Classic Gray: The Best Warm Gray Paint Color (off-white)
Seriously, I can’t believe I haven’t done a review for this color! Not only is it one of MY fave warm gray paint colors, but it’s also one of my READER’S faves too! That’s it; two slaps with a wet noodle.
It can be hard to find a good neutral gray or greige in the off-white range, as they all love to flash creepy undertones of blue, purple, or green – and Classic Gray is NO exception. But, the key to picking a paint color you LOVE is to know what you’re dealing with BEFORE you slap it on the walls, which is why you have me (I’m not JUST good looks, you know…).
What kind of paint color is Classic Gray? Is it warm or cool?
Classic Gray is an off-white, warm gray with soft, muted, slightly feminine undertones. If you don’t like blue or green undertones, this could be right up your alley!
What’s the LRV of Classic Gray?
If you’re asking yourself, ‘what the heck is LRV?’ you need to read this, but here’s the gist: LRV refers to how light or dark a color is based on a scale of 0-100, and EVERY paint color has an LRV number. The closer the number is to 100, the lighter the color is. The closer it is to 0, the darker the color is. Done!
Classic Gray, darkened by 25%
Now that THAT’S out of the way let’s get back to Classic Gray. Classic Gray has an LRV of ALMOST 75, which in my crazy lil color world means it’s off-white. And while it might be CLOSE to my magic LRV number, it gives a soft, easy contrast with white trim while still lightening a room up.
However, Classic Grey could feel dingy and flat if you have a dark room. If you have a BRIGHT room, you can expect Classic Gray to wash out quite a bit, but in a room with average light, it’s pretty darn gorgeous!
The Ultimate Guideline to Picking Paint Color with LRV
What are the undertones of Classic Gray?
I’m going to say it, but I’m going to say it lightly, as I know some of you are a little sensitive to this undertone…Classic Gray has a passive violet undertone.
Don’t be scared. While you might’ve focused on the one ‘v-word’, you might’ve easily missed the other one – passive. Every gray and greige has undertones of blue, green, violet or a mix. The key is to decide how much undertone you can live with and how sensitive you and your surroundings are to it. I don’t like a violet undertone at all, yet I find Classic Gray VERY liveable when it suits the products in a room (and have it in our guest bedroom).
Take a look at this next photo. There’s a reason why I chose taupe/greige tiles for the vanity wall – they have the same undertone as Classic Gray, just on a darker level.
Classic Gray darkened by 25%. See more of this AMAZING before and after HERE
Now, once in a blue moon (or a pink one might be more the point), I’ve seen it pick up the TINIEST wink of pink. This has usually been in south-facing rooms, but even then, it’s vague and is more about me being anal.
What’s the best white trim color for Classic Gray
- Benjamin Moore Oxford White or Chantilly Lace
- You can warm things up to Benjamin Moore White Dove, but that subtle warmth can play a bit more into the undertones that are hiding in Classic Gray
Shown above with Sherwin Williams Pure White cabinets
Read more: The 8 Best Benjamin Moore WHITE Paint Colors
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out soon to grab paint samples – stop 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 DAY, depending on the 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
CHECK OUT SAMPLIZE AND SAVE MONEY ON SAMPLES HERE
Classic Gray in a north-facing room
Classic Gray holds itself pretty well in northern light. You’ll see it looking like a simple, soft, warm gray as the northern light can slightly encourage the ‘gray’ in the color, not the subtle warmth of it.
The Best Paint Colors for a North-Facing Room
Actually, regarding the photos above and below, an E-Design client hired me because while she LOVED Classic Gray in the evening light, she found it a bit too cold in the daylight and was looking for a warmer alternative. Here is Classic Gray in the evening with only interior lighting…
It’s fascinating how Classic Gray went from being a soft, slightly warm gray to being a warm greige, just with the lighting (helloooo metamerism)! Either that, or I’m just easily amused and a color nerd (true and true). Needless to say, I gave her some warmer greige options to consider so she’d love her room day AND nite!
Color Review of Benjamin Moore Collingwood
Click HERE or on the above image to see available packages
Classic Gray in a south-facing room
South-facing light is a warm light and can slightly enhance the soft warmth that’s tucked in Classic Gray.
The Best Paint Colors for South-Facing Rooms
Is Classic Gray a good color for the exterior of my home?
Ermmmm, probably not. I mean, you can give it a go, but don’t be surprised if those violet undertones come up a wink more. At this depth (unless you live in a shaded area), you can expect it to REALLY wash out in the sunshine.
5 Steps to Picking Exterior Paint Colors
Does Sherwin Williams have a color that’s similar to Classic Gray?
