6 Gray Flooring Ideas That Show This 'Dated' Shade Still Has Plenty of Style

Gray doesn't always get the love it deserves when it comes to our homes, but these flooring ideas prove it actually forms the best foundation for your space

(Image credit: Scott Norsworth. Design: Reflect Architecture)

Let’s be honest, gray flooring doesn’t always have the best reputation these days. Often synonymous with quick house flips, large-scale developments and doctor’s waiting rooms, gray floors get called out for being ‘cold’, ‘clinical’ and hard to decorate.

But there is a reason so many homes have gray floors. It wasn’t so long ago that the neutral shade was in style — appearing at Milan’s Salone de Mobile, and even being crowned Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2021.

It’s versatile, varied and works hard. There are plenty of colors that go with gray, meaning gray flooring ideas are plentiful and can find themselves at home amongst both minimalist schemes and eclectic maximalist palettes alike.

Is gray flooring a good idea?

Gray flooring ideas are often disregarded as dated or too mainstream, but there is good reason behind their prevalence. Whether it’s a hard-wearing vinyl, the swirling veins running through stone, floorboards or a large rug anchoring the room, gray is grounding, hides grime easily and complements a wide range of colors. In fact, designers have unanimously decided that in all its varying shades, gray is actually the most relaxing color for the eyes.

Whether you need help embracing the gray floors you may have inherited, or advice for how to incorporate the cool hue in your home, we’ve found six chic gray flooring ideas show this subtle shade is here to stay.

1. Gray Carpet

A living room with stripes on carpet

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston. Design: AMB Design Inc)

For those who don’t want to go too dark with their carpet, but also don’t want something as high-maintenance as a beige or cream-color, the perfect middle ground is a gray carpet color. Whether you opt for a solid color or something with a lighter and more textured pile — like the plush flooring in this living room by AMB Design Inc — gray carpet has the potential to both anchor and lift a space.

Not only that, but it's a versatile neutral shade that you can be confident will remain a timeless foundation, even if you choose to update the wall color or furniture choices down the line.

'Gray gets a bad name, but this grounding shade can have great benefits when used thoughtfully,' says Livingetc's Trends Editor, Lilith Hudson. 'When it comes to choosing a color underfoot, a neutral tone works wonders, and a gray rug or carpet can really make the rest of the room sing.'

2. Gray Rugs

If replacing or installing new carpets isn't an option for you right now, another gray flooring idea that can help you achieve the same cozy look is with a gray rug. The fact that it's a less permanent option should also give you the confidence to try something a little bit different, like a gray patterned rug that makes a statement.

Alternatively, you can find beautifully textured gray rug in varying shades to suit your space that will help to soften in more ways than one.

'If you love using color on your walls or throughout your furnishings, a pared back flooring option offers the perfect foundation to build upon,' adds Lilith.

3. Polished Concrete Floors

a house with a polished concrete floor

(Image credit: Ståle Eriksen. Design: Oliver Leech Architect)

Polished concrete is another gray flooring idea to embrace in your home, but with a more sophisticated and modern look. While often associated with industrial spaces, there are endless options when it comes to the choice of finish with polished concrete floors, meaning it's more versatile than you may realize.

'It's a solid surface, so is a visually minimalist option, but has a beautiful natural texture that brings a roughness that can still balance well with elevated materials,' explains Livingetc's editor Hugh Metcalf.

'In terms of color, gray is the classic, but it can be tweaked to be differing shades depending on what you're looking to achieve,' he continues. 'Concrete flooring is hardwearing, but it's also prone to scratches, so I never recommend it to anyone who isn't happy to allow it to patina and take on even more character than it already has.'

4. Large Format Gray Tiles

Gray tile and shower with wooden cabinet

(Image credit: @shaunawaltondesign / Instagram)

Large format gray tiles are a popular in hard-working spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms as they're easy to clean, they're good at disguising dirt and grime, and they're often a more cost effective option.

'Gray can have a warm or cool undertone, meaning there are options to coordinate with basically any palette,' says Heather Peterson, principal designer at Heather Peterson Designs. 'We particularly like using natural tile, like slate kitchen flooring, which has a lot of movement in it.'

Gray tiles can form the perfect foundation onto which you can add 'splashier' details. They're timeless, discreet and signs of age take a lot longer to show up. 'We like using gray or taupe grout with gray tiles,' adds Heather. 'Again because it feels pre-aged and hides dirt.'

5. Gray-Washed Timber Floors

When it comes to laminate, vinyl or other wood floor options, gray is certainly one of the most common and popular colors. Whether it's a light wash or a dark and moody shade, there are so many colors that go with gray, which makes it the ideal base for a room.

'Parallel to an increase in consumer demand for a cool and modern look, we have seen sales of gray floor shades increase in recent years,' says Gary McCoy, a store manager at Lowe's. 'There has been a true uptick in interest in gray floorboards, specifically when it comes to luxury vinyl flooring.'

He attributes this to fact vinyl gray flooring is easy to maintain, durable and can better conceal dirt than lighter colored floorboards. 'Customers looking for ultimate durability should consider Lowe's exclusive STAINMASTER brand, which offers long-lasting gray flooring that is also easy to clean,' he adds.

6. Patterned Bathroom Tiles

A bathroom with patterned flooring and marble elements

(Image credit: Alexander&Co)

To take a more modern approach to gray bathroom tiles, you can opt instead for a smaller, more detailed or patterned style. It's a simple way to energize the look, while adding a more considered and designer flair to the space.

'Small scale mosaics in a marble like Carrara can be a great way to add organic movement and a hit of glam to a space,' says interior designer Heather Peterson. 'We like using a twist on a classic, like a curvy herringbone.'

Gray also helps to soften bold tile patterns, ensuring your bathroom remains a place of calm and retreat. 'Mixing gray into a pattern can soften stronger neutrals like bright white or black,' says Heather.

Emma Breislin
Interiors Editor

Emma is Livingetc's Interiors Editor. She formerly worked on Homes To Love, one of Australia's leading interiors websites, where she wrote for some of the country's top titles including Australian House & Garden and Belle magazine. Before that she was the Content Producer for luxury linen brand, CULTIVER, where she nurtured a true appreciation for filling your home with high-quality and beautiful things. Outside of work hours, Emma can often be found elbow-deep at an antique store, moving her sofa for the 70th time or mentally renovating every room she walks into. Having just moved to London, she's currently starting from scratch when it comes to styling her home, which, while to many may sound daunting, to her, is invigorating.