Interior design choices can be challenging to make. We want something that showcases our personality and house style while also being classic enough to last for a long time. After all, repainting walls and acquiring new furniture and accessories is not a small or inexpensive task!
When it comes to décor for a beach house, we also want our color choices to reflect the coast, to feel natural, and give that sense of being on holiday by the seaside. So what color choices will work best for a coastal house is a big question.
When decorating coastal houses, interior designers prefer using colors that draw inspiration from natural sources. Gray is an excellent color to use for interior beach décor as it is neutral and can be toned warm or cool to suit the theme. This allows for a wide variety of accent colors.
From my experience working with color and design, gray is a perfect neutral choice that can be used as a calming background shade for a coastal house. It is an easy color to work with, as gray comes in various tones that range from warm to cool.
Depending on the kind of light, the style of the house, and your unique personality, gray works with just about any décor. It is a wonderfully soothing, natural color that evokes dunes, shifting seas, mist, and morning light. But how do you use gray in a beachy house, and what shades should you go for?
What is A Beachy Color
A coastal color is a natural shade that reflects the area’s tone, which evokes feelings of seasides and beaches. They can range from light hues that reflect the early morning sunshine, or the pale hues of rolling coastal dunes, to richer shades that add warmth and depth.
Picture a sunset over the ocean, and think of the soft but intense colors that could be used: pinks and oranges, violets, and indigos. As you can see, color ranges from cooler blues and greens to warmer tones. Most people want to create a sense of calm relaxation.
Colors drawn from sand, sun, sea, and sky are natural and soft and provide a vast palette to work from. When choosing a color for large spaces or to run thematically through a house, designers like to go with a neutral that allows for accent colors to pop and gives a client plenty of scope for change.
Is Gray A Coastal Color
Gray is a fantastic neutral to use in beach houses. It can work as a coastal color. Grays run from pale sandy shades to the shifting mercurial tones of the sea. You can see grays in the pale, bleached tones of driftwood, darker sea pebbles, coastal cliffs, and rolling clouds.
Other neutral colors you may be familiar with are white and beige, but gray has a luminescence that is particularly suitable for beach houses and coastal themes. It is a perfect backdrop to accents that are pale and crisp or bright and punchy. Because it ranges from cool to warm tones, gray is a versatile color that can be easily adapted to suit your particular coastal house style.
Your decision about what shade of gray to use will depend on the outcome you want to achieve and the colors you want to use as your accents. As I mentioned earlier, blues and greens are favorite choices for beach houses; blues are excellent accents for that summertime feeling and range from soft watery shades to punchy deep indigos and turquoise.
Greens are a slightly warmer shade, capturing the glimmer of sea glass or the deep jades of a stormy ocean. But gray as a neutral also allows for décor to take a fun, fresh approach with accent colors of coral and lemon, electric pinks, and shimmering aquas. Think tropical!
Is Gray A Warm or Cool Color
Gray is a neutral color that can range in tone from warm to cool. This makes it an incredibly versatile choice as a neutral backdrop for your chosen scheme. If you look at a color wheel, you will see how it is divided with warm colors towards the left and cooler colors on the right. It is pretty straightforward: cool colors we associate with colder things like shadows on snow, ice, cold water; and warm colors with hot things like the sun or a roaring fire.
Grays will have undertones that will shift them from cool to warm. Blue bases will make gray a cool color, and undertones of green and blue will make the shade feel cooler. Any tones on the left of the color wheel will give grays a cool feel, while any colors on the right – the reds, oranges, and yellows – will make a gray feel warmer. Some color tones can be transitional; violets are cooler shades, and lime green is a warmer tone.
Color theory can be very complex and cause a lot of confusion, but as long as you think of the color wheel and how undertones affect the neutral tone gray, you will be able to make the right decision for your coastal décor.
Gray is the shade we get when mixing black and white. More white gives us a lighter shade of gray, while more black gives us darker. However, grays can also be produced by mixing colors such as blue and brown. Once we start adding warm or cool tones to our gray, we change the nature of the gray from utterly neutral to warm or cool.
These colors are much more interesting and have more depth. These grays give us a lot of scope to play with décor themes. Designers use these cool and warm grays to work with the shifting tones of light, and as a backdrop for the chosen color scheme.
Best Shades of Gray For A Beach House
Now that you understand how grays work as a neutral, we can look at the best grays to use in a coastal design. You don’t want to choose a gray that looks boring, dull, and flat. You will want to consider the kind of light your house gets: colors will look different in bright daylight, electric light, and sunsets. To select the perfect shade, you need to consider lighting as it can change your gray’s appearance. I would recommend trying out sample shades on the walls before selecting your final color.
Consider what feeling you are going for. Do you want a place that is calm and tranquil? Stately and elegant? Do you want to bring topical fun into your beach house look?
These choices will dictate the shade of gray you use as your neutral. You will also want to think about the room’s use. A soft cool gray might be more appropriate for a bedroom, a light, warm gray for a living room, or a rich, dramatic deep gray for a bathroom.
The look you choose will inspire your accent tones, which will give you a good idea of the shade of gray to use as your backdrop. Take your flooring into consideration: look at what tones your floors and furniture are, and choose your grays to match. Warm with warm, cool with cool.
Nautical blues and cheerful yellows will pair well with a warm beige gray such as Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore.
A modern, minimalist beach house with stark black accents will look fantastic against a pale cool gray. Benjamin Moore’s Gray tint is a stunning classic shade. https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/color-overview/find-your-color/color/1611/graytint?color=1611
If you’re heading toward brighter colors, corals and turquoises pair well with warm silvery grays and deeper punchy warm grays.
A great way to get color schemes is to pick swatches based on a palette you like. Palettes give you a neutral that is suitably warm or cool, with great accent color suggestions.
Gray is a beachy color that lends itself to endless scope when decorating the interior of a beach house. From cool tones to warm, light shades to dark, gray creates the perfect neutral backdrop to showcase your coastal décor style.