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susanzone5

The color gray is depressing

susanzone5 (NY)
3 years ago

"Gray is a cool, neutral, and balanced color. The color gray is an emotionless, moody color that is typically associated with meanings of dull, dirty, and dingy, as well as formal, conservative, and sophisticated. The color gray is a timeless and practical color that is often associated with loss or depression."

Meaning of The Color Grey | Bourn Creative

------------------------------------------------------------


I have read over many years that gray in a room increases moodiness and depression. Styles come and go but I feel this one is a mistake in home decorating. My opinion, but one that is shared with color/emotion researchers.


Let the talk begin....

Comments (90)

  • aprilneverends
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    i grew up in yellow house (or rather building. made my friends laugh since "yellow house" was an euphemism for local mental facility). kitchen had this pale yellow formica..

    walls were always painted. colors. at everybdy's. or they were wallpapered. lots of colors going on. buildings, unless brick or granite, were painted different colors too.

    I don't think I gave much thought to what neutral is. I just loved to open the new box of pencils..then paints..tried them all..

    white pencil went into more rare sets..)) thus was very prized..))

  • jab60
    3 years ago

    My dining room has been gray for at least five years and we still like it. There are some grays that go sour for me but several of them work well.

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  • sloedjinn
    3 years ago

    I’ve never liked gray, not overly fond of the brownish beige neutrals either. If I had to choose, I would pick beige. I have gray countertops and gray marble tile around my fireplace. You can bet I’m saving my pennies to change them both. I painted my walls white so my pink sofa and green chairs would shine.

    I think the thing I most dislike about the current trend for gray is that people say it’s such a good background for color but then so often they don’t use it that way. You look at a picture of a room and see that there are gray walls and gray sofas and a gray rug and gray window coverings. Maybe there might be some pillows or accessories in blue. But it’s a blue so muted you’re hard pressed to see it isn’t gray.

    Also, I am willing to admit that there are some people who love gray, but I wonder if so many people pick gray not because they love it, but because it’s the safe choice. That if they went with a color they truly love and weren’t afraid of making a mistake, they might pick something different.

    Another thought. People say that gray/all neutral rooms are very elegant. I think elegance can be very overrated. For me, what I’m looking for in my home is exuberance.

  • pennydesign
    3 years ago

    You have to wonder why SO MANY of the dilemmas I read here are about gray...what color gray walls, what will go with this gray sofa, what shade of gray should I paint my kitchen...

    It seems, to me, that color (or life) should be easier....

  • KD
    3 years ago

    To be fair, I'm having a heck of a time finding the right color to go with our rock wall. Some rooms/lighting situations are tricky no matter what color you're looking for. (I never would've put the wall in but it'll be a huge mess to get rid of it so we're not doing that right now.)

  • PRO
    Lars/J. Robert Scott
    3 years ago

    Here are some links to color preference tests. When I first took the Lüscher test, it has turquoise instead of green, which changed the results. Color choices are very personal and should have little to do with trends, unless one's goal is to follow a crowd, which may seem safe to some. People who buck trends seem to take more risks. In some societies, the group is considered more important than the individual, but in some societies, individualism is valued more. People who do not follow trends are very much in the minority, according to a marketing class that I took. I did not do well in that class.

    Anyway, these tests are meant to reveal one's personality based on one's reactions to different colors. I do not think that they have this down to a science, but I do think that one's reactions to colors can reveal something. Different tests give different results, based on the biases of the creators of the tests.

  • aprilneverends
    3 years ago

    (I'm not sharing my results))

    ..

  • mark_rachel
    3 years ago

    It depends on the color, lighting, space, etc. It just really bothers me that people try to force it into their space just because it's "popular". I have Owl Gray in my guest room & love it. I have Revere Pewter in my master & master bath & I love it. I would not want my entire house gray though. Plus it just wouldn't go with my elements. I love my Clay Beige in my living space.

