How to Paint a Bedroom Gray

Gray is not a somber color in the bedroom. It comes in a myriad of paint choices and intensities that range from an icy mist to deep shadow. Gray works in a light-hearted floral bedroom, a new-baby nursery and in a dramatic contemporary retreat. Test large swatches of gray in the changing light of a bedroom to verify the color you choose works from day into night.

Architectural Detail
An attic room with a dormer becomes a sleek, sophisticated hang-out when the slanted ceiling and dormer alcove are painted gray. Keep the rest of the walls white to bounce light around the space and opt for polished light wood or white-painted floors, or a pale neutral carpet. Go for contrast by using pewter or battleship gray paint, cover windows in filmy white sheers and mix light gray and white bedding on a wrought-iron bedstead. In a bedroom with an arched alcove, paint the arch and the alcove walls and ceiling the same shade of gray to set it apart from a different color wall treatment in the larger, main room.

Classic Color Treatment
Paint your bedroom in a style as classic as a button-down shirt. Keep the crown moldings and ceiling pure, snowy white. But cover the baseboards, all walls and interior doors -- closets and the bedroom side of the main door -- in warm or cool silvery or tarnished-silver gray. Just ensure that any other colors or tones in the room match the warmth or coolness of the gray color -- warm gray will have some yellow in it; cool gray will have some blue with a flat paint finish is richer and appears to have more depth. Wax or polish natural wood floors to show off their grain and time-worn irregularities. Keep bedding simple and neatly tucked in -- white sheets and pillows, chamois pillow shams and a darker gray bedspread with hospital corners.

Cozy Cave
Color wash or faux-suede walls in medium-gray to soften the look in a European-style bedroom with high ceilings and casement windows or French doors opening to a balcony. Gray the ceiling between exposed beams as well, but pick out the detail of window muntins, sills and lintels in antique white or cream to emphasize the room's innate style. Cover a window seat and platform bed, frame and bedding in gray linen, velvet, suede and gray-and-white ticking for added interest that doesn't detract from the grotto-like effect of all that muted gray. Or capture Provence-like romance with floral bedding and flouncy ruffled cushions on the bed and upholstered chair.

A Shock of Yellow
Gray and yellow couldn't be more at odds, but the two pair wonderfully in a bedroom with ghostly hues that needs a jolt of color to enliven it. Paint walls the softest silvered gray -- any intensity from misty cloud to antique candlestick. Add lots of white in curtains, bedding and bed frame, incidental furniture and a light rug or white-painted floor. Anchor the bedding with a charcoal quilt or duvet. Then bring on the lemon, yellow-green, chartreuse or ripe pear. A yellow lampshade next to the bed, yellow-and-gray throw rug, and yellow pillow shams or a yellow pouf will flatter the soft gray tones predominant in the room. In a gray nursery, paint a bookshelf and a rocker in matching light yellow and hang a yellow kite from the ceiling.


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