A charcoal paint color, or dark gray, is a great way to add a touch of drama, highlight an accent wall, or create a whole mood in a room.
Charcoal paint colors are increasing in popularity. They give definition and depth without being quite as harsh as a true black paint.
There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding charcoal paint colors though. So, to start, let’s consider some of the frequently asked questions that people have about charcoal paint colors.
Then, we will list out the most popular charcoal paint colors so you can help determine which is the right dark gray paint color for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Charcoal Color Paint
What Color is Charcoal Paint?
Charcoal is a dark gray paint color. It isn’t quite so dark that it is black, but it has a lot of dark tones in it.
In fact, a charcoal gray can look so dark at times that can make it look black. This happens if the lighting isn’t adequate and produces shaded areas within the room.
Does Charcoal Grey Go With Everything?
Charcoal gray is a great neutral paint color, but that doesn’t exactly mean that it goes with anything.
This is because all charcoal gray paint colors have undertones. Undertones are the specific colors that make up the paint color and give it the look that it has.
Charcoal paint colors can lean more blue, more green, more purple or more brown, depending on what undertones they have.
So, a charcoal gray with blue undertones probably won’t be the best bet if your space has a lot of purple colors in it. Instead, a charcoal gray with purple undertones will compliment the space better.
Along those lines, if you have other charcoal gray things in the space, such as a dark gray couch or dark gray tones in your countertops, you want to make sure that you choose a charcoal gray paint color with similar undertones to make sure the space flows well and there is nothing clashy about it.
You can do this by sampling the paint color in your space and seeing how they colors look next to each other. More on my favorite way to sample paint colors later.
Is Charcoal Gray a Warm or Cool Color?
Charcoal gray can be warm or cool, depending on the undertones that it has.
Grays with reddish purple or brown undertones are warm grays. Grays with bluish purple, green or blue undertones are cool grays.
What Paint Color Goes With Charcoal Gray?
As I mentioned earlier, you need to take the undertones the charcoal gray into consideration when thinking about what paint colors to pair with it.
But generally speaking, charcoal gray goes well with blues, yellows, lighter grays with similar undertones, whites, creams, and pinks.
Is Charcoal Grey the Same as Dark Grey?
Charcoal gray and dark gray are generally used interchangeably.
But, I tend think of charcoal grays to have a bit more black in them.
People also wonder if slate gray and charcoal gray are the same. In my book, slate gray is a little lighter and more steel like than charcoal gray.
Most Popular Charcoal Gray Paint Colors
There are a lot of great dark gray paint colors, but there are several that stand out from the rest.
The most popular charcoal gray paint colors are Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray, Sherwin Williams Dovetail, Sherwin Williams Peppercorn, Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray, Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal, and Benjamin Moore Whale Gray.
Let’s take a look at each of these charcoal gray paint colors to which may be the best for your home.
Remember, you want to choose a charcoal gray paint color that coordinates with the fixed elements in your home, such as your countertops, cabinets, and flooring, as well as your furniture and decor (if you don’t plan to change it out).
Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray
Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray is a dark gray or charcoal paint color that has brown and purple undertones.
As far as charcoal grays go, it is on the warmer end of the spectrum.
This means that if you pair Gauntlet Gray with warmer shades, it will coordinate well. But, it will also look more like a true gray because of being next to warmer shades.
I would use Gauntlet Gray in a room or exterior with warm whites and warm neutrals.
Gauntlet Gray wouldn’t be my first choice in a room or on an exterior with cooler shades. It has a higher likelihood to clash with the cooler tones.
Get more info on Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray here.
Sherwin Williams Dovetail
Sherwin Williams Dovetail is a warm, dark gray that shares a paint strip with Gauntlet Gray.
Despite popular belief, this doesn’t mean that Dovetail and Gauntlet Gray are just lighter or darker versions of each other.
They are similiar though. Dovetail has some brown and purple undertones on it that give it its warmth.
Like Gauntlet Gray, Dovetail likes to be paired with warm shades. It works really well with lighter warm grays and warm neutrals, or with earthy shades.
Dovetail is a versatile shade because it isn’t quite as dark as some of the other shades on this list.