  • aprilneverends
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Career test told me I'm a creator.

    oh that reminded me a very funny but unfortunately too long a story when I had a real career test..several hours all that jazz..thought of switching professions..

    To make it short-they gently advised me to stay right where I am but be very careful and not to overwork myself..))

    They had, among others, this very famous test when one needs to describe what he thinks is happenning on a picture(they have 10 or so)

    there was a young boy looking at the violin

    there is a poem by one very talented Russian poet.."The Magic Violin".

    okay as I was tired already I kinda took that poem as an inspiration..

    you meet with the interpretator within several weeks

    he was very worried about my mental state. he said "I read close to couple thousands descriptions of this picture and yours, by far, is the scariest"

    I told him:

    -Sir, that's actually not me. We have this famous poet..and he wrote that very well known poem..and the picture reminded me of.."

    He looked at me with lots of doubt and said:

    -you know you could think of million things. How come that the first thing that came to your mind was that poem? No, no, I think it's very telling..very telling.

    How come? Well it was obviously a very good poem. Lol.

  • palimpsest
    3 years ago

    I think beige is more depressing for me than gray-- especially when people combine various tones and warmth/coolness levels of beige and think it all goes together.

    I also react negatively to colors that don't do well in artificial lighting. Some very popular colors recently are the sort that seem to look fine in sunlight and weird harsh things seem to happen to them when you turn the lights on--to me anyway.

    Personally I like gray as a base or envelope color, but I don't like it when the room ends up looking like a black and white photograph, which is what seems to happen in some people's hands, and seems to have been popular recently.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 years ago

    I think that may be the 2nd time I took that test & the results could not be more completely off!

  • cat_ky
    3 years ago

    I love gray. It is perfect with brighter colors. My all time favorite from the time I was little is turquoise, and I have a lot of turquoise in my house. What walls that are not a shade of turquoise are gray. I tried out beige, and creams many years ago, and found myself a month later painting them out. I just cannot live with them. I could never live with white walls either, nor can I live with white trim. All my doors and trim are black. I believe you should not follow trends, just paint and use the colors you like personally, and which make you feel happy in your rooms. I love color and use a lot of it. I also dont like sterile rooms with no personality, that look like you hardly would dare to sit down in them. I am a person, who likes things setting around, like knick knacks, and colored vases and bottles. I love beads and crystal anything and use a lot of that. I dont much worry about resale either. Houses with my quirky colors and boho style have always sold very quickly. I have never lived in a house, that I havent repainted top to bottom, every room.

  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    3 years ago

    My parents had Luscher's book at home when i was growing up. I read over the book many times and was unconvinced as an eight year old- took the test now at 49 and remains unconvinced. Like Carol, I took the test twice- both versions offered- the test's point of view seems off to me. Both answers were off- usually there is a grain of universal truth to hang on to with these things.

  • aprilneverends
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I don't know..

    seems like colors bring strong reactions, in any case, whatever they might be:)

    I tend to lean art a lot..sometimes I just decide for a long time where it goes, sometimes I just leave it there leaning because I like it as is

    DH tells me recently:

    -let's put up some more art

    me:

    -no, I'm okay for now. Let me think some more. Alo this and this, I like as is

    he:

    -but then it looks unfinished

    me:

    -exactly!! that's what I like, I like its unfinishedness..

    And I guess everybody's different in many regards.

    I for example appreciate but don't love symmetry. I don't feel like a room must be finished. I don't feel like I need to have a rug because it is supposed to be there. I don't think lamps should match. I don't understand why big items need to be neutrals..they can be, they don't need to though. Why the assumption I'll get bored? I don't understand why pops of color should be pops. I don't understand how huge country with very different climate zones, landscapes, light, historical contexts can have one trend going on. I don't think one person's calm is another person's calm. Or that one person's inspiration is another person's inspiration. That translates to colors as well.

    I think what bothers me the most is certain rigidity.

  • 27mh28
    2 years ago

    Well said. Also known as conformity.

