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Paint Colour Review: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl OC-52

Posted on January 19, 2020 by KylieMawdsley

All About: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl – Undertones and More!

Are you looking for the perfect gray paint colour? Well, let me be the first to burst your gray-tinted bubble and say that while there IS no perfect gray paint colour, you’ll get pretty darned close with Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.

But, why is there no such thing as a perfect gray paint colour, you might ask? Well, it’s all about perception, and exposure…and undertone…and LRV…and so much more. And we’re going to cover all of that shortly.

The best gray paint colour, review of Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, virtual online paint colour consulting. DIY advice blogger

What type of paint colour is Gray Owl? Is it warm or cool?

The funny thing is that while Gray Owl is technically a warmer gray, it ALMOST ALWAYS looks cool, especially with its blue-green undertones. If you’re looking for a more TRADITIONAL warm gray, you may want to read this.

Hallway with reclaimed wood flooring and white railling. Benjamin Moore Gray Owl and built in bookcase. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color

What is the LRV of Gray Owl?

Gray Owl has an LRV of almost 66, so it has a pretty softness to it, making it not an off-white, but not even CLOSE to the light-medium range either – it sits quite happily in the middle. Not sure what LRV is? You really should read THIS.

Painted kitchen cabinets. Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, Gray Owl, white subway tile, black laminate countertop. Budget friendly Kylie M Interiors E-design Colour expert (1)

With an LRV of 66, Gray Owl offers a nice contrast with white trim, without adding too much visual weight to the walls. And while it will wash-out on a WELL-lit wall, unless you go darker, any paint colour will do the same. However, if you have a dark room, it COULD feel a bit flat if you don’t have adequate interior lighting.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, maple flooring, black granite countertop, Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

And while it might not SEEM that way, Gray Owl is classified as a warm gray (whodathunkit), which can be a bit deceiving based on how it shows up on the walls! This basically means it’s not an ICY cold gray, it has a softness to it without going obviously warm.

Read more: The 4 Best Warm Gray Paint Colours by Sherwin Williams

What are the undertones of Gray Owl? Will my walls look blue or green?

While most gray paint colours have a preferred undertone, many of today’s popular gray paint colours can EASILY slide into any of the 3 gray undertones – and Gray Owl is NO exception!

Gray Owl WANTS to commit to its green undertone, as you can see in this next photo. However, like many gray paint colours, it can EASILY be swayed by trim colour (Sherwin Williams Alabaster in this photo), exposure, reflection, other interior finishes and more.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, best gray paint colour. Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim white kitchen. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

This means that Gray Owl gets around and isn’t faithfully married to its green undertone – not by a LONG shot, and you can easily expect that green to sliiiide on back to be replaced by a blue-green or almost straight-up blue undertone, as shown in this next photo…

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl one of the best gray paint colours for a dark hallway or staircase by Kylie M Interiors. With photo gallery wall of kids and dark wood and metal stair railing

It can even vary on a wall-to-wall basis as shown in this next photo – a bit more green on the left and a touch bluer on the right!

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with wainscoting, dark wood handrailing on stairs. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

And there it goes in this next photo, looking pretty darned gray with very LITTLE undertone…

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with industrial style lighting and clock

Long story short, when it comes to Gray Owl (or any paint colour), it’s VITAL to sample it carefully in your OWN space before committing to a full gallon on the walls.

What’s the difference between Gray Owl and Stonington Gray?

I get this question ALL the time – so much, it could be a blog post unto itself. And it is, HERE!

However, to satisfy your curiosity quickly, check out how Gray Owl looks slightly more green compared to the stormier, slightly bluer look of Stonington Gray…

Stonington gray and Gray Owl. colour review undertones. Kylie M Interiors Edesign online

The best gray paint colors for your room. Benjamin and Sherwin. Edesign, Kylie M Interiors online paint colour services. Home decorating and diy ideas blogger.market

Click HERE or on the above photo to view my Online Consulting Packages!

Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…

Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…

  • Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
  • At $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needing for traditional paint sampling
  • If you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room

Save money on paint samples by visiting the SAMPLIZE website HERE

What are the best white paint colours with Gray Owl?

Gray Owl is definitely one of the more flexible gray paint colours when it comes to whites and can accommodate everything from cool, crisp whites, to warm, creamy ones! And although it’s shown in a few of the above photos with Sherwin Williams Alabaster, personally, I love it with Benjamin Moore White Dove, Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace and Sherwin Williams Pure White.

