How to Choose Gray Paint Colors


We have five different gray colors in our home… Silver Fox, Coventry Gray, Boothbay Gray, Stonington Gray, Duxbury Gray
Needless to say…I love gray walls! I pretty much always gravitate toward interiors with gray walls, white trim and light furnishings. But with about a million different shades of gray out there, how do you decide which is best in your home? Here are the tricks I used when I was picking colors for our house.
1. Consider the Undertones. If you’ve worked with grays at all, you know they can really quickly turn blue, green, purple, brown, etc. This is because most grays have an undertone of some sort. When you’re choosing a gray, think about the undertone you’d like to have. In our living room, I knew I wanted a “griege” or French gray – so I intentionally chose a gray with a strong taupe undertone (Silver Fox by Benjamin Moore).

Silver Fox

{Here you can see how Silver Fox reads gray in the foreground, but more taupe in other parts of the room}
But in our hearth room and kitchen, I wanted a “clean gray” with little to no undertone. So I chose Coventry Gray, which does have just the slightest – slightest – bit of blue in just the right light, but mostly is a very true, simple gray.

Coventry Gray

{Coventry Gray in our kitchen. It’s also used in our hearth room.}
2. Look at Its Neighbors, The paint’s neighbors, I mean, not yours : ) When considering a color, look at the darkest color on the strip in the store. That probably means those are the undertones that will be found in the lighter shade on the strip. If the bottom color is a rich blue-gray, the middle and lighter tones are most likely going to carry that same blue.
Boothbay Gray
{Boothbay Gray – a blue-gray – in our master}
3. Look Up Colors Online. If I found a color I thought I liked, I would search the color on Google Images and Pinterest. This just helps me see how the color looks in real life and in different homes/lights. This isn’t absolutely fail-proof, but I decided against several colors I was strongly considering from the swatch alone once I saw variations in photos. I found it very helpful!
Gray swatch Grays
4. Use Swatches and Samples. When buying paint, always take into consideration the lighting in your own home.  It’s never the same as in the store and as I’m sure we all know, Lighting changes everything.  So, take samples and swatches home and make sure.  Swatches can be taped or pinned to the wall, while Samples can be painted onto the wall.  With which ever you choose place the new color in multiple areas in the room to get a true perspective of the color and undertones.
Stoneington Gray
{Stonington Gray in our hallway. I LOVE this color, but used it in our two bathrooms, office and hall, none of which are camera ready right now. Sorry I don’t have a better photo!}
5. Ask Your Friends! Top picks were Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore (number one by far – and probably an always-safe choice no matter your room), Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore, and Stonington Gray. Ask around and see what your friends have picked…it’s always great to get a second opinion!
Let us know some of your favorite grays.

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