  • dragonflywings42
    2 years ago

    I know some people find it annoying when an older thread shows up, but I missed this last time around and I found the discussion fascinating. Everyone was gracious and no one pontificated. I learn so much from reading this forum. I've saved some of these comments so I can be inspired by them again and again. April's next to last paragraph above puts into words what I have been thinking about and she says it so very well. Thank you all.

  • babbs50
    2 years ago

    Gray is depressing, I live at the beach and that is the last color I would ever use in the interior of my home.


  • nosoccermom
    2 years ago

    I'm firmly in the blue/white/gray/black camp. (But I also have a few yellow walls, no clothing, though).

    However, what is almost a parallel universe experience is when I go to a Restoration hardware showroom. It's like a Daguerre type world. Much more than simply depressing.

    And I can't imagine all the gray nurseries or children's rooms.

  • iheartsix
    2 years ago
    I love gray. I love beige. I love gray and beige together. Now, with that said there are TONS of shades of both. So, to say gray is depressing or beige is boring is assuming one is referring to two colors and that's it. But -- I love gray and beige❤
  • Sasha Wertheim
    2 years ago

    I hate gray for any exterior or interior. It feels like it's not even a color - like a gray space hasn't yet been "activated" (that's just the word that comes to mind for me).

    Hilariously, I somehow recently ended up buying a house that's gray inside and out. I guess I like to give myself challenges!

  • pricklypearcactus
    2 years ago

    I love gray, but part of that is because I think it is a great backdrop for other colors. I love medium to dark warm woods (stained cherry, walnut, mahogany, etc) and I think that combination of gray with wood suits me very well. Add a little crisp white (trim, marble, curtains) and then throw in some colorful accessories (green plants, maybe red or purple or blue art and pillows, etc). Where I am not a fan of gray is when it's gray stained wood (or worse, faux wood) everywhere. I know it is very in right now, but I just can't get behind it.

  • artemis_ma
    2 years ago

    The exterior of my old house is gray. I think gray exteriors are wonderful, and when I repainted, I had the guy match the same color. The greens of nature cheer it up.

    Inside it's different for me.

    I couldn't wait to paint all the depressive grey bedrooms and baths with cheerful pastels!!

  • Debbie Downer
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    There is this certain gray you see a lot of that is the exact color of unpainted drywall - just dont like it because of the association I have with it. One recent post I had to look at twice because I swore it was unpainted drywall.

    I dont "hate" gray though - I dont "hate" any color, there really is no "ugly" color. In the right context with other colors, any color can be stunningly beautiful. My tenants kitchen is white-gray-goldish-yellow and I just love it - one of my fav rooms in the house.

    Its that unrelenting ocean of drab gray that you see in 75% of the posts here - just tired of looking it.

  • Debbie Downer
    2 years ago

    PS - OP, interesting comment linking depression=grayness. I dont think the current fad for gray everything is a cause of depressive illness , but maybe the other way around, a manifestation or expression of it?

  • dreamdarrah
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I hate gray. Boring, colorless, depressing, not bright... Who decided that the "color" of everything these days would be gray? I totally disagree with their choice!!

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    What I really dislike about the gray rooms I see here, the gray walls, the gray sectional, the gray carpet is not only the color but the realization that the people living there seem to have no individual thoughts or desires, no longing to express themselves, including the often-repeated question of what art should go on the walls. What about the excitement of choosing colors and art and furniture that is uniquely you, and what about your home being one of the last bastions of unfettered self-expression? No, when my friends see this room that isn't gray they're going to say I'm not up with the latest trend which is gray and more gray, or black or white, with no exuberant colors ever allowed to be flung about with gay abandon. Their children have to live in this trendy, oh so right up to the minute prison of conformity when their hearts must be crying out for color and life and joy. I absolutely do not get it.

