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!!!?

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. Love your website Kylie and refer to it ALL THE TIME. Just wanted to say I have Gray Owl in my east facing spare room and it is always blue morning, noon, and night. Funny though, I was painting shelves in the same colour to go on the walls and I was in a southwest facing room as I painted. Well I thought I was going crazy because they looked green. Sure enough once I put them in the spare room they were blue.

    1. Thank you SO much for that feedback Joan! It’s notes like that that help others decide what might work for them – and yes, it does seem to cater toward the blue end, doesn’t it!!!
      (and you know I’d LOVE to see photos….)


  2. Hi Kylie, I am stressed out trying to decide on a gray for my new kitchen. I have dove white cabinets with a java glaze , silver honed travertine backsplash and American black granite. Owl gray, Stonington gray, wicker gray ugh This shouldn’t be so hard!

  3. I love your website and I visit often. I thought by reading all your wonderful posts that I knew the exact paint I need for my small entry way. I picked wickham gray and was so happy until I painted. Then I wanted to cry! It looks white on my walls. I was afraid stoneington would be too dark but now I guess I should have gone with it. Can the wickham be darkened ? I sure wish I had your eye for color.

    1. Post

      Well that is weird! Do you have wood trim? Wood trim can make a light colour seem LIGHTER than you think it will. And yes, Wickham CAN be darkened. You can try 50%, but beyond that I might just look at a new colour choice…it’s okay, sometimes you just don’t know until you try something!

  4. Good Morning, we painted our hallway Stonington gray and it’s reading very blue? Could it be that our dark woodwork is influencing how the color appears?

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      Hi Diane! Yes, Stonington does have those undertones and sometimes they can come up in slightly darker spaces that don’t have tons of natural light. And yes, if you have warmer toned wood, the contrast could influence that. Also take a look at your trim. If your trimwork is not white, but it softer/warmer – again, that could do it (I know, it never ends). But the one thing you could EASILY control is your light bulbs! I don’t know what temp they are now, but play around between warm and daylight bulbs to see if that helps!

  5. I did my kitchen and hallway in grey owl and i absolutely love it! Now I’m trying to decide on a darker grey for my cabinets and cannot choose. What suggestions do you have for grey cabinets that would go good with the grey owl?? I also have Wayne scouting and trim that is white!

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      Hi Chris! There’s a few other things to consider like lighting/cabinet material/countertops/flooring, but off the top of my head I’d suggest either BM Chelsea Gray or BM Kendall Charcoal. I’m also a big fan of SW Classic French Gray!

  6. Hey There,

    Great information thank you. I love them both! Is it possible to use grey owl and stonington grey in the same house? I’m not good picking colours but love them both and was hoping to put grey owl in kitchen and livingrom and stonington in family room and playroom. Was wondering if because of the undertones they wouldn’t match.

    1. Post

      Hi Melissa! A lot would depend on each room and it’s colour needs for lighting/exposure/furniture. Off the top, you could, they wouldn’t be BAD together by any stretch… if you want me to take a lok, you may want to look at my e-design! It’s affordable, fun, and this way I can look at your photos/furnishings/quality of light/etc… and come up with ideas that work, rather than just guessing! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/

  7. The info I find on your site never ends! Just like undertones. Would stonnington be ok for an all over paint color in an open floor plan? And yes, I have tested it and yes it goes a bit blue but there is something about coventry, wickham and stonnington, I always buy the test pots but have never committed. I can’t wait until there is an LED bulb that isn’t too warm or cool, can’t find the mama bear of bulbs that doesn’t look weird. Have a great weekend!

  8. This is so helpful! What is your opinion on Balboa Mist? Our realtor thinks it is the perfect shade of gray, but after seeing this article I’m now torn because I’m leaning towards Grey Owl. Also, do you have the perfect blue grey color to use for the front door that will compliment well? We’re going with french oak floors and the house is very open with a lot of natural light. Thank you so much!

    1. Post

      Oooo, I’m glad you asked. It’s lovely, but it’s a touch…feminine? Not that it IS purple, but those are the undertones it leans toward. There really isn’t any PERFECT shade of gray, but I’d say it’s not in my top 5 for ‘grayness’. Gray Owl is a bit better (although it can flash the undertones of blue or green). I also like SW Big Chill, a bit more predictable. Cool, but predictable… 🙂


  9. Thanks Kylie! I’ll check out Big Chill also. Do you have a favorite color for the front door? I’m thinking a blue grey and have my eye on Nimbus right now.


  10. Hi Kylie,

    I, like others, have become blind to color searching for the perfect gray! I’m painting my exterior (1959 Rancher) and was convinced I wanted Revere Pewter. Do you find this looks tan/beige on such a large scale? After trying out BM samples of Revere Pewter, Gray Owl, Gray, Stonington, and Coventry…I’m tearing my hair out. To my surprise, when I put up Coventry it matched my current exterior perfectly. I am hesitant to go dark gray (although I find it pretty), as I’ve walked by too many people in my neighborhood who now have purple and green houses at certain times of the day!

