HGTV's Jenny Marrs predicts the downfall of 'the most popular neutral ever' – but do our design experts agree?

The Fixer to Fabulous designer now avoids this controversial shade for a warmer alternative – have the trending tides turned for good?

Grey living room with brown sofa and blue chairs
(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

The use of gray in our homes is currently being hotly debated by designers – including  Jenny Marrs, who has just picked her side.

'Grays are on their way out,' shared Jenny's husband, Dave Marrs, in a recent episode of Fixer to Fabulous; Jenny agreed: 'I think warmer and charming'.

The design couple, based in Rogers, Arkansas, is certainly not alone in debating what color is replacing gray as the new neutral: it's a subject that has dominated design conversations in recent months – suggesting this former favorite color trend is no longer in vogue. But is decorating with gray really over? And which color should we look to instead, according to Marrs? 

grey dining room with round table, sculptural statement pendant light and red rug

(Image credit: Jon Day/ Claudia Bryant)

In Fixer to Fabulous, Jenny has recently opted for warmer neutrals – often combining creamy off-whites with natural wood tones that offer the rustic but contemporary 'charm' she desires. 

However, before we rush to rethink gray in our homes, we have a counter-argument. Minneapolis-based designer Jennifer Davis argues that we will never actually see the end of this cooler hue.

'The question of whether the color gray is outdated arises frequently. However, the resounding answer is a definite "no". Gray has established itself as a versatile and enduring hue that continues to hold a prominent place in design palettes,' she says.

Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Davis

Jennifer is the founder and principal designer of Minneapolis-based studio Davis Interiors. Over her two and a half decades of experience, Jennifer has developed an ability to create joyful and inviting homes – primarily through neutral color palettes and natural materials. 

living room with mauve gallery wall and pale grey sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC / Jon Day)

According to Jennifer, gray's 'inherent timelessness' sets it aside from other colors, meaning it can not fall out of fashion as other tones do.

'Its neutrality and ability to effortlessly blend with a variety of other colors make it a perennial favorite among designers and homeowners alike,' she says. 'And it serves as an excellent backdrop, allowing other elements in a space to shine and take center stage.'

However, while the color gray remains relevant, the designer does mirror some of Jenny's sentiments.

'It's important to note that the specific tones and shades of gray may experience shifts in popularity over time,' she explains. 'Design trends continuously evolve, and different undertones or variations of gray gain or lose favor as the years go by. Currently, there is a discernible shift in preferences within the gray spectrum.'

bedroom with dark gray walls and colorful bed throw

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Which variation of gray should we choose?

Just as Jenny craved a warmer shade for her Fixer to Fabulous project, Jennifer explains that 'warmer variations of gray' are currently more sought-after, while cooler grays with blue undertones are less on-trend right now.

'Green grays, which infuse a touch of natural serenity into spaces, are also gaining popularity. These tones bring a sense of tranquility and connection to the outdoors, creating a harmonious and refreshing atmosphere.'

Alongside the designer-approved green-gray, Jennifer recommends grays with brown undertones – often referred to as greige.

'Greige strikes a balance between gray and beige, offering a more versatile and warm alternative to traditional cool grays. This blend of gray and beige hues brings a sense of comfort, grounding, and earthiness to interior spaces.'

Last words go to our Editor in Chief, Lucy Searle: 'Gray will never, ever go out of fashion completely,' she says. 'It's the most popular neutral ever because it's just too easy a color to decorate around. It's all down to the tones of the gray you choose: warmer grays are much more popular at the moment as we seek post-pandemic comfort – and why not? But steely grays still have their place in bright, sunny, light-filled rooms that need a cooler edge. It's about picking what's right for your space, as ever.'

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.