Entryway, stairwell, reclaimed pine wood flooring, treads, white railing, white wainscoting. Benjamin Moore Cloud White and Gray Owl. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour and decorating blog

Read more: The 8 Best Benjamin Moore White Paint Colours

Is Gray Owl a good paint colour for the exterior of my home?

Maybe…but there’s a LOT to consider when choosing an exterior paint colour. When it comes to the DEPTH/LRV of Gray Owl, you’ll want to consider whether it has enough of it to hold up to intense southern light, which could wash it out considerably. You’ll also want to make sure that the undertones jibe with your roof, stone or brick as well.

Exterior metal roof, Benjamin Moore GRay Owl siding and Sherwin Williams Drizzle shutters. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

Read more: 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Paint Colour for Your Exterior

Tips for Using Gray Owl in Your Home

  • In my experience, I’ve found that rooms with reduced natural light and/or northern exposure can bring out the blue undertones a bit more
  • Warm whites (trim) can enhance the cool undertones hiding in Gray Owl
  • Gray Owl is GREAT for resale if you have a nice mix of exposures in your home. However, if you have a lot of north-facing light, it can be a bit cold looking for mass appeal
  • If you want something a bit warmer, but equally as popular, check out Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
  • Overall, if you don’t like cool colours but would like a gray, you may want to forget about Gray Owl. It might be CALLED a warm gray, but you can expect it to act cooler on your walls. See if you can find something more up your alley in this article instead…The 9 Best Benjamin Moore Gray Paint Colours

Not sure if Gray Owl is YOUR gray paint colour? I’ve got another good one right here…

SHERWIN WILLIAMS BIG CHILL

The best gray paint colour, Sherwin Williams Big Chill, a popular neutral. Kylie M Interiors paint color review of grey. Edesign, online and virtual paint colour consultant

Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Big Chill

Not sure which gray paint colour is best for your room?  

Check out my Online Colour Consulting Services

The best gray or grey paint colors for your room. Benjamin or Sherwin. Edesign, online paint colour services Kylie M Interiors. diy home decorating ideas blogger.market

Chat soon

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature

READ MORE:

Gray: The 3 Undertones You HAVE to Consider

Stonington Gray vs Gray Owl – Undertones and More

Sherwin Williams 10 Best Gray and Greige Paint Colours

Benjamin Moore 9 Best Gray Paint Colours

Originally written in 2015, awesomely updated in 2020



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Comments

  1. Kylie, love, love, love your designing and your blogs! Your blog this week brings up a subject that perhaps you could do a blog on for those of us who are color dumb: warm and cool tones. I have difficulty discerning one from the other and wonder if you would offer insight.

  2. Ohh..how I wish you had provided this info about 2 weeks ago. I painted my home office (which is very small and connected to my laundry room) Gray Owl. I was convinced it was the color for me until…I finished. It looked like a blue baby nursery! All I could determine was that the wall color from my laundry room (SW Interesting Aqua) was bouncing off my office walls. Total disaster on my part. I ended up painting my office BM Balboa Mist which I like a lot better. Whew!
    I would give anything I had also found your blog about 2 years ago! Thanks for all the great details on paint. It can be so complicated.

    1. Oh man! I’m sorry to hear that! However, thank you for sharing that info. No matter how many times I tell people about the undertone, they don’t always believe me so I’m glad that I’m not TOTALLY crazy (only a bit…) You’re the third person in about 3 weeks who has had an experience like this, which is why I decided to write a post – clearly Gray Owl is a tricky colour!
      And Balboa Mist, great choice! Collingwood Gray, the darker version of it is one of my fave soft grays so I bet it looks amazing!
      If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my blog (right hand of the blog page) – it’s free and I do quasi-weekly updates that are fun and informative!
      Thanks for writing!
      ~Kylie

  3. Hi Kylie

    We are in the home stretch of our cottage renovation in Ontario. You did an online consultation for me this past winter and we have chatted once or twice since then.

    My painter has just finished our first coat of Gray Owl in the Master Bedroom. The painter commented that he saw a hint of green and I saw blue undertones, so indeed this colour can be a cammellion! But it looks totally fresh and is just what I wanted.

    I often check your posts for your great advice. I will send you some photos when we finish the Reno.

    Bye for now
    Glenda

    1. Hi Glenda, good to hear from you again! I’m so glad you are enjoying Gray Owl and yes, it is a SUPER chameleon colour, isn’t it! I can’t WAIT to get those after photos!

