gray painted walls in a modern interior

10 Gray Living Room Paint Ideas

Originally contributed by Mackenzie Stratton • last updated 4/8/2021

While certain rooms in the home like a study or a bathroom have a specific use, a living room can be molded to fit virtually any purpose you like.

That’s why if you’re choosing between living room gray paint ideas, you have a world of options available.

This guide will take you through some important factors to consider, like the best paint finish for you, how to choose between brands, and what styles you may want to emulate on your walls.

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Decide Which Gray Living Room Paint Color Is Best For You 

When you’re choosing between gray living room paint ideas, there are several factors you’ll want to keep in mind, including the hue and finish of your paint, the size of your living room, and how much light your space receives (both natural and artificial).

It’s almost always best to purchase your decor before you paint, so if you notice the majority of your design has cool undertones, you’ll probably want to steer clear of a gray paint with warm undertones.

That said, many paint stores allow you to take home samples so you can test drive with several options before committing to one. 

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How To Choose Between Paint Brands

If you’re wondering what the real difference between paints like Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore and Repose Gray by Sherwin-Williams is, the matter often comes down to how easily they chip, how readily they can be cleaned, as well as how rich the color looks once it’s applied.

Generally, Behr and Dunn & Edwards are the most affordable of the common paint brands, with Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore landing in the middle tier.

Lastly, a brand like Farrow & Ball is very high quality but of course, also more expensive.

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How to Use Dark Gray Paint in Your Living Room

Gray living room paint ideas run the gamut in tone, but if you’re into drama and allure, dark gray may be your best bet.

You can choose a paint with a high gloss finish for a glam vibe or opt for matte if you prefer a Scandinavian or Japanese aesthetic.

If your living room receives a lot of natural light (lucky you), the way your walls will look will change drastically throughout the day.

For example, what may look like charcoal in the middle of the day could turn black by evening. To minimize this effect, you can use halogen light bulbs, which mimic daylight. 

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Color Blocked Walls

Color blocked walls is a unicorn concept in interior design because it manages to feel both modern and timeless.

As a result, it’s a great option for those who want to give their space an eye-catching look. This living room uses a long, thick stripe of gray paint along the bottom of its accent wall while leaving the top section white.

This not only creates a more spacious feel but also a natural frame for all the wall art and high-perched house plants.

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The Best Light Gray Paint Options

Using light gray paint will imbue your living room with a fresh and airy quality. One benefit of light gray is you can take your design in many different directions — from coastal to industrial chic.

That said, the drawback is that scuffs and marks will show much more readily so in particular if your living room will see a lot of traffic, your safest bet will be a high gloss or satin finish.

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Create A Timeless Look With Blue Gray Paint

When gray is mixed into blue, the color transforms into something a bit more sleek and subtle. Also, because it’s a blend of two colors, blue gray paint gives you more flexibility to change your design as your style evolves.

It looks lovely with pampa grass and metallics, like the living room in this image, but you can also take it in another direction altogether and use it in a farmhouse aesthetic.

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Textured Effect

Love velvet, macrame, fur, and all things texture? One simple gray living room paint idea is to apply a texture to your chosen paint color, which adds dimension and a unique flair to your space.

The walls in this living room mimic the look and feel of suede, which is not only super chic but an achievable technique to learn. Apart from this, there’s also plenty of other styles you can try, like sponging, ragging, and brushing your walls.

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Use Gray Green Paint To Set The Vibe

Green has a calming effect and when blended with gray, it feels positively serene. You can opt for a softer hue like Magnetic Gray by Sherwin-Williams, complementing it with natural materials like a rattan lampshade or a stone sculpture.

That said, you can also go for a darker paint color and use it as an opportunity to include bolder, perhaps quirkier decor similar to the brightly upholstered sofa and patterned pillows in this image.

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Industrial Chic

An industrial interior has a modern feel for its emphasis on minimalism, but a rustic vibe for its love of exposed infrastructure and unfinished materials. So when it comes to gray living room paint ideas, incorporating the color into an industrial aesthetic is a natural fit.

This living room reveals its age by strategically peeling back the layers of its walls for a stylishly distressed look.

If you truly want to commit to the endeavor of exposing your walls, it’s likely best to consult a professional because there are so many factors at play, including how old your construction is and the shape it’s in.

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Make It Gray All Over

If you enjoy a sleek, uniform aesthetic consider painting both the walls and the ceiling in your living room. If you apply the same hue of gray paint across all surfaces, it imparts a cool sense of serenity.

Or try using multiple hues of gray paint, which achieves a more punchy, unconventional look.

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