Ben And Erin Napier's Trick To Adding Warmth To Your Gray Primary Bedroom

Way back in the premier episode of "Home Town's" third season, Erin and Ben Napier worked some magic that wasn't all that commonly needed in Laurel, Mississippi. They took a large budget and a big, well-built, open house and made it a masterpiece tailored for the new homeowners, Toy and Cory Watts. Nowhere is this more evident than in the primary bedroom, where tradition and the warm wood tones along with Ben's craftsmanship offset the gray foundation grounding the walls and floors.

It was a perfect approach to Toy and Cory's personal retreat. Toy is the Laurel School District superintendent and Cory is a pastor and NASA employee (talk about having your head in lofty place!). In her blog Erin calls them "two of our most charismatic neighbors." In spite of having what must surely be the most weighty roles you'll find in any community, they are also some of the funniest people you've ever seen. Who can properly appoint a bedroom for a couple like this? Well, Erin and Ben Napier.

Balancing the warm and the cool

In the episode, Ben Napier recalls, "We went with a nice gray on the walls. We got the new carpet in ... it's gray. I wanted to give them a really nice, big bed, and also what that will do is it will bring in some warmth and some color." The balancing act worked, and the two palettes work together in a way that exceeds the effects of either.

The gray wall paint seems to reflect a subtle tint of blue or green, depending on the light. If the tint is present in the carpeting, it's so understated that Ben is justified in calling the floor gray. It certainly steers clear of pastel, a carpet color choice many design pros agree is risky. The walls can shift from blues to greens in a camera's light, and fabrics accentuate both hues, with an occasional nod to warmer colors as well. Meanwhile, there are at least three prominent wood tones in the room. On their own, either approach might be called something unpleasant like "indistinct" or "muddled." Together, what they are is spot on.

So what's going on in this room, anyway?

On their first walkthrough of the house together, the couple and the Napiers simply blew right through the bedroom on the way to the primary bath. Erin commented, literally in passing, that the bedroom was "a little bit precious," almost certainly in that "trying a little too hard" sense. There simply wasn't anything about the room worth lingering over. Yet it ends up as the last indoor stop of the reveal ... never a time to risk disappointment. The color balance is so immediately tranquil and sophisticated that Toy Watts barely got a glance before declaring her love for the room, which she described as "very soothing, very classic."

If you're looking for soothing and serene, it's natural to pair the warmer wood tones with cooler colors from the opposite side of the color wheel. Whether Erin Napier's gray paint actually features the light blue/green tint we think we see, the overall effect is contrast without drama. And there are touches of stronger contrast introduced by the fireplace screen and the darker traditional chair and table, which give the room additional structure. The paint tint is far lighter than, for example, the wall paint colors that complement darker natural wood trim. The fabrics on the bed bring even more air to a light and soothing room, and that air lifts the earthy wood tones and brings the whole room to a place where refinement, authenticity, and relaxation can all coexist. And that only sounds easy if you haven't tried to pull it off.