Design Experts Weigh In On Kamala Harris' Controversial Dining Room Paint Color Choice

Although a design trend toward gray interiors began in the early 2000s and hit its stride in the 2010s, it has continued into 2023 as an "it" color, though not everyone's a fan. Some designers lavish praise on this reliable and versatile neutral, while others are ready to move on. Designer Ami McKay shared with The Spruce that "[T]here will always be people who find gray to be classic, and it will continue to have a place as a useful neutral," while designer Peter Spalding is delighted to see it fade, saying "Anything that defines one decade is likely to be out of fashion the next." 

Vice President Kamala Harris's official residence with husband Douglas Emhoff at Number One Observatory Circle is of course elegantly appointed. But the Vice President made a controversial choice for her dining room decor — an abundance of gray in defiance of what some claim is a declining trend. It covers the walls and the drapes, and the area rug and chairs have gray tones while offering additional, contrasting textures. Washington-based interior designer Rachel Waldron had some thoughts about the use of gray in light of Harris's choices. And if you yourself are leaning in and feel like it's an impending color choice for your home, watch out for these mistakes you're making in choosing a gray color.

What more design experts are saying

Vice President Kamala Harris chose a lot of layering in her dining space with a number of grays working together to create a sense of calm. Interior designer Rachel Waldron suggested that when we think beyond trends, our color preferences emerge from who we are and that one can assume the elegant calm on display here reflects Harris's intentional choices.

Speaking about defying the rise or decline of a trend and choosing what you really like, Waldron shared with Homes and Gardens that honoring the context that surrounds your home is equally important, explaining, "In a Seattle waterfront home with an airy, open environment and rich, warm wood accents, gray may provide the perfect backdrop. That same home located in Arizona would likely be out of place and might want to pick up on red rock surroundings."

Andrea Seymour of Springdale Custom Builders and Design added that "[O]veruse or dated use of a color or material can quickly slide past its expiration date. I believe that when you use gray in an updated way, it is still very much a relevant color." No matter what you choose, your dominant color choices set the mood where you live — pick how you want to feel. For example, if you want a happy paint color, these shades will lift your spirits