The Perfect GREY – Picking The Right Shade

For those of you who have been following the blog or have visited the store, you might by now guess that grey is my favourite colour (I just grey washed our palette wall and ordered grey floors for the showroom). It’s moody, contemporary and goes with anything.  It’s also one of the hardest colours to get right.  If you’ve ever gotten sample after sample you know what I’m talking about.  To make the process a little easier, I’ve put together some tips on helping you pick the perfect shade.

  • First take your temperature.  Figure out if you’re looking for a cool tone or warm tone gray.  Cool tones will be more blue and violet based while warm tones will have hints of either green or brown.
  • Don’t trust your computer monitor/phone/magazine picture.  Colour usually gets a little distorted from the original when the photo is processed so always make sure to look at the paint swatch in the store before making a decision.
  • While I love the creative paint colour names, it’s NEVER a good idea to pick a shade based solely on what someone called it.  For example, Benjamin Moore Portland Gray, Winter Gray, and Beacon Gray all have the word “GRAY” in the name but each of them is very different.
  • Look at shades of gray IN CONTEXT to the colours around them in the fan deck.  Gray has a lot of undertones (purple, blue, green or brown) and you may not notice until you put it next to another shade of gray.
  • If you’re trying to match something at home like a pillow, piece of art or favourite accessory, bring it with you to the paint store.  Sometimes our memory fails us and they way we think a colour looks and what it actually looks like can be very different.
  • Try a sample.  When you’ve narrowed down your choices, try a sample of the paint on your walls.  Chances are it will look very different in the store than it does in your home.  Light plays a tremendous  part in how we see colour so make sure to look at your paint swatch in the daytime with natural light and in the evening with artificial light.

Keeping all that in mind, here are some of my favourite grays with matching pictures from Houzz.  Just keep in mind these may look a little different on your screen so always check the paint swatch first!

Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray HC-170

Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray HC-170

Most people looking for a grey wall colour are looking for a tone like Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray HC-170.  It’s very neutral (not too cool and not too warm) without a lot of undertones.  It also has great depth and would be a great place to start the colour search.

Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray HC-169

Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray HC-169

If you’re looking for a deeper version, try it’s neighbor Coventry Gray HC-169.  It’s great for larger spaces or rooms with a good bit of light.  Because it’s a bit darker, it won’t look washed out but will still compliment anything from blue to orange or pink.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60

I cannot say enough great things about Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60.  It’s a bit on the warm side, goes with practically anything and is light enough for any room in the house.

Benjamin Moore Beacon Gray 2128-60

Benjamin Moore Beacon Gray 2128-60

A cool grey verging on blue Benjamin Moore Beacon Gray 2128-60 looks beautiful next to silver metallic, stainless steel or brushed aluminum finishes.  Since opposites attract, it also makes a great pair with orange!

Benjamin Moore Winter Gray 2117-60

Benjamin Moore Winter Gray 2117-60

With a hint of violet, Benjamin Moore Winter Gray adds a feminine touch to the bedroom.  It’s great for both adult spaces and kid friendly ones.  In the nursery it will coordinate with almost any bedding, it’s gender neutral enough for both boys and girls and will transition with them as they grow and mature.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173

My husband hates the word “greige” but it really is a great description of Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray.  It’s warmer than most and while it’s still contemporary, has a warm beige undertone.  For a darker version, try the very popular (and equally as versatile) Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172.

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172

If you’re heading to the paint store print out a copy of the Happy Painting Checklist to make sure you have all your supplies!

If you liked this post don’t forget to check back next week to see what’s new on the blog but if you can’t wait  our Facebook page is updated daily with amazing spaces, design tips and DIY projects.  Or get a sneak peak at life behind the scenes at the paint store (and more stunning rooms) on our Instagram page here.  

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4 Responses to “The Perfect GREY – Picking The Right Shade”


    […] That being said, it can also be one of the trickiest paint colours in the deck to get right.  BECAUSE it has so many undertones, ranging from blue to beige, it can be hard to pick the one that matches the rest of the elements in your space.  Light can also have a huge impact on the way we see colour so make sure you take that into account when looking for a new shade.  For some handy tips don’t forget to visit “The Perfect GREY – Picking The Right Shade“. […]

  2. Teri

    I just found your great blog. I spent weeks picking out my grays and ended up with Wickham, Stonington, and Coventry. As I have lived with them for a while, I prefer the two darker ones to the Wickham. It isn’t as neutral as I thought it would be. It tends to look almost blue-green next to my furnishings. I guess that is the hazard of choosing a paint color before furnishing the place.


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