I’ve reviewed so many individual gray hues, it only seems fitting to now write a big overview on gray paint colors.
There’s so much that goes in to deciding on the right gray for your space. You need to account for the undertones and how light or dark the color is to ultimately decide if the color is right for your space.
Full disclosure, this post is looong. But stick with it. Once you get to the end, you’ll know exactly which gray (hint: there are many, many shades of gray) you need for your home, plus you’ll know the exact samples to get. No more skimming through the hundreds of gray options offered.
Gray paint colors understood
Before we get in to the “meat” of this post, let’s quickly go over a few key facts about gray paint colors that will set you up for understanding how to choose the perfect gray that works for your space.
Many people think grays are neutral enough to work in any space, but if this were the case, I wouldn’t be getting tons of emails each week wondering why a ‘neutral’ gray looks off in someone’s home.
Above paint color: Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray
Here’s the dirty little secret about gray paint colors (and really any paint color, for that matter) they all have undertones. Beyond just simply being aware of the undertones in a gray paint option, you must be aware of how the interact with your home.
If you’ve read any of my reviews on some of the popular grays, you know by now that gray paint colors have three undertones:
To further complicate things, a lot of these grays have combinations of two or three of these colors. For example, there’s a lot of blue/green undertones found in gray paint options.
There won’t be a “true” gray. If you come across a specific gray paint color review and someone says, “This gray is great because it will work in anyone’s space because it’s a true gray and there are no undertones,” that’s your cue to exit!
There will always be an undertone and you can rest assured you’ll see it as soon as you finish painting your walls and realize the more putty colored gray you thought you were getting is actually reading blue!
Now, of course, there are degrees of everything–some grays have undertones that will jump off the paint chip and others are way more subtle. We’ll talk about which grays have screaming undertones and which ones are more relaxed.
I use this picture a lot because these are all popular gray paint colors. By themselves they look just gray. But then you compare them with other grays you can see instantly that there are different undertones in each hue!
What are the best gray paint colors?
If you’ve come to this article looking for that one “go to” gray, you will be disappointed. Unfortunately, there are no paint colors (gray included) that work for every space.
The best gray will have the correct undertones for your furniture/fixed elements and work with the lighting in your home.
That said, I do have my favorite grays that I’ll go over in depth below. After this post you will be able to confidently choose a gray paint color for your space.
Light gray paint colors
To help you narrow down the right gray for your space, this list is broken down into light and dark (dark colors will be reviewed below these) gray paint colors. I’ve also listed them by undertone, too.
My favorite grays with blue undertones
You should go with a gray with blue undertones if your furnishings/fixed elements relate to blue (over green, purple or blue/green).
For example, the following suggestions all work beautifully with marble countertops because the blue undertone in marble relates to the blue undertone in a gray-blue color.
Here’s a sample mood board I put together to illustrate a decor scheme that would work well with gray-blue (first star is the middle color):
And now, here are my top 3 most recommended grays with blue undertones:
A 60 on the Light Reflective Variance scale, Nimbus is a mid-to-light gray with a blue undertone. Compared to the other two grays with blue undertones on this list, Benjamin Moore Nimbus works really well to hold its own and not get washed out in a room with a lot of natural light
Sherwin Williams First Star
Significantly lighter than Nimbus, First Star is a super chill paint color because even though it has blue undertones, they’re very subdued. Significantly lighter than Nimbus, First Star works well to really complement a cooler decor scheme. Find my full review on Sherwin Williams First Star here.
Benjamin Moore Horizon
Horizon is one of the lightest gray paint colors with only a slight blue undertone. This color might be too washed out in a lot of natural light, but will work well in normal lighting situations. Find my full review on Benjamin Moore Horizon here.
Above, the cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore Nimbus. Do you notice anything about the decor elements in the room? Hint: they are all blue! Now, you don’t have to have an all blue room to pull off gray-blue, but the blue undertone does need to relate to sizable elements in the room to look cohesive.
Need more options in the grayish blue/blue gray realm? Here you’ll find even blue gray paint options.
