How to Choose Gray Paint Colors & Accent Colors for Your Rooms

Gray paint colors are the hot decorating color. Everywhere you look there are hints of gray. Picking the right color gray for your rooms is not always easy because there are so many shades of gray to choose from like warm, muddy or cool. Gray also goes well with the warm tones of wood. This makes it easy to use as a decorating tool. 
gray accent colors
This post explores how you can pick the right gray for your room, whether you are painting walls or using gray as an accent color. Even though gray has been the ‘it’ color for a few years, it remains popular because it is so versatile.
muddy gray walls
Source : Pinterest – warm woods with gray and a crisp white sink
From the shape of your room, the amount of natural light and the style of your existing furniture, they all come into play when using gray. If you are doing your color selection alone; keep reading!
dark gray with blue gray door
Source: ThePaperStich Blog
We think of gray as a very elegant neutral. It adds depth to subtle colors and makes bold colors pop. That makes gray paint colors one of the most flattering and popular wall paint colors right now. 
It’s the temperature of your gray that you have to get right, so you evoke cool or warm depending on which mood you want to create. A warm gray paint color is a great choice. They don’t always shine on color charts but put them on the wall to see how they can transform your room without taking over your entire color scheme. Is this the right choice for you?
Warm greys
Source: Pinterest

Choosing Gray Paint Colors and Natural Light

The first thing to gauge is how much natural light your rooms get as well as which direction this light comes from. The direction of the light works to make your gray shade either cooler or warmer.

If you face north, the northern light is the coolest, creating a bluish hue while southern light creates a warm golden hue. East and west changes during the day, as the sun moves through the sky. Western light is warmer at sunset while an eastern light is warmer at sunrise.

gray couch with dark walls More


This single quality about natural light makes choosing gray paint very difficult if you are making your decision off a tiny color chart.

Gray Paint for Northern Light

Rooms that face north can be the most difficult to decorate . If your rooms face north with little or no natural light consider using gray as an accent color. A cool northern light can make some grays look icy and flat.  Work with your room and think about using strong dark colors. Grays with brown undertones can warm up a room without using loud colors and remaining elegant.

Charcoal gray paint is very dramatic and perfect for a dining room. Its glamorous and inviting.

If you prefer warmer tones, avoid gray-blue paint colors or green gray paint. These will make your room look and feel even colder. Use yellow or beige based gray, sometimes called greige, to bounce as much light around as possible. These rich shades make warmer grays.

this gray has touches of brown and green added to it
Source: Pinterest – hints of yellow, green and taupe in this room

If you want to add blue gray paint to your rooms, add or change your light sources – from floor lamps to sconces – to make your gray paint look its best. Use layered lighting to make the room and you look great. An overhead fixture alone will create more shadows. This is a look best avoided.

Want to dive into something more specific? Keep reading to find the best ways to use gray paint colors and accents in your home.

West Facing Rooms Warm Grays

Like North facing rooms, west facing rooms are dressed best in grays that contains a whiff of beige or yellow which draw in the light and warm up as evening arrives and lights are switched on – cooler earlier in the day and warmer late as the color changes from morning to night.

These hints of yellow create warm, cozy but low-key luxury rooms. Some yellow-grays can look taupe. If you room has little light pick warm light gray paint colors for a quick pick me up.

Gray Paint for Southern Rooms

If you have a rooms facing south, its time to smile. South facing rooms are a joy to decorate. The light quality lets you use both warm and cool gray color schemes – all colors look great in your light.

warm blue grey wall

If you want rooms that feel light and spacious; use pale tones or warm gray wall paint colors that are easy to live with. This dark lavender-based, textured gray bed cover looks perfect here, and is balanced by the dark warm floor, yellow tones in the bedside tables and white walls.

lavender gray bedspread
Source: Pinterest

Gray Paint for Eastern Light

East facing rooms can appear a little blue.  Its often best to go with it and choose green or blue grays, like a French gray, which are perfect for interior and exterior paint.  Like south facing rooms, you can get away with using a more blue toned gray but if your climate is on the cooler side, add layers of gray so you room does not look clinical or too cool.

Green based blues are often the most neutral. They are easy to live with because they go so well with other colors and wood tones. Adding tones that are warmer and lighter, you get more light into your room and make them feel relaxed and cozy.

To stop your room feeling too cold, use natural wood, warm metals and warm colors.

lots of light pours into this soft gray living room

Color Schemes that Go With Gray 

What makes all the different shades of gray paint look so different is the color’s undertone. The best way to visually see the undertone is by lining two grays together, side by side. Suddenly you can see that one might be bluer or more purple, and the other has a tinge of yellow or red.

Alone they can look like any other gray wall color but place them side by side and you can quickly see the other colors mixed in to give each gray their different and unique shades.

Most paint colors called “gray” aren’t a pure gray; that’s white base mixed with an amount of black paint. 

black and white with soft grays
Source: Pinterest – soft grays break up the very black and white living room

Grays look different in different light and in different size rooms. From charcoal gray colors, gray-blue paint, purple to lavender, blue or green, yellow, red or brown – buying gray paint based on the undertone will create the mood you want and go with existing furniture, carpets or flooring.

