Gray is one of the most popular paint colors for a home.
On your walls, a light gray paint can present as a subtle backdrop and a dark gray paint acts as a dramatic focal point.
A light gray paint shade can make you feel calm and subdued, while a dark gray paint color can make you feel bold and moody.
In general, gray paint comes in warm or cool hues, ranges from very light to very dark, and can take on the appearance of other colors, depending on the particular color composition of the shade of gray you choose.
Gray Paint Undertones Explained
Gray paint is interesting. When you view a tiny swatch of a gray paint color, it just looks gray. But, when you compare one gray paint swatch next to a different gray paint swatch, you begin to see the undertones. The first gray paint swatch may now look blue, and the other may look beige.
As mentioned above, gray paint colors can be either warm or cool, depending on their undertones.
Almost all grays have some sort of undertone. The most common undertones for grays are green, blue, purple or brown. Grays with a blue, purple or green undertone are typically cool grays, while grays with a brown undertone are typically warm grays.
What Does Greige Mean?
Grays with a brown undertone are called “greige” because are a mix of beige and gray.
For the purposes of choosing a paint color, I classify greiges as a different color than grays, but technically speaking, they are both grays. Greige paint colors are warm and welcoming, while true gray paint colors give off a more refined and modern air.
If you’re interested in warm, gray paint shades with a hint of beige, check out this post on the best greige paint colors.
History of Gray Paint Trends
Remember how for years and years, beige paint was the color to have? If you wanted your house to be in style, you needed to have beige paint.
Well, when the beige paint trend ended, the gray paint trend began. Cool grays, grays with blue undertones, reigned for the better part of a decade. These grays were the paint color of choice for homeowners, realtors and designers.
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Greige is the New Gray
Gray is still a big color in paint, but it has been surpassed by the most recent trend – greige paint colors. Some greige paint colors have much more gray in them, and other greige paint colors have much more beige in them. Either way, the result is a paint color that is incredibly versatile and likely to be very popular.
Is Gray Still a Popular Paint Color?
While greige paint colors are the most popular right now, there is still a place for tried and true gray paint.
In 2020, cool gray paint colors are still being widely used in living rooms, bedrooms and infant nurseries. Gray paint makes a room look modern, elegant and sophisticated in ways that other paint shades can’t.
So to summarize, gray paint isn’t going out of style any time soon.
20 Best Gray Paint Colors
There are hundreds (thousands?) of gray paint colors you can choose from. While it is nice to have options, having so many choices makes it difficult to pick just one, and to pick the right one.
To help you out, I have listed the top cool gray paint colors from Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, the two largest paint companies in the US, plus a few bonus paint colors from Clare, an online paint company.
- Light French Gray
- Gray Screen
- Lazy Gray
- On the Rocks
- Morning Fog
- Crushed Ice
- Drift of Mist
- Cement Gray
- Stonington Gray
- Coventry Gray
- Gray Owl
- Chelsea Gray
- Wickham Gray
- Gray Cloud
- Seize the Gray
- Set in Stone
Keep reading to find out the LRV, undertones and where each color would work best!
Best Gray Paint Colors by Sherwin Williams
Sherwin Williams has a list of their 50 most popular shades, and it is a great way to see what colors are trending. Of course, there are tons of greiges, and even a few beiges on the list. But many of the top shades being sold by Sherwin Williams are grays.
Here are some of the top gray paint colors from Sherwin Williams.
Best SW True Gray: Light French Gray (SW 0055)
Light French Gray is a soft, light gray color that pretty close to a true gray without any strong undertones. Sherwin Williams lists it as a top selling gray, and includes it in their “Classics” collection.
Light French Gray has an LRV (Light Reflectance Value) of 53. This means that it is considered a light color. This being said, it has enough depth to present as a definitive gray on your walls.
With a very slight blue undertone, Light French Gray is a moody, cool color that should be paired with white trim.
Light French Gray is a great choice for a refined looking gray paint in a living room and a bedroom. I also love it for a gender neutral nursery, as it will pair nicely with pastel accents.
Click here for all the details on Sherwin Williams Light French Gray.