My favorite grays with blue/green undertones
You’ll choose a gray with blue/green undertones if the furnishings in your space relate to green and blue. Grays with both green and blue undertones are like a chameleon; they change based on your decor and as the lighting shifts throughout the day.
Here’s a sample mood board to show you how a gray with blue/green undertones shines the best (gray cashmere is the middle):
And now, here are my top 5 grays with blue/green undertones.
Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments
By far the most dramatic gray-blue-green on this list, Quiet Moments is so pretty. Perfect for a bathroom, quiet moments is beautiful blend of all three undertones. I haven’t used Quiet Moments too much, but it’s recent addition to Benjamin Moore’s 2022 colors of the year, made me stop and pay attention to this breathtaking hue.
Sherwin Williams Silverpointe
A really pretty medium-to-light gray with blue and green undertones, Silverpoint is a great choice. This particular gray has a bit more blue than green and will hold its own in a room with a lot of natural light.
Find my full review on Sherwin Williams Silverpointe here.
Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere
Very similar in light depth to Silverpointe, Gray Cashmere has a good blend of green and blue, but tends to have a bit more green than blue.
Find my full review on Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere here.
I’m a huge fan of Gray Owl. It’s got a pretty blend of undertones with the blue and green, but it’s pretty muted and typically reads like a gray-blue, with just the smallest hint of green.
Find my full review on Benjamin Moore Gray Owl here.
The lightest of the grays with blue green on this list, Wickham Gray is a really solid choice. Split pretty evenly in terms of blue and green undertones, Wickham Gray might be a good option for those looking for a lighter gray with blue/green undertones.
Find a full review on Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray here.
Above, Wickham Gray is used to highlight both the blue and turquoise hues in the overall decor palette.
Grays with blue/green undertones will read either more blue or green depending on the lighting and if the room favors more blue, than the blue is pulled out more, and the same goes for more green in the overall design pulling out more of the green undertones.
Grays with purple undertones
You’ll choose a gray with a purple undertone if you’re in search of a warmer gray and have pink/purple undertones. To illustrate how this might look in real life, here’s a sample mood board using Collingwood (color in the center):
Benjamin Moore Collingwood
A subtle, yet really beautiful gray with purple undertones, Collingwood is a warm paint color. Darker than the other two on this list of gray purples, Benjamin Moore Collingwood works well to not get too washed out in rooms with ample natural light.
Find my full review on Benjamin Moore Collingwood here.
Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
Balboa Mist is another popular gray paint color, but many people opt for this color not knowing about its true identity. Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist is actually a greige (blend of gray and beige) with a purple undertone.
Find my full review on Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist here.
Sherwin Williams Silver Satin
The lightest hue on this list, Silver Satin is a nearly-there greige with a purple undertone. Not quite as warm as Balboa Mist or Collingwood, Silver Satin is beautiful choice if you need a lighter gray-purple.
Above Balboa Mist is used to perfectly coordinate with the purple/pink elements in the room. This is a perfect example of correctly identifying your fixed elements in your room and finding the corresponding color and undertone to bring the room to life!
Grays with green undertones
Grays with green undertones are the most neutral of the grays, and are typically less fussy than blue grays and purple grays. If you’re choose a gray with a green undertone, your space is on the warmer side.
Here’s a sample mood board to give you a good feeling for the tone in which a green gray shines (classic gray is in the middle):
And now, here are my favorite grays with green undertones:
Agreeable Gray has been very popular for years, as the gray paint trend has strengthened. This medium to light gray tone is completely different from all the other grays we’ve reviewed so far, as you can see there are clearly no blue undertones.
Agreeable Gray has green undertones, and although most gray-greens are more warm, agreeable Gray is slightly cooler than the other four tones on this list. Depending on your lighting, Agreeable Gray can look more gray or more beige, and almost passes as a greige paint color.
Edgecomb Gray is a fairly light, very neutral (in terms of undertones) gray. It almost looks like a beige, but when paired with true beige colors, you can easily see the gray. While Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray has a green undertone, it’s very subtle and will be seen more in rooms with less natural light.
Find my full review on Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray here.
