The Best Gray Paint is the Right One for Your Room
Move over white, there is a new neutral in town. Gray is muscling out the neutral competition, proving itself a versatile tone that varies from subtle and calm to warm and strong. The range of tones and shades means the right one for your space is out there, but it also makes it a seemingly impossible task. Luckily there are some guidelines to follow for finding which tones and shades work best in a space, and we have broken them down for you here.
Whether you have already searched for ‘light gray paint’ and are ready to go, or thought you had picked out your favorite dove gray paint only to see all the dove grays from every brand, we will help you learn how to use gray wall paint in your home.
Know Your Light to Navigate the Shades of Gray
Though gray may be described as neutral, the term is a little misleading. It comes in so many different tones that it often has a character of its own that does not just fade into the background. These tones give the gray paints a temperature, coolness or warmth, which responds to certain lights in differing ways. We have categorized the grays by the temperature and shade of the colour and combined these factors with the best light for each. Light or dark gray, warm or cool gray, the actual light of the room you are painting will have a big effect on the look and feel of the final finish.
Grab a compass and get ready, below we look at how light affects a room, and some of the best gray wall paint products for each space from brands including Farrow & Ball, Sherwin-Williams, and Benjamin Moore.
Cool Grays and South-Facing Rooms – Make the most of all that light
South-facing rooms are the brightest in the house. They drink in all that flattering, middle-of-the-day sunlight and colors are more accurate and stronger. If you are lucky enough to have south-facing rooms with plenty of natural light, pairing it with a cool gray paint will work to enhance the space. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, using a cool color here will make the room crisper, brighter, and contrast the natural warmth of the light. Colors that would work well include:
- Benjamin Moore – Gray Cashmere
A beautiful, crisp gray paint, this color has the right amount of blue and green to elevate it beyond the gray, and allow for exciting and striking color combinations. No matter the room, this elegant gray will elevate it. Refreshing and fresh.
- Farrow & Ball – Manor House Gray
Tinged with a hint of soft blue, Manor House Gray feels cool, calm, and clean, perfect for contemporary homes or minimal themes. It will bring dimension to your walls and maximise your space, while also being soothing. The paint equivalent of diving into the sea on a warm summer’s day.
Warm Grays and North-Facing Rooms – Complement the cool, faded light
Light in north-facing rooms is cooler and flatter than other rooms, and this will make them appear colder and darker. To combat this, choose a light gray paint with a warm hue. It will give the room a coziness and will fight the flatness of the light to make an inviting space, especially in a large room. Darker grays will just suck even more light from the room. Shades that work well include:
- Farrow & Ball – Mole’s Breath
With the popularity of ‘Elephant’s Breath’, Farrow & Ball turned their attention to a far smaller creature. Mole’s Breath is a strong, sophisticated gray that works well as an accent for trim and walls, or to create a room with depth and warmth. Pair this rich, warm gray with complementary neutrals or whites for heightened drama and elegance.
- Sherwin-Williams – Agreeable Gray
Just like its name suggests, this shade is an agreeable and warm gray, suitable for any space but particularly cozy in north-facing rooms.
Make a Statement with a Dramatic True Gray
The colors above get their warmth or coolness through tinges and hints of other colors like pinks or blues. A true gray is just that – a gray that is just gray. But being ‘just gray’ does not mean these colors are boring. In fact, true grays are some of the most dramatic of the gray wall paint options, and some of the most sophisticated.
- Farrow & Ball – Down Pipe
A favorite among designers and homeowners alike, this Farrow & Ball gray paint is the perfect strong and striking dark gray paint to make a statement. Fabulous when used for trim, the smoky leadness is dark but not depressing and for those who dare it can create true drama in your home, hallway, kitchen, bedroom, or just about anywhere.
- Benjamin Moore – Cheating Heart
A deep charcoal, this color is sure to bring drama when used on walls or as gorgeous features on trim and cabinetry. As well as being visually interesting, it is also adaptable. It matches well with a range of style and color palettes.
Cool morning light and warm afternoon glow
Just like north and south, east and west-facing rooms have different lighting conditions. East-facing rooms get delicate, cool morning light while west-facing room are lit by golden warmth. Bring out the subtle blue and green tones in east-facing rooms to make the most of the slightly blue light. In west-facing rooms, use lighter tones to try to make the room lighter all day round. Ultimately it comes down to hen you use the rooms most, and the lighting at that time.