      Chat soon,

      ~Kylie

    2. Kylie ,
      In your post you mentioned grey can be referred to as muddy , fresh , cool , warm ,. What color would you say is fresh and crisp ? I’m looking for a grey but I don’t want one that has a low LRV . I want something airy , fresh , crisp and clean. My house has a lot of light coming through. What would you suggest ?

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        Hi Ariel, it can really depend on your interior finishes and exposures, but generally, I’ve found that the more fresh/crisp/clean a gray is, the more you can notice the undertones – either blue, green or purple. You could go as light as White Diamond or maybe Iced Cube Silver or First Snowfall, all of which favour a blue-purple. Graytint is also popular, a bit softer and more of a purple, but can flash into blue.

    1. Hi Leslie! Now SW doesn’t have an exact equilavent, but keep in mind that they do EXCELLENT colour matching, so if you were so inclined they could MAKE Gray Owl for you – in the SW brand! The closest would be Crushed Ice, but really, it doesn’t have that lovely blue/green undertone flashing through, so if it were me, I’d get a colour match done for sure.

      Thanks for asking!
      ~Kylie

      1. If you don’t mind my commenting, Sherwin Williams Silverpointe is almost an exact match to BM Gray Owl. It’s so close we were having a hard time deciding between the two.

  4. How Kylie,

    We painted our house gray owl and it look a little green in the kitchen at night. Do you have any suggestions on a coordinating gray for my lower cabinets (uppers are cloud cover)?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Pri, thank you for asking. While I do my best to answer ‘generic’ decorating/paint questions, when it comes to specific rooms/needs I direct my readers to my Online Consulting, this way I can look at photos and spend some quality time with you and your home! It sounds like you would be in the ‘Decorating and Design’ seciton in the ‘Random Questions’ Package. Here is the link if you are interested ? https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/

      ~Kylie

  5. I’m planning to paint my kitchen walls Gray Owl and my cabinets “off the shelf white” but would like to paint my island a color. I thought about painting it Gray Owl or even a darker color. What darker gray would complement Gray Owl or should I just paint the island Gray Owl too? My counter tops are quartz. (Carrera marble look) My backsplash is white subway tile.
    Thanks,
    Paula Langley

  6. Did you ever give Kylie your thoughts on which darker gray would do well for the island. I’m putting a vertical ship lap style on a wall in a small beach house?

  7. What a bummer! I was in a house last week that had gray owl and it really was the perfect gray with no visible undertones. I guess it just depends on your light and what surrounds it! I’m glad you are embracing the green undertones! Do you have white trim to help off set some of those tones?

  8. I so enjoyed all your information and details on paint. I have been so depressed trying to pick out paint colors for the exterior of my home. I have bought so many samples and its so overwhelming. Can you please suggest how I should paint our home. I would like to send pics and see if you would give me some ideas. our home has so much going on and I just cant get it together. Please let me know how to send you pics. I would be so grateful for any input.

  9. Hi There,
    I love gray owl! Used it on my old house… and everyday was thankful for my decision. My husband and I recently got transferred to the arctic, and sadly… no Benjamin Moore is available. Can you suggest a similar Dulux colour?
    Thanks!!
    Liz

    1. Ooo, the Arctic – I did a consult in Nunavut once! So, a Dulux colour similar to Gray Owl would be…nothing. Dulux really has nothing that is close. All of the options are different enough, that they would simply give a different look. Now knowing that you’ll probably have more gray snowy days than sunny ones, you could look at a softer gray, something like Dulux Oyster Bay. This has a bit more green and feels a bit softer/less gray than Gray Owl, but it’s certainly a similar ‘idea’. You could also look at a colour in between The Plaza and Antique Sterling. The Plaza is too light, but Antique Sterling is too dark. I would think by lightening/darkening one or the other, you could get a look that is perhaps a bit less gray, but certainly similar to Gray Owl (likely The Plaza darkened by approx. 40%).
      I hope that helps!
      ~Kylie

  10. AHHH!!! I just discovered a Gray Owl conspiracy, I’m sure! I have two color strips from different hardware stores with the Gray Owl on them and although they are close, they have different undertones. I kept reading your articles and thinking that one of us was a tad color blind because the sample I have pulls brown/red. The other one is cooler. I’ll send pics, if you like. I was getting pretty frustrated but I’m glad I can go back to trusting what I’m seeing and what you’re telling me here. 🙂
    All I need is a light cool silvery gray that can go with my warm white cabinets and not pull pink or purple. It’s been an uphill battle and I’ve learned a ton from your site so hopefully I can nail something down soon. Thanks for all the info!

