ARE GREIGE & TAUPE THE SAME PAINT COLOUR?
Taupe and greige – two words that are FOREVER getting mixed up in the minds of homeowners and designers alike.
It’s like comparing merlot to cabernet – they both kind of look the same and have a similar purpose, yet there are subtle differences separating them. And you’ll find no shortage of explanations and opinions as to what greige and taupe are, but I’m going to simplify and clarify as truthfully, there isn’t a huge difference between them (which is why it’s so friggin’ confusing).
And this might go deeper than you’re comfortable with (that’s what she said), so take a deep breath, a sip of wine and open your mind (insert monastic chant here…)
First of all, let’s get the basic descriptions down pat…
WHAT TYPE OF PAINT COLOUR IS GREIGE?
Greige is a mix of gray and beige.
WHAT TYPE OF PAINT COLOUR IS TAUPE?
Taupe is a mix of gray and beige.
There, clear as mud, RIGHT?
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Anew Gray
Where you’ll REALLY start seeing the difference between greige and taupe is in their PREFERRED UNDERTONES.
GREIGE PAINT COLOURS & THEIR UNDERTONES
Greige paint colours tend to favour a GREEN undertone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a WARM greige (leaning closer to beige) or a COOLER greige (leaning closer to gray) – if it favours a green undertone, it’s probably a greige.
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray
- Greiges that are warmer looking (more beige than gray) are more likely to flash a green-yellow undertone.
- Greiges that are cooler looking (more gray than beige) are less likely to flash green-yellow and will lean a bit more into green. In fact, the CLOSER a greige is to gray, the more likely it is to flash blue given the right exposure/interior environment. That’s not ACTUAL blue, it’s just situational.
BTW, the lighter and warmer some greige paint colours go, the more likely they are to turn into a version of TAN – this is because of their green-yellow undertone.
TAUPE PAINT COLOURS & THEIR UNDERTONES
Taupe paint colours tend to favour a PURPLE undertone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a considerably WARM taupe (winking at the border of beige) or a COOLER taupe, leaning more into gray, if it has a purple undertone, it’s probably a taupe.
- Taupes that are warmer looking lean more into beige and are more likely to flash pink-purple.
- Taupes that are cooler looking (while still being warm colours) lean closer to gray and lose MUCH of the pink, leaning harder into purple. Purple can ALSO have a blue undertone, making it a purple-blue, but you’ll only find those undertones in the gray end of things
Sherwin Williams Alpaca (below) is DEFINITELY a taupe paint colour…
BTW, the lighter and warmer some taupe paint colours go, the more likely they are to turn into BEIGE – this is because of their purple-PINK undertone, as beige is more likely to have pink in it than tan.
THE MORE FLEXIBLE GREIGE & TAUPE PAINT COLOURS
Greiges that don’t commit to green, taupes that don’t commit to purple – THESE are the ones causing a lot of the confusion. Because what happens when a paint colour doesn’t COMMIT to its undertones? It leaves its doors open to other undertones.
Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray is a greige that leans MORE into gray than beige
This means there are some greiges that can flash purple OR green, depending on the exposure of the room, immediate surroundings AND personal perception. There are also taupes that look a bit purple-pink, but in the right light, you JUST might see a wink of green. This is one of the reasons why there isn’t a SUPER clean line defining greige and taupe – UNLESS the undertones are obvious.
Sherwin William’s 6 Best DARKER Greige & Taupe Paint Colours
Benjamin Moore’s 8 Best Medium & Dark Greige & Taupe Paint Colours
This next photo shows Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray. Rockport Gray is a gray with brown in it (making it a greige). HOWEVER, while it commits SLIGHTLY to a green undertone, I have seen it flex just a WINK into purple – not enough to make it a taupe, but enough to make a girl second guess herself.
Read more: Paint Colour Review: Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray
This next photo shows Benjamin Moore Weimaraner. With its dominant purple-pink undertone, it’s easy to see it’s a TAUPE, not a greige.
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 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
WHY DO PEOPLE CONFUSE TAUPE AND GREIGE SO MUCH?
- Taupe and greige are BOTH mixes of beige and gray. Neither is WARMER than beige or COOLER than gray.
- Taupe and greige can SHARE undertones (specifically purple and green).
- Taupe and greige are BOTH warm colours. However, just because many greiges or taupes SEEM cooler-toned to others, doesn’t make them COLD COLOURS.
Let’s look at another photo – Sherwin Williams Keystone Gray.
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Keystone Gray
Keystone Gray is a tricky one. It’s a beautiful blend of gray and brown that’s ALMOST equally balanced, so there isn’t much preference given to the gray OR the beige. It’s also VERY uncommitted to either a purple or green undertone, which means that while it can come across quite neutral, it can also flex based on the exposure of the room, interior environment AND personal perception!
Benjamin Moore Pashmina (below) is one of my FAVE greige paint colours. And while it leans WARMER than many of the top greige paint colours, it does harbour weeee wink o’ green in there!
