Painting your walls a shade of gray can make any room feel warmer and more inviting. While it can be difficult to land on curtain colors to go with your gray walls, paying attention to the undertones of your paint can make the choice easier.
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Gray walls with more of a warm brown undertone (think griege) will look best with colors in the green family, which lie opposite to brown on the color wheel. Grays with a cool blue undertone (like the paint in the above dining room by Kerrisdale Design Inc.) naturally pair best with blues and greens, but they also create nice contrast with complementary colors like tan. More neutral-toned grays, like all shades of charcoal, can be mixed with almost any color. There are really no rules, though, so feel free to experiment and have fun with it.
The first thing you should add to a newly painted room is a set of curtains. They will not only add privacy and block some of the harsh morning light, but they will also set the tone for the rest of the room. Neutral-colored curtains will give you the most flexibility, while louder-colored ones can either be the focal point of an otherwise minimalist room or the foundation for a bold palette.
It's also helpful to take time and really hone in on the feeling you are trying to achieve in your space. Should the room be eclectic and inviting? Serene and relaxing? A mix of both? This will help you decide if the curtains should be sheer or heavy, floor-length or cropped, and even help narrow down the color choices.
Curtain Styles to Consider for Gray Walls
Before you start shopping around for curtain colors, you should decide what type of curtain you want — and there are a lot of options to choose from.
First consider opacity, or how see-through you'd like your window coverings to be. This ranges from sheer to blackout curtains, with many options in between. Often, a layered combination works best: Sheer curtains can provide privacy during the day while still letting in light, and more opaque curtains or pull-down shades can be closed at night when you'd like more coverage.
Also consider shape and length. Cafe curtains cover only the lower half of the window (if you'd like privacy at your kitchen table or sink, for example), while valences hide hardware and provide decoration at the top of the window. You may like curtains that extend from ceiling to floor, but be mindful of features like radiators and heating vents that may dictate your curtain length.
You can also combine any of these styles to create a look all your own. After all, when it comes to design, there are no hard and fast rules.
20 Curtain Colors for Gray Walls
1. Mustard Yellow
If your gray walls have a blue undertone, try pairing them with deep mustard yellow curtains like Lovejoy Interiors did here. Blue and yellow are naturally complementary, since they sit opposite each other on the color wheel, but these two shades make a particularly delightful paring. The woven pull-down shade and wooden bed frames help lighten the feel of the room, while the colorful throw pillows are an easy way to incorporate other bright colors into the space.
There's just something about light gray walls and fresh white curtains that can make any room feel open and airy. Take this dining area by Kerrisdale Design Inc., for example. The navy blue trim on the curtains ties in the chairs and the artwork on the wall, providing an overall feel of cohesion to the dining room. The fun gold chandelier helps break up all the matching elements and makes the space look fun and inviting.
This gray tone-on-tone look from Digs Design Company is the ultimate in chic sophistication. Accessories like the clear acrylic table and shiny gold floor lamp make the room's design look more modern, while the regal shape of the chair and the statement window valances gives it a classic vibe.
If you have gray walls on the darker end of the spectrum, you may be tempted to choose light curtains so you don't make the space feel too dark. But dark curtains can instantly add a sense of coziness. This bedroom by Melissa Cramer Interiors combines dark gray walls with navy blue curtains that soften the room and make it look like the perfect spot to curl up and watch a movie.
Once you lay eyes on this combination of gray walls and light pink curtains chosen by the team behind Anne Hepfer Designs, you may not want to go with anything else. Keeping the couches and accessories simple allows the curtains to be the star of the room. Placing the thin gold curtains rods right up against the ceiling makes the room look larger, too. Other shades of pink to consider include dusty rose and mauve.
Add coziness to a small room by opting for a set of curtains in warm cream as opposed to stark white. This sitting room by Jenny Keenan Design utilizes a neutral color scheme, multiple patterns, and classic wood wainscoting to create a look that is both stylish and simple. If you want to try mixing prints in your own home but don't know where to start, keep it simple by staying within the same color palette as seen here.
