Blake Lively single-handedly makes an old-fashioned paint and color trend cool again

The way we use gray paint is changing – and, of course, Hollywood's favorite couple are trailblazers in the emerging trend. Here's what we can learn from them

Blake Lively
(Image credit: GettyImages)

The use of gray paint in our homes is suddenly subject to debate. Despite its 'timeless' label, some designers argue that gray, as we know it, is falling out of favor. However, not all gray is outdated.

So if you're wondering what color is replacing gray, one of the answers is that an evolved gray hue is set to replace its traditional counterpart – and you can find it in a very particular finish on the walls of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' home.

The blue-gray color wash in question was seen in the backdrop of Blake Lively's latest post – on the walls of her chic country home in Pound Ridge, New York. The Gossip Girl actress, who shares the property with her actor husband Ryan Reynolds, shared photos inside their home before heading south to Manhattan for a Tiffany & Co event. And, while we always love Tiffany Blue – we can't help but feel slightly distracted by Blake's mottled gray-blue backdrop. 

The finish (seen below) offers a fresh new way to decorate with gray – proving that this color really is eternal and all trends come back around if you wait long enough. 

We wouldn't be surprised if Blake and Ryan single-handedly kickstarted this color trend – however, experts explain that this hue was already emerging as a new favorite among decor fans recently. 

'Yes, we have seen a trend from muted grays and “greiges” to blue-grays – and cooler grays,' says Paige NeJame, the owner of CertaPro Painters in Boston.

Paige NeJame
Paige NeJame

Paige NeJame is the founder of CertaPro Painters – based near South Shore and Boston. An expert in the painting industry, Paige writes articles about color for publications around the US while working with customers to observe consumer habits and predict interior design trends.

We may be looking at this color inside Blake and Ryan's home; however, Paige explains that the demand for gray-blue is just as evident in exterior paint projects – so if this vibrant tone doesn't align with your interiors, you can always go bold outside. However, if you are decorating inside, we'd suggest starting with this almost perfect match from Backdrop below.

The Early Stuff –  From $49 on Backdrop

The Early Stuff –  From $49 on Backdrop
Described as a 'clean, crisp, cool blue with a hint of gray' this soothing shade is Backdrop's twist on baby blue. Alongside the fact that it's easily applicable, we love how this paint is easily washable and green-certified, making it the more sustainable choice. 

Blake's gray-blue paint is equally sought-after among designers. 

'Gray-blue can become the next significant color trend in interior design. This adaptable hue suits various styles, from traditional to contemporary. Its calming effect contributes to a sense of tranquility within your living space,' says Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight, based in New York City. 

Blake Lively

(Image credit: GettyImages)

But what else (beyond Blake, naturally) makes gray-blue so appealing now? Artem suggests its ability to create 'diverse aesthetics' is an instrument of its sucsess. 'For instance, you can achieve a coastal ambiance by combining gray-blue with white and natural wood tones,' he says. 'Alternatively, pair it with black and white to create a more modern appearance.

'Regardless of the chosen style, gray-blue adds a sophisticated touch to your home and is likely to remain timeless.' 

As for kick-starting the color wash paint trend, Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief Lucy Searle comments: 'Color washing has been used for centuries, but it was last popular in the 1980s when seemingly every wall was decorated with some kind of paint effect or another, from rag-rolling to sponging. Color washing, for me, was always the most refined of the various looks and I've certainly seen it re-emerge from obscurity, featuring in beautiful, interior designer curated homes. In fact, it has been used across ceilings and walls very effectively in some projects.

'It's simple to achieve yourself, and inexpensive, too, so you can easily mimic Blake and Ryan's wall: paint on a base coat in your chosen color, allow to dry, then use a natural sea sponge (like these from Amazon) to randomly wipe on a new, water-diluted, more translucent coat in the same color that's one tone different to the base coat, either lighter or darker. Practise first!' 

We're taking that as our cue.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.