50 shades of gray: Neutral colors are a hot design trend

In kitchens and baths, homeowners are opting for subtle sophistication and design flexibility.

By Leah at MSN Real Estate Sep 10, 2013 9:40AM
Curbless shower (© Huntstock/Getty Images)Real-estate agents and stagers will often advise home sellers to use neutral colors when getting their homes ready to sell. The idea is that buyers can better envision their own personal touches in the space. But plenty of homeowners are embracing neutrality in homes they aren't selling, according to kitchen and bath expert Andy Wells

Wells writes in the Huffington Post that the trend of gray in the kitchen and bathroom has increased dramatically over the past several years. Wells says that gray is the third most popular color behind white and beige for cabinet finishes and that he's seeing a move toward simple and subtle in homes around the world. 

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Wells offers ideas of ways to embrace the trend toward neutral. Here are a few of his suggestions:
Gray accents on cabinetry: Cabinet door styles are shifting toward simple, and a neutral gray finish will highlight sleek lines without making a big show.
Dark, rich woods: Maple and cherry are popular wood choices. Wells says these darker woods will bring out the rich gray and brown tones that are on trend.

Cool blues: Blues are especially soothing in the bathroom. Wells uses pale, spa blues and "muted colors of the sky and water" to complement raw woods in the bathroom, for a relaxing atmosphere. 
Blend well: Popular looks are transitional and modern, bringing spaces together in subtle ways. Use a deep, rich gray in one room and a medium version of the same gray in the next room to create a smooth transition.
Use color, but sparingly: A splash of color in an unexpected place can accent the beautiful simplicity of a neutral palette.
Read other suggestions from Wells here

Sep 14, 2013 6:27PM
For me, paint comes in only one color--Behr Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss.
Sep 14, 2013 5:29PM

        "Dark, rich woods: Maple and cherry are popular wood choices. Wells says these

        darker woods    will bring out the rich gray and brown tones that are on trend."


Umm, maple is not a dark wood.  If you try to stain it a dark color, it will turn out very blotchy.

Sep 14, 2013 10:02AM
Taydro - I have always HATED stainless steel appliances because they look so cold to me.  I like a home to have a warmth about it, not a cold, sterile environment.  I'll be glad when stainless steel goes out of style.
Sep 14, 2013 7:42AM
Neutral has always been a trend.  This is not a new trend.
Sep 14, 2013 7:21AM
Couldn't color chips be included in the article?  A definition with color chips to help define "neutral" would be a huge help.  So would chips actually showing "pale, spa blues and...".
Sep 14, 2013 6:00AM
Hot new trend "paint it whatever color you like", how's that for easy. And another thing I never understood was when they say "upgraded" to stainless appliances, there is no ":upgrade" just a different finish, they make it sound like a stainless steel dishwasher is somehow better than a white/black one, they can both have the same features, same price etc but the home shows will say "upgrade", stupid. And why don't they make solid color vinyl for floors, solid yellow kitchen floor, solid blue for bathroom etc, you would think that would be a standard offering.
Sep 14, 2013 4:40AM
I have neutral colors as far as the walls, bathroom, carpeting, etc.  But I have beautiful, colorful area rugs, bedspreads, bath towels and throw pillow that give the place a lot of pop.
Sep 14, 2013 3:10AM
The best rule of thumb is to choose colors YOU like. Fads come and go, so go with something you actually like, not what some designer says is "in" at that time.
Sep 14, 2013 2:22AM
Neutral colors have always been a better way to present your home for sale.  Granite countertops have only been a long "fad", and some of the designs in granite are downright ugly. I wouldn't take any recommendations from HGTV, and other "experts" for design. Most of the shows are "staged", and have no real value. 
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