Edgecomb Gray wall paint


Grays with a lavender undertone appear softer and more feminine, gray painted walls with blue or green greys act slightly more neutral, while gray with a brown or red undertone will look warmer. Silvery grays almost always turn blue. Cool grays are particularly good with stainless steel and look great in kitchens.

If you room feels too cool you can choose trim paint colors that go with gray, add warm woods, or warm your gray and black room with warm white and camel.

blue gray, camel, white, black and silver kitchen
Source: Pinterest

This becomes important when you are selecting color schemes to go with gray and done by choosing a gray that has an undertone opposite to your accent color.  This list can help you – for example, if your accent color is yellow, a good gray is one with an undertone of royal purple or bluish gray paint colors.

Gray Accent Colors and Undertones

Accent Color                                   Undertone in Gray Paint

  • yellow                                                       royal purple/blue
  • orange                                                      blue
  • red                                                           emerald green/blue
  • magenta                                                    bright (Kelly green)
  • purple                                                       chartreuse yellow/green
  • royal purple/blue                                        yellow
  • blue                                                          orange
  • emerald green/blue                                    red
  • bright or Kelly green                                   magenta
  • chartreuse yellow/green                              purple
Even though purple is a hot color, right now people seem to be using it the least, as an undertone for their gray. This is probably because it may not go with existing furnishings or wood furniture that has earthy oranges and reds. The room below uses it with minimal warmth to reduce the warm pinks and purples from peeking through.

Greys for Soft Accent Colors

If you are looking to create a softer look, don’t use the chart above. Instead, choose grays with the same undertone as your accent color.  If your accent color is yellow choose a gray with a yellow undertone in the same family – so if your accent color is yellow with a green undertone, choose a gray with a similar yellow/green undertone.

Gray walls wainscoting

How to Test Your Gray Paint – Is it really you?

1. Flat paint looks best on gray painted walls. Beautiful grays often look like industrial factory metal if you use semi or high gloss paint, on the other hand flat gray paint looks better and helps to hide flaws and smudges.

2. Gray painted walls – Cream trim. If pure white is too stark against your gray paint colors add yellow, brown, cream or red to your white trim to add warmth and color balance.

3. Invest in sample pots of your colors and paint test squares. Move these around the room during different times of the day when your natural light is at its best or weakest. Making note of how these colors change with light is vital to choosing the best gray paint color for you.  Place testers near your trim to see how they looks – you might decide to paint that too. Number your samples so you don’t confuse your pots and paints.

4. Let your painted walls sit for at least a day. This way your paint selections can dry properly and be absorbed so you can see how they look at various times of the day.

5. Remove paint colors you don’t absolutely love. Some will be obvious, others may take a day or two of living with before you make your final decision to either keep or remove them. If its still difficult to decide paint larger areas to see the true colors clearly.

6. Work out your color scheme and vision for your room. Then decide on a shade. Only then will know which gray paint colors suit your accent colors the best considering your room and lighting sources. You may want a bright yellow to go with your gray. But if the undertone of your new gray makes your yellow turn a slimy green it might be time to move on.

This cool gray below is restful.
relaxing gray living room
Light cool blue grays are easy to live with as with the bathroom below using Benjamin Moore’s Sea Foam paint color. 
You can add more even more brown to add warmth to your gray and your room like the shelving below. 
With the right accent colors your gray paint colors can look practically white.
light gray wall and floors
The best way to start your gray discovery journey is to find an inspiration piece and use this to anchor all your decisions around it. It can be a decorative piece, a piece of clothing or even wrapping paper. It will guide your choices on undertones, accent colors and paint colors. Don’t forget to join our email list to get some free stuff here and hope to see you on Facebook.

79 Responsesso far.

  1. I have a den with walls painted a cool grey with white trim. I also have a red/ orange brick fireplace I want to paint. I want to make the room look warm. I have dark rich brown couch and love seat. What would be a nice accent color to paint the fireplace to give the room a warm ambiance.?

    • Christine says:

      Hi Donna
      thanks for the email. Let’s see if I can help you at all. It sounds like you could do a number of ways with this..
      1. Go for a very warm white – with either a red or brown undertone.
      2. Choose a dark gray with a brown undertone (with some red in it for warmth).
      3. Pick a lush green with warm undertones.

      Just a few ideas without knowing the whole story.. but hope it gives you a few ideas.

  2. Luna says:

    I love this article…For weeks I’ve been struggling with choosing the right gray for my staircase. The neighboring walls are blue (Ocean Blue by Berh). According to your guidelines I should go with a grey that has an orange undertone. Is that right? I like true gray, but it looks aweful in my house…lighting is poor. Any advice?

    • Christine says:

      Thank you so much for the email. It really depends on your lighting.. I would grab a sample or two and paint them onto large boards (or directly onto the wall) and see what they look like in the actual space. That is going to be your best bet. Good luck!

