The Best Green, Gray & BLUE Blend Paint Color: SW Sea Salt
Other than gray and greige, Sea Salt and other beachy-themed paint colors seem to be the most popular with today’s homeowners.
Why? Well, like a good gray or greige, they can suit MANY spaces and styles – everything from beach-themed bathrooms to cosy cottages!
Before we get started…
Not only have I worked with this color on a daily basis with my E-Design clients, but I also painted a BIG OLE sample and strapped it to my body for the day (the non-kinky form of body paint). Paint sample on one hip, wine bottle on the other – I was locked n’ loaded! I looked at it in north and south-facing rooms – morning, noon and night, so I could get a better idea for how it works and then share that info with you.
And let me tell you, I needed that bottle of wine – in a sippy cup. By the time I was done, my brain was swimming with the many ways Sea Salt changed throughout the day. I mean, every color will change on a room-to-room/wall-to-wall basis, but it must be the mix of undertones in this bad boy that makes it the ULTIMATE color ninja.
So, the photos of these rooms are just examples of what you might be able to expect from a color like Sea Salt in a variety of situations – it ain’t gospel, but it might be as close as we’ll get…just call me Saint Kylie.
What’s the LRV of Sea Salt?
Sea Salt has an LRV of 64, which means it can help a room feel lighter and brighter as it will reflect artificial and natural light back into the space, but it’s not SO light that it will save a dark room or OVERLY wash out in a reasonably well-lit one.
Read More: What is LRV and How to Use it to Pick a Paint Color
What are the undertones of Sherwin Williams Sea Salt?
Sea Salt is a mix of water and salt. Hehe. Sea Salt is a mix of green and gray. Now, this is very similar to A LOT of today’s popular paint colors, but it’s all in the proportions when it comes to which color is going to POP and which is going to recede. And that’s not ALL Sea Salt has tucked up its watery sleeves…
Sea Salt is INFAMOUS for looking blue – and not by a little bit, by a LOT. That’s right, the world’s favourite green-gray paint color is actually a flasher – and it flashes blue, leaving green in the dust.
- Some of the time, Sea Salt is a beautiful blend of green and gray, but it’s a cool green (green-blue), rather than a warm green (green-yellow).
- Occasionally it will lean CONSIDERABLY into its green side, more often in a south-facing room or a room with warm light bulbs.
- It is also well known for going green-blue or blue with only a nod towards green, more often in north-facing rooms with diffused light. Part of the ‘recipe’ of this paint color is a blueish black – meaning it can subtly influence the foundation of this color in the right lighting situation.
Sea Salt in a well-balanced, well-lit room
In a well-lit room with a few different exposures (common in open concepts), Sea Salt will likely vary itself on a wall-to-wall basis throughout the day. Sometimes flashing slightly more green, other times a bit bluer, all the while having the gray base to calm it down.
The above photo shows Sea Salt about as blue as it gets!
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
- they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed 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
Sea Salt in a room with direct hits of natural light
In a room with a lot of direct natural light, you can expect Sea Salt to wash out a bit (due to its slightly higher LRV) without losing itself entirely. Once the direct sunlight goes away, the color will come right on back!
Sea Salt in a room with very little or no natural lighting or in the evening
When there is very little natural light and a lot of shadows, you can expect this color to look a bit more muted. It might also be slightly more inclined to lean into its green roots a bit more.
The 8 Best Blue and Green Paint Colors: Benjamin and Sherwin
Sea Salt in a south-facing room
The sun’s rays in a south-facing room are yellow and this yellow can play off of the undertones in Sea Salt and cause it to look a bit green vs blue.
Sea Salt in a north-facing room
I just couldn’t get Sea Salt to completely lose the green, no matter how much those shadows wanted to interfere. No matter what exposure/room I was in, if it leaned a bit to the gray side with a cool blue cast, the green was always winking at me behind the scenes (don’t tell its wife) – but it DEFINITELY becomes passive.
