In recent years we see gray painting referred to as the “new white” in various blogs and publications related to design. It is launched as the new trend in decoration and architecture and is selected and proposed by many, experts and non-experts, as it is a safe and easy solution.
But is gray really a good suggestion for interior painting, where people, especially those living in urban centers, spend most of their lives?
Can we feel happy living among gray painted walls?
Gray is not a color that we give a negative hue. We are talking about “gray walls” and “gray reality“. The cloudy, gray sky lowers our mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression, occurs during the winter months when sunshine is limited, especially in northern countries.
According to a recent study, gray is the color chosen by depressed patients (50%) and anxious patients (30%) to describe their mood.
The corresponding percentage in healthy people was only 10%. It is also noteworthy that according to the same survey, only 2 participants chose white and gray as their favorite colors.
Gray, a color associated with depression
According to another global study, the color gray in the workplace is associated with lower levels of employee creativity and higher levels of stress. Statistics show that gray is one of the colors that men and women dislike (especially the latter) and even more so people who have grown up in urban areas, where green is absent.
In any case, western society has “forced” men to dress, but also to be surrounded by neutral and dark colors, such as gray, brown, black and dark blue. In addition, a significant percentage of men (8%) suffer from some type of color blindness, in contrast to the almost negligible percentages in the female population (0.4%). (Keep this in mind when it comes to male architects and designers, the proposal for colorless buildings is not always an opinion, but a weakness.)
Properties of gray painting
Gray – and not white as many believe – is the simplest color for the human eye. This is one of the main reasons why it is an ideal background color, as it highlights what is in front of it, without attracting attention. Gray when combined with other colors emphasizes those that are vivid and bright, while illuminating the pale shades.
It is rarely a pure mixture of white and black, it usually contains other colors such as blue, green, red, yellow, violet. If we have good color vision, we can distinguish about 500 shades of gray. It is an emotionally neutral color (like white), conservative, without “personality“. Gray does not mobilize, it does not activate, on the contrary, it contributes to the creation of a sense of stability, self-restraint and calm, which, however, can reach passivity.
When prevalent in a space, it can cause feelings of sadness and isolation.
The feeling of melancholy intensifies as much as it tends to black (anthracite shades). Black is the color that absorbs all the radiation, long or long exposure to it can cause physical and mental exhaustion.
If you feel passive, without energy, mood and enthusiasm, it is good to avoid excessive exposure to gray painting in the places where you live and work.
Should we exclude gray painting from our color palette?
By no means do I want to convey that I recommend for the mother to be inactive. No color has only negative properties. The problem arises when a color dominates a space, to an excessive degree, especially if it is the colorless shades of white, gray and black or bright colors such as red.
What we should pursue is a balanced and harmonious result, which works positively in terms of our senses and emotions. A recent study shows that when we are surrounded by our favorite colors, areas of the brain are stimulated that are associated with positive feelings of pleasure and dopamine secretion.
The opposite happens when our space is dominated by colors that we dislike or that negatively affect us, subconsciously. Based on the above, we should choose color combinations for our space with greater sensitivity and responsibility. It is important not to get carried away by the well-taken, edited photos we see in magazines or blogs, which very often mislead us.
The feeling that a space creates for us is completely different when we are in it and in which we may spend several hours or even years of our lives, from the impression created by a snapshot of the same space, as captured in a video.
Visible concrete – is it appropriate to use in interior painting?
I can not fail to mention the reappearance of uncoated concrete (or otherwise visible concrete), as a new trend 2021 in interior design.
This is not something new, we find it in architecture from the time of the modern movement. Large and emblematic architectural works have been made of uncoated concrete.
Today, many architects and interior designers propose exposed concrete as the amazing, trendy, new material for interiors, even homes.
Recently I even saw a well-known architecture magazine presenting a bathroom with uncoated concrete walls, commenting on it as welcoming!
Apart from the fact that it is a wild and violent material (brutal architecture), so not particularly suitable for interiors that we want to relax, feel comfortable and familiar, there are serious, practical reasons why it is not suitable for residential or business premises such as restaurants and cafes.
It is good to be informed before we adopt indiscriminately and superficially any new fashion, when in fact it carries risks and problems. In short, interventions without knowledge and attention can be dangerous for the health and safety of users.
Explicit concrete is suitable for interiors, under certain conditions
If it is applied correctly and all the necessary specifications are observed, so it is a rather expensive solution, it can be used successfully in public buildings, industrial facilities, museums, art spaces, etc. Some rushed to take advantage of the new fashion, proposing easy but terribly bad solutions. Wallpapers that mimic concrete constructions!
I do not know how many would feel beautiful, relaxed and familiar in an environment that mimics a construction site. You can easily use a velvety charcoal in small areas, with some suspicion of a warm or cold color in it, depending on what you want to highlight. Luxurious shades are also considered purple, purple and burgundy, as well as some green shades, such as olive green.
You will notice that certain shades, in contrast to yellow and orange, are used in the trade and packaging of expensive products.
The same goes for gold and silver. But here too you need to be careful. Excessive use of gold ends up being kitsch, while silver metallic shades to a large extent cool a space. Balance and moderation painting in every field of design are necessary conditions for a space to be considered tasteful and quality.