  3. Mary H says:

    I want to paint our bedroom a grey/gray color, but not sure what to select. Our bedroom is facing east. My bedroom furniture is a dark brown color and I have a rather large maple colored wardrobe piece. Your suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Mary
      Thanks for the email! Depending on how much warmth you want in your bedroom, you can choose a gray/grey with a warm brown undertone to go with your bedroom furniture. Your best bet is always to get a few paint samples and paint some stiff board to place around your bedroom. Live with the samples for a few days, move them around to see what they look like with your natural light and go from there. Hope that is of some help to you… sounds like you have a lovely bedroom.

  4. Phe says:

    Hi Christine,

    Im looking to redo my house. I am looking at a warm grey for my dining/sitting room. I face south/east with a lot of natural light and for my entrance/rest of the house excluding kitchen and family room, looking for an off white/cream color and I will do the moldings/trims/doors in a bright white (Ultra Pure White). My accents are yellow/gold and purple, my furniture is light oak and I have dark floors. Wondering if you can recommend paints for the gray and off white. I was thinking for the gray I would go with a yellow or purple undertones and same with the off white. Am I in the right direction, thanks Phe.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Phe
      Thanks for the email! You are definitely in the right direction. I love your color selections, so stick with you gut. Sounds like a great combination. Play around with the grays – there are literally thousands to choose from. Good luck! Christine

  5. Marianne says:

    Please help!!

    We just installed a beautiful dark silvery grey floor in our townhouse. Now installed, it looks like steel blue…kinda what you would see in a very modern high rise condo with lots of stainless. Totally not the look we were going for. We love mid century…medium woods and splashes of color. What can we do to tone down the blue hue. Open to any suggestions!!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Marianne – thanks for the email and sorry to hear about your floor. You didn’t mention what your floor is made of.. wood? If so, check with the manufacturer and see what they suggest like a warmer stain or varnish – it will depend on how its been treated. Let me know… Thanks again – and so sorry about the floor. Its such a disappointment and so expensive!

      • Marianne says:

        It is a new pvc laminate. We have two St Bernard’s…perfect for them. We are o disappointed.

        • Christine says:

          Oh, Marianne it sounds like such a shame that its new pvc painting or varnishing a scrap piece to see the results feels like you’d be destroying new flooring.

          Other options are to change one or more wall colors (one feature wall could be all your need), or add rugs, or lastly add warm colors to some of your surrounding decor.

          Think warm wood mirrors, bright art works, wooden chairs, warm textured rugs – anything to tone down the steely blue. Pops of yellow could off set the blue/grey and fit in with a mid-century look…

          Hope this helps a little… test, test and more testing to see what works!

  6. Mary Starr says:


    We’re having an addition put on our home this summer. We’re expanding our family room and putting in a powder room and first-floor laundry. We’ve chosen Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige for the family room and Analytical Gray for the powder room. The adjoining kitchen is painted “High Tea”, with cherry floors and gray cabinetry. The room beyond that is painted Behr’s Cranapple. My quandary is: what accent color should I choose? I also need to pick a laundry room color but don’t care for another shade of gray in there. I was thinking of Sherwin Williams Silken Peacock for accessories, but now I’m not sure….. I’d love for the family room (cream and chocolate brown furniture, cream carpeting) to have a soothing, zen kind of feel with some pops of color. Any advice? Am I going in the wrong direction here? Thanks!

  7. Cam says:

    What is the best gray for a northeast facing room with medium gray oak floors? A cool or warm gray? Would something like SW Repose Gray work? Any suggestions?

  8. Bonnie says:

    We are moving into a 1995 bungalow home with light cool grey countertops, light pink rug In living room, white vinyl flooring with grey and pink lines. South facing open concept. Furniture is chocolate brown sectional and red-brown table and chairs and coffee table etc. What greys would work best with this scenario? Kitchen cabinets are a yellow oak but those will get painted white or cream. Can’t change flooring or countertops at this time. We have to have colors picked before we move and can’t paint swatches to see how it looks at different times of day.

    Any direction you can give would be great!

    Thanks so much!

    • Bonnie says:

      Forgot to say that trim and interior doors are a light oak color that will stay for now as well.

      • Christine says:

        As far as trims etc… I think you’ll be all right with the warmer greys.

        If you can get a couple of boards and paint them in the tones you think will work and move them around the room; that often helps you to get a better sense of what works with your room and natural light. All paints look different with different light.

        Good luck!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Bonnie
      apologies for taking so long to get back to you – for some reason, your email slipped the radar…

      Congratulations on moving and hope is all goes brilliantly.

      Grey is such a tricky subject (there are so many of them) but the pink and chocolate and warm reds I think are steering you towards warmer pinker tones…

      That could mean anything with a lavender, purple or pink undertone – and only a hint. You can go as dark or as light as your room size and natural light allows.

      Try to get small paint samples that have just a little pink to keep the warm tones. You don’t want too much.. just the slightest hint because you already have warm tones in your table chairs and chocolate brown sectional… sounds great!

      Hope this helps a little.. its always difficult without being there.


      • Bonnie says:

        Thanks Christine!
        We were at the house this weekend with some paint chips and sort of decided on the main color being BM cement gray and the accent walls being BM Stone, or a half tint of it. Would those be in line with what you said?