When it comes to getting a perfect match, you won’t find one as there will ALWAYS be shifts in undertones, depth and temperature. For a similar approach, you can check out…
- Sherwin Williams Incredible White
- Sherwin Williams Egret White
- Sherwin Williams City Loft
- Benjamin Moore Silver Satin
Not sure if Classic Gray is right for you? Then check these bad boys out…
Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore Pale Oak
Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Egret White
Color Review: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
Are Gray Paint Colors & Finishes STILL TRENDY?
Not sure which paint color is best for you and YOUR home?
Check out my fun E-DESIGN – I’d love to help!
Written in 2019, updated in 2022
I loved the information on Classic Gray . Quick question… how does classic gray look in east/west facing rooms? I am looking for a light gray whole house paint and everything is either too dark, too green or too blue. Most information I am reading is for north/ south facing rooms and my house is east and west. Would love to hear your suggestion. Thanks so much!
Hi Beth! I actually have Classic Gray in my east facing bedroom and I find it’s a bit softer and warm – and don’t get any green or blue out of it. That being said, my room is reasonably well-lit and I don’t have any trees or grass outside the window reflecting in 🙂
Would you recommend avoiding SW Pure white as trim against walls painted with Classic Gray? Since it seems that pure white pulls slightly warm and CG is also warm, I wasn’t sure if that would clash. Or is it a no no to mix brands like that? Thanks!
I’m leaning towards classic gray for our great room which has eastern, western, and southern light. We will have white trim and tons of natural wood in our room. Do you think it would clash, and I’d be safer with an off white? Does it read gray/griego or more off white with gray undertones?
I have Classic Gray walls with BM White Dove trim, which is a warm white, in a west facing bedroom. They look fabulous together. I don’t know how the White Dove compares to SW Pure White, though. I use paints from different paint companies often. Many designers (not all) are intimately familiar with the colours of one brand only, so stick to that brand when recommending colours.
Hi Cheri, I’ve got Classic Gray with White Dove too! Love it. It’s all personal preference. Some people want a slightly cleaner contrast, so they use SW Pure White which is still slightly soft, but is whiter than White Dove :).
Could you tell me your opinion on Classic Gray paired with a medium brown oak trim?
Hi Sandy, it could be pretty, just keep in mind that it might look a bit lighter than you’d expect as the dark trim will make it look lighter in comparison, whereas if you had white trim, you’d see the ‘depth’ of Classic Gray a bit more. This isn’t a BAD thing, just something to be aware of :).
I love classic gray and have it in my family and all of my hallways with dove white trim. Years ago I painted just a sloping bedroom ceiling in that color and found it to be my favorite shade in the house! I’m struggling to find a darker version of this same shade to make my trim pop a little more. This post was helpful – I’m going to check out a few of your alternatives. I’ve never wished so hard for a color to be on a standard strip to make it easier to find the same undertones in a darker color.
Hi Jennifer! I don’t know just the contrast you want, but you could check out the softness of BM Collingwood or maybe BM Metropolis or SW Dovetail if you want something stronger ;).
I’m considering Classic Gray for our new build. What are your thoughts on painting the walls and ceiling the same color?
I just painted my master bedroom classic gray and have white dove trim and crown. I also just had trim work done on the wall behind my bed which is painted all white dove (along with the drywall too). I have a tray ceiling around 11’ and 10’ ceilings with crown . The room gets a lot of light and faces north. The classic gray reads almost white in the room but looks pretty as it matches the other things I have in the room which are all gray and silver so wanted them to pop. So now to my question…I want to paint the whole ceiling Including the tray and can’t decide if I should use 100% or lighter of the classic gray? I know ceilings get darker but this paint is already so white on my walls so
Don’t know if doing 50% or 75% would be enough color and what this paint will look like being lighter since it’s already so light. Any suggestions?? Thank you so much.
I’m replying to my own question in case it may help someone. I did 100% classic gray on my master bedroom ceiling and it’s perfect…not too dark at all. In fact, I wish my classic gray walls had the slight darkness of the ceiling but I couldn’t find a gray that was slightly darker than CG and fit my space. I was too nervous to darken the CG for the walls thinking the color may not turn out right. My trim is BM white dove and it blends well with the CG. The slightly darker CG ceiling brings a depth to the bedroom that looks very pretty.
Thank you Elissa, comments like this can REALLY help others decide if it would work for them! And yes, ceilings can look that bit more shaded than walls, and I’m glad you’re happy :).
Can you please be clearer when the photos are showing a darkened or lightened version of the color? Classic grey is darkened in a few of the pictures above (referencing another blog you did) but you don’t mention it here.
Good point, thanks Kate!
Lovely description – thank you for showing Classic Gray in the am and pm. It really matters! what darker colors might compliment Classic Gray for interior doors? — something that continues that slight purple undertone? thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
Ooo, I do love BM Metropolis, it’s a beauty!
SO would classic gray look good on walls if trim , cabinets, ceiling is SW Pure White?
that could be a very pretty combo!