Benjamin Moore Morning Dew
As you know by now, some paint colors show their undertones more than others and Morning Dew is strongly connected to green. In some lights, Morning Dew will come off as a barely there green gray, and in others a gray green. Nonetheless, it’s a perfectly calming gray.
Benjamin Moore Gray Mist
Very similar to Agreeable Gray in terms of the makeup of the color, Gray Mist is almost a lighter version. Light and airy, coupled with a good blend of gray and beige and just a hint of a green undertone, Benjamin Moore Gray mist is a good option if you want bright, but don’t want white.
Read my full review on Benjamin Moore Gray Mist.
One of the lightest colors on this list of grays, Benjamin Moore Classic Gray sometimes gets lumped into the off-white category, even though it’s anything but. Place Classic Gray next to a true off-white, like White Dove and you’ll quickly see that it’s a pale greige (gray and beige blend) with slight green undertones.
Browse my full review on Benjamin Moore Classic Gray here.
Dark gray paint colors
Searching for a gray paint color on the darker side? Just like with the light gray colors above, these are separated by undertone. For the most part, I recommend these darker hues to go alongside their lighter counterpart (same undertone family) and act as accent colors.
Dark grays with blue undertones
I’ve included Gray Screen in the dark section of this list, but truth be told, it’s more closely aligned with a medium depth color, as its LRV is 59–very close to Nimbus. This darker gray is a striking color with blue undertone that sometimes catches a little purple.
Read my full review on Benjamin Moore Gray Screen
Sherwin Williams Passive
I’ve included Sherwin Williams Passive in the blue undertone category, as those are its most glaring undertones, but would you believe that Passive also has a green and purple undertone, too? I like working with Passive, as I think since it’s less tied to one single undertone it’s slightly easier to work with. Passive also has a LRV of 59, so it’s not that dark, but it’s not that light, either.
Read my full paint color review on Sherwin Williams Passive
Another paint color with a 59 LRV, but I couldn’t resist adding it to this list–Stonington Gray is one of my favorite medium depth paint colors. Stonington Gray has a blue undertone, but it’s not as glaring as say, Gray Screen. If you need a gray-blue but want it to read more gray than blue, Stonington Gray might be for you.
Read my full review on Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray
Significantly darker than Stonington Gray, and far more tied to that blue undertone, Stonignton Gray is a striking color choice. I love this hue for cabinetry, especially with bright white countertops!
Read my full color review on Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray
Boothbay Gray is hands down one of my favorite colors. Some people call it a blue, while others call it a gray. Either way, its a gray-blue or blue-gray depending on how you look at it. Great choice for cabinetry or built-ins in an office.
Read my full review on Benjamin Moore Boothbay Gray
Dark grays with purple undertones
A darker gray hue, Mindful Gray is fairly warmed up by its purple undertone. Many grays don’t look too great in less than favorable light, and Mindful Gray is one of them–to truly capture the beauty of this rich color, make sure you have enough natural light.
Just one point off the LRV of Mindful Gray, Anew Gray is considerably warmer, thanks to its purple undertone.
Dark grays with green undertones
Revere Pewter has been at the top of Benjamin Moore’s top sellers for decades, and for a while, Daniel was mentioning that nearly every homeowner was requesting this color, and while it is fairly neutral, it doesn’t mean that it will work with every space. Completely opposite from colors like Stonington Gray, Revere Pewter has a green undertone.
Read my full review on Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.
Darker than Revere Pewter, Colonade Gray is a dark gray that almost presents like a greige (gray and beige blend) with a green undertone.
By far the darkest color on this list, Chelsea Gray is a rich dark gray with green undertones. Perfect to pair with some of the light grays on this list that also have green undertones like Classic Gray and Gray Mist.
Whoo! If you’ve made it this far, congrats! Now, there should be no question about which gray paint color to use. As always, if you have questions, please leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer!
ABOUT DANIEL AND ASHLEY
As a licensed general contractor with more than 10 years in the business, Daniel can walk you through any home renovation or improvement project step-by-step. And if you’re here for home design and paint color advice, Ashley’s your girl! Join us as we share helpful tips and step-by-step tutorials on anything and everything home. We’re also renovating our personal home along the way, and will use this blog as a way to document our progress. Read more...