        • Christine says:

          Hi Bonnie
          yes, either of those would work. I think a half even quarter tint of BM stone could work really well… test it!

          Good Luck!


  9. Naomi says:

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks for your great article.

    I am in a bit of a dilemma – we are about to decorate our bedroom. We live in a bungalow and the bedroom is the oldest room in the house – high vaulted ceiling. When we moved in it was a dark brown. We white washed the walls and it looked and felt cold. We have since put in a velux window which although brings in a lot more light, it faces North – but up – if you see what I mean!

    We have been contemplating painting the lower half of the room in Farrow and Pipe’s Down Pioe, the top half and wood work in pure white and then adding in a lot of bright artwork and warm pinks etc.

    I’m starting to panic that it’s too risky though! Woud love some advice…


    • Christine says:

      Hi Naomi
      thank you so much for your email. Down Pipe should look great. If you are starting to hyper ventilate try painting a large board or two in the colour and moving it around the room, to get a better idea of how much light it might absorb.

      You can always adjust your lighting but try the boards during dull times of the day. The last thing you need is to use lots of task lighting each day.

      Hope that helps a little… but I think it will look wonderful.



  10. Pam Hand says:

    Hi there Christine!

    I would like to know what colours you would recommend? My dining room is West facing and not much light comes in, I have already painted the wall a lighter shade of Dove Grey and am wall papering one wall. (white & black damask) My furniture is probably going to be a grey with antiquing or metallic silver. What colours would you suggest if I decide to paint the furniture grey? (which colour do you think would be the better option.

    Question No : 2 – My bedroom is black and silver but am not sure what colour to paint the walls, again one wall is going to be a metallic silver type fine stripe and I would like to paint the furniture metallic silver. What colour grey should I use for the walls? I am also thinking of painting the built in cupboards, can you recommend what colours I should use for both of these please. Thank you tons for your help. Kind regards. Pam

    • Christine says:

      Hi Pam
      thank you so much for writing in. There are quite a few Dove Grey’s by different companies. But which ever one you have selected make sure that your furniture is not the same color, and also goes with your new black and white wallpaper and doesn’t clash with it.

      Metallic sounds perfect. Have you read the article on metallic furniture looks? Its here.
      There’s a list of good paints to use and a selection of images for different styles.

      Without seeing all the details of your bedroom, I’m sure I would give you the wrong advice. I think using a silver and white stripe on one of your bedroom walls is a great idea. I don’t know the size of your bedroom but it would break up the existing black and silver a little, so it doesn’t look flat.

      For the wall, you could always pick a grey with quite a bit of lavender in it – its one of the colors for 2017 and because there is pink and blue in it, its not as flat or muted as so many other colors. We have a blog post of the 2017 colors here and I think you might get some other bedroom ideas that could help quite a bit. Here’s the link.

      Good luck!



  11. Amy MacIntosh says:

    Hi Christine
    I have enjoyed reading all the posts. You really have a knack for this!
    Here is my dilema:
    I have a ranch house, so the rooms are not huge or with high ceilings.I just painted my living room BM Thundercloud Gray w/ BM white dove trim. I have a really ugly blue/white toned carpet (think 1970). The gray paint looks very blue to me. I am going to replace the carpet with a wood laminate floor in the next couple of months. Here are my questions:
    1. What colors can I decorate with to make the blue look more gray?
    2. I have had suggestions that I should get a very dark wood floor to make the room “Pop”. Will a dark floor in a 12 x 15 foot room make it look small?

    • Christine says:

      Hi Amy
      thank you so much for the email… Anything with even the slightest yellow, white with creamy yellow and even woods with yellow tones will make your gray look more blue. Dark woods are a good way to go, but as you say, they can make your look smaller. But also consider, that dark is great for drama. If you go with a darker wood floor you can add white accessories, mirrors etc to make the room feel larger.

      Adding white wood tone laminate floor in gray tones should also make it look lighter and feel larger too. Not sure if you are considering a lighter tone floor. If you do, see if you can get samples of both; if not try getting a piece of fabric in a similar color or paint a board in similar colors.

      It might take a bit of fussing but you want to be happy with your result.

      Another short cut.. try using a light bulb in whiter tones; so it doesn’t give off yellow.

      Just an idea but it could help!

      Sounds like your room is really going to be wonderful! Very cozy and welcoming!

      Good luck!

  12. Shakya says:

    Hi Christine,

    Your post has helped me understand a lot more about the colour grey.I was not even aware that there is so much more preparation to be done before you choose a colour.We are building house and its almost in the final stage now.I have decided to go with a light oak coloured planks as my flooring.I have an open plan kitchen dining and living room which is facing north west, where we will be getting plenty of sunlight because we have huge windows.Kitchen bench top will be dark grey and all the cabinets will be white in colour.And I have already purchased my lounge suite which is dark brown in colour.As per your suggestion ,looks like I need to go with a warm grey? What grey paint would you recommend.If you think that a grey colour would not go with this setting what other colour would you suggest? This is my first house and I am really stressed about making this decision.Could you please help me.

