What colors go with a gray couch? 7 colors to reinvent this classic piece

From fiery red to crisp white, interior designers share the best colors to go with a gray couch

Colors that go with a gray couch
(Image credit: Tim Lenz/Alice Lane Interiors/Farrow & Ball)

The gray palette has become something of an interiors outcast recently. But interior designers are keen to stress why a gray couch will never let you or your living room down.

Not only is a gray couch a good all-round neutral, it's also a foolproof starting point for any interior design – traditional or contemporary. Perhaps, most importantly a gray couch can be paired with almost any color throughout the rest of the living room, from paintbox brights to subtle pastels.

So, if you thought gray was relegated to the interior trash can for good, it’s time for a rethink. Whether you fancy pale pewter linen or rich charcoal velvet, gray living room couch ideas work wonderfully with a vast range of color combinations and shades.

With that in mind, we asked interior designers for their tips and tricks on what colors to put with a gray couch.

7 Best Colors To Go With A Grey Couch 

You might be considering investing in a gray couch – or simply want to bring the one you have up to date with a refreshed decor. Either way it’s good to know which colors can be paired with this sophisticated neutral.

We asked the interior experts for living room color combinations that will make your gray couch sing.

1. Warm up a gray couch with rich neutrals

Neutral living room with large windows and gray and brown couch

(Image credit: Tim Lenz)

Gray may sit on the cooler side of the color wheel but that needn't mean you can pair it with warmer shades. In fact, if you are after a cozy and welcoming neutral living room creating a tonal effect with layers of whites, creams, grays and even browns works beautifully. 

'We paired this rich tobacco brown sofa with warm neutrals and wood tones but balanced it out with a cooler gray sofa as a focal point in the space,' declares NYC-based interior designer Kacy Ellis. 'We used a clear red color as an accent on the table lamps and lacquered side table top, along with shades of blue and slate.'

gray couch comment
Kacy Ellis

Kacy Ellis is an interior designer based in New York City specializing in residential design with projects throughout the US. She likes to merge modern and traditional design principles to create comfortable, cohesive and timeless spaces. 

2. Add drama with black walls

Dining nook with dining table and gray couch

(Image credit: Alice Lane Interiors)

One way to inject masses of sophisticated drama into a silvery grey sofa is to paint the walls black. It's exactly what Suzanne Hall, Vice President of Design at Utah-based Alice Lane Interior Design did with this chic library space.

'We love a moody environment, so when we set out to design this two-story home library with a glass floor dividing the space, the deep wall color was absolutely necessary,' explains Suzanne. 'I think it's a tonal thing. We wanted the velvet sofa fabric to complement and tonally get along with the wall color.'

3. Energise a gray couch with bright blue

Blue living room with pale gray sofas

(Image credit: Regan Elizabeth Photography)

Vibrant blue pairs incredibly well with a gray couch as shown in this colorful living room by Texas-based interior designer Kim Armstrong.

'As we enter 2024, the trend for decorating with neutrals, woods and monochromatic color schemes with gray neutrals will begin to fade,” says Armstrong. “However, you can still embrace color while keeping the foundational pieces you invested in, even that gray sofa that was so on trend for the past five years. You can literally throw any color at gray and it will work. The key is to repeat those colors elsewhere in the room so it makes sense.'

In this 1960s ranch-style home in Dallas, Texas, Kim reupholstered the client’s existing sofas with a mix of patterned and plain fabrics – but still in gray. To energize the room, Kim paired the gray with a vibrant blue wall color and mixed in some berry and navy pillows.

'I particularly love adding vibrant colors to gray as it creates a happy vibe,' explains Kim. 'The navy is a nice grounding color and the blue walls make the room cheerful. The English style will be a trend coming into 2024 so this is a clever way to harness the color palette of gray in a new way.'

Kim Armstrong
Kim Armstrong

Kim Armstrong is a leading designer who is renowned for her colorful, eclectic, livable and luxury spaces. She heads up her boutique design firm and serves clients in North Texas and beyond with her colorful, eclectic designs.