And even when this color DOES pick up a blue cast, it doesn’t look as icy as a traditional ‘light blue’ paint color can as the green adds a certain softness.
If you want a bit more color and a touch more BLUE, check out Sherwin Williams Rainwashed. Want a wink more depth? You might love Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray!
Click HERE or on the above image to see available packages!
Sea Salt with marble
Sea Salt will look beautiful with MOST marble, excluding those with overly purple veining (sometimes the gray veins can look a bit purple).
It’s also a fresh, clean look with white…
Sea Salt: To sum it all up
Obviously, there’s A LOT to consider when choosing a paint color – LRV, exposure, personal tastes and the needs of your home. Trust me, I learn more and more EVERY DAY about how these factors can affect the appearance of a color. Here’s what I’ve learned from this salty color adventure…
- I need to not carry a bottle of wine with me throughout the day – I will then not have any left for the evening.
- Sea Salt prefers to go green than blue, but not all of the time.
- If you have a north-facing room that’s bright and you don’t use many artificial lights, Sea Salt may appear slightly bluer.
- Once you add interior lighting (as long as it’s not those stark harsh white bulbs) the green may come back and balance things out again.
- If you have a south-facing room, the green may be more apparent as the warm sun rays react to the cool tones of Sea Salt.
Phew, we did it! You can probably tell I’m in one of my OCD phases as I left no stone un-turned with that one!
The 8 Best Blue and Green Paint Colors: Benjamin and Sherwin
The Best Calm & Stress-Free Paint Colors
Not sure if Sea Salt is right for YOU and YOUR home?
Check out my Online Color Consulting Services – I’d be happy to help!
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2018, UPDATED IN 2021
I’m a true lover of all things neutral, but we painted our powder bathroom in SW Sea Salt and I’m beyond happy with it! It’s a fabulous colour – subtle, soft, and serene. Here’s a link to the reno project in our bathroom: http://thecountrynester.blogspot.ca/2015/12/powder-bathroom-reveal.html
Hi again Kylie. I finally got my bedroom painted and went with BM 1563 Quiet moments. It looks actually quite similar to this SW Sea Salt in my darkish south facing bedroom. I love it with the white crown and high baseboards and white cupboards. thanks for your expertise from last year. My gut was saying BM 1564 Beach Glass, so chickened out a bit and went 1 shade lighter. thanks. Marina,Summerland
I love Sea Salt (& Quiet Moments). I haven’t found a client lately that wants to use it, but if I do, I’ll send them this blog. Thanks for going to this trouble – beautiful!
This was sooo informative, especially from all the angles and light, I’ve considering using sea salt in my north facing kitchen, thought it would be a lovely colour teaming it with rainwashed painted in my living room! Great info, thank you will now definately use this colour in my kitchen!!!
I really enjoy your blog, and I found this article very interesting. I love Sea Salt in theory, but I do not like it in reality. I wa sure that I was going to use it in my master bath. I painted it on cardboard and set it in the room. It looked fine. However, when I put it on the wall, it lloked like toothpaste. It looked awful. I was really frustrated. The bathroom is east facing and I live in Texas, so there is a lot of natural light. I still get mad when I see pictures where it looks beautiful! After reading your post, I think that maybe it has too much gray to work where I want it.
Hi again Gee! You’re right, I think A LOT of people like Sea Salt in theory after looking at it on Pinterest, but then they try it and it’s often either too green or too…toothpasty. A lot of people switch over to the slightly more blue Rainwashed and find a happy place.
I did the same thing, expecting to love sea salt in my bathroom and ended up with rainwashed. It’s a much better color for my bathroom.
I just painted my bedroom Sea Salt in my north facing master bedroom. While it’ s a beautiful color it always reads blue/grey. I wanted more green. Sigh. So, I’m going to try customizing the Sea Salt at the SW store today. Thank you for your analysis of Sea Salt. Much appreciated!
