Warm and Cool Grays - Piece + Palette

Colors Have A Temperature?

If you’ve ever heard people talk about warm and cool colors, but don’t really understand what they mean, this post is for you!

In my last blog, I detailed my favorite shades of gray.  Today, I’m going to talk about warm and cool shades of gray.  There are so many that I love depending on the space and most importantly, the lighting.  Gray is a tricky color to choose, but so beautiful when done right.  It’s no wonder it keeps gaining popularity.  When choosing the right gray for your space, you must consider the color’s temperature!  I know what you are thinking! It sounds crazy and I promise not to make you feel like you are back in high school science class, but it all starts with the color wheel.  There is a warm half and cool half of the color wheel.   The warm half runs from red through yellow-green. The cool half runs from green through red-violet. Here is what you need to remember:  warm colors tend to advance and cool colors tend to recede. So, how do you select the right one?  Well, in my quest to save you time, spending money on multiple samples and possible regret once the paint has dried…read on 🙂

Color wheel - Piece + PaletteGrey Color Wheel

Let’s start with warm grays.  I mentioned that a warm color tends to advance.  This means that they draw in a space thus making it more intimate.  A warm gray wall color is a great alternative to the usual beige or white wall.   Warm grays also work well with many natural materials such as wood and stone.   This is because warm grays have a nice earthy quality to them.  They add an organic feel to a room.  In addition, warm grays, like all good neutrals, work well with any design style.

Many homeowners default to white walls throughout the house because they want to play it safe, or they are overwhelmed by the paint color options. If you don’t have the time or energy to narrow down paint colors for your home, find a light warm gray to use throughout your home and then add pops of color throughout your space in your decorative accessories. If you are more comfortable with neutral colors, then layer neutral textiles and textures to create a serene space.

One thing I love about warm gray colors is how they change throughout the day. In the warmer light of sunrise or sunset, warm grays will appear taupe or brown.  Most people refer to this as griege, a good mix of gray and brown.  In the cooler light of dawn, midday or dusk, or in cool artificial light, the color turns a purer gray. This is the reason I recommend my clients look at test paints at different times of the day and on each and every wall that will be painted to ensure it is the right shade.

Below are some of my favorite Benjamin Moore warm gray paint colors.  Find the right one for your space and send me a photo.  I would love to see how you incorporate one of these into your home!

Revere Pewter - Piece + Palette

Revere Pewter – HC-172 (Pictured Above)

Sandy Hook Gray – HC-108

Coastal Fog – 976

Pale Oak –  OC-20

Classic Gray – OC-23

Edgecomb Gray – HC-173

Abalone 2108-60

Shale – 861

Now, on to cool grays.  When I say cool colors recede, by recede I mean that these colors expand a room or a space.   Are you trying to make a room look larger?  If so, go with a cool gray.  It is all about the undertones!   Let me start by saying that it is very rare for a gray paint to read just gray once your walls are painted.  Most have blue, green, purple, brown or yellow undertones (it’s that darn color wheel again!)   Blue grays are great for south facing rooms that need a bit of a cooler tone of paint. I also want to caution you that cool grays may appear too cold in a space with a lot of hard surfaces, such as a bathroom.

Here are some great choices for Benjamin Moore cool gray paint colors that will hopefully help in your selection process.

Stonington Gray Room Scene - Piece + Palette

Horizon- 2141-50

Stonington Gray – HC-170 (Pictured Above)

Wickham Gray – HC-171

Coventry Gray – HC-169

Paper White – 1590

Gray Owl – 2137-60

Moonshine – 2140-60

Whew, that was a lot of information!  Who else is ready for a cool glass of prosecco? Let me know if you have any questions or if you need any advice, I’m here to help!

Happy painting,

~Lauren