4. Add glamor to a mid gray couch with jewel tones

dark grey living room with navy sofa and red coffee table

(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford / Sally Denning)

We’ve long admired the power of jewel-like shades to elevate an interior – and a gray couch is no different. So, it’s time to harness the opulence of ruby, emerald and sapphire and transform your gray couch from ordinary to extraordinary.

'The beauty of gray is its neutral, minimal characteristics allow it to work well in any room in the home,' adds Helen Shaw color expert at Benjamin Moore. 'Combining a mid-gray with rich, jewel-inspired tones such as emerald green will marry together beautifully to create a sophisticated, classic scheme that oozes glamor – perfect for a living room. Ensure the room is ambiently lit and finished with velvet fabrics to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.'

5 Use white to freshen up a gray couch

Grey living room with exposed brick walls

(Image credit: Arsight)

Blending timeless elements with Scandinavian decor and mid-century influences, the centerpiece of this loft apartment in Chelsea, New York is the vintage couch, which has been thoughtfully reupholstered in warm gray velvet.

Artem Kropovinsky, founder of NYC-based interior design firm, Arsight, says: 'We carefully selected the warm gray of the couch to complement virtually any color, as it doesn’t overpower the space. It harmonizes with the white color of the exposed brick walls, the natural reclaimed oak wood flooring, and the concrete texture of the coffee table.'

'As a color choice in interior design, gray offers a safe yet sophisticated option. When used judiciously, it supports and elevates other hues, providing a canvas for both bright and bold colors.'

grey couches
David Harris

David Harris is design director at global design house, Andrew Martin, and has been responsible for developing its fabric and wallpaper collection for over two decades.

6. Accent a gray couch with red

Living room with floor to ceiling red bookcase and grey couch

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Pairing red with a gray couch, might be an unexpected color choice, but the design experts are all for it. Indeed, the fiery and spirited tones of Farrow & Ball’s flame red Bamboozle paint brings joy and warmth to the light gray seating.

For Cincinnati-based interior designer Amy Youngblood, blending gray fabric couches with shades of orange and red is a favorite. And Artem Kropovinsky couldn’t agree more: 'Olive green, terracotta red, solar-kissed yellow or earthy heat hues are warm colors that go with gray furniture so your home feels welcome.'

7. Lift a gray couch with hot pink and orange

Gray living room with pink and red cushions

(Image credit: Andrew Martin)

Gray couches provide a classic blank canvas for every decorating scheme, whether you prefer antiques and busy pattern or a slick, minimalist decor. And that includes shades from every part of the color wheel, including vibrant hues and pastel pops.

'Updating smaller accessories, such as cushions, is a simple way to refresh your gray couch and inject personality into a room without overhauling your interior scheme,' explains David Harris, design director at Andrew Martin. 'Adding vibrant cushions is a simple and inexpensive way to inject a bold hit of color into a neutral design such as gray. Start with the soft base linen colors for your sofa and then try mixing in the hotter pink cushions for added zing.'

'Decorate with artwork and accessories in colors that complement each other so that the whole scene tells a story, and looks curated and considered,' adds David. 


Are gray couches a good idea?

A gray couch is a versatile and timeless piece of furniture. It will complement a whole host of different colors and styles, however cool or warm your particular tone of gray. Gray couches are a neutral stalwart and can pair exceptionally well any passing color trends. So, even if you update your décor, your gray couch won’t look out of place. Try warm, earthy neutrals for a calm, cocooning look. Or black, sepia, gold and wood finishes for a modern Scandinavian mood.

Contributing Editor

Lara has worked in the ever-changing world of interiors and lifestyle journalism for many years. She cut her teeth in a busy newsroom of a kitchen and bathroom business title where she gained vast product knowledge and industry contacts that would prove invaluable. She now freelances for a variety of magazines, newspapers and online blogs and relishes the changing landscape of the interiors world