Finally! You perfectly explained this color! My kitchen and half bath are painted Sea Salt. My half bath gets very little sunlight and my kitchen has north and west facing windows. No one believes me when I tell them they are painted the same color. My kitchen changes from a washed out, muted greenish grey to grey to green depending on the time of day and the way the light hits the walls. My half bath looks more green/blue than grey. It really is an amazing color and I absolutely LOVE it.
Thank you for this! I am devouring your blog! I (like everyone else) saw Sea Salt on Pinterest and fell in love. My ceiling is tongue and groove boards painted white with big beam so I thought Sea Salt was meant for me and my beachy home. I grabbed a sample and put in on the wall in my living space, bathroom and bedroom. I was SHOCKED at the difference between the 3 spaces. It looks completely gray in the living space with a hint of the blue and just dreary in general. The bathroom has the minty tone, which looks ok. But the bedroom is the perfect space for this color! The perfect Pinterest Sea Salt green/gray/blue. I never would have expected it! Thank you for your wonderful explanation. I’m so glad I did paint samples before making the call!
Hi Christina, what a great comment to get, thank you! It is SUCH a chameleon – isn’t it! And you know I would just LOOOOOVE to see some photos of your space if you’re so inclined 😉 you can email them to me – kylie(at)kylieminteriors.ca
Hey! I just now saw your comment. I am back, devouring your blog again 🙂 We are currently remodeling our kitchen/dining space and a little bathroom re-do as well. Once it’s finished, I will be sure to send you over some pictures. I’m looking forward to the remodeling part to be done so I can get to the fun stuff, PAINT!
I cannot tell you how many times I have googled a color or something related to design, and found myself finding such good answers to my questions here. Thank you for all of your time and effort; it’s appreciated more than you know!
Oh Laura, that is just music to my ears – THANK you for taking the time to let me know!
Thank you for so much info on Sea Salt. My daughter and son-in-law are building a 600 sq foot cottage for me in their backyard. It has cathedral ceilings. I chose Sea Salt for the entire cottage. It looks fabulous. I move in Nov.
From Margie in Boise Id
Hooray, I’m so glad it worked out for you- I would LOVE to see photos!!!
I love sea salt, and this blog was part of what convinced me to use it, twice within the last year! Obviously, every space is different, but here’s my experience using it in two different homes, (one a flip and one I live in), each with very different lighting. It definitely reads more green than gray. Not that that’s a bad thing. While it’s neutral in the sense that it goes wonderfully with most other colors, it’s not a neutral the way beige or a true gray would be. If you’re aware of that, and okay with it, it’s a great color! Light without being washed out, and changing throughout the day while always staying pretty.
I’ve always been a color person – when I bought my first house in my twenties, I got to work painting in many different colors. By the time we sold it ten years later, trends had changed, my tastes had matured, and I wanted to go more neutral in my current home while still being true to who I am. Enter sea salt in my kitchen. It’s like the guest at the fancy party who fits in, but is just a bit more fun and less stuffy than the rest of the guests. Classy without being boring, if you will.
The last thing I will say is that it goes great with various colors of wood, as well as black and white. In the house we flipped, we used it in a kitchen with white cabinets and backsplash, black countertops, and dark wood flooring. It was gorgeous, and the one room I painted in a color that wasn’t taupe or cream. For my home’s kitchen, we moved into a medium oak museum…lots of tall oak cabinets as well as flooring in a similar tone. The sea salt really tied all that wood I together. It’s a color that makes other colors around it really come to life, and I love that.
I love notes like that – it helps others figure out what they can expect – thank you!
I am looking for a green/gray color to paint my home’s exterior. The salesperson at the SW store recommended Sea Salt with Extra White as the trim. My house is in south Florida with the front having full southern exposure. Lots of sun all year. Would this color work? I haven’t seen any photos of Sea Salt used as an exterior color.
