Life After Gray: Warm, Modern Mediterranean Living Room

Has your home been influenced by the gray trend? If you completed a home project in the last decade or so, I wouldn’t be surprised if you said yes. Compared to what preceded it, gray felt fresh, light, and open – all good things, right? 

However, after living with gray for so long, many people are feeling tired of the tone & ready to bring some warmth into their homes. (In fact, warm and earthy tones are trending big time right now, as evidenced by our trip to High Point Market.) Here’s how we warmed up a gorgeous living room for two special clients & their sweet rescue pup…

Before: Lacking Personality & Warmth 

After moving, literally, 15 yards and purchasing “the home across the street,” this lovely couple was rewarded with more space, light, and upgraded finishes. But… they just weren’t loving the gray. The gray hues in their tile flooring, especially, was making the space feel overwhelmingly cold. To them, the vibe felt sterile, somewhat disjointed, & lacked personality. It just wasn’t their style.


As frequent travelers, they had fallen in love with the earth tones found in their European adventures & wanted to infuse their living room with similar warmth. And with those exposed beams and arched door — that just ooze Old World charm — can you blame them? Stunning.

After chatting with them about their goals, we decided that our Essential Custom Interior Design service was the perfect fit for their project. We presented black & white technical drawings and a design board with a shopping list for implementation. Simple, straightforward, & effective. 

And the results? We think they nailed it…

After: Warm, Welcoming & Comfortable


Ahhh, can you feel the warm coziness permeating this space? What once was cold and unwelcoming now feels soft, inviting, & oh so comforting. It’s truly incredible what a simple shift in color tones can do for a space, isn’t it? 

Yes, we selected all of these items, but we have to give this couple a giant pat on the back for their flawless implementation — we didn’t see the space until we showed up to shoot it & it hardly needed any styling at all! Knowing that this is what it looks like on a daily basis gives me all the warm fuzzy feelings.

Warming Up the Gray Floors


Swooning aside, let’s take a look at what makes this transformation so special. Replacing the floors wasn’t an option, so we had to work with the gray. We knew it would limit our options when trying to change the room’s entire color palette. I’m not going to lie – it was very tricky, but we matched the undertone with a taupe brown to carry the desired earth tones throughout the space.

Adding in rich sienna, ochre & terracotta hues helped warm the space considerably. We also strategically mixed in light wood tones to bring a natural balance to the existing darker hues. & a literal layer of warmth: we made smart use of large rugs to help cover the overwhelming gray floor, preventing it from taking over.

Grounding the entire space is the gorgeous neutral sofa. Our clients chose the Shop the Showroom Add-On for this sofa (and a few other styling pieces in their home), & I know they’ll be pleased with that decision for years

Believe it or not, this project was actually a very budget-friendly update. We used the clients’ existing furniture where we could (the leather chair was original), and added new where necessary. Mixing high-quality custom upholstery & accent furniture with a super durable machine woven rug and retail drapery & accessories allowed us to uplevel the space in a big way. For us, it’s all about strategic saving and investing to strike the perfect balance.

A Modern Mediterranean Fireplace Update


Remember the original yellow and maroon fireplace tile? Nope, it definitely did not match the undertone of the gray floor, so it had to go. To give it an update, we skim coated it with plaster & made it very “mediterranean modern” with simple clean lines. So much better, right?

The Perfect Finishing Touches


As for finishing touches, it’s all in the details. A gorgeous coffee table brings even more added warmth with natural wood. It’s the perfect size for the scale of the sofa & for two people to use practically. And the fun little end table adds a pop of darkness to tie in with the other dark hues in the room. Everything is intentional.

Another designer tactic: The gentle curves of both tables and the firewood stand bring softness & a feeling of comfort into the room, which accentuate that sense of warmth our clients hoped to achieve. (Sharp lines naturally feel less warm.) Now, this whole space makes me want to just curl up on that comfy sofa and sip a steaming cup of coffee. Ahhhh.


Ready to move on from gray?

So, what’s the verdict on life after gray, you ask? Well, our clients love stepping into their home now & feel as though their warmed up living room finally reflects their style. Lounging with their pup on the sofa feels as soothing, relaxing, and cozy as it should now, & they’re thrilled with the changes. 

Which brings me to Takeaway #1: You don’t always need to gut or renovate to make a big impact. Aside from the fireplace tile removal, everything was achieved with furniture. & as for Takeaway #2… Gray floors are not a prescription for doom & gloom forever. They can be decorated around to change the entire vibe of your room — but you definitely need help from a professional to do it right.

If this project resonated with you and you’re feeling ready to move on from gray, I’m here to help. Reach out to us & let’s breathe some warmth into your home.


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