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Pashmina
AT THE END OF THE DAY
It doesn’t matter WHAT it’s called – if you love it and it has the undertones and general look you’re going for, then you can call it PERFECT!
Sherwin William’s 6 Best DARKER Greige & Taupe Paint Colours
Paint Colour Review: Sherwin Williams Anew Gray
Sherwin Williams 10 Best Gray and Greige Paint Colours
Benjamin Moore Affinity: Greige, Taupe & Gray Paint Colours
NOT SURE WHICH COLOUR TO PICK?
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting, I’d love to help!
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2017, AWESOMELY UPDATED IN 2021
You did a great job clarifying the difference between taupe and greige
what do you think of Maria Killam’s system of understanding undertones – she has a different definition of greige and taupe.
Hi Wendy, thank you for the comment! I do read some of Maria’s info. I tried to find where she’s defined the 2, but I could only find taupe and we seem like we’re on similar trains of thoughts!
So … How about revere pewter Benjamin Moore ? The most popular color out there ? Not one of your favorites ?
I do love Revere Pewter and I have MANY blog posts dedicated to it, but I find it closer to a warm gray, than greige or taupe!
Which greige would look best in kitchen cabinets with knotty pine walls?
I was hoping to find something on your site regarding Sherwin Williams Tony Taupe paint color. Do you recommend it for an exterior house paint color? It looks lighter on line than it doesnon my house. I bought a small sample and painted some on. The true color seems grayer than I was expecting.
Hi Kelly! Tony Taupe can be a beautiful exterior colour! You might find that the undertones shift a bit depending on your exposure and how it compares to your existing colour. When you do a sample board, make sure you leave some white around the perimeter (as most people just paint the samples right on the house, which can make picking a new colour REALLY hard). Move the sample around to all of the sides of your home/morning/afternoon and see how it shifts. I would’ve said that Tony Taupe would be more likely to lean a bit more brown than gray, but it DOES depend on so many factors!
We recently painted a living and dining rooms Benjamin Moore Stonington Grey. Would you consider it a greige, or is it true “grey”? (We find it cool looking, and now need to find a complimentary colour).
Hi Sharon, I would absolutely consider Stonington Gray a cool, kind of stormy gray – not a greige, hope that helps!
What would you recommend for an interior great room that has darker hardwood floors and cherry cabinets?
I’m having trouble finding a greige thats leans more to the beige than the gray without being a taupe . . . does it exist??
Hmmmm, I wonder how you’d find SW Accessible Beige. It’s actually a BEIGE that leans gray, maybe that’s a better direction?
I’m having a hard time choosing a carpet to go with Agreeable Grey walls. I have narrowed it down to a grey that at times looks too beige (Mohawk Exquisite Attraction in Artisan Hue) and one that at times looks too blue (Mohawk Exquisite Attraction in Celestial). Which one is likely to do better overall?
Hi Stacy, thanks for the note! Carpet is one thing that I just can’t advise too much about online. There is WAY too much variation between what the online images show and what it looks like in real-life. Even the small real-life samples are tricky and I always recommend having them order in larger samples so you can get a better feel for things…
This is perfect timing! Looking to repaint dining, living, and possibly family room. Would you recommend Collingwood or Revere Pewter for East/West exposure and maple trim? Maple cabinets as well. Ceilings are not a true white. Any other ideas?
Hi Jennifer! When it comes to personal questions there are so many other things to consider like furnishings, countertops, flooring and all that jazz. Off the top of my head, I’d lean toward Collingwood, but that’s really just an educated, but not 100% suggestion as I there are so many variables to consider 🙂 If you’d like me to take a look, I do have e-design packages, so you can send me photos and I can spend some time with your home!
I’m wondering what you’d recommend in this situation. Our Dining Room connects to both the Living Room (BM Shaker Beige) and the kitchen which is Nimbus (BM 1465). The DR which is BM Lenox Tan looks really dark and dated next to the just renovated warm gray/creamy white kitchen. Would you paint the DR the same as the kitchen, or find a color that bridges between the K and the LR ? Maybe something like Light Pewter? Trim in all the room is Acadia White. Exposure for the DR is Eastern. Thanks so much!
Hi Linda! When it comes to personal questions like this, I do need to refer to my E-design. This way I can spend some proper time with your room(s) and photos, otherwise, I’m just guessing! If that interests you, it is affordable and fun! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
Have you ever used Sherwin Williams Bungalow Beige? I have been told by different people it is a gold based taupe and a purple based taupe. I would love a color review of this color!
I am wondering what the bottom, middle color is in the first photo at the top where it says “What’s the Difference?” I haven’t found a color like it yet. And thank you for your informative posts!!!
Hi Jess! These are generally just basic ‘reference’ blogs, but to look at it, it looks JUST like Pashmina by Benjamin Moore!
You have the BEST paint color examples and explanations that I have ever found… and I look a lot. THANK YOU!
Well, thank you Casi! (which also happens to be my daughters name, just spelled differently 🙂
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