  • K R
    2 years ago
    Completely disagree! Gray can be very crisp and pretty when the right color is chosen and with good corresponding colors around it. It is a neutral like white. I have a lot of gray and white in my house, after years and years of golds, yellows, beiges, greens, reds and blacks and it has brightened up everything! Everyone that comes over now thinks I knocked down walls because it opened the whole house up. Does this look ‘depressing’?
  • Saypoint 7a CT
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I think people just don’t realize when everything in the stores and online for sale is gray, that you aren’t meant to buy everything the same color. I like green, but I wouldn’t paint my walls green, buy a green rug and sofa, two green chairs, and green art and accessories. Wait, I think I did that once.

    Maybe because it’s a neutral it doesn’t register that you need some color and contrast. And the right room and light.

  • pennydesign
    2 years ago

    Just because you don't think it is (nor do you think it should be to other people) "depressing", Karen, doesn't mean that others don't find it so. You might not understand that thinking--but we don't understand yours either.


    Defending your point of view, here, doesn't mean that you have to argue it. You have yours and we have ours and both should be respected.

  • iheartsix
    2 years ago
    Does anyone EVER live in a totally gray space? - gray floor, gray walls, gray sectionals, gray kitchen, gray EVERYTHING? ... now that would be depressing. BUT gray is something you find in nature, to be used with other shades you find in nature. Nothing wrong with gray (and all the various tones thereof) but it’s all about how you incorporate it into your home, into your wardrobe, it’s called balance. When I was young my mom and dad built a home and my mom had it professionally decorated (in the 60s). It was gorgeous thinking back on it. But the master bedroom was done in a shade of lilac and the master bath had stunning wallpaper incorporating the same shade of lilac. My mom woke up in a bad mood almost daily until they had it repainted, lol. Purple or shades/tones thereof is beautiful - but not on all your walls :/.
  • K R
    2 years ago
    I’m sorry Penny, I thought this was a thread to express our opinions about the color gray. I didn’t disrespect anyone in my doing so nor did I call anyone out for their opinion. I simply disagreed with my reasonings (???)
  • Saypoint 7a CT
    2 years ago

    Karen, I don’t think your space looks depressing. You have a lot of light and it looks serene. I prefer my neutrals to be warmer, with cool colors as the main colors, blues and greens. There’s plenty of space for everyone to have what they love in their own homes.

  • Mrs Pete
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    "Gray is a cool, neutral, and balanced color. The color gray is an emotionless, moody color that is typically associated with meanings of dull, dirty, and dingy, as well as formal, conservative, and sophisticated. The color gray is a timeless and practical color that is often associated with loss or depression."

    I agree. It's "cold" too. Gray is almost the lack of color. In decorating, I like it only as a background -- not as the main event.

  • tenamarie123
    2 years ago

    Wow, never realized a color or "non" color could be so polarizing, lol. Why are people so up in arms about others putting grey in their homes? If you don't like it, don't use it but why must everyone have such strong opinions and feel the need to share them? Not on this post as the discussion here is about grey, but other posts where people are asking about furniture arrangement or art recommendations, etc. and people chastise them for having grey walls. Just don't get it. I would never have yellow on my walls, however, if your house is painted yellow I would never chastise you for it or make you feel silly like you're only following a "trend" which is so ridiculous as grey has been used for eons as a nice neutral backdrop.

  • IdaClaire
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    "people living there seem to have no individual thoughts or desires, no longing to express themselves ... Their children have to live in this trendy, oh so right up to the minute prison of conformity when their hearts must be crying out for color and life and joy"

    Not to "pick on" Ingrid, and I fully understand that what's expressed here is personal opinion (including that expressed by Bourn Creative in the link), but these comments ... c'mon. Some of them have been nagging at me since I read them last night, so I am compelled to say that gray is a color, not a character flaw. It's pretty far-fetched to equate someone's innermost being with the colors they choose to be surrounded by, and it seems quite polarizing to attempt to do so. Creativity and self-expression take many different forms, and it's a rigid mind that assigns such things to anything less than a sweepingly broad definition.

    In my opinion, of course.