Hi Laura, Sea Salt is beautiful! I’ve yet to use it on an exterior as my clients are often looking for a slightly more subtle/grayed out look. I do have an E-design package for exteriors, and this way I can take a look at your home/roof/stone/etc.. and come up with some good solutions for you! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/product-category/exterior-paint-palettes/
Kylie your natural ability with color , incredible and sensible color knowledge and witty posts along with several rooms showing a certain color keep me coming back for more. I stumbled across your blog when I was introduced to Pinterest (oh the addiction!) and think you’re the best. Some people have more taste in their mouths than they do as consultants. But you’re uncanny with your skills. I wish there was an online “book page” that you could catalogue your room photos of different paint colours. Thankyou!
Well Heidi, what a fabulous note to get – thank you!!! Now tell me more about this ‘wish’ of yours – an online book page with a catalogue of colours… you have my wheels spinning…can you explain anymore??? If you need to drink wine before explaining that is okay, that’s what I usually do…
hi, i’m having a dilemma about what color to paint an adjoin master bed and bath. I wanted to paint the bathroom sea salt, but I need to also paint the cabinets b/c they are old 80s. I wanted to paint the cabinets oyster bay, but is that enough of a contrast between the walls and cabinets? if that’s not enough of a contrast, should I paint the wall a white and then do the oyster bay cabinets? the bathroom is huge and the cabinets, trim, tile, tub is all white. I’m not sure what color to paint the master bedroom either. our furniture is all dark cherry and it’s on the front of the house, so the bedroom gets a lot of natural light. any suggestions? thanks so much!
Hi Ann, it sounds like you have a few different thoughts going on there. I do try to offer as much complimentary info as I can on my site, and if that doesn’t work it might be time for a closer look via my E-design, it’s affordable and fun! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
I must first tell you how faithful I am in listening to your advice. I painted my family room and hallway based on your color expertise. (Accessible beige & Wool Skein) I am now on to my kitchen and have run into problems with Sea Salt. I love the samples and posted online pictures but my color samples places do not look green, but rather blue on all the walls I have tried. It looks bluish at all times of the day and night. The room has a combination light exposure of Northeast. The cabinets are off white. The walls currently have a yellow color and I am wondering if the current color yellow is what is changing the shade of the Sea Salt to a blue. I need help. I really want a greenish gray with a tinge of a blue undertone, not blue gray. Should the walls be primed to eliminate the current yellow or is that not the problem? Thank you sooo much!
Ooooo, you are under the curse of Sea Salt! I can be a bugger. Hmmm. Tinge of blue, rather than a commitment. I almost wonder if you need to choose a gray/green and then look at your exposure to do some of the blue work for you (subtle but true). Check out SW Conservative Gray, see how it settles for you. I thought about Aloof Gray but it might be TOO cold. I hope that helps! Oh, as for the yellow – YES it can affect things (but would be MORE likely to make things a wink green, rather than blue I would THINK. And yellow is also the strongest colour, so I might prime. Also, rather than putting the samples on the wall, get a nice big poster board and paint 2 coats of the sample on that. Leave a 2″ white border to really separate the sample from the wall colour. This can help a lot!
Hi! Love this! What color did you use for the grey cabinets? That’s the color I’ve been on the hunt for!
Hi Stephanie, you know what’s funny as I think it’s just the shadow/camera work making it look gray – i”m pretty sure they are white! For a look kind of like that, you could check out SW Repose Gray perhaps?
Hey there from Tennessee! I’m pretty set on Sea Salt for my whole main living areas of my house. As they can all be seen together from the front door. Cathedral ceilings with white washed logs to go with. SO here’s my question, what finish of paint is best for this chameleon color? Also note I have lots of kiddos. If that changes your mind on finishes. 😉 Any advice is greatly appreciated, I am buying paint tomorrow. (fingers crossed it’s the right one) Hope to hear from you before then.
Hi Ashley! I’ve found that the Cashmere line in the eggshell finish is nice and washable. It’s an eggshell finish, a wink shinier than what I consider a normal eggshell, but great for the little nuggets running around!