Is BM classic gray wall with SW alabaster trim a good combination
I think Alabaster is a touch too warm for Classic Gray 🙂
What you you recommend with alablaster trim and cabinets that’s similar? I was looking at drift of mist, city loft, and pale oak. Not a ton of natural light so I want a lighter color that keeps alablaster from looking yellow.
Hi Kendra, those colours make me nervous with Alabaster as they have taupe undertones (City Loft and Pale Oak in particular). Drift of Mist is BETTER as there’s a tiny bit of green in there, but I think you’ll need a bit more depth. You’ll also want to make sure that what you choose is best for your backsplash and countertop too!
Thank you so much! Appreciate your response and expertise. Maybe closer to gossamer veil or agreeable for more body. I’m doing white pickets with calcatta gold quartz. Using cityscape on my shiplap fireplace. Thank you!
Maybe Edgecomb or Worldy?
I have a familyroom that is facing east with lots of windows the wood around is orange toned. I am on the fence between BM classic grey and SW drift of mist (possibly darkened a little). Which is the better undertone for my warm wood?
Oooo, I would lean into Classic Gray, personally!
Hi Kylie. I am thinking of painting my north facing bedroom that doesn’t get lots of light but has lots of big windows classic gray. I am not sure if it works with my already painted white dove trim?? I also see in a picture above you darkened it 25%. It looks almost white in that room. Would you still recommend using it with white dove trim in a darker room and would it be ok if I darkened it 25% to see the contrast? I want to lighten up my bedroom with the paint. Thanks!
Thank you for the review of BM Classic Gray. Will Classic Gray coordinate with BM Simply White cabinets and trim?
Hi Kathy, I find Simply White has too much yellow to partner comfortably with Classic Gray :).
Thank you so much for the response. Would BM Winds Breath work with BM Simply White trim and cabinets? Many thanks for your expertise!
Hi! So we just painted our house main level with classic gray! We love it, but our wood floors are def a cool wood color. Is that going or look ok? Floors go in Wednesday, so we could change the paint.
Am I the only one that sees BEIGE with yellow undertones with Classic Gray?! This is one of those colors I really want to love but it goes creamy yellow every time! Are my eyeballs broken?! Lol
They aren’t broken AT ALL! Some colours, like Classic Gray can really shift their allegiance depending on the environment. And while it’s not often, ABSOLUTELY, I’ve seen Classic Gray do this!!!!
Hi Kylie, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the handy tips on your website. I have just done chantilly lace kitchen cabinets and struggle whether classic gray is the right gray for me. I have Viatera Lumina quartz. So much colours to pull from. I also considered silver satin by benjamin moore. So many decisions.
Hi Kylie — posting wayyyyy late (haha) but wanted to let readers know, I have been toying with using Classic Gray for a long time (kind of regret not doing it in my foyer and living room when we moved a year and a half ago), but finally did it in my dining room/office. It’s a north facing room with northern and some eastern light — fairly bright in here with daying but not real warm light and it does come up as a soft greige color in here. I don’t see any cool gray to it in here. I definitely see grey on one wall and a little green undertone, then a very passive pink would be my best thought on the other side of the room.
My usband is actually good at describing color and he reads nothing about paint (haha), so I use his perspective as a fairly objective perspective. We have tray ceiling that I hate, so I wanted to make walls and ceiling the same to allow the tray to recede a bit (the previous owners had dark walls, white ceiling and bottom tray, dark color on the sides of the tray — ugh!). My husband didn’t want overly light, so I agreed to do the window trim, door trim, and baseboards a color. That is Revere Pewter. With this combination, my husband says: the slightly darker trim makes the Classic Gray come off as a not too warm off white. You can even see a passive cream in some areas, which I think is where you would get the passive pink. I love this part — he said: the room has an Americana kind of vibe. I don’t know if that is classic gray or the combo we used. It isn’t as clean warm gray as you would see in the pictures where there is a lot of sunlight. In this room, we definitely get the greige.
As a comparison, we painted SW Pearly White in a spare bedroom and I did the walls and trim both Pearly White. This room is west but only has a tiny window, so I would describe it as not having natural light. Pearly White comes off in that room as a more active cream undertone, but an off white with this slight iridescent green at certain times of day and on certain walls. It has at once a slightly more modern off white look blended with (oddly) an old world white. For Classic Gray in this dining room, I am thinking modern/traditional (Studio McGeeish) traditional light fixture in black or bronzy-black, hale navy contrast color. Natural woods with browner undertones.
Okay, long and late, but hopefully it helps someone. These off whites are really really hard to pin down, even when reading multiple and excellent reviews. I think it’s like not knowing what you are having when you are pregnant — surprise, signs pointed to warm gray but your lighting and foliage (and other elements of the room) created something different!