What color is pewter? Designers weigh in on this timeless gray that’s making a comeback

Here's how designers are embracing this sophisticated and moody hue

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore, Maestri Studio/Jenifer McNeil Baker, Farrow & Ball)

Decorating with neutrals will always be one of the most classic color choices in interior design. Beyond the most widely used shades such as beige and cream tones, pewter is a slightly more unexpected color that sits within the neutral color family, and interior designers are embracing this color trend in 2024 for its timeless appeal.

Essentially a metallic variation of decorating with gray that reflects both warm or cool tones, the color pewter can go a long way in adding depth and interest to the home.

'Pewter takes its name from a metal which is composed mainly of tin,' explains Tash Bradley, Director of Interior Design at Lick and Color Psychologist. 'The benefit of bringing shades of Pewter into your home is that they are calming on the eye, versatile and timeless, and therefore a great choice for styling with longevity in mind.'

What color is pewter?

dining nook with pewter walls and white bench corner seat and marble round table

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

'Pewter, as a color, is a slightly darker and deeper version of silver; I like to think of pewter being to silver what brass is to gold; it's elegant and luxe, but also very functional and appropriate for everyday use,' explains interior designer Kathy Kuo.

While pewter is defined as a metallic tone, its blend of warm and cool tones makes it unique. 'Because pewter has blue and copper undertones, it pairs well with cool and warm colors,' explains interior designer Nadia Watts. Within the realm of the color pewter, there is a large variety of shades and finishes to choose from. 'It has a wide range of finishes and works well with a spectrum of colors,' adds Nadia.

Since pewter appears very similar to the color gray, it's important to use it with some caution throughout room color ideas. In the wrong lighting conditions, pewter can quickly appear drab.

'Gray spaces can risk feeling cold, particularly when there is little natural light,' says Tash Bradley. 'It’s therefore important to consider using it in rooms with south-facing or warm natural light to balance out the cooler tones.'

3 ways to decorate with pewter

If you're intrigued by this metallic-inspired color, read on to see how designers are decorating with it across paint ideas to create timeless and cozy rooms.

1. Create a cozy and sophisticated space

living room with dark gray walls, beige armchair and dark floral artwork on walls

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Dark shades of pewter can be a great way to create a sophisticated and moody interior scheme that feels warming and cozy, especially when you use it across all four walls. 'Pewter is a nice way to bring sophistication to your space,' says Nadia Watts.

While a cozy look can be achieved by color drenching with pewter in lots of rooms, it works especially well in small rooms, 'such as powder rooms or nursery ideas' according to Nadia.

When deciding on the best color combinations for rooms for your pewter scheme, it works well with both light neutrals for a softer look, or bolder colors such as decorating with jewel tones to make a statement. 'Pewter has a lot of depth, it is a neutral color but it packs a punch so consider this when pairing pewter,' advises Nadia. 'Use its depth to create contrast by pairing it with light colors or lean into its punch and pair it with rich jewel tones or pops of bright color.'

2. Use pewter to create a timeless kitchen

modern kitchen with dark gray cabinets, white kitchen island, gold pendant lights

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Jenifer McNeil Baker)

Dark kitchen cabinets have been a huge trend thus far in 2024, and pewter tones are a go-to choice for embracing this statement look, as seen in this modern kitchen designed by Maestri Studio.

'This versatile shade can serve as a great backdrop for views outside,' suggests designer Kati Curtis of Kati Curtis Design. 'When paired with large windows or glass doors, this color frames the outdoor scenery beautifully, making it a seamless extension of your interior.' If your kitchen benefits from scenic views, Kati adds that 'pewter gray enhances these elements, creating a harmonious and sophisticated ambiance in your home.'

Consider adding saturated accent colors to enhance a kitchen with pewter as the dominant color. Helen Shaw, Director of Color Marketing at Benjamin Moore suggests a few colors that would work well with pewter: 'For kitchen spaces, this versatile gray pairs well with saturated tones such as Regent Green and Hale Navy, creating a dramatic statement that's also inviting for guests.'

3. Opt for light pewter tones for a calming bedroom

bedroom with gray walls, white bed and vase of flowers on nightstand

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

If you're looking to create a less dramatic and softer scheme with pewter, lighter variations of this color can have an incredibly calming effect in the home, especially in bedrooms.

'Use a lighter pewter tone like Plummett as an alternative to a spartan, brilliant white,' suggests Farrow & Ball's Creative Director Charlotte Cosby. 'It will add character and depth to the simplest of spaces.'

'When introducing color accents to lighter grays, think about the undertones of the pairing first and the contrast you wish to achieve,' adds Charlotte. 'Pair the industrial tones of Plummett with deep blues such as Hague Blue.'

In these spaces, you could also create an analogous color scheme which will ensure a restful feel with no competing tones. 'Opting for a tonal scheme that layers different grays together will add dimension,' says Helen Shaw. 'Remember analogous colors don’t have to be boring, it’s surprising how effective the combination of darker grays paired with lighter tints can be in carrying our eye around a room.'

Decorating with pewter is an on-trend alternative to classic neutrals, creating calming spaces with depth and plenty of interest. Whether you use pewter tones in social spaces or opt for lighter variations in bedrooms, you can tailor this color trend depending on how much of a statement you want to make.

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.