    Thank you very much.

    • Christine says:

      Firstly, thank you for writing in… and secondly, don’t stress. The more you stress, the harder to make a decision and the more you put it off – and increase the pressure to make a decision. It sounds like you are well on your way to decorating an amazing home. My suggestion is to pick a few greys you like, get some samples and some boards and quickly paint them to see what goes the best with your natural light, sofas and the size of your rooms. Include something cooler to compare too. Some will look better than others but in the end it comes down to the look you want to live with. Afterall, that is the most important thing. Good luck! It sounds amazing.

  13. Ellen says:

    I have a North West family room that adjoins my kitchen and I am color challenged. In my kitchen all of the cabinets are on one wall with bead board at the top. The only other wall in the kitchen is across from the cabinets with breadboard on the bottom . The cabinets are painted Annie Sloan French Linen and I’m not sure what to paint the wall across from them and the beadboard on both walls. Right now I have a beige yellow brown Formica countertop and as all tile beige,tan, cream backsplash. Can you please suggest some paint colors for my kitchen ? Since my family room opens to this kitchen I would like to continue the wall color into the family room.
    I appreciate any suggestions you can give me. I can’t seem to settle on area rugs or furniture colors so I’m open to suggestions,
    Than uou,

    • Christine says:

      Hi Ellen
      it sounds like you have a lovely bright kitchen! As far as wall color, it really depends on the type of look you like. I like to keep it simple. So I would suggest a shade of white. You can go crisp or a little softer/creamier – but ligther than your tiles and backsplash. This should tie in nicely. Your contrast would be your furniture (wood is great because its warm) and your gorgeous cabinets.

      White goes so well with French linen – its a great contrast against the muted tone. I’ve added links to images of French linen with warm wood table and chairs and white walls as a strong contrast.

      Warm woods go so well against French Linen highlighting the richness of the color… but again it depends on the style you are happiest with.

      I have seen French Linen with black industrial accents and copper accents and they work well too.

      Not sure I have been as much help as I would like but please email again if you would like help or just someone to discuss this with!

      Good Luck!

  14. Ellen says:

    Hi Christine the above post should read South West not North West

  15. Ellen says:

    Hi Christine, thank you so much for the idea of using white to help accent the French Linen kitchen cabinets. I was beginning to regret the cabinet color. I was going to change the backsplash to white subway tiles and also change the countertop to a white with a hint of gray vein in it, but with white walls and beadboard maybe what I have wifi work, should the walls and beadboard be the same white? I appreciate all your help, as I really am color challenged. Also should I keep going with the white into the family room?

    • Christine says:

      Hi Ellen
      unless you really want to change your tiles (that is, you don’t really like them) see if there is a way to live with them.

      I always suggest painting some boards in the color you like, in this case a white, and trying to see if it goes with what you already have. Being on a board means its large enough to give you a reasonable idea of what it might look like, and you can move it from the backspalsh to the beadboard. Maybe only one needs to be changed, maybe neither. But this will give you a good idea.

      The family room.. I think this will depend on how big it is and whether all white is too much. It will depend on how much contrasting features or furniture you have.

      One painted wall might do the trick if white is too much so you have continuity from your kitchen. You don’t have to create a feature.. in fact, you can do that later if you want.

      Sounds like you are having fun.. that’s the important thing!

      Let me know how you get on!

  16. Ellen says:

    Thanks so much Christine, I’m on to painting those whit boards !
    Now for this big decisions.

  17. Joanne Ladoucuer says:

    I have a small living room with a black fire place and table set and a burgundy sofa set. My rug is beige. I am trying to make the beige match my new furniture and would like to do my walls in a cream with a grey accent wall. My picture window has beige sheer curtains and I was thinking of doing the wall around it a grey to change things up but I am having a hard time finding a grey to match the beige rug and dark furniture. Any suggestions.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Joanne
      thanks for the email – I’ll try to help if I can.

      First, what do you think the undertone of the beige rug is.. more pink, brown or cream?
      Second, what color is your dark furniture?

      Once you have worked out the undertone of both of these it should make it easier to work our what kind of grey you need to go with them.

      Let me know once you have worked it out, but you may not need my help, because if your beige has pink in it then go for a grey with a pink undertone. I hope that makes sense.



  18. Joanne Ladoucuer says:

    my rug has beige undertones and my furniture is a dark burgundy and my accent furniture is black. The more I look at it the more I am thinking I should maybe go a taupe or yellow color. I’m overthinking things and not sure what to do anymore. Wish I could send you a picture!

  19. Kirsten says:

    Hi there – we are painting our whole first level. We have a two story foyer open to a split staircase and two story family room on the other side. A lot of the walls are “connected” so we are doing Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter throughout the open/connected areas. We have a dining room with bottom half white wainscoting that faces East and we are thinking Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray for the upper half. Our living room is across from the dining room (and adjacent to the open foyer). It has a vaulted ceiling and also faces East.

    I am struggling with color for this room. I was thinking a light color like Benjamin Moore Pale Oak but a decorator told me to go dark because of the vaulted ceiling. Maybe Rockport Gray. My gut is saying I like lighter in there but I don’t always trust my gut.

