Gray or Beige Paint?

marmadukefanOctober 31, 2011

Hello! I am in desperate need of some decorating advice.

I am installing orangey-oak hardwood flooring in my living room (not my first choice, but I am matching the doors and floorboards that are already in the home. I am against covering wood with paint, so that is not a consideration.)

My furniture is all ultra-modern: a buttery-yellow leather couch, a red leather chair, a black leather chair, and very "artsy" decorative vases sitting around.

My living room is rather odd, architecturally, So I will be painting the entryway and one very long wall (that looks into the kitchen) a new color. The other walls are an off-white.

So...what color wall paint will go best with my furnishings: a light gray or a tannish color? My contractor said tan to bring out of the color of the floor--he said the gray would "ruin" the look of an oak floor; my decorator says gray to accent my modern furnishings. By the way, the cabinets in the kitchen--which you can see from the living room, are also the same oakey color.

Any thoughts? Ironically, I am replacing a gray carpet with the hardwoods. The gray carpet looked nice with my furnishings; I am just wondering if it will look too "cold" and "dull" on a wall.

If I do go with gray, what undertone? (I had no idea how many different shades, tones and intensities of gray are out there). What would look best with the wood--AND my furnishings.

Any insights are greatly appreciated! :)

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Welcome to GardenWeb, marmadukefan. In addition to the responses here, you may want to post your question on the Home Decorating forum, along with a photo or two of the room. You need to have the photos hosted at a site such as or and then link to them in your message.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Decorating forum

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 1:20PM
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The easiest place to start is with what are the undertones of the existing colors?

All colors "lean" in a particular direction: greens can be warm (i.e., lime greens which are decidedly yellow) or cool (i.e., teal, which has added blues). so find out what your off whites are - warm (yellow-based) or cool (blue- or gray-based). remember that cool colors tend to look more modern than warm, which tend to look homey. Thats why cold stainless steel looks modern and burnished copper looks comfortable and homey. Most country colors are yellow-based (warm) colors.

My advise is to get many, many gray (or grey) paint samples and work with your wood as the primary matching color. Blue is the opposite of orange and if you move toward a cool, blue-grey, you may find that it works beautifully. Opposite color theory is almost always a safe direction for interior decoration. One caution: too much beige with that orangey wood might make it creepy, 70's, avocado, appliance looking, rather than cool, artsy modern.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 1:11PM
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i'd go with beige or a yellowish-off-white since I like warm colors and gray to me is a cold color. Unless you go with a warm grey - which to me is beige anyway...

Have you ever looked at the Room and Board website or catalog? They have modern furniture and show lots of gray rooms in their current photos.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:32PM
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