    1. Post

      Hi Kristine! Yes, those grays can be tricky! And depending on your exposure, the natural light can make it look lighter, warmer, more gray, etc….I’ve played around a bit with Coventry, which is basically a gray with a vague stormy blue undertone – it’s a beauty!

      1. Thank you Kylie! I do like Coventry but feel like I’d be choosing it simply from being overwhelmed (similar to what I have now). I love Revere Pewter everywhere I see it, but don’t want a ‘beige’ house, do you feel it tends to go beige/tan on exteriors? The colorist at my paint store recommended Thunder. Pretty, but now just another contender to further the madness! As I put that up, I think I might be going too warm? When I try to go lighter (Gray Owl) it looks silver. Again, walk past my neighbors newly painted ‘silver’ house every morning and feel it’s so cold and bland. Anything out there in between the warm greige and icy gray?

  11. Hi Kylie,
    THanks for your informative posts! We’re picking between Stonington and Grey Owl for a three bedroom condo and are looking to paint the entire place one color. Will the Stonington be too dark or would you suggest Grey Owl to keep it lighter?


    1. Post

      Hi Seema! If I had to choose between the 2, I’d PROBABLY hit up Gray Owl, just because it’s that bit softer…

  12. I have Stoningham Gray through my house and I love it everyone is copying me and painting their house this beautiful color! No purple undertones! So mild and calming! Love it!!!

    1. Post

      Thank you for sharing Sheila, it’s comments like yours that help others make their decision – thank you!

  13. Hi Kylie! I came across your post and it is very informative! I am painting a nursery and am looking for a gray with a hint of blue. Not too “baby-blue”. We currently have Stonington Gray in a few rooms in our house and it is beautiful but looks very blue. I am debating between BM Gray Owl, Pale Smoke, and Gray Cashmere. The lighting really throws me off because they all look extremely different than I expected, even after trying them on white sheets of paper. The room is east facing. Gray owl looks very beige but I can’t tell if it’s just the paint already on the walls throwing the lighting off or what. (The room is a bright blue from the previous owner) I look at pictures of Gray Owl and love it but for some reason in this room it looks beige. I’m afraid to start painting with one of the other two and have it look too blue! I would like a cool toned gray that will also look nice with different wood tones, and whites. (Neutral/safari theme) Any help would be appreciated ???? I’m afraid to start this paint project and not like it! Thank you ????

    1. Post

      Hi Katie! Due to the number of emails I get every day, I have to pick n’ choose which questions to answer, focusing first on the ones that have mass appeal! I do try to give as much complimentary info as I can on my blog and if that doesn’t help, it might be time for a closer look with my E-design. Otherwise, I’m just guessing as to the lighting in the room, flooring and all of the other things that matter when choosing a colour! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
      I hope to hear from you!


  14. My wife and I purchased our home back in November and the sellers had painted the kitchen in Stonington a while back. The kitchen doesn’t get a ton of natural light (they put in a beautiful family room addition on so that was the sacrifice). Needless to say, it goes quite blueish purple. The ceiling is painted a strange color and looks almost beige which doesn’t help. It’s going to get painted white (probably white dove which is the trim color throughout the house) which hopefully will help brighten up the room and show the beauty of the color. When we decide to re-do the kitchen, we will hit you up for an e-design! Leaning towards Gray Owl for the east facing 2 story foyer and halls, which are next to the also east facing dining room that is in Revere Pewter, and the west facing living room which is also Revere Pewter and looks nothing like the dining room… Amazing what a difference the natural lighting makes at different times of the day.

    1. Post

      I know, isn’t natural light just amazing! I’ve seen even the SAME colour used throughout a home and seen it shift DRASTICALLY from space to space – oh the joy of light! And gray is one of those colours that is just super susceptible to change too!

  15. We are ready to update our master bath and have chosen Owl Gray for the walls in the bath and our bedroom. Do you think I’ll be able to plan on blue for accessories (bed quilt etc…) ? Or will I need to see how the color reflects in our light?

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  16. Painting a west facing bedroom Gray Owl – do you think White Dove OC 17 would work or should I go with Simply White? I have White Dove in the hallway but want to go with the better match with Gray Owl. Thanks Kylie!

  17. Sorry Kylie – left out that I meant for the trim/baseboards!
    Also just realized I have Simply White trim in the bathroom so obviously I’m good with mixing it up with those two depending on the light and the all colour lol

  18. Hello! First off, I love your website! My husband and I just bought a new house and I had no ideas as far as paint. All of your posts and videos are super informative, especially the ones about undertones and LRV. However, I have painted my son’s west facing bedroom twice with two different greys and bought more samples and it seems that no matter what it shows purple! I did go with Gray Owl in my daughter’s room and love it. Do you think if I had Gray Owl darkened a little that it would show any purple at all?

  19. 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!!????

    1. Post

      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!!????

  20. 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 :).

  21. 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 :).

  22. 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.

    1. Post
  23. 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.

  24. 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)

    1. Post
  25. 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!

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