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With the sizzling success of the titillating blockbuster film Fifty Shades of Grey, America has gone gray in a big way, and their homes are no exception—their interiors are increasingly getting made in the shade.

“I love gray!” exclaims Alure Home Improvements’ Gina Bonura, the sales and design manager of the custom kitchen and bath department. “Gray is the new neutral. It will go with everything.”

And times have changed, says Alure’s top designer.

“It’s not like it was in the 1980s or 1990s when the grays were very cold,” she explains. “These grays now have some warm tones in them.”

There’s beige that adds a warmth to the gray base, or taupe, which exudes a moderate-to-dark brownish quality to the color. Bonura says the new grays offer a tantalizing array of possibilities.

The “cool gray,” she says, was hard to match with beige or cream colors. Instead, black or white would tend to predominate the color scheme. “But now there’s so much cream base in them, you can use warm colors or cool colors, so they give you so much more variety in your room because you can mix so many different colors with them.”

When homeowners are thinking about gray these days, Bonura advises them “to warm it up so they’re not tied to just that one shade.” For example, if the client is considering tile for a kitchen, Bonura says, “I try to find a tile that maybe has a gray base but has other colors in it, too.”

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Of course, the traditional gray still has its important place in interior color schemes. The cooler tones go well with white, blue or green complementary colors. It’s all a matter of taste. But the newer gray goes great with taupe and creamy colors, or perhaps with hints of a red blush to give some pizzazz.

As Bonura knows, gray works well in the kitchen, especially when the appliances have a stainless steel or a brushed nickel facade.

“It definitely has a little bit of a silver base to it,” Bonura says, “but you’re warming it up.”

She’s seeing that these days people interested in kitchen renovation may employ off-white or light cream-colored cabinetry with a “weathered or textured gray” island in the middle of the kitchen space.

“Some people are using espresso-based cabinets and then throwing in an island in gray,” she says, “so they’re definitely mixing them up.”

Another style choice involves using espresso-colored cabinets and lighter countertops with a gray island. Or perhaps gray or taupe cabinets, or even a lightly stained cabinet, and then using the espresso tone for the island.

“Nobody wants to do the same old kitchen anymore,” Bonura observes. “They want to mix it up, to explore and play.”

It’s the same approach to the bathroom: Go gray and you can bring in an array of colored towels to complement the look as well as other accessories to play off the color scheme. And for the bathroom, Bonura says that gray can be a very peaceful color.

So for people contemplating adding singularly tasteful shades of gray to their homes’ interiors, Bonura has kind words of advice.

“Don’t be afraid of it! Let your designer show you exciting ways to mix it in,” Alure’s expert says. “It’s not the same old gray from the past—it’s new and exciting. It’s a sexy gray!”

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