7. Light Blue
This bedroom captured by Alyssa Rosenheck combines different shades of blue and gray to create a tone-on-tone space that is full of texture and cool colors. The mixture of long and short valances shows that your design doesn't have to be limited by the shape or size of the room you are working with.
The team from Kerry Spears Interiors really knows how to turn an ordinary room into a visual masterpiece. Light lavender or lilac curtains against pale gray walls is the color combination we never knew we needed and now can't live without. The pops of green from the plants and the natural wicker side table help keep the room bright and airy despite the amount of furniture packed inside it.
9. Olive Green
This combination of patterned olive green drapes and gray walls from Alexandra Kaehler is perfect for bedrooms, nurseries, offices, or anywhere you'd want to feel serene and relaxed. Adding pops of white keeps the color scheme feeling fresh. Go for accessories made with natural materials and add live plants to feel like you're in the middle of a tropical paradise.
If beige or tan curtains seem too boring for your taste, try choosing a pair with a simple pattern, like designer Lindye Galloway did here. The color scheme is still neutral, but with a little more interest. The simple stone table lamp and black framed oval mirror give this bedroom a clean, modern look you'll love waking up to every day.
11. Lime Green
If you want to wow your guests with an unexpected but delightful color combination, this lime green and gray look captured by Francis Dzikowski is for you. The floor-to-ceiling green drapes command attention and give the room a fun and almost whimsical vibe. You can tell right away that this is a space that will make everyone feel welcomed, perfect for hosting parties with your closest friends.
This room by GG Interiors utilizes various textures and tones to make the space look full and luxurious. From the gray shiplapped walls and the heavy charcoal curtains to the mixed metals in the silver lamps and shiny gold picture frame, this spot is a visual treat for the eyes. Not every room in your house needs to be sleek and minimal.
The bold magenta curtains in this bathroom by Nuevo Estilo look striking against the floral gray wallpaper. The painted blue backsplash behind the wall-mounted sink give the bathroom a European feel that will charm you every time you step inside. Gold hardware and black floor tiles elevate the look even further and make this one of our favorite looks.
It is possible to pair gray and black together without making your entire room feel dark and closed in. Just take this dining room by Kim Scodro, for instance. The pops of white in both the patterned wallpaper and the stripes on the drapes help keep the room light despite the dark-colored table and flooring.
15. Sky Blue
Sky blue and pale gray are a perfect match. The team behind Jenkins Interiors knew just what they were doing when they chose this relaxing color palette. The gray veining in the marble fireplace surround ties in the gray walls, while the artwork and throw blanket play off the blue drapes. This may be a simple, no-fuss design, but it's one that will always look fresh and clean too.
There's nothing simpler than a monochrome look. Pairing gray walls with matching curtains is a fresh twist on the all-white minimalist room. It provides a clean canvas for bright pops of color, which you can incorporate through wall art, throw pillows, and more.
17. Sage Green
It can be tricky to coordinate colors with gray walls that have a brown undertone (aka greige). While you may be tempted to stick with plain white curtains, you don't have to say goodbye to color all together. This dreamy bedroom designed by Liz Caan has sage green curtains that give the room an airy feel. Since the curtains are sheer, they blend easily into the room's existing palette.
This living room by designer Alexandra Kaehler pairs charcoal gray walls with pale turquoise curtains to create a look that is both sophisticated and carefree. The black window frame, crown molding, and accessories ground the design, while the copper free-form coffee table and tons of natural light provide brightness. Yellow throw pillows and fresh flowers also help lighten up the dark space.
Curtain Colors That Go With Gray Walls
When selecting curtains to coordinate with your gray walls, it's important to consider the look you are trying to achieve. If your end goal is a room that is open and airy, choose curtains that are both light in color and fabric.
On the other hand, if you're trying to create a space that feels intimate and cozy, go ahead and choose a deep color like navy blue, mustard yellow, or even a darker gray. Heavier fabrics like thick cotton and velvet will add texture and dimension to the space.
Here's a recap of some of the best colors of curtains to pair with gray walls:
- Mustard yellow
- Navy blue
- Light blue
- Olive green
- Lime green
- Sky blue
- Sage green