Monday, May 21, 2012

50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James has swept the nation. Ok, maybe not the entire country, but certainly the female population from...oh let's say 20 years of age to 78! Even writing my blog took a backseat, because I was so caught up in the power of Grey.

Pondering the book’s title then led me to thoughts about the color, gray.  (Though both spellings can be used interchangeably, in America we typically use g-r-a-y for the color.) Given this cultural obsession with 50 Shades, I thought it unavoidable to talk about color, and the shades of gray.

Color has a tremendous capacity to conjure emotions, with each member of the color wheel having its own personality. After reading the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I did wonder if the name Grey was purposefully used by the author to borrow attributes from the color gray. Their “personalities” share a striking resemblance. The color gray is seen as sleek and sophisticated, industrial and unconventional, disciplined and contemplative.

Each year committees in the fields of fashion and home decor gather nationally to forecast new color trends. And suddenly, as if on cue, we start to see that color pop up in stores and permeate the marketplace, from towels at Target, to accessories at Crate and Barrel, and couture clothing at Bloomingdales. For much of this year the trend setting color has most certainly been tangerine tango! We have seen it in clothing, and furnishings, and will continue to see this lively orange/red coral along with its bold citrus yellow counterpart.  New to the color stage this year, blue and aqua have come out strong.

But what I find most interesting this year is our neutral base tones. Beiges and browns are simply stepping back, making room for the refined newcomer. It is all about gray! With shades ranging from pearl to charcoal, gray is often associated with a sense of cloudiness, even moodiness. Unlike beige, gray has the power to be unsettling and non-conforming. Unlike black, it is not bold, but rather more subtle or subdued.

In architectural interiors we are seeing refined rooms of gray, accessorized with splashes of bright bold color. Tangerine, citrus yellow, and lime green continue to dominate, with blue and aqua boldly entering the scene, as red makes its exit. The gray and crisp white color scheme can also be a refreshing and soothing combination for architectural interiors.

The sophisticated refinement of gray paired with a bright, playful, and youthful splash of coral, citrus, aqua, or lime can be unexpected, and rejuvenating. Maybe unconventionally refined is what we would call this color scheme--and interestingly an appropriate description for Mr. Grey himself……

It can be exciting and quite liberating to try a new color scheme. We often get comfortable with a certain palette of colors, and we feel nervous about changing it up. But color can be a powerful force affecting our mood while defining a room's personality.  It can be a simple, cost effective way to create dramatic change.

My suggestion is to look at the spaces you live in. Have you grown so accustomed to the color scheme that you don’t really even see it anymore? Making a color change makes us more aware of our surroundings, as it urges us to be more present in the moment.  Maybe it is time for a new shade…..
Take a look at the images of various gray interiors for inspiration…

And as an interesting footnote…our eyes can actually distinguish not 50, but 500 shades of gray!

all photos from google images

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