I too am thinking of Sea Salt for my main living areas – would love to see your pics when it’s done!
I’ve had a sample of sea salt on my wall for a few months now. Sometimes I like it. Some days it just looks dreary. Is Rainwashed a brighter version of this color? I want my front living room to be cheery, but not nursery blue.
Hi Joni! Yes, Rainwashed does have a bit more colour to it and ‘SHOULD’ have enough green in it to not look nursery blue, although it does lean considerably into blue over green… 🙂
Please help. We’re just about to do our laundry room;
zero natural light ! … Glazed cream cabinets, oil rubbed bronze hardware. I’m thinking of sea salt. (Or oyster bay, if not too deep or dark?) Or? ( Grey metal -ish W/D). New light fixture …
* (this is the kind of laundry room you walk through to get to the garage from house/hall)
I want paint to pop but compliment the cream cabinets but not get lost, or look dirty or dingy…. I’m afraid of too grey, or too anything.
Hi Leia! Thank you for asking! I actually have an e-design business just for questions like yours – otherwise, I’m guessing as to what your room REALLY looks like. I do try to give as much complimentary, helpful info on my blog as possible, and if that doesn’t work, it just might be time for me to take a look! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
I am looking for a Color that will go on an an accent wall. All other walls are stone isle by SW
The room is south facing. I am looking for blue tones.. Have looked at sea salt but think I should go darker. Any suggestions
Hi Sandra! when it comes to personal questions, I do refer to my E-design! I try to give as much helpful free info as I can on my blog and if that doesn’t help, it might be time for a closer look, otherwise, I’m totally just guessing as to what your room REALLY looks like. If you’re interested, the link is here, I’d love to help! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
Would sea salt work with cream colored kitchen cabs? ( Yellow).
Counter tops are basically rich dark brown ,Cambria quartz ( laneshaw). Rectified porcelain floors ( golded/ (yellow). Lots of natural light from North and west. My hubby loves edgecomb . But I love cool colors! He’s a warm color guy.
We are clashing! ????
Hi Holly, my first instinct is to say no. Only because if the cabinets are quite cream (and cream is a yellow base colour) it would bounce off of the cool colour of Sea Salt. The Sea Salt will make the cabinets look more yellow and the cabinets will make the Sea Salt look more green/blue! 🙂
Glad I saw this, I was thinking of staying with the SW Concord Buff in the bedroom and painting the rest of the house Sea Salt. What is a color that would go with Sea Salt to keep the house cohesive ?
Question: how would you compare this Sea Salt with BM’s colour of the year, Metropolitan? It seems that Benjamin Moore piggy backed on the popularity of sea salt by coming up with their very own greedy gray with a wink of blue…
Hi Henriette! Well, you can rest easy knowing that they are really quite different! Sea Salt is a light green-gray, but it’s a green-gray that LOOOVES to flash into blue. It never looks ‘gray’. Metropolitan is more of a soft, muddy warm gray that can pick up the cool undertones, but is quite uncommital – it can really shift depending on the exposure of the room.
I bought this cute brick bungalow that will soon be my new office and I really want to paint every room in Sea Salt.
I hope the colors are less mint and more warm green blue and grey.
We plan to start painting next week and uncover the hardwood floors after that. ????
Hi Kylie, New to your blog. I’m an artist, so my sensitivity to nuances of color is pretty high :). We just bought a brand new home, all painted Agreeable Gray. I’m not 100% loving it though. I found Sea Salt in terms same SW palette, and that eventually led me here. Thank you for such a thorough discussion of this color.
I guess my concern centers on the warm colored tiles throughout the home, and my generally earth-toned furnishings we will be bringing in (think dark greens, reds, golds). Sea Salt looks like a good choice in my bedroom though, where I have Shabby Chic light blues, whites, pale greens and touches of teal.
