Is white the new gray when painting your house? Why should you care when selling your home?
For the last decade light gray wall colors have been all the rage in home decorating, and more importantly in painting and staging you home for sale. Because I want to be up on the latest trends and advise my clients on the best colors for their walls when they are getting ready to sell, I have been closely following the gray debate!
Home décor, like everything else follows trends. Let’s take a quick look at some paint and design trends over the decades. Before I start making everyone mad, and talk about popular home décor over the years, remember that solid, classic design is timeless. Trends come and go!
In the 1980s, Sherwin Williams saw homeowners going mad for mauve, with some baby blue and gray accents. Pastel shades also became popular.
In the 1990s, SW saw a rush for beige, rustic golds, terra cotta, putty, sage, and earthy reds.
In the 2000s, popular colors included latte, beiges, soft blues, and whites.
It was in the 2010s when, as SW puts it, gray knocked the long-reigning beige out of its position as the default wall color, complemented by some white, black, and off-black shades. Homeowners embraced gray as a more modern, upscale, and elegant neutral option that paired well with other neutrals as well as bolder shades.
Heading into the 2020s, many experts believe that while gray will still have a place in many homes, it will play more of a supporting role, as warmer neutrals, bold colors, and earthy tones take center stage.
At this point you may be asking yourself, is gray out or not??? Is white the new gray?
The answer is a little more complicated than in or out. Grays are still a good neutral choice for walls. However, the cooler grays have started losing popularity. So, if you do want to opt for gray walls, go for something warmer like a “greige.”
Warm grays: Grays with a yellow or brown undertone will have a warmer, more inviting feel. The “greige” paints (a mix of gray and beige) that have been popular over the past few years fall into this category. Some popular warm gray paint colors include SW Keystone Gray, Benjamin Moore Classic Gray, SW Curio Gray, and Behr Silver Drop.
Neutral grays: If you’re looking for a versatile gray for a large room or an entire house, you may want a more neutral shade that complements any other colors. Some of the most popular neutral gray colors include SW Agreeable Gray, Farrow & Ball Ammonite, Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore, and SW Worldly Gray.
Whites are also an incredibly popular choice for decorators and home stagers and sellers.
For years, gray has been the “it” neutral color when it comes to staging and selling houses. But according to Fixr’s 2021 Paint and Color Trends report, 63% of experts recommended going with whites and creams instead.
“In the middle of a seller’s market with a shortage of homes for sale, these hues create a blank canvas for buyers, which could make a home more appealing to a broader group than using a specific or more tailored palette,” says Cristina Miguelez, a remodeling specialist at Fixr.com.
Decorator Amy Bell in North Carolina has been seeing a shift toward whites for staging, such as Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster and Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. “With their higher LRV (light reflectance value), white paints bounce back a greater percentage of light, making them great choices for staging,” she says. “No one ever hops on the MLS searching for a dark, cavey home.”
But that’s not to say gray isn’t still a good staging color. Designer Jennifer Burt’s top pick when staging her clients’ homes for sale is Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. “The mix of gray and beige is like a chameleon in coordinating with other colors in the room,” she says.
The risk of going white!
The risk of going white, just like going gray, is the same. The benefits are beautiful light bouncing all over the place, rooms looking bigger and having a neutral backdrop to appeal to the most buyers. The thing to avoid is making the mistake of the home looking stark, cold and sterile. No one ohhs and ahhs over a sterile hospital like environment!
5 Tips to keep white walled rooms from looking sterile:
1. Go green: Add live plants to the space to make it look inviting and cared for.
2. Strategically placed wall paper can infuse a lot of personality and it is so on trend right now. If you are planning to sell, or you just like flexibility, opt for the peel and stick variety
3. Add pops of color. You can do this in so many ways from throw pillows to artwork and décor. Stick with one primary accent color and sprinkle it throughout to keep the eye moving and keep the space looking cohesive. Avoid using a bunch of different colors, you do not want your space to look like a crayon box threw up all over it!
4. Warm up the space with natural elements. For this think rustic wood furniture, beams, rattan, wicker and stone.
5. Go for some texture. This is easily done with textiles like curtains and nubby throws. You can also bring in texture with books and other décor items.
BTW, if you were curious about my personal favorite white for walls…
It Sherwin William’s Alabaster! I have it in all of my main rooms and I love it because it reflects the light and I can change out my décor seasonally without having to worry about it looking great with the wall color.