Best SW Off-White Gray: Drift of Mist (SW 9166)
Drift of Mist is the lightest color on the list, with an LRV of 69. Because it is so pale, it can often look like an off-white on the walls. In fact, it is part of Sherwin William’s Cool White collection.
This barely-there color plays nicely with both light and dark wood floors, and looks good in almost any space of the home.
Best SW Blue Gray: Gray Screen (SW 7071)
Gray Screen is a light gray paint color with an LRV of 59.
Gray Screen has both blue and green undertones, but more strongly favors blue. It is a very cool color.
This moody gray reminds me of a storm cloud – mostly gray with a touch of blue. Gray Screen is a great gray paint color for a living room or dining room.
If you like Gray Screen but would like something a little lighter, check out Olympus White, a light gray that has strong blue undertones. It has an LRV of 68, so it will be much lighter on the walls than Lazy Gray.
If you like Gray Screen, but want something a little darker, check out Online (SW 7072).
Best SW Blue/Green Gray: Reflection (SW7661)
Reflection, by Sherwin Williams, is a nice gray that will look blue in some rooms.
With an LRV of 66, Reflection is one of the most colorful grays on the list. Reflection has blue and green undertones, and is a good choice if you want a light gray with more than a hint of color.
Reflection is also a part of the Minimalist color collection. If you want a gray that acts as a chameleon depending on the light, Reflection is a good choice for you.
In dim light, it is reminiscent of a foggy morning, even more so than Morning Fog. In bright light, it transitions between blue and green.
Best SW Dark Gray: Morning Fog (SW 6255)
Morning Fog is a gray with blue and purple undertones. It has an LRV of 42, which puts it in the medium category of paint.
As the name suggests, Morning Fog is a “cloudy” color. It has enough blue in it that it will look blue in some rooms, and in some lights.
As part of the Luxe color collection, this chic gray is good for an accent wall or in a room with lots of bright white trim.
Other Notable Grays:
Passive (SW 7064)
Passive is another extremely popular gray paint color from Sherwin Williams. It is a soft gray with green undertones.
While some undertones can be very apparent in grays, Passive’s green undertones are fairly slight. It shouldn’t look green on your walls.
Passive has an LRV of 60, which puts it in the “light” category. Because of its high LRV, Passive is a great shade for a basement, bedroom or living room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.
Sherwin William’s includes Passive in their West Elm collection, indicating that this shade feels chic and minimalistic on your walls.
Click here for more details on the paint color Passive.
Lazy Gray (SW 6254)
Lazy Gray is a medium gray paint color with blue undertones.
It has an LRV of 53, and is considered “light” by Sherwin Williams. Personally, I would classify it as light medium shade. It has more depth than many of the other shades on this list, and is best in a room with tall ceilings or many windows.
Twice a year, Pottery Barn announces featured paint colors from Sherwin Williams. Lazy Gray was included in the Pottery Barn Kids Spring/Summer 2020 collection.
Because of its depth, Lazy Gray would not be a great choice for an all-over-the-house color, but is a great choice for a room that you want to give a more bold look, without being too dramatic.
On the Rocks (SW 7671)
On the Rocks is a color from Sherwin William’s Whites & Pastels Collection.
On the Rocks is a color from Sherwin William’s Whites & Pastels Collection.
With an LRV of 62, it is a very light gray, without any strong undertones. It has a hint of blue, and a dash of beige, but is pretty solidly gray.
On the Rocks is a good color for a bedroom, living room, dining room, and could even be used in a bathroom. It is light enough that it can almost look like an off-white in some light, which means its great for just about any space.
As the name implies, this shade reminds me of a sheer, rocky cliff.
If you’re looking for a soft, pastel looking gray, On the Rocks should be on your short list.
Click here for all the details about Sherwin Williams On The Rocks.
Crushed Ice (SW 7647)
Crushed Ice is one of my favorite light grays on the list. It is so light that it is considered an off-white shade, instead of a gray.
With cool undertones with a hint of green, this very pale gray has an LRV of 66.
Crushed Ice is part of Sherwin William’s Minimalist color collection. It reminds me of a New York loft. It is another gray that can be used in any room, with pops of color or as a foundation for a monochromatic color scheme.