Hi Stephanie, thank you for writing! Okay, so I would recommend doing a room or 2 at a time, transition out of it a bit. You might find that you like Agreeable Gray MORE in some rooms and less than others. If you give yourself a bit of visual relief from it, you might find it more liveable. If it helps, I LOVE Agreeable Gray, but agree that it wouldn’t be a colour I could live with on a large scale. And Sea Salt is a GREAT colour to transition out to, you’ll find it can REALLY shift from blue to green to blue-green, so expect some flexibility there! 🙂
I love Sea Salt and recommend it often. It’s such a great color and as you say is quite the chameleon. I painted nearly half my home this color and it looks great with my dark floors. It’s a breathe of fresh air in a greige world.
First off, great info…thanks!
We have an older home full of douglas fir wood trim in reddish brown tone. Our floors are hardwood with golden tone. Wondering if you think sea salt would work in my kitchen. The cabinets are off white and the room gets a lot of light. Finding it confusing to choose color as we have different colors of wood here.
I have a little mudroom that i have been wanting to paint sw sea salt. But im afraid itll make it look smaller! Not much light. Would you ever recommend getting the color lightened by 50 percent? Or would it not be *sea salt* anymore?
Hi Jenny! Well, it wouldn’t be Sea Salt, but it would be a similar IDEA. At 50% lighter you can expect the undertones to shift quite a bit, so you’ll likely see more green (maybe minty?). One thought that I like to keep in mind with small rooms/not much light as that a) can I get a better fixture that takes 3 60w bulbs and b) I’d rather have a small room with personality than a boring one. That doesn’t mean you have to do Sea Salt, but it might make you feel differently about the colour in general! BM has a lighter similar look with Healing Aloe, but again, you’re getting darned close to mint. If you love mint, then you’re set!
Hi Kylie, Sea Salt at 50 percent would that change the color in a bathroom?
Oooo, at 50% I wouldn’t be surprised to see more green in it! 50% is a considerable change. 25% is more subtle. You can still see a shift in undertones at 25% sometimes, but you definitely can at 50%!
Hahahaha oh my gosh..thanks for this article. Sea salt is the color that broke my brain.ive been thinking I was crazy all these years… I love it but the room I painted is definitely blue. Bluer than your photos even. I love it to this day but it was certainly not the grey I thought it would be. I painted samples in different spots and it definitely changes color depending on the room.
Hey there Kylie thanks to all of your advice , sample pot and samplize I have basically decided on Sea Salt for the whole house. Any recommendations on keeping the grey out and whether you see this as a fresh 2021 Nuetral?
I love this color and your opinion!!
I continue to deliberate over this color
I have dark wood, warm tones and a lot of blue green in my accent pieces. What are your thoughts??
Oh Patti, it’s ALWAYS hit and miss! My first thoughts are that it could be a lovely compliment to your wood and warm tones, but there’s no saying what it will actually do!
I have a west facing bedroom and Sea Salt looks way more blue than I wanted. I still cringe at the extra fees to the builder that I paid to get two colors of paint in my house, then feeling like I want to paint over it because I want the green to show through. I am not a fan of light blues and I still am considering painting that big room over but afraid a similar problem will happen. I need that bottle of wine!
OH MAN, I’m sorry to hear this! I know, it’s hard. Sea Salt is well-known for doing this (it’s a bit of a bugger). If you want to see more green, I wonder if you might like Liveable Green? That being said, I haven’t seen your home or exposure, so it’s just a place to start 🙂
I’ve finally decided on Sea salt for a guest bedroom and wondered about trim. I’ve used white dove or alabaster in most of our home but some of your pictures look like trim was more bright white? What’s your recommendation, it’s a south facing room. Thanks Kylie!!
Well, Sea Salt is PRETTY flexible. I prefer White Dove over Alabaster, as it’s that bit less yellow, but Chantilly Lace gives a CLEANER more crisp contrast, so it just depends on the look you like!