As someone who writes a lot about stress relief, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve missed a silent stress reliever that’s been coloring the interior lives of Americans everywhere.        

It’s subtle, silent, nearly odorless, and goes by the name “Repose Gray.”

I didn’t discover it in Psychology Today, the New York Times or a ponderous positive psychology research article. Repose Gray came to me courtesy of Ryan the painter.

“Everybody’s using it,” he said. “It’s so calming.”

Ryan and his crew arrived on the heels of the shocking realization that my “new house” had actually not been painted since it was built, nearly a dozen years ago. 

Since then, much has changed. Presidents have come and gone. The last “child” has flown the coop. And completely behind my back, vanilla walls – once the passion of real-estate agents everywhere – have become passe.

“Cream colors are dated,” Ryan informed me. “You’re going to love this. The last three houses I’ve done – all Repose Gray.”

Try as I might, I couldn’t remember seeing much gray. Taupe, maybe. But gray?

I mentioned this supposed trend to a few friends, who quickly informed me their walls are painted in Repose Gray. Also the walls of their daughters, their sons and several first cousins.

“It’s so calming,” they said. “Everyone’s using Repose Gray.”

National trending for the color gray – apart from the “50 Shades” variety – still seemed unlikely, so I took to the Internet. Sure enough, more than 1,000 Pinterest posts popped up to praise and analyze Repose Gray in excruciating detail. They described it as “greige” – a gray with beige and taupe undertones and a “wee bit” of purple, with a light reflective value of 60. One commentator, as if describing a fashion model, reported that it “holds itself well, sitting in the light zone” but is “not TOO washy.”

Suddenly, I felt as “with it” as someone who had not noticed that her appliances – Harvest Gold and Avocado Green – were a little dated.

Lured by overdue trendiness and the prospect of calm, I didn’t waste a minute.

“Let’s do it!” I declared to Ryan, who quickly ushered in a crew of four to participate in the graying of my house.

With ladders and drop cloths everywhere, furniture pushed into the center of the room and all the light-switch plates and screws in a bucket for safekeeping, Repose Gray did not arrive with an instant calming effect.

But little by little – and especially after the painting frenzy ended – the greige began to grow on me. There is something calming these days about a color that just is, without making bold and colorful statements – a quiet background color that shows off occasional flights of fancy without being a flight of fancy, an appropriate backdrop for a quieted TV.

Or maybe I’m just hoping the new calm of my home’s interior will somehow rub off on my own.

If that’s the case, maybe we should order the stuff by the tanker truck, allow it as a medical deduction, require it for FHA loans. Repose Gray could become more than maintenance, more than freshening up, more than fingerprint removal.

It could become a national movement.

Balancing act author Pat Snyder is a Northwest Columbus resident and life-balance speaker and coach. Find her online at