    Any thoughts? We have a neutral carpet in the family room but dark walnut hardwood in the adjacent foyer, stairs and dining room. Thanks for your insight. I really appreciate it.
    Thank you!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Kirsten
      thank you so much for the email.

      I can understand why the decorator has suggested a darker color – so dramatic and crisp against the white wainscoting.
      If you decide to use Pale Oak.. great idea by the way… use some contrasting dark color for contrast and features like this image at Remodelaholic. You’ll get the same effect without going all out ‘dark walls’ which can be too much all the time and very different to the rest of your color scheme.

      Great choices by the way! Sounds fantastic..

      PS If you are still in two minds.. paint some large boards with both colors and see which one you prefer for you lighting and room size.

  20. Cindy Smith says:

    Hello !
    Thanks for the post. The grey colors look good, and I am leaning towards Sherwin Williams’ light french Gray for my entire first floor.
    My house has medium light exposure, and the dinning room is on the darker side. But the ceilings have bright recessed light that changes the paint color when it is turned on.
    Do you have any recommendation for the sheen? Matte vs satin?
    Thanks a lot !

    • Christine says:

      Hi Cindy
      thank you so much for writing in. Sorry, I couldn’t get to reply sooner.

      You are right, the bright recessed lights will change the color of you paint.

      There is the undertone of the paint, which will become stronger over time and will look different under different lights. Changing the bulbs alone can change your color from warmer to cooler, brighter to subtle.

      If you have bright lights, either should be okay. Satin should not be too bright or reflective. But if you are still not certain, buy a sample pot and paint a test board to see what your lighting looks like against it. I hope that helps.
      Let me know if you have other questions.

      Thanks again for writing in.


  21. Tracey Bakker says:

    Need help! I painted the exterior of my house a gray that is showing purple undertones. Could you please recommend a trim color that will help tone down the purple. I am desperate.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Tracey
      this happens quite a lot and there is no one-fix option.

      You will have to play around with different colors – Soft white, cream, and brown colors can make the walls appear more gray and less purple. Some people like to use blue or yellow but I am not a fan of those trim colors.

      Paint a couple of large boards with your selections and use around the outside of the house to see which one goes best with your natural light.

      Good Luck… please let me know what happens.


  22. Donna says:

    Hi Christine,

    I am trying to narrow in on a gray paint color to correlate with BM Mayonnaise glazed cabinets, north facing room. Will run throughout entire open floor plan.

    Any suggestions? Would I go with a yellow gray undertone?

    Thank you, Christine


    • Christine says:

      Hi Donna
      where is the gray paint going? Is is on trim or large wall areas?

      Let’s see if I can help.



  23. Donna says:

    Oh, so sorry. Neglected to mention. Gray will be going on the walls. Our trim has the BM Mayonnaise. Our cabinets have a glaze over them, in which gives them a warmer touch. Majority of our rooms are north facing, which makes it more interesting.

    Appreciate your time, Christine!!!

  24. Donna says:


    Would you recommend any gray paint colors? We are looking at BM Revere Pewter.

    Thanks again, Christine.


  25. Krysta says:

    So wish I would have read this info BEFORE we painted grey but nevertheless, we already started….So we did casual gray behr at 50% strength to lighten it on all of our main level and up onto the landing. We have natural light from the East, North, and West. We laid a white/grey tile that isn’t patterned but kind of a marble type look and will be re-staining our wood floors to a grey-wash. We are replacing the baseboards and trim to white and trying to decide if we want to do the doors white or a dark ash plus doing dark ash and white on the oak banister (essentially getting rid of all the oak), will paint the window sills either white or dark ash and putting in white window shutters. Ceiling is ultra white as we wanted the pop in contrast. (the overall theme is going to be modern farmhouse type and we have a mixture of wood furniture that will be repainted to go with theme) we don’t have any couches, decor curtains etc. yet so we can do all of that to go with the overall feel of things. My question is this. In some lights the grey looks amazing and others it looks slightly blue. At night it looks really blue. We were planning on using Navy blue as our main accent color and such…but not sure if that will look ok and will make the grey pull blue all the time and drastically? I am not good with this stuff and it makes me nervous and repainting isn’t an option. Apparently the casual grey only has raw umber and lamp black? I also wanted to use some dark stained pieces as well to make it pop but not sure that is too much? Any help with what colors we should go with is appreciated. Thank you!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Krysta
      I am a great fan! Your home sounds beautiful. Since you are already seeing blue in different light, any blue will bring out more blue in your gray. And that is fine if you love blue. I think blue is a great choice against gray. There are so many dark blues that could give off a different light. The dark stained pieces will look great as a contrast and give some warmth back to the room.

      The important thing is to test your blues on a board in the light, at night, when they will look the bluest, to see if you like it enough to live with it.

      I like this blue from Ralph Lauren –

      You could go for a deep blue that also has a lot of dark gray in it – like these benches. It is still blue but more sombre.

      Or this slate gray

      Breaking it up with mint or sea green as a secondary accent could help lift it but the stained pieces will help a lot anyway.

