HomeThe Best Paint ColoursBENJAMIN MOORE & SHERWIN WILLIAMS: Paint Color ReviewsBenjamin Moore Gray Owl vs Stonington Gray – Comparing Undertones and More

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl vs Stonington Gray – Comparing Undertones and More

Posted on February 21, 2019 by KylieMawdsley


Two of the BEST Gray Paint Colours: Review and Compare!

Are you searching for the elusive ‘perfect gray paint colour’? And what IS the perfect gray? Is it cool or is it warm? Does it have subtle undertones, is it light, is it dark, is it…DRIVING YOU MAD!!!?

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Well, if you’re on the internet looking for the best gray paint colour ideas, that’s probably the case and I’m glad you found me before hysteria set in. Today, we’re going to focus on two of my favourite gray paint colours, but first, let’s take a deep breath, a chug graceful sip of wine and talk about gray…

There are 2 types of grays:


Warm grays are grays that have a bit of brown in them (no, not greiges – just warm grays for now).

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray a greige paint colour in a bathroom with gray linen tower and bathroom decor, linens. Kylie M Interiors E-design

BM Classic Gray is a popular warm gray


Cool grays are grays that DON’T have brown in them. However, JUST because they don’t contain brown, doesn’t mean you’re left with THE perfect gray. What you’re left with is a gray…with undertones – dun dun dun (dramatic sound).

Sherwin Williams Network Gray is one of the best cool gray paint colours with a a subtleblue undertone. shown with home decor and white wainscoting

SW Network Gray – a popular cool gray by Sherwin Williams

Undertones are those sneaky colours that don’t jump out when you first look at the paint chip but slap you upside the face once you’ve gone to the effort of painting your entire room, only to realize your walls look blue/pink/green/fugly (insert twitching here).

Read more: Gray – The 3 Undertones You HAVE to Consider

Living room with gray sectional, Stonington Gray paint color on the walls, oak flooring. Large clock and rustic wood furniture. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting blog

Okay, maybe undertones aren’t always THAT obvious, but you do need to realize that grays have undertones. That’s just the way it is, so you need to figure out WHICH undertones you can live with, and I bet these explanations below will help!

Paint colour review, compare Benjamin Moore Gray Owl vs Stonington Gray, best neutral grey paint colours. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, virtual online paint colour advice

Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray HC-170

Stonington Gray is a soft, stormy looking gray. Why do I say stormy? Well, some consultants like to focus on the science of colour (which can be mildly mind-boggling – to put it lightly, but damn they’re good at it), while I like to keep things pretty meat n’ potatoes with how you can expect a paint colour to look on your walls.

Staircase with lights, carpet, wood flooring, white railings. Stonington Gray paint color. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour expert

A stormy gray isn’t as fresh and clean looking as a gray with a cleaner blue or blue/green in it. It has a subtle, low-key look and can be a great backdrop for artwork as shown below. And while Stonington Gray does have a slight blue undertone (that can sometimes flash a bit green), it’s pretty soft and subtle.

Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray with white wainscoting. Background color Dior Gray. An art lovers home. Kylie M Interiors Decorating and E-design

A bit more about Stonington Gray

  • It can pick up a bit of a cool blue undertone (you can see a bit more of it in the bottom photo)
  • Stonington Gray has an LRV of 59. Not super bright, but definitely an LRV that will reflect some light back into a room
  • I HAVE seen Stonington Gray pick up THE tiniest fraction of green, but I have to force it. This is more in comparison to a more cool purple base blue and isn’t something you should expect to see on your walls unless you have it up against products that have a blue-purple undertone

Read more: Using LRV to Pick the Perfect Paint Colour

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60

Gray Owl is definitely one of the most POPULAR gray paint colours, coming in a hot second to Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. The funny thing is, Gray Owl is often referred to as a warm gray. And sure, it’s warmer than more traditional cool grays, but on your walls, you can expect it to look cool.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl and how the undertone changes with natural lighting. Kylie M Interiors E-design, colour consulting

See more of this Gray Owl inspired project here

As for undertones, Gray Owl is a gray-green, but it likes to flash blue…a lot. And while its roots suggest that green would be dominant, you may find this colour is a bit of a chameleon as it bounces in between the two undertones.

