seeing it used with brown which seems to be trending now but I could not use grey wall colors for myself as it would set my mood to a chilling 10 below zero, it has no life to me I prefer the cheerfulness I get from black and white with pops of color from dishes wall colors or fabrics this keeps me in style with whatever colors are trending but I never have to replace my bones. Maria I enjoy your page!!! I believe every home should be a haven my moto is decorate to your style and pleasure not someone elses you live in your home I don’t, I tell all my clients if they want to be happy in their home after I have been there then don’t be afraid to speak up I don’t sleep in their beds nor do I cook in their kitchens I can provide a beautiful room but I’d prefer to provide a haven of happy rooms that make you feel comfortable at peace and that you love coming home too 🙂 Happy Decorating

  • Albertagurl says:

    Well- I guess I am just not going to be in the trend as I just completely repainted the whole house( living areas of kitchen with eat in area,DR,hallways,FR and Media room) in the most wonderful and happy yet quite classic looking colors of Falling Star and Persian Melon(read warm,muted yellows) and have just sent the humpback couch out to redone in deep warm eggplant(aubergine). Lest all think I am an electic bohemian, not so but very traditional and classic in furniture( Duncan Phyfes and other rich wood pieces),persian,savonneire and sheepskin rugs on warm hardwood -marble statues and intricate vases along with my favorite artwork of the pre-raphelites). When I walk in my home, I am greeted with beauty of classic pieces coupled with warm rich color that just makes you forget all about the world outside.So I agree 100% with Lorie above who says decorate to your style and pleasure not someone else cause yes- you are the one who lives in your home!
    Maria- keep up the wonderful articles- they are so imformative

  • Sylvia says:

    I discovered this site last week and love all the wonderful articles, examples with illustrative pictures and comments. I’m spending so much time on this site that my husband is becoming nervous that I’m getting ready to change everything in our home. It’s fun to dream, but I usually make small changes here and there. That’s why I love gray, beige, black, and white as well as wood flooring so much. When trends come, go, and come around again, having a starting palette with these colors lets me feel like I can participate in some of those trends with pops of color while staying within a small budget. My greige sofa (one of my most expensive and long lasting pieces) has worked well with a variety of wall colors, accents, and art without looking dated. Maria, you made a point elsewhere that having the right tone of gray makes all the difference between a room feeling warm or cold. Too often, people immediately picture cell block or concrete gray, but as with most colors, gray can look sleek or bleak depending on how it’s used. When in doubt, consult a professional!

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