Stonington Gray - Piece + Palette

Gray Undertones – Yes, It Is Decidedly So!

I hope you all enjoyed my first two blog posts in this series about gray paints and learned a little something along the way! As I sit here thinking of how to describe the many undertones of gray, I had an out of the box comparison to share with you.  Have you ever had one of those Magic 8 Balls that you shake until the little white square in the middle, surrounded by blue alcohol, finally comes to a stop?  I don’t know about you, but I remember shaking that little magic ball and then staring at the bubbles hoping the message it gave me was the answer I wanted because in my head that meant it would definitely come true! You almost squint your eyes to make out the words to see how your mystery question is answered by one of 20 possible responses such as :

    Yes, it is decidedly so

    Outlook is good

    Reply hazy try again

    Concentrate and ask again

    My sources say, no

    Outlook not so good

The analogy of selecting the perfect shade of gray and a Magic Eight Ball is this: As the paint is drying on your wall, you may squint your eyes just like you did looking into the Magic Eight Ball to see if you have indeed selected the blue gray you hoped for or if it turns out to be a purple room reminiscent of a 6-year-old child’s bedroom! Waiting for that paint to dry is like waiting for that Magic Eight Ball message to appear.   The ironic part is that most of the 20 answers on a Magic Eight Ball could be the same answers as it relates to looking intently at the dried gray paint color you thought was going to be perfect for your space!

Now let’s discuss what undertones mean in relation to gray paint colors.  Gray is one of the colors that almost always has undertones, which means that what you see on the paint chip will show either as a green gray, a violet gray or a blue gray. Grays can also can have undertones of beige, hence the fancy term it was given: greige.  Brilliant, right?

To find the perfect shade of gray for your space, I suggest you try some of my top Benjamin Moore paint colors.  I’m going to break them out by their undertones to save you a lot of squinting and worry!

Gray with Blue Undertones:

Stonington Gray HC-170  (this also appeared in my favorite gray paint color blog – also featured in the bedroom picture above)

This is my favorite when needing a paint color that is restful and pure.  It works great in multiple types of rooms and I’ve used this incredibly versatile color in master bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and you name it! The way I have described this color to my clients is that it resembles a serene and soft gray blue.  I have not had one client who tried it and didn’t love it!

 Boothbay Gray HC-165

I recently recommended this color to a new client in a gorgeous room with vaulted paneled ceilings and a big window in the center of the room that allows light to be distributed well.  It is a beautiful medium toned blue gray.

Wedgewood Blue HC-146

This is such a versatile color, but I must say, I love using it in the back of bookshelves.  It is a gorgeous, calming and happy color given that it has just the right of amounts of gray, blue and green.  This is a more saturated color than some of the lighter ones I have recommended above.   

Gray with Violet Undertones:

Abalone 2108-60

Abalone - Piece + Palette

Abalone is a warm gray that is very light in color with brown undertones and a hint of lavender. It looks good in most rooms, but I do prefer it in a darker room.  If you look closely, the lavender will be seen ever so slightly, but it is not purple at all.

Elephant Gray  2109-50

One of the warm grays, this is great mix of gray, with brown and lavender undertones.

Storm  AF-700

Storm is a gray with a very slight purple undertone.   Sometimes it’s so subtle that it’s hard to notice, but it is there! It also has a bit of greige in it when in the right light.

Stormy Monday 2112-50

This is a cool toned gray that definitely has a beautiful purple cast undertone.

Gray with Green Undertones:

Gray Owl  OC-52

Gray Owl Staircase - Piece + Palette

Gray Owl is a soft cool gray color with blue and green undertones, with an emphasis on the green.   Here is a tip: The blue and green undertones are enhanced when the room has northern exposure or if there is reduced natural light.

Healing Aloe 1562

Just as its name implies, this is a restful color with serene qualities.  It looks best in natural light, but does very well in darker rooms too.  Healing Aloe is a gorgeous green gray with a hint of blue.

Horizon Gray 2141-50

This is a warm gray with green undertones.   I like to use this in kitchens when I have a client who is looking to paint the room gray when they  have dark brown or cherry cabinets.  The combination of green and gray marry in an inviting way.

Gray Cashmere 2138-60

This color is a warm color with just the right amount of balance between green and gray.

Hopefully these recommendations will keep you from having to bust out your color wheel and your Magic Eight Ball! Send us some pictures of the paint you choose, I’m thinking your outcome will be:  Yes, it is decidedly so!