Seriously, look at the above photo to see how the undertones can shift – compare the three layers of wall to each other…

  • Far-left wall: Cool, fresh, almost blue undertone
  • Center narrow wall space: Pretty ‘gray’
  • Right side gallery wall: Subtle blue/green undertone

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, dining room, maple flooring with brick accent walls, Sherwin Alabaster trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign. client photo

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl is one of the best cool gray paint colours with subtle undertones. Shown with black and a gray leather sectional. Kylie M Interiors

A bit more about Gray Owl…

  • It has an LRV of 65, so it will reflect more light back into a room, making it appear brighter than Stonington Gray, but won’t save a dark room if there isn’t adequate lighting

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

Now that we’ve looked at Gray Owl and Stonington Gray separately, let’s compare the details

The LRV of Gray Owl vs Stonington Gray

LRV is a great place to start when deciding between colours. LRV will more or less let you know how light/dark a colour will look on the wall and can be a deal-breaker when you just can’t decide! (read much more about LRV here it’s vital)

Open layout living room, kitchen and dining room, vaulted ceiling with beam and chandelier. Stonington Gray paint colour. Gray sectional, Kylie M Interiors Edesign online paint color consulting


With an LRV of 59, Stonington Gray is a light, but not TERRIBLY light and bright paint colour. I find this adds to the slightly more stormy look of it. It’s what I would call a ‘heavy light colour’.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with industrial style lighting and clock


At 65, Gray Owl is undoubtedly a lighter colour and will reflect decent light back into your room. LRV isn’t an exact art, but I would say that Gray Owl is about one tone lighter than Stonington Gray. If you were to lighten Stonington Gray by approx. 25%, you would get closer to Gray Owl’s depth (but would probably need to go to 40% to make it almost the same).

If you have a dark room, you MIGHT prefer the lighter approach of Gray Owl. If you have a brighter room, you might like the bit more body and depth that Stonington Gray offers.

The Undertones of Gray Owl vs Stonington Gray

Gray Owl’s roots suggest that it should commit to a green undertone, however, in my experience, here’s what I’ve seen:

  • Approx. 40% of the time it looks ‘gray’ with very little undertone
  • Approx. 40% of the time it flashes a blue undertone
  • Approx. 10% it picks up a green-blue undertone
  • Approx. 10% of the time it looks green-gray

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


Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, maple flooring, Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim white kitchen. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

Stonington Gray has a slightly stronger stormy blue undertone. And while it does have a tiny (like minuscule) touch of green in it, it’s less inclined to show up to the party. The slightly soft and stormy approach of Stonington Gray really means it isn’t an icy colour, it’s more earth-toned/soft looking.

If you aren’t a FAN of undertones, you might find Gray Owl to be a slightly safer bet, but both are pretty passive.

Farmhouse white bedroom with board and batten, wood floor, gray, white black palette with chandelier and drapes. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color and blogger


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

Click HERE or on the above image to see my fun packages!

The ‘Look’ of Gray Owl vs the ‘Look’ of Stonington Gray

Gray Owl and Stonington are both gray paint colours, but can be used quite differently.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with rustic farmhouse style wood table and alcove with a mirror

  • When my Online Consulting clients are looking for a beachy vibe, I’m more likely to suggest Gray Owl than Stonington Gray
  • While Stonington Gray is soft and subtle, it doesn’t come across quite as beachy fresh as Gray Owl. I also find my clients often enjoy the chameleon-like undertones of Gray Owl as they work well with the ‘beach glass’ look.

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


Best gray paint colour. Open concept kitchen and living room, Stonington Gray, stone fireplace K2. Kylie M INteriors Edesign. Vaulted ceiling


  • If you prefer an earthy, soft, subtle gray, Stonington Gray could be a great contender
  • Stonington Gray is a nice choice for more modern, contemporary interiors
  • Both colours are flexible enough to work with the popular ‘modern farmhouse’ look as well as transitional styles


Wonder which gray is best for you and your home? 

Check out my Online Color Consulting services!

