Home Improvement · Writers Write

50 Shades of Gray Paint

Gray Paint Chips on Red Coffee Table

Check Pinterest or any shelter blog. Gray is all the rage. (I’m not talking about the movie. That Grey is the British spelling, a proper noun.) Even though Pantone’s color of the year is Marsala, interior designers on the web prefer smoke, graphite, and flint. They caption photos, “Moody gray walls are dramatic with a small pop of color.”

Imagine a ruby throw slung over the foot of an ebony bed in the center of room painted pewter. It’s a black and white glossy with a single dash of interest. Of course, the color pops. It’s a giant red arrow directing everyone’s attention to the bed. Mmm. Sexy.

The home goods industry isn’t the first to capitalize on the emotion of a limited palette. Steven Spielberg used the technique in Schindler’s List. He shot the opening scenes in gray-scale, except for one beautiful little girl wearing a red coat. The audience follows the child through the decimation of the Krakow ghetto. Later, when we recognize her lifeless body in a pile with other lifeless bodies, we’re devastated because we know her. She’s wearing red. Now, Her life’s extinguished. The world is colorless.

Not so sexy, and not the visual association designers had in mind when they painted all of those bedrooms gray. Even without Spielberg’s images, the trend reminds me of a generic hotel room. Stark. Neutral. Forgettable. I don’t want my home to look like a hotel, and if I have to stay in a hotel, I want my room to look like home.