      I hope that helps you.


      • Krysta says:

        Thank you for the color suggestions!!! I have some mirrors that hubby made some wood frames for that I really think I will use that ralph lauren blue on!! So if I am understanding everything I am reading correctly, adding a real blue accent in decor will help make the walls look grey in comparison? And then adding either blacks/charcoal or wood into the decor will make them pull grey as well? I think we are leaning towards charcoal couches/chairs and then we have a mixture of wood furniture that a lady I bartered with painted white with some “weathering”? and then wondering if we should do charcoal tops or wood stain tops on those? anything to make sure the walls look grey and the blue is seen more in the decor:) Thank you so much for your response!!!

        • Christine says:

          Hi Krysta
          glad to hear from you!

          Your grey walls will look greyer (if that’s a word) if your blue accents have grey (blackish) undertones. This also depends on the natural light coming into different parts of your home. That’s why I always think its a good option to paint a few boards with sample tins just to get an idea. It can look great in theory but light has a way of being a little tricky in real life. You can easily end up with a blue house – which is not what you want.

          You’re idea of blacks/charcoal or wood is perfect. This should support the grey in your paint and not add more blue. I think your should be careful with your choice of tops. Depending on your choice of stain, it can add warmth (reds) and that could bring out the purple/blue in your walls. Try putting a stain sample next to your walls to see if it brings out a lot of warm tones.. you don’t want mauve walls either.

          Sorry if this not a straightforward answer… that’s decorating..

          Keep in touch – I will help if I can.


  26. Wing says:

    Could you suggestion a light grey accent wall color for my white wall theme bedroom. Approx. 170 sq. feet. Floors will be the Congoleum Carrara marble dura ceramic tiles. Vertical blinds will be a soft white with a super subtle hint of silver depending on lighting. Bedroom furniture will be a soft white, ceiling is a soft white. No yellow undertones. Any suggestions on a light gray Benjamin Moore paint color and trim color for the baseboards for the entire room? Northern light exposure in the afternoon.



    • Christine says:

      Hi Wing
      sounds like a beautiful bedroom with a capital B!

      I think the tiles have mostly have brown undertones so here are 6 of the most popular Benjamin Moore paints that could work.

      Revere Pewter is a lovely soft gray and slightly warmer, muddy tone compared to the more ‘fresh and cool’ grays and has been known to pick up a faint green/greige undertone. Great if you like green because that is what might come out over time. Add anything else with a warm undertone and it show up even more. It can also look a little dark unless you lighten it by 25-40%. Try it with a sample pot on a board to get an idea of what it will look like.

      Stonington Gray is similar to Revere Pewter but cooler with a stormy blue undertone. Compared to Revere Pewter, it feels more ‘clean and cool gray’. It feels fresh but better for south facing rooms.

      Gray Owl is a light gray with super subtle undertones of blue and green. This is very popular and could work perfectly for you. Even with the green undertone (that swaps over to blue), the blue is enough for it to act like a soft, light and fresh gray. It is best in a south facing room but works in a north facing room too. It is reflective and will add more natural light into you room and make it feel bigger.

      Collingwood and Balboa Mist – Collingwood is a darker version of Balboa Mist. They are not warm grays but give off a warmer feeling because of their slight greige and warm purple undertones. Look great with cherry toned cabinets and work in north or south facing rooms.

      Classic Gray is a beautiful off-white gray with subtle warmth to it. It has the tiniest drop of pink/purple in it but very difficult to see. Its an off-white but you can darken it by 25% to work as a contrast.

      Chelsea Gray is a medium toned gray. It has very little undertone which means it looks neutral and works well with other colors. It tends to absorb light, so will make your bedroom smaller.

      Amherst Gray is a darker version of Chelsea Gray. It’s a heavy charcoal that works for feature or accent walls, cabinets, cupboards, furniture. But its susceptible to picking up green undertones. Its too strong to paint an entire room if you don’t have strong natural or artificial lighting but perfect as a feature or accent wall.

      Rockport Gray is lighter, softer and more muted than Chelsea Gray. It has gray, mocha and a touch of green. It doesn’t reflect green at all and is soft and welcoming. Depending on what you put next to it, it can reflect a little purple.

      I hope that helps. It is always best to paint your shortlist of colors on white boards and put them against your walls so you can see how they work with the space of your room and the natural light.

      Please let me know how you get on!


  27. Heidi says:

    Can you please tell me the paint color of the gray blue bathroom pictured above? I love it!

  28. Jesse says:

    Looking for a grey that will go well in my living room. The front window in the room faces east. The trim is white. Floors and tables are a dark wood and we just purchased the linked furniture. Aqua couch and loveseat:
    There’s also an accent chair that has multiple blues and browns in the pattern where the lightest blue matches the couch.

    Your expertise is much appreciated!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Jesse
      your choice of gray sofa and warm wood floors sound perfect. As far as wall colors, consider blue and green undertone grays. Depending on the amount of light, your room can take it without looking overly blue. If you prefer warmer tones, choose a gray with chocolate or pink undertones. If you like a neutral color, the green based grays are often the most neutral. I hope that helps a little. Write back if you need more help. As always, I suggest painting a few boards with your sample choices and placing them around the room. Its an extra step but often helps to make a better decision.