  • tenamarie123
    2 years ago

    And before the grey haters were the beige haters "boring beige", blah, blah, blah! Come on people, not everyone feels comfortable living in a fun house of color, lol!!


  • just_terrilynn
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    There are so many shades of gray. I'll admit to having eighties gray on the brain when thinking I didn't like gray in the past. Now that I know better I find some gray shade walls great for excepting little bursts of color from furniture, accessories or art. I do agree with what was written a few posts up. You don't necessarily need to do everything in the room gray.

    However, for a more muted wall there's pink/gray, green/gray, blue/gray, purple/gray, brown/beige/gray and the list goes on.









  • IdaClaire
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Hi, Nathalie - Your artwork is nice, but as a pro you are not allowed to promote your own product in this forum. It's considered spam.

  • jnfontenot
    2 years ago

    I think the color is cold and depressing. It is so bland.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    2 years ago

    Looking back at my previous post, I can see why IdaClaire might have taken exception to it. Some months have gone by and, when reading it now, it seems strident and overblown. I think at that time I must have looked at too many gray rooms here, and by that I mean all gray, everything gray, gray because it's trendy, gray because everyone's doing it, and it frankly frustrated me. The all-gray trend seems to be in abeyance now, as is my annoyance level. I personally do better with quite a bit of color, perhaps because I struggle with depression, but by no means do I expect others to do the same. I find Karen Rose's home to be quite beautiful and rather ethereal in its different shades of gray and varying textures. It seems put together with thought and passion, and that is something I can always respect and admire.

  • Tracy
    2 years ago
    After living with a BM gold colour for 15 years (name is on the tip of my tongue) - We went with BM Revere Pewter this spring. It's considered 'greige' more than gray and a colour that apparently helps sell your home, which we've been considering.
    Anyway, did the sample on the walls in different areas and after much deliberation, decided to go for it.
    I have to say that I did not like it at first. It didnt depress me, in fact it was a welcome change from the gold glow we'd been smothered in, but it picked up a weird purple-ish tone. We recently had our floors redone though and now the paint seems to take on a slightly warmer tone, but it's still fresh and bright without being 'cold'. I like it so much better now. It also pairs beautifully with SW Sea Salt, which is in our kitchen. That colour is also considered a gray. (I think) It's a chameleon though and shifts from grey to greenish throughout the day and I love it.
    I also like how colours pop against a gray backdrop. I use grey palette paper in my work as an artist and it is a great tool for colour mixing.
    I suppose it all depends on which type of gray is used and how light affects that particular paint. I like the greiges more than the blue-ish grays though.
    We had a home where the builder used a light bluish grey every where and it felt cold and stark but maybe that's just me.
    I do find all the homes we've been looking at lately TOO gray though - the walls, the weathered floors, cabinets... everything is swathed in gray. I have to have colour around me, if not on my walls, then in artwork, accessories, etc. Not knocking gray, but sometimes too much of a good thing is just that - too much.
  • kendrabruce
    2 years ago

    I'm here because after a water incident, we had to remove the dual-toned cream and soft golden wallpaper from our living room walls. Long story short, I was pressured into choosing a soft grey (SW Gossamer Veil) for the new paint because we were considering putting the house on the market and of course, it's all the rage. I've long been skeptical of the overuse of the greys. I believe they have a place, but it's now so overdone and not always done well.


    It's been nearly a year and I'm at a complete loss as to what to do with it. The room went from being sunny, bright, and inviting to cool, subdued, and blah for me.


    We have $0 to put into fixing this, as it was unplanned. Now nothing I own looks right. I just bought 2 rugs (from selling my former ones) and it's making it worse. The rugs look great with the walls, but it seems to highlight how out of place everything else is. Our home was built in 1928 and has a certain period charm to it and I feel like this is lost now in this room. It's much harder to find things that go both with the period and style AND this color.


    To make matters worse, the crown jewel of our home is our walnut baby grand piano and I hate the way it looks in the room now.


