Sorry, this post isn’t a recap of the steamy romance novel. However, it IS a topic I am very excited to share! As you all know, gray is my favorite neutral color. Almost my entire house is gray, including much of my upholstery. The tonal feel of our home is based on a few different shades of gray, but not just any gray. I was very intentional in selecting grays with a warm, taupe-y (yes, I created that word) undertone. I always choose grays that have warmth behind them, never cool or blue undertones. When it comes to selecting a gray color for residential clients, I always use this same mindset, unless I am working on a very modern feel. You would be amazed at how many clients come to me with issues regarding the “blue” wall they intended to be gray. I am going to breakdown my favorite grays, as well as how to select your own shade of gray.
**I should first start by saying that I am a big Sherwin Williams girl. I not only love their wide range of colors, their website and user friendly fan decks are perfect for selecting colors on site during client meetings. All of the colors I will be mentioning are SW, it will be super helpful if you have your own fan deck at home to follow along with! (I highly recommend having a fan deck handy at home regardless, you never know when you’ll need to pick a color, and it is ALWAYS best to select a paint color in the actual environment you are painting).
An overall palate of my go-to grays usually falls between fan deck number 245 and 241 (shown below). Now you are probably thinking “hey that’s brown!”. When you compare these shades to a typical true gray color, yes they seem to have a warmer (almost brown) tone to them… and that is the point! The warmth in these colors serves a few different purposes. The warmth allows a room to feel so much cozier and pleasant. A cool stark gray immediately makes a room feel cold and sterile. Even if you have gray accents in your space, having a warmer gray on the walls goes a long way. In addition, (and very important!) when you choose a color from this fan deck section it may seem more brown in the deck, but when you paint your space it instantly takes on a more gray look. If you choose a cooler gray, it may take on blue undertones, and before you know it you’ve got a wall appearing blue. Yikes!
Here are some of my favorite gray shades:
SW 7022 Alpaca
SW7024 Functional gray
(This collection is great for a very warm taupey gray look)
SW7015 Repose Gray
SW7016 Mindful Gray
(This collection is great for a very light but warm gray look)
SW7671 On The Rocks
(This color is great for the lightest, crisp gray)
SW0055 Light French gray
(This color is great for a slightly cooler and truer gray look)
SW7655 Stamped Concrete
(This color is great for a deeper, slightly cooler gray look)
In my home, I have the same shade of gray running through most of the first floor: SW7024 Functional Gray. I love the warm tones it creates throughout the house. In different shades of light it can become very light, and in shaded areas it has such nice depth of color that pops off of the white trim. I cannot stress enough to not be afraid of going with a deeper color! You would be surprised at how a color becomes so much lighter and de-saturated when it is applied to a whole wall. Don’t be afraid!
If you stay within these tones of gray, no matter if it is a piece of furniture or a whole room, you will end up with a cohesive feel to the rest of your space! When testing these colors out, make sure you paint a large enough section (at least 24”x24”) to properly determine how it will look in your space. It is even better to paint the square up against your crown molding or casement color for a truer feel of how it will appear. Don’t fall into the trap of painting dozens of tiny squares all over your walls!
I hope you found this discussion on gray paint colors very helpful!