Best Gray Paint Colors by Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore gray paint colors are just as gorgeous as Sherwin William’s. Here, I have listed the most popular grays from Benjamin Moore.
In addition to finding the paint colors to be particularly beautiful, I like that Benjamin Moore tends to name their paint colors in ways that gives you an indication of what the color looks like.
Best BM True Gray: Stonington Gray (HC-170)
Stonington Gray is a great option if you want a color that is a true gray without strong undertones. While it does have very slight blue or blue-green undertone, it shouldn’t ever look too blue or green on your walls.
It is part of Benjamin Moore’s Historical collection. This set of colors contains most of Benjamin Moore’s most popular shades. As with the other colors in the Historical collection, Stonington Gray is a timeless, refined paint color that has wide appeal.
With an LRV of 60, Stonington Gray will reflect a lot of light, but will still show up as a medium depth shade.
Stonington Gray is hailed as one of the never-fail paint colors by many, and is a good pick if you want a neutral gray paint color. It is a great choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
Click here for all the details on Stonington Gray.
Best BM Bright Gray: Wickham Gray (HC-171)
Wickham Gray, by Benjamin Moore, is a very light, almost bright, gray with a good amount of blue/green in it. When viewed next to a true gray, Wickham Gray looks like it is actually a pale, powder blue.
Wickham Gray has an LRV of 69. This means that it is so light, it will look like an off-white on your walls.
Wickham Gray is part of Benjamin Moore’s Historical collection. It is a highly elegant color that can be used in any room of the house. It will look best when paired with white trim.
Click here for all the details on Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray.
Best BM Light Gray: Gray Cloud (2126-60)
Gray Cloud is a dreamy, light gray paint color with an LRV of 71. It is moody enough to be interesting, but light enough to be highly versatile.
Gray Cloud looks best when paired with accents of highly saturated colors, such as rich purples or smokey blues, or with soft neutrals.
This color is a great choice for a nursery, bedroom or living room.
Best BM Medium Gray: Coventry Gray (HC-169)
Coventry Gray is a medium gray paint color with an LRV of 48.
It is a part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic Color collection, which means it is a great shade that is very popular on both walls and cabinets.
This versatile color will look dark if painted on walls, but will look more like a light gray on cabinets.
Coventry Gray reminds me of the gray of an elephant – neutral, saturated and elegant. It is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a gray with a good amount of depth, but don’t want a gray that is in the charcoal family.
Click here for all the details on Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray.
Best BM Dark Gray: Chelsea Gray (HC-168)
Chelsea Gray, a paint color from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Color collection, is a sophisticated dark gray shade that gives off a feeling of lush elegance. It has very slight undertones of green in it.
It has an LRV of 22, which means it is pretty dark! While the color is gorgeous, there are a few things to consider before painting your home this color.
In a living room or bedroom, you could use Chelsea Gray if the room has a lot of natural light, or vaulted ceilings. In addition, I find it looks best if the room has a substantial amount of white trim (for example, crown molding, wide window trim, and wide base trim).
It is also a great choice for a den or study that you want to have a bold, dramatic look.
Last, Chelsea Gray is a great choice for an accent wall, on cabinets, or on a piece of furniture.
Click here for more detail on Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray.
Other Notable Grays:
Gray Owl (OC-52)
Gray Owl is a light gray paint color with an LRV of 66. It has green undertones, but can also appear to have some blue in it in some lights. Gray Owl if a very popular color with wide appeal. It almost leans towards a greige but doesn’t actually carry any beige undertones.
Gray Owl is a good color for most rooms. It can work in a living room, dining room, or bedroom. Additionally, Benjamin Moore recommends it as a great color to pair with stainless steel appliances.
Gray Owl is a top recommendation if you’re looking for a light gray that transitions between warm and cool, depending on the lighting.
Click here for all the details on Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.
Cement Gray (2112-60)
Cement Gray is an aptly named color. It looks like the color of freshly poured (not yet dirty) cement.
It has an LRV of 61, and I classify it as a light medium shade (even though it is technically in the light category). It is a great go-to shade if you want a light gray with a bit of saturation because it works well in most any lighting.
Cement Gray will look good with muted but deep color accents, such as sage green, terra cotta orange, or smokey blue.