  11. Kylie,
    Your website and color assessments are amazing and SO helpful — thank you! You have become our go-to source for color selection. My husband and I are repainting our first floor. I love Gray Owl, but he thinks it is too green. He’s pushing for Edgecomb Gray but I’m not in love with it, as I think it’s too similar to the ivory paint we inherited in the house. We are considering Stonington Gray as well, but ideally I would like a color that is a wee pit softer like Gray Owl. Are there any others in that family to consider? Thank you!!

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  12. Hi!
    I just finished painting my room SW Sea Salt and my next project is to paint my bathroom. I am looking for a nice light gray. Would Owl Gray be a good choice or do you think it will come out looking more green or blue because of the Sea salt?. I got a sample of the SW Repose Gray the other day but to me it has too much of a tan undertone than what I am aiming for? I plan to paint my back bedroom whatever gray I decide to go with for a nursery at some point as well.

    Thanks!

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  13. We just had our whole downstairs painted in gray owl and we love it. I had many sleepless nights trying to pick a color and your blog helped me so much. I can’t thank you enough. My husband thanks you too!

  14. Hi Kylie!

    Love your insight and knowledge of colors… Your website is one of the most helpful resources I have found to understand and compare colors, so thank you for all the time and effort you put into it!

    Some say the gray trend is coming to a close, do you think Gray Owl will be outdated in a few years or do you think this is a classic, timeless color? I’m thinking of doing Gray Owl at 50% or Horizon as a main house color but I’d rather stay ahead of the curve.

    Thanks!

  15. Hi Kylie, love your blog. Looking for a nice clean fresh gray. My main living area is north to south. I have large windows, both ends and two long narrow windows on the west side. My dominating feature is the floor to ceiling fireplace that is stacked rock. It’s shades of grays with muted rust here and there. My kitchen cabinets are espresso with nickel handles. The living room suite is chocolate brown leather and the floors are a medium oak colour, not too light or dark. Our art works are colourful, originals from Italy, France and Cuba, they all have some turquoise, reds and yellows in them, very cheerry colours ☺ What do you think of Gray Owl ??? Thanks in advace Christine

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      Hi Christine, from the SOUNDS of it, it could work quite well! Of course without seeing photos I’m not sure, but it seems okay from what you’ve written!
      ~Kylie

  16. I am in a grey delimma… the house I lived in was painted the absolute perfect grey… it was light and calming yet always changing colors… I had taken a picture of the name of the paint the woman who lived their before me had painted it…. through my move, my phone died and I lost my pictures … I cannot for the life of me remember it. I know it was not Owl grey yet your description sounds so similar to it…. I had white baseboards and in high light it would reflect blue…. other times look like a pale grey but in low light in the evenings it reflected greens…. it was just the coolest color and I fear it is forever lost …. are their any other greys that reflect blue and green?

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      Hi Kendal, check out BM Shoreline and SW Crushed Ice. Sometimes it’s MORE about the exposure/light coming in the windows (ie: trees/grass) than it is about the colour. I mean, that’s not necessarily the case with you, but it can shift things 🙂 YOu can also check out Moonshine, which does lean green, but I’ve seen it easily flash blue. I hope that helps!

  17. What do you think about Gray Owl on the walls and White Dove kitchen cabinets/doors and trim? Would white dove work well? thank you.

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      Hi Laurie, that could be quite pretty, I see no problem with that, of course, without seeing your home that is 😉

  18. Hello! I just discovered your blog and it’s amazing! Can you please share that olive green color you used to compare grey owl and Stonington grey? It’s such a gorgeous color!

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      AHHHH, this is the one you were talking about! That colour was already in place, but from the looks of it, I bet it was along similar lines to Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray which is a med-dark charcoal with a soft, subtle green undertone :).

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      Hi Debra! Sorry, I’ve looked at the blog, but I can’t seem to see the photo you’re talking about? I’m wondering though if it’s the photo where the bookcase is kind of in the middle of the photo, that wall on the right is ACTUALLY…Gray Owl. It’s just a low light area and the camera angle makes it look much darker!

  19. I came across your blog this time last year just as I was preparing to move into a little house of my own. I knew I wanted to repaint it (the previous owner had used WAY too many colours for me) and I wanted one colour throughout for cohesiveness. You mentioned Grey Owl, and also White Dove…so, I ended up repainting the very white ceilings with White Dove and all the walls are Grey Owl (including baseboards as the ceilings are only 8 foot). I am so happy with the combo, and love the reflective qualities of Grey Owl. My house is bright no matter the weather and everyone who has seen it has remarked on the beautiful wall colour. Great blog!

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