Get more info on Sherwin Williams Dovetail here.
Sherwin Williams Peppercorn
Sherwin Williams Peppercorn is a very dark charcoal paint color. It is one of the charcoals on the list that is so dark that it can look black in low lighting.
Peppercorn is a very popular paint color because it is a more quintessential dark gray paint color. It doesn’t have any one undertone extremely strongly, but instead can look take on a hint of purple, green or blue depending on what is around it.
This makes it a flexible paint shade because it adapts to its surroundings a bit.
Because of this flexible undertone, Peppercorn doesn’t really lean warm or cool too much. Instead, it acts more as a neutral gray.
You can pair it with warm or cool colors, assuming it works with the other colors in the area.
This doesn’t mean that you can just use in anywhere though. You will definitely want to sample it before painting to make sure its right in your space.
Peppercorn is great for home exteriors, trim, and cabinets though, and if you’re looking for a charcoal paint color, you should definitely add this one to the shortlist.
Get more info on Sherwin Williams Peppercorn here.
Sherwin WIlliams Grizzle Gray
Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray is a dark gray, or charcoal paint color. It is one of the more popular charcoal paint colors, but not the most popular.
Grizzle Gray has green undertones with a touch of green-blue.
Grizzle Gray and Peppercorn share a paint strip, but they are not actually all that similar.
Grizzle Gray is more on the cooler end of the spectrum of charcoal gray paint colors.
Accordingly, it is a little less versatile than Peppercorn.
Grizzle Gray goes well with lighter grays with similar green undertones, beiges, warm oranges and some greiges.
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray is a charcoal gray paint color. It is similar to Dovetail, but not identical.
Chelsea Gray is a very popular color. With purple, green undertones and a touch of brown, Chelsea Gray is a warm gray paint color.
Chelsea Gray is not as dark as some of the charcoal gray paint colors on the list, but it definitely has some depth to it.
It looks great with creams and warm neutrals, grays with similar undertones, lighter greiges, yellows and purples.
Chelsea Gray is great on home exteriors, cabinets, trim, and as an accent color.
Get all the details on Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray here.
Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal
Kendall Charcoal is another very dark charcoal paint color by Benjamin Moore. It isn’t quite as dark as Peppercorn, but can definitely look like a soft black in low lighting.
Kendall Charcoal is a neutral gray paint color, without any strong undertones. It is strong and bold, but not icy.
Kendall Charcoal is great on home exteriors, trim and cabinets, but is a bit dark for walls.
It looks great with light neutrals, yellows, light blues, lighter grays and greiges.
Get all the details on Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal here.
Benjamin Moore Whale Gray
Whale Gray, by Benjamin Moore, is a dark, cool charcoal gray paint color.
Whale Gray has blue undertones, and is the coolest gray on this list. It still isn’t exactly an icy gray though.
Of all the grays here, I would typically choose Whale Gray to go in a space with cool tones in it, because it won’t take on a brown look next to them. Instead, it will remain looking like a gray.
Whale Gray looks amazing with blues, pinks, creams, and lighter grays with similar undertones.
If you want a dark cool gray, Whale Gray should be one you sample.
Wondering How To Pick the Perfect Paint Color?
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These no-mess, peel and stick sheets are made from real paint, so they will show you exactly what the paint color will look like.
Simply place them on your walls next to your trim, furnishings or fixed elements, and easily see which paint color works best in your space and with your lighting.
Then, peel the sheet off your wall and reapply it somewhere else if you like. You can try several different paint colors with no mess, no fuss and no cleaning paint brushes.
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They are the easiest (and fastest!) way to try a paint color in your home, with no hassle.
Final Thoughts on Charcoal Gray Paint Colors
Charcoal gray paint colors add so much to a space. They bring definition, drama and mood, without being too harsh.
Charcoal paint colors work on accent walls, kitchen cabinets or islands, vanities, exteriors woodwork, or even on whole rooms for the particularly daring.
If you are looking create a moody ambiance in your space, consider one of these popular charcoal gray paint colors.
Want to see all your paint options in one convenient place? Click here to get everything you need to start painting, including Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore paint color decks!
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