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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What are the undertones of Gray Owl? Will my walls look blue or green?
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 (SW Alabaster in this photo), exposure, reflection, other interior finishes and more.
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…
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!
And there it goes in this next photo, looking pretty darned gray with very LITTLE undertone…
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…
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
Visit 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 BM White Dove, BM Super White and SW Pure White.
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.
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. Want a little less undertone? Maybe you’d like Sherwin Williams Big Chill!
- 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 which gray paint colours is best for your room?
Check out my Online Colour Consulting Services
Originally written in 2015, awesomely updated in 2020