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The 5 Colors You Should Never Pair with Gray, According to Designers


When it comes to interior design, the color gray has become a popular choice for many homeowners. Its versatility and neutral undertones make it an ideal backdrop for a wide range of color palettes. However, there are certain colors that simply don't pair well with gray, and it's important to know what they are before you start decorating. To help you avoid any design disasters, we spoke to designers and experts to find out the top five colors you should never pair with gray.

1. Bright Yellow

While yellow can add a pop of color to any room, pairing it with gray can be a tricky endeavor. According to interior designer Sarah Jenkins, "Bright yellow and gray can clash and create a jarring effect. The combination can feel too stark and unbalanced, leading to a lack of harmony in the space." If you're set on incorporating yellow into a room with gray walls or furniture, consider opting for a softer, more muted shade of yellow to create a more cohesive look.

2. Pastel Pink

While pink is often associated with femininity and softness, it can clash with gray when not executed properly. Interior designer Rachel Edwards advises against pairing pastel pink with gray, stating, "The cool undertones of gray can sometimes make pastel pink look muddy and unappealing. It's important to consider the specific shades of both colors and ensure they complement each other rather than compete for attention."

3. Neon Green

Neon green is a bold and vibrant color that can easily overpower the subtle nature of gray. Designer Mark Thompson warns against pairing the two, explaining, "Neon green and gray create a stark contrast that can be visually overwhelming. The intensity of neon green can overshadow the calmness of gray, leading to an unbalanced and chaotic aesthetic." If you're looking to incorporate green into a room with gray, consider opting for a softer, more muted shade such as sage or olive green for a more harmonious look.

4. Red

While red can add warmth and depth to a space, it's important to use it carefully when working with gray. Interior designer Anna Collins advises against pairing red with gray, stating, "The combination of red and gray can create a stark and uninviting atmosphere. The coolness of gray can sometimes clash with the boldness of red, leading to a lack of cohesion in the space." If you're set on incorporating red into a room with gray, consider opting for a deep, rich shade of red to create a more sophisticated and balanced look.

5. Orange

Many homeowners may be drawn to the idea of pairing orange with gray to create a modern and energetic atmosphere. However, according to designer Emma Wilson, this combination can often fall flat. "The warm tones of orange can clash with the cool undertones of gray, creating a discordant and unappealing look," she explains. If you're set on using orange in a room with gray, consider opting for a softer, more muted shade such as peach or terracotta to create a more harmonious and inviting space.

In conclusion, while gray can be a versatile and neutral backdrop for a wide range of color palettes, there are certain colors that should be avoided when pairing with it. Bright yellow, pastel pink, neon green, red, and orange are all colors that can clash and create an unbalanced or unappealing aesthetic when paired with gray. By being mindful of these color combinations, you can ensure that your interior design choices result in a harmonious and visually pleasing space.

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