Is Grey flooring out of style?

Grey flooring has been a popular neutral choice for homes for many years. However, some design experts argue that grey floors are becoming overdone and dated. In this article, we’ll examine whether grey floors are truly going out of style.

The Rise in Popularity of Grey Floors

Grey flooring, whether in a grey wood tone or grey tile, first became popular in the 2010s. After years of dominance by warm wood tones and colorful carpeting, grey floors offered a sleek, modern look. Grey flooring created a neutral base that allowed home decorators to use bolder colors on walls, furniture, and decor items.

Several factors contributed to the surge in grey toned flooring:

  • A move towards modern and contemporary interior design aesthetics in the 2010s, which favored muted, cool neutrals over warm wood tones.
  • Advancements in engineering hardwood floors, making greys and other previously difficult colors easier to manufacture consistently.
  • The rise of large format grey tile, often mimicking concrete or stone looks.
  • Increased consumer appreciation for industrial design elements like concrete floors, but in softer grey wood or tile versions suitable for homes.

Grey floors spiked in popularity between 2015 and 2020. During those years, they were a go-to neutral flooring choice for new builds, renovations and flips. Grey toned vinyl plank flooring also became a budget-friendly alternative to higher end grey wood floors.

Are Grey Floors Going Out of Style?

In the last couple of years, the tide has slowly started to turn away from grey floors in some design circles. While still dominant, some designers have declared grey floors as trendy instead of classic. There are a few factors contributing to this:

  • Market saturation. Grey floors were used so much in the 2010s that they became somewhat ubiquitous. The high availability and mass popularity of grey floors made them seem less special over time.
  • Lack of warmth. As trends shifted from mid century modern back to more traditional and farmhouse aesthetics, the cooler grey tones seemed sterile and lacking coziness to some.
  • Boredom. For homeowners who had grey floors installed during the height of their popularity, the look may now feel dated and tired.
  • Limited options. While grey floors are available in different hues, the palette tends to be limited compared to wood floors. Homeowners seeking more variation may be moving on to new looks.

However, despite some backlash, grey floors are far from disappearing altogether. They remain a versatile foundational flooring color that suits a wide range of home styles. But grey floors may need to be refreshed and updated going forward.

How to Keep Grey Floors Relevant

If you already have grey floors and still love them, there are ways to keep them feeling fresh and current:

  • Refinish or re-coat grey wood floors in a new grey stain that subtly shifts the tone.
  • Update with grey flooring that has more variation or visual interest, like wide planks or mixed widths.
  • Paint lower maintenance grey LV plank flooring instead of fully replacing it.
  • Layer large area rugs overtop to change the look periodically.
  • Refresh the overall space with new paint colors, furniture, and decor while keeping the floors.

For those considering installing new floors, grey remains a versatile neutral. But expanding the palette beyond basic greys can help long-term appeal. Strategies include:

  • Opt for grey floors with added character like heavy graining or wirebrushed textures.
  • Use wider grey planks for a more modern, dramatic look.
  • Install grey floors in an interesting pattern like herringbone or chevron.
  • Choose multi-toned grey floors with more depth and variation.
  • Use grey on some spaces but pair with wood tones in others for balance.

Top Alternatives to Grey Floors

Homeowners and designers looking to move past grey floors have many stylish options. Some current popular grey flooring alternatives include:

White Oak or Whitewashed Wood

Light, wirebrushed white oak and whitewashed wood floors provide a lighter, airier alternative to grey that still feels modern. Soothing white oak pairs well with many color schemes.

Ebony or Dark Stained Wood

On the opposite end of the spectrum, dramatic dark wood floors provide cozy contrast. Rich ebony floors feel warmer and more classic than grey floors.

Natural Wood Grain

Showcasing the beauty of natural wood, floors with minimal stains let the wood grain shine. Freely flowing wood patterns feel organic compared to solid grey floors.

Bold Colors

Some homeowners opt for flooring as a bold color statement instead of a neutral. Vibrant blue, green, or even black stained floors make grey seem tame and predictable.

Patterned Flooring

Unusual laid patterns like herringbone provide more visual interest than simple grey planks. Patterned tile or parquet floors also offer intricacy.

Pros of Grey Floors

Despite greys potentially waning as a leading floor choice, they still offer many benefits:

  • Neutral palette. Grey adapts well to any color scheme and style. It doesn’t fight with furniture or wall colors.
  • Light reflectivity. Grey floors don’t absorb light like darker floors, helping rooms feel open and airy.
  • Hide dirt. Compared to light floors, grey floors conceal scuffs, spills, and dirt well.
  • Versatility. Grey wood or tile works in traditional, modern, industrial and other styles.
  • Sleek look. Grey floors have an inherently refined, sophisticated look.

If you love grey floors, their benefits likely outweigh any temporary decline in popularity. Focus on ways to refresh and update your grey flooring instead of feeling pressured to replace them altogether.

Cons of Grey Floors

On the other hand, grey floors do come with a few potential drawbacks:

  • Limiting palette. Having too much grey flooring can make a room feel monotonous or dull.
  • Cold feeling. In some spaces, grey floors may read as too sterile and cold.
  • Showing dust. While hiding dirt overall, dust and debris show readily on grey.
  • Dated look. Grey floors from 5-10 years ago may start to seem out of style.
  • Lack of patina. Unlike wood, grey floors won’t develop a rich patina over time.

Weighing the pros and cons can help homeowners decide if grey floors are the best choice for their lifestyle and design tastes going forward.


Grey floors remain popular but their ubiquity has damaged their cutting edge style status. Homeowners with grey floors have style options like refinishing, repainting, or recoloring to reinvigorate the look. And grey still works wonderfully as a backdrop for colorful furniture and adventurous decor choices.

For new builds or renovations, grey floors can still be stylish with thoughtful implementation. Go for variations like wide planks or mixed greys for added interest. Or pair grey floors in some areas with other colors like light oak or walnut in adjacent spaces. Ultimately the versatility and sleek modernity of grey floors keeps them a enduring design choice.

Leave a Comment