Metropolitan (AF 690)
Metropolitan was Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year in 2019. It is an understated, yet chic choice for a modern home.
With an LRV of 50, Metropolitan is a medium depth color that should be used with caution.
Metropolitan would work best in a living room with tall ceilings and lots of light. I would hesitate from putting it in a dimly lit bedroom, for fear that it would make the room feel smaller. Conversely, it would work well in a den or library that you want to give a cozy yet refined feel.
Metropolitan plays nicely with both pastel and bold colors. For a list of paint colors that will coordinate with Metropolitan, check out this list by Benjamin Moore.
What is the Most Popular Gray Paint Color?
All of the grays on this list are widely used, but the most popular choices are Light French Gray, Passive, Stonington Gray, Coventry Gray and Gray Owl.
Light French Gray and Gray Owl are the best light gray paints for a home if you want a subtle neutral that imparts a feeling of refined elegance.
So, what is the best gray paint color?
Well, it all depends on your preference, but here are my picks.
The Best Gray Paint Color for a Bedroom – Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
The Best Gray Paint Color for a Living Room – Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray
Choosing the Right Gray
Even with a detailed explanation of paint colors, it can be really hard to choose the right color for your home.
If all of these gray paint colors have your head spinning, I have two possible solutions for you!
First, you need to see how the paint will look in your home, with your lighting, and next to your furnishings and accessories. While you can go the traditional route of buying sample jars and painting them in patches on your walls, this isn’t always the best choice if you’re not quite ready to paint the whole wall yet. Instead, consider ordering several Samplize squares of your favorite grays.
Samplize is an online company that sells, for a very reasonable price, stick on paint samples made from real paint, in all of the most popular colors. These 12×12 squares will show you exactly how the color will look on your wall, and you never have to clean a paint brush! They cost less than the price of a sample jar of paint, and you can pull them off and transfer them to different areas of your home.
Order your Samplize squares here. Oh, and remember to take advantage of the $5 off your first order offer (that makes the first square almost free!).
If you still don’t think you can pick the right paint color, you should check out Clare.
Clare is an online paint store that sells paint shades that have been specially curated by designers. This means that the shades are pretty perfect. The light gray will be an amazing, subtle light gray. The medium gray will have enough depth to make a statement but won’t be too dark. The dark gray will be dramatic and imposing, just as it should be.
The wall paint comes in a “perfect eggshell” finish, and you can even order your paint supplies from them too. Everything ships to your home in a few days (mine came in 2 days!). You never even have to step foot in a paint store!
I’ve used Clare paint, and I was super impressed. You can read more about Clare paint here.
Here are three of the grays that Clare sells:
Chill is Clare’s choice for a light gray. It is a cool color with subtle green undertones. Chill has an LRV of 68, so it is a pretty light shade.
You can’t get a Samplize square of Chill, but Clare sells 8×8 stick on squares just like Samplize squares for only $2 so you can try the colors out in your home!
Check out Chill here.
Seize the Gray
Seize the Gray is Clare’s medium depth gray paint choice. It doesn’t carry much of an undertone, so it should like pretty gray on your walls.
Seize the Gray has an LRV of 59, which technically is light, but I consider it to be light medium shade. It will make a statement on your walls, but shouldn’t make the room feel closed in.
Check out Seize the Gray here.
Set in Stone
If you want a dark, dramatic gray, Set in Stone is Clare’s pick. It is a cool gray with blue undertones.
With an LRV of 33, Set in Stone is a dark color and will look modern and refined on your walls.
Check out Set in Stone here.
Final Thoughts on Gray Paint
Gray is a popular paint choice for homes because it is neutral, chic, and refined. Gray paint serves as a subtle backdrop to furnishings and accessories of almost any color.
When paired with other neutrals, gray is elegant, sophisticated and refined. If set as a backdrop to bright colors, gray is understated yet interesting.
Warm grays, or greiges, are great picks for homes with wood trim, but cool greiges, such as the ones on this list, impart a feeling of elegance that is hard to rival.
If you’re looking for the perfect cool gray paint, I hope this list was helpful for you!
Feel free to leave questions or comments in the box below, and I’ll happily answer them!
