Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Pick the Perfect Gray Paint Color

I spent a good bit of time last week staring at gray paint samples, so today, I thought I'd share how to pick out the perfect neutral to warm gray. Grays are tricky! Whatever you do - don't use the first one you find!!

So why are grays so tricky? They range from bluish cool grays, to brownish warm grays with neutral gray in between. Grays go blue very easily! For gray, I prefer a neutral to warm gray, so that's what I'll be talking about today. I also love a gray blue, but I prefer it to read more blue than gray (verse gray with blue undertones), so that's another post :)

When starting, here's what I recommend.

1. Pick out several samples (~10) or use a paint deck and look at them side by side. This allows you to easily determine the undertones 2. Look at the samples in the room that the paint will be in (at different points during the day, especially for wall colors). The light will make all of the difference! Don't skip this step!

Need a starting point? Here are my picks! (from Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore)

For a lighter gray, BM Gray Owl (neutral) or BM Hazy Skies (warm). These are great wall colors, also try them lightened 50% for a lighter look.

Medium to medium dark, SW Dovetail and SW Gauntlet Gray (neutral) and SW Anonymous and SW Porpoise (warm, brown undertones)

Medium to medium dark, BM Chelsea Gray, BM Amherst, BM Kendall Charcoal (neutral, but still very rich).

Medium, BM Galveston Gray, a little warm

Medium, BM Eagle Rock, warm with subtle brown undertones.

Dark, BM Dragon's Breath, rich, dark, gray with brown undertones.

For my Drexel Campaign dresser, I went with BM Eagle Rock (mixed in Sherwin Williams Pro Classic) - the perfect medium gray with very subtle brown undertones. I finished painting over the weekend, but I'm still trying to replicate the two missing handles, photos soon!

Finally, my top pick for a neutral gray (from above samples) BM Chelsea Gray and BM Kendall Charcoal - they are neutral, but still very rich!

If you're picking out gray paint soon, I hope this helps!!


  1. This is so pin-worthy! saving for later, thanks! :)

    x Lily

  2. Can't wait to see the painted campaign dresser.

  3. Perfect warm grey or greige can be so hard to find! I happen to love Revere Pewter and Mindful Grey.

    I can't wait to see how you make replacement handles? Are clay and spray paint involved?

    1. I love revere pewter too! I painted my living room that color. And thanks Sarah for all the gray paint color suggestions. I will be pinning!

    2. We did our kitchen in Mindful Grey! Love it!

  4. This is super helpful! We painted our dining room and living room in a SW light gray color (can't remember the name) and it is way too light and way too blue. I'm waiting patiently for my husband to agree to repaint it :) I like these darker grays much better. Thanks!


  5. You are so right, grays are tricky! I just got done painting my daughter's dresser Graceful Gray and I really like it. It has slightly warm undertones, which I like. But it still looks a lot different than the sample, so hard to tell sometimes!


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I love hearing what you think! :)

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