    It's like we went from everyday sunshine to everyday rain.


    I enjoy blues and teals, but I'm definitely in the warm palate camp for decor.


    I'm gearing up to decorate for Christmas and we're having people over next week and I can't even imagine how that's going to look.

  • aprilneverends
    2 years ago

    kendra, would you be willing to open a separate thread? maybe you'll get some helpful suggestions? I really am a bit mad for you right now-I would hate somebody pressuring me into a color that doesn't work neither with my preferences nor with sensibilities of my particular home (architecture, light, etc). resale or not. Very often is that all this resale advice takes houses from nice to "I'd rather you wouldn't cater to me, but to the house".

    Open a thread if you're willing to, share couple pics with us..maybe it's better than you think, and you can't adjust to new after loosing your previous wall treatment-I imagine was quite gorgeous?

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    2 years ago

    Kendra, I feel so badly for you. It's frustrating and sad when everything looks wrong to you and there is no easy way to fix it. I hope you decide to post your rooms as april suggested, to see what can be done to make the situation better for you.

  • Loren D
    last year

    Karen Rose... yes, the interior looks depressing. The only thing that looks bright and inviting is your outdoor space. It doesn’t mean it’s ugly. I just find it oppressive and sad.


    I also I have painted some of my rooms gray since moving into a different house last year. The only space I don’t hate is my great room area which actually is so light gray it is almost silvery white. It definitely is bright but not warm. I’m leaving it for now, because I think once I have a wood floor down it will balance nicely along with tan and cream furniture and white trim. However, I cannot wait to repaint my bedroom which I thought would look peaceful and relaxing. I have pretty cream/ gray/ light tan bedding and cream curtains. I thought the gray would be a pretty backdrop. It is as far as color scheme, but I cannot stand waking up to sad looking walls. Gray IS depressing...I don’t care what anyone says. If you are of the majority of people who like a sunny clear day, not a rainy day... gray walls definitely drag you down. if you’re happiest when it’s rainy outside, you should try gray walls. I bet you’ll love them.

  • Esther
    last year
    Loren maybe you are onto something! I love grey and don’t understand the declared hate for it. I also love rainy days as they are the most beautiful and refreshing to me. Maybe this is related to where we live. When I see pictures of all neutral rooms I find them so relaxing and stress free compared to cluttered or colorful rooms. This is absolutely a specific thing but thankfully my spouse is even more crazy about neutrals than me. We crave that calming environment.
  • Rasoul Yari
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Why gray color is depressing?


    psychologically if we look to gray color it will take us to a black and white world (not literally). Because gray color is made by black and white equally (perfectly balanced).


    If you see things in life black and white that's mean you are stepped into perfectionism (being perfectly balanced): and because nobody can be perfect you are wasting energy to be perfect so you will be depressed, because as we know somehow depression is a lack of energy.


    This is the psychological and philosophical reason for relationship between gray color and loss or depression.

  • Jeff Hines
    5 months ago

    Amen! Every home on the Market has every room painted gray, i only see dollars having to repaint every surface, and replacing the gray kitchens!

  • HU-734410279
    last month

    Every friends home I go into is either grey in every room, or that horrible mustard colour, with them bloody white-letter ornaments saying 'FAMILY' or 'HOME'. All white colour. No sense of adventure or excitement :O That's their choice, but I am going to have actual colours in my rooms of my new flat. I'm glad that I'm creative. I don't want depressing, mood-dampening boring grey in any room in MY flat. Give me fuschia or teal any day of the week. I think a lot of people are painting their walls grey because it's the latest fashion. God forbid if Magnolia, beige, or white are the next home furnishing trend in a few years. I'll be dying from boredom just looking at white walls.

  • K Laurence
    last month

    Every room in my house is white , not bright white. I love art. I prefer it because I have lots of colorful artwork throughout the house, one painting is approximately 5’ x6’. There’s a reason art galleries have white walls.