Want to see all your paint options in one convenient place? Check out my Amazon Shop, where you can get everything you need to start painting, including Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paint color decks!
The Top 20 Gray Paint Colors
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Saturday 8th of May 2021
Which one of the Grays would look best on the exterior with white trim and black shingles. something not to dull or bold but an eye catcher I am a little color blind please help
Sunday 16th of May 2021
Hi Debbie! Gauntlet Gray, Lazy Gray or Ellie Gray are all nice! None are too bold, and they're not super light. Check them out and see what you think!
Monday 5th of April 2021
I love some of these colors! But I really should stay away from more articles about different shades of gray when I've got 11 Samplize swatches on my walls right now and I'm still torn! Like Ron and Jacqueline David in another comment, we're about to paint every room in our house, and I've picked out all the colors but one: the living room/dining room/stairs and hall (which all kinda flow as one space, so it needs to be one color). Since it's such a large amount of space, I really want to get it right!
I think we've narrowed it down to (BM) Abalone, Barren Plain or Balboa Mist. I definitely want something warmer. If you had to pick one of those, which would you?
Thursday 15th of April 2021
@Lauren, thank you so much!
Wednesday 14th of April 2021
Hi Lindsay! Haha - better to have 11 Samplize squares on your wall than 11 different painted samples on your wall at least!! Between the three, Balboa Mist is the most popular. I always think that the masses are typically not wrong! Balboa Mist has more beige in it than the others, and that makes it pretty versatile. Abalone has a bit of a purple undertone, so I would personally stay away from that one, but its because I don't love a purple undertone. You may love it, and that's okay!! Barren Plain comes across as the most gray, and looks cooler than the others to me. Again, this isn't bad, just a consideration. For me, I would go with Balboa Mist. Good luck!
Tuesday 2nd of February 2021
Hi, I love "Set In Stone" but am wondering if it will be too dark for a long narrow hallway. Thanks for any input.
Tuesday 2nd of February 2021
Hi Claire! It is a great color for sure! I think it depends on the lighting that you have in the hallways, the trim color, the trim width, and other things like that. If your hallways is dimly lit and has dark wood trim, then Set in Stone is non going to be the best choice for you. If you have bright white trim in the hallway and good lighting, you can definitely make it work! It will give the hallway a bolder, more dramatic look, but some people love that! It all depends on the space and the mood you're going for. Good luck!
Ron and Jacqueline David
Tuesday 26th of January 2021
Lauren, Good morning. I ran across your site while trying to get help finding the 'right' color to paint most of the interior of our house. We have done a pretty good job of painting nearly every room of our home. But the foyer, stairs and living room are two story and that is a job we have wait on until we had funding for a professional.
The current color is flat builder beige. It is everywhere and has been there for 7 years. We picked out 4 colors and put those on the wall. My son correctly pointed out "those are all the same - white" so we went back to SW to try again.
Our current top contenders are 6184 Austere Gray, 6197 Aloof Gray and 6169 Sedate Gray. With a possible accent wall in the great room of 9647 Soft Sage.
I'd appreciate any thoughts or tips you may have. The adjoining kitchen is Yellow so that is one issue. There are browns throughout the house to compliment the beige. Trim is white. Hardwood and cabinetry/furniture is dark (cherry).
Wednesday 3rd of February 2021
Hi Ron and Jaqueline! I cracked up at your son's observation. Yes, oftentimes white paint just looks like white paint, haha. You have since narrowed it down to some great colors though. Between the three, I love Austere Gray the most. It has a touch of blue green undertones that I think are really gorgeous. That being said, you may not want a blue green room (and depending on your shifting lighting, it could look more blue or green than you want at times). Aloof Gray is more of a true gray, and the coolest choice here. I would probably not pick it due to the other tones in the space. Last, Sedate Gray is a nice greige. Very neutral, and will work with a lot of accent colors. I think it is your safest choice. All that being said, I don't have a sample of Soft Sage, so I don't know how any of these will work with that accent color. If I were you, I would pick up either some sample cans or Samplize squares and see how the colors will look in your home. The little swatches from SW won't do here. You need a bigger sample than those. I hope this is helpful for you! Good luck!