Is white and gray out of style? Experts agree that this color pairing will no longer dominate trends in 2023

Gray and white have dominated trends over previous years, but their reign is limited – and one color is set to replace them

kitchen with white tablecloth and white cabinets and walls and candle chandelier with big bouquet and cake and sink and part-glazed door in background
(Image credit: Brent Darby)

It's hard to believe we could ever see the total end of gray and white – the two (seemingly timeless) tones that have been at the forefront of our decorating agendas for decades. 

As the basis of many popular design aesthetics –  whether that is Coastal or Scandinavian minimalism – it would seem that these neutrals are safe from falling out of favor. However, a recent report suggests this may not be the case. 

Every year, 1stDibs releases its Interior Design Trend Survey after discussing future decor and color trends with some of the world's top designers. Their report for 2023 indicates a decline in monochrome shades, with gray and white losing the most votes overall. 

When asked which colors would be popular in 2023, gray received only 5% of votes, while white received 14%. 1stDibs shared that emerald was voted the most popular color with 23% of votes, enjoying a narrow lead over sage at 22%. 

White living room with artwork

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Are white and gray falling out fashion?

Recently, when asked which colors are falling out of fashion in a bedroom and in a living room, designers have listed gray and white. Now, following the 1stDibs report, their decline is even more evident. 

Designer Patricia Tram from Strut suggests the downfall is spurred by social media – and in many cases – their impracticality. 

'Living in an Instagram-driven world, where millionaires' homes are at our fingertips, we often play the comparison game. We want to curate our own cream and white, sherpa fur and mink, and dove grey abode. The problem with this once-loved monochromatic aesthetic is it's not realistic for the everyday design enthusiast,' Patricia says. 

'What we don't see are these spaces are being constantly maintained by house staff and professional cleaning services, and those creamy white upholstery pieces often have a short life span.' 

Grey hallway ideas

(Image credit: Future)

Patricia explains that as this fabric and paint trend winds down, the desire to move away from a throwaway culture and live in a more sustainable and waste-free world increases. She also notes how fearlessly bold color is making its return to create spaces that showcase individuality and tell a story.

'Clients are forgoing trying to keep up with fleeting trends and instead want their space to feel cozy and personalized, mixing old heirloom or vintage furniture with new contemporary pieces,' the designer says. 

Similarly, Patricia observes a desire for more durable and bold fabrics, 'such as navy velvets, hunter green tweeds, or classic cognac top grain leather that will last a lifetime with minimal maintenance.'

white living room with curved white chair, neutral rug and fireplace

(Image credit: Future/ Paul Raeside)

If you're still thinking about decorating with white, designer Leslie Saul from Leslie Saul & Associates suggests going warmer, as these shades are more in favor compared to their cooler counterparts. 'Those warmer tones of white are preferred to the cold, stark whites for walls,' she says. 

Similarly, when decorating with gray, you should look for warmer hues, as 'cool grays may have peaked.' Is it time to switch these colors for greener tones? Only time will tell. 

However, there is no reason to completely do away with grey and white as a room color combination. Done well, grey and white living rooms can be anything from restrained and restful to daring and glamorous. The same goes for grey and white bedrooms, too. This restful duo is a versatile interior design choice. The tonality means it works well on its own with minimal interruptions, or as an excellent base for additional color choices. 

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.