Gray walls are very popular nowadays. They’re a great way to make a room more contemporary, while still keeping it neutral. But how do you choose valances for those gray walls? The good news is that gray is so neutral and so versatile, it works with any valance.
To prove my point, let’s discuss the idea of gray and look at some examples.
There’s More to Gray Than Just…Gray
By official definitions as described by popular dictionaries, gray is somewhere between black and white. But look down on that very same page and you’ll realize that there’s more to it than being this linear, black-or-white, either-or kind of color that it’s often described to be.
Its synonyms include colors like silver, gunmetal, slate, charcoal, smoky, dove, ash, stone, and the list goes on. If you search for “gray” paint colors from popular paint manufacturers like Sherwin Williams, you might start scratching your head.
Not only because of the sheer number of colors available but just how vastly different they are.
Just a small section of gray paint colors available. Notice how some lean more towards purple, brown, green, yellow, and red! Many what I like to call “almost” colors are considered gray. In other words, they have just a bit of pigment to make you wonder if they’re lavender, taupe, or sage, but not enough to be called anything else but a gray.
Now that you know that gray has a lot of variations, let’s take a look at what kinds of valances are possible with this wall color.
Black and White Valances on Gray Walls
Gray is a beautiful color because it really makes white stand out in a sophisticated, clean way. If your window frame and crown molding have just been freshly painted in a snow white, a gray wall will really make the window stand out nicely. Valances are no different and they can do the same thing. A fabric that has a pure white background color will provide a beautiful contrast to a gray wall.
And if it has black in the pattern as well, then that contrast will be even more pronounced. Indeed, black and white fabrics are a popular design choice with gray walls.
How about a black and white toile fabric for a more traditional, country look?
The same arched valance was transformed into a contemporary window treatment just by choosing a different fabric and adding bold tassel fringe in red.
The same fabric used for a shaped valance on a single window.
If your valance has tabs like this one does, consider brushed nickel drapery hardware. It’s the perfect match for a gray wall. This style of window treatment is our Emily valance, by the way.
A similar version of the valance above. This one had tassel fringe with a bit of gold in it to add a subtle punch of color to the window.
The black and white toile fabric theme continues. This time, on a board-mounted empire valance that had deep swags. Small bullion fringe in black added some dramatic flair and contrast to the neutral wall.
The Coveted “Greige” Wall and the Valances Made for It
In case you’ve been living under the design equivalent of a rock for the past few decades, greige is simply a wall color that has a hint of beige or yellow in an otherwise gray color. If I had to describe it, I’d call it a “cool” taupe or tan.
This color is very open to interpretation, but the point is that it’s a neutral and versatile color that will allow you almost endless options when it comes to complementary window treatments and fabrics. Let’s take a look at how to go about picking valances for greige walls.
It’s Ok to Get “Matchy”
There’s nothing wrong with matching your valance to a greige wall, especially if you’re aiming for a formal and classic look in your room. My suggestion is to just go a few shades lighter or darker to create some depth on your window.
The damask fabric on this valance is just a bit lighter than the underlying wall color.
Add Just a Dash of Warmth to the Fabric by Using Colors Like Yellow, Orange, or Brown
Greige (and gray for that matter) walls work beautifully when paired with a fabric that has some warm colors. Think along the lines of yellow, maize, brown, and even orange, and then find a way to incorporate that with some other elements of gray, charcoal, or black.
The coolness of the gray is an amazing contrast to some of those warmer colors. It’s also unexpected and your room will stand out from the boring and bland neutrals that everyone else is expecting.
This playful paisley fabric mimics the greige wall by embracing black and gray, as well as brown and beige. But it also adds a punch of color through the vibrant yellows.
A sophisticated idea to modernize and simplify a French country room is by painting the walls in gray. It’s perfectly fine to keep the warm colors of burgundy and yellow that are commonly found with this style of decorating.
Greige walls work great with fabric that covers the whole range of what this color embodies. This faux silk fabric is perfect – its pattern spans from the light cream all the way to the chocolate brown that are all part of the underlying wall paint.
This valance was just a bit lighter than the wall color below, which helped to create depth and space in the room. The brown flower pattern picks up on the brown, earthy colors of the greige on the wall, while a few yellow details in the fabric add just enough interest.
Here’s another example of what it means to go just a bit lighter than the wall color to open up the space and create depth. Again, we see a bit of brown and yellow in this fabric as well.
You’ve seen this idea before – play with black and white fabrics to create depth and contrast, then add a bit of yellow to add a feeling of warmth in a room.
Another idea of how a fabric with some beige, tan, and brown can add warmth to a greige wall.
Keep It Clean and Simple by Using Blue and White
The above examples all added warmth to the room, but if you prefer to continue the cool, simple, and fresh feel that gray provides, consider valances made in blue and white fabrics, like the ones below.
And Lastly, Don’t Be Afraid of Color
The above examples are just that, examples. But we have to look at the reason why designers choose to paint walls gray in the first place. And that’s because gray works with virtually any other color. Which begs the question – can you really go wrong with picking a valance when you have a gray wall?
So to close out this article, I’ll leave you with some valance ideas where a bold and vibrant fabric was used in a gray room.
Gold-brushed medallions are an interesting contrast to a gray wall. So are the red and orange fabric and the olive green banding accent on this valance. Don’t be afraid to embrace bold crimsons, reds, ambers, or burgundies, either. They too work great against neutral walls.
Who would’ve thought that this indigo blue, crimson, and coral Chinoiserie print works on a gray wall? Well, everything works on a gray wall.
A fabric with a vibrant crimson red base is gorgeous on a greige wall.