  29. Xuan says:

    Dear Christine
    We are painting our house exterior with Kelly Moore Malibu beige which really looks more like a pale grey than beige . I chose the east lake lavender for our trims and balcony rails and everything looks ok except for our front side ? South exposure which somehow just looks so pale . I was going to paint the front of the porch ( stucco ) with a warm color to add warmth to that front of the house . What do you suggest ? Would something like a warm mauve or wood tan color work I saw tricycle mauve but not sure . Your help is much appreciated .


    • Christine says:

      Hi Xuan
      great choice… Kelly Moore Malibu beige goes well with soft pinks, leaf greens, and muted blues and purples, so your choice of east lake lavender is perfect. If you have already painted, think of what you can add in terms of landscaping in deep greens and pinks to lift and warm it. Can you add warm wood columns etc for more curb appeal? Can you paint the front door going deeper/darker/warmer?

      If you don’t think want to take that route and prefer to repaint the front in a different color, test on large boards two or three warmer colors to see which one works for your size home and light. Sorry I can’t help more.. and if you need more help.


  30. carol woolley says:

    Hi I need help picking a grey paint for the wall to go with bright purple and yellow, LSU colors to be exact. the room has a west facing window but not a lot of light. It is a big bedroom with white base board and white closet doors. the furniture is pine which is medium brown with a yellow undertone.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Carol
      Thank you for the email.
      I have done a little research and hoping this might help you – even though you have trim colors sorted, have a look at these suggestions for some ideas. You can always lighten then with white paint to dilute them if they are too dark for your bedroom.

      Wall Color Options:
      SW 7042 Shoji White

      SW 7043 Worldly Gray

      SW 7044 Amazing Gray

      Trim Color Options:
      SW 7046 Anonymous

      SW 6258 Tricorn Black

      Architectural Brown / LSU Custom Color
      This is what it looks like.

      With your room having less light, I would go for the lighter options.

      Here is another suggestion –
      Wall Color Options:
      SW 7014 Eider White

      SW 7015 Repose Gray

      SW 7016 Mindful Gray

      Trim Color Options:
      SW 7018 Dovetail

      SW 6258 Tricorn Black

      Architectural Brown / LSU Custom Color

      This is what that group looks like –

      Let me know if I am on the right track or if you are looking for something more decorative, etc.

      Hope all goes well!


  31. Y says:

    This so useful especially with the chart pairing accent colors with undertones. I have a north facing room living room. I am trying to decide between either aqua or gray walls, either way the other will the be the accent color. Any thoughts on what undertones should I look for in grey that will go with aqua accent colors?

    • Christine says:

      Hi.. thank you so much for writing in.

      Both will look spectacular. You might want to look at Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan AS 690. You can see it here.
      It is gray but it has a green/yellow hue family. You can see here all the different colors you can use with it., and I think aqua could go very well. Because you have northern light it could look a little too gray, so test it on a board in your room first. Better to test it before committing to painting.

  32. Jae says:

    Hi & thanks so much for the detailed write-up. I purchased another home & had hardwoods added to most of the main level & stained in Jacobean. Dining room & 2 story foyer get loads of natural light (west facing). Living room doesn’t appear to get much light because of the attached screened in porch (east). We didn’t change floors in the kitchen because the kitchen is brand new! It faces east, is bright & gets great light. Light gray tile floors, stark white cabinets, subway tile in varied shades of gray, and moon white granite (white/gray with big specks of plum). I’m not a fan of the kitchen– or the ice blue paint throughout, but I’m hoping to love these spaces with a change in wall color. I thought repose gray might work throughout but my husband thinks it’s too light & prefers to bring in more color with mindful gray. What are your thoughts? I love purples & we’re not afraid of color but we we’re leaning towards grays because of what’s already in the home. Do you have suggestions for 2-3 colors that might work throughout? Thank you so much!

  33. Loire says:

    Hello, I’ve been trying to find the right color gray for my living room. I have a river rock fireplace with tan, maroon and brown rocks – this is surrounded by an accent wall of maroon red that matches the rocks. Floors are natural red oak. The warm grays I’ve tried have a very noticeable green/yellow undertone to me which I think looks bad. I’ve also tried gray with blue and purple undertones and don’t know, confused at this point. I see the chart above shows red accents go with emerald green/blue undertones. Can you suggest a gray paint color to me or what undertone I should be looking for – Thankful for any help you can give!

    • Christine says:

      Hi Loire
      thank you for writing in. I’ll do my best to help you. It sounds like the warmth of the river rock, accent wall and floor are warmed up even more with a gray with green/yellow or purples. Have you had a look at this blog post. I think it could help

      This gray is a cool, neutral gray, leaning towards blue. I suggest getting a board (or 2) and trying a sample on a board to move around the room and see what its like in different lights. I think this gray could be a good contrast to the other warmer tones in the room.

      Let me know if this helps and how you get on.