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

Chat soon,

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


The Best Sherwin Williams Gray Paint Colours

Benjamin Moores Best Gray Paint Colours

The 3 Gray Undertones You Have to Consider


  1. Wow this site has helped me understand these confusing grays!! Thank you so much!! I used Gray owl in my den with intense white trim. I’m trying to decide to keep with the gray owl into the kitchen and living room but I also am liking the stonington gray as well. Do you think I could use both colors in the same room together? For example the walls in the kitchen gray owl and the sophet in stonington? Or three walls in the living room gray owl and accent wall in stonington? I guess what I’m wondering is if they will compliment/go together in the same room or just look almost like the same color? Thanks!!????

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      Hi Erika, they are both EQUALLY gorgeous colours, but I wouldn’t use them in a room together. They are too similar in depth to really off-set each other, and their undertones are just that bit different that they will fight each other a bit. You could certainly do them in rooms that are NEXT to each other, divided by a door of some sort, but I wouldn’t do them right together ;).

      1. Thank you so very much for the advice!! You have no idea how much I appreciate it as I’ve been agonizing over paint colors for weeks now lol. Now to choose which paint for which room……..kitchen and living room. I’m actually having another problem I’m sure you could help me with if you don’t mind……I’m not actually liking the intense white trim with the gray owl (doesn’t seem to have enough contrast). Which white do you recommend with the gray owl? I’m struggling between simply white, Chantilly lace, or decorators white. Or is there a better one you can recommend? I’m looking for a true white that’s going to compliment the gray owl nicely on the trim and ceilings without having any strong undertones…….is the simply white kind of yellowish and Chantilly lace kind of bluish? …. or is it just me hmmm lol! Thank you again!!????

  2. You help everyone so much, which is not normally done by color consultants. 🙂
    In her book, Maria K indicates Stoninghton & Gray Owl are both blue greys; the purple cast must come from something else in the room including lights, windows and fixed textures? Maybe something blue and red are interfering. AND, these are lighter colors which require light. Donald Kaufman ““A light colour will never come to life in a dark room…” I guess some of them come to life.

    1. Post

      Thank you! And yes, I do love Maria and you’re VERY right about your points! Also make sure your sample is from Benjamin Moore, not SW or H.Depot :).

  3. I know that paint color is typically the last thing a designer does but… I am helping my church pick out colors for carpet and paint. We have purple upholstery on our pews. Leaning toward eggplant but not quite. So would it be easier to pick out cooler paint neutrals like grays with purple undertones and beiges first then find carpet? Thank you. Love your website!

    1. Post

      Well, if it were me I’d probably choose the carpet first as you’ll have FEWER choices that work with the upholstery. It would be nice if the carpet has flecks of the upholstery colour in it. And THEN, yes, I would lean into soft grays with a purple undertone (along the lines of BM Collingwood is a place to start :).

  4. Hi Kylie, between Grey Owl and Stonington Grey, is there one of the two that you think would coordinate better with Bleeker Beige (i.e., wouldn’t be too jarring for adjoining rooms)? Thank you.

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  5. Having the same problem most are having, choosing the right gray. Redoing main bathroom, espresso cabinets, Light gray floor and white with gray veining in shower. South facing small window and will have can lights. Do not want a purple undertone color. Please help. I want gray color first then undertones to show.

  6. Im struggling to choose between grey owl and stonington for a cabinet color. I want to do a dual color effect, white upper cabinets and then a grey color for lower cabinets. Just a subtle contrast. White counter and grey flooring…which would you suggest. (not alot of natural light in my kitchen but good artificial lighting)

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  7. I have painted my kitchen Stonington Gray and love the cool undertones with my white cabinets and Calacatta quartz counter with gray veining. It does show a bit blue in the early part of the day in my east facing room but I am fine with that. I wonder if it is OK to use a warm lighter gray, such as Silver Satin, on adjacent walls or should I stay with a cool lighter gray for the rest of the house. Thank you so much for your helpful postings – I’ve spend hours on your website reviews!

  8. I chose Stonington Grey for my mud room and laundry room and find it quite dark. Stormy is a good way to explain it, as it has a dull dreary type look not very bright at all. I want bright so am going to try to go with Grey Owl instead. I have seen GO in at least 5 houses, in 1 it looks neutral in another it looked blue and in the other 3 it looked so very green!! Stonington is nice in that it’s neutral but too dark for me. So hard to find a neutral light grey!!!!!!

    1. Take a look at SW Repose Gray, BM Nimbus, and Revere Pewter, Behr Chic Gray, Farrow&Ball Cornforth White.

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