3 Flexible Grays – When You Just Can’t Choose an Undertone
If you’ve ever had to choose a gray paint colour, you’ll know how mind-numbing it can be. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect gray, it flashes up some crazy undertone and before you know it, you’re running to the wine fridge for reinforcements.
That’s why today, rather than focusing on grays with specific undertones (because you know you can’t get away from them), I want to share with you 3 of the MOST FLEXIBLE gray paint colours! Can’t decide on an undertone? Perfect, NEITHER CAN THEY!
Now, if you’ve done your research, you’ll know all about grays 3 main undertones – blue, green and purple. And while I always get E-design clients asking for a ‘gray with no undertones‘ – sadly, it’s a no-go. Grays have undertones – capiche?
However, that also doesn’t mean you have to commit to one major undertone, in fact, you might find that one of these ninja masters hits the spot as it won’t leave you 100% committed to any one undertone, but actually flexes itself on a room-by-room basis!
Sherwin Williams Repose Gray SW 7015
Repose Gray is the MOST flexible gray paint colour in my experience. I love it and curse it ALL in the same
mouth full of wine sentence.
Repose Gray is in the light range, but I find it to be a ‘heavier’ light, not a fresh and bright one.
In the above photo with the tall tile fireplace, look at how Repose looks on the left and right. Cool and slightly green on the left and muted and softer on the right. I mean really, ANY colour will do this kind of thing with natural and artificial lights, but some colours are trickier because their undertones can shift more, not just the depth.
- Repose Gray has an LRV of 58
- It’s a warm gray that slightly favours a purple undertone, however, I’ve also seen it flash slightly green and slightly blue (more often green)
- Repose Gray is the most popular of the 3 on this page
- If you were to lighten Repose by 25% it would get closer to my magical LRV number for almost any room
- Need more warmth? Check out SW Agreeable Gray
Read more: Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Repose Gray
Benjamin Moore Shoreline 1471
Not to be confused with BM Shore Line (same name but with a space) – which is most definitely NOT a flexible gray, it’s a fugly taupe, Shoreline is a light, barely warm gray that seems like it SHOULD lean into a vague green, however, more often than not, I see it grab either purple or even a wink of blue – let’s just say that like me on a Friday nite – it’s open to suggestions.
- Shoreline has an LRV of almost 69
- Shoreline is the lightest and freshest of the options on this page
- It can easily grab ANY of the 3 cool undertones and is easily influenced by the exposure of the room, lighting and furnishings
- As the colour strip of Shoreline darkens it goes considerably into the green undertones, but don’t let that fool you, Shoreline is more likely to flash blue-purple
- Don’t like purple? Check out BM Gray Owl
Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray SW 7641
Colonnade Gray (also spelt Collonade Gray…by me) is the warmest of the bunch. It’s a warm gray that is TRYING to be greige, but it just doesn’t quite get there.
Colonnade also favours a vague green undertone, however, this can entirely disappear, to be replaced by a soft vague blue and more rarely a cool purple – which is what can give it an overall ‘neutral gray’ appearance, ESPECIALLY in a north-facing room.
In the above photo, look at Colonnade on the far left. Soft, stormy and muted and turning greenish down the hallway. Then look above the kitchen – fresh and clean!
- Colonnade Gray has an LRV of 53. Don’t know what LRV is? Read up, buttercup
- Colonnade will FAVOUR green, but don’t be surprised to see blue or purple
- If you lighten Collonade Gray by 25%, the green all but disappears
Read more: Paint Colour Review Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray
So there you have. Rather than CHOOSING a green, blue or purple undertone – why not have the potential to hit all 3! Now, that isn’t to say that these colours will hit ALL 3 in every room/home, it’s more about the versatility they have to humour spaces that are maybe a bit trickier to choose for. They have a bit more flexibility, which Tim said he’d also like me to work on.
Not sure which colour is best for you? Need help?
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I ran through a few greys in my home. Collingwood from BEN Moore looked great in my basement with dove grey carpet and LED lighting. I guess we lucked out. (Or in). But I love Wickham same brand for light grey in my craft workshop. I haven’t seen you comment on that. But I do love your insights.
Ooo yes, I love both of those! Wickham is so INTERESTING as it can flash that bit blue/green at times. And Collingwood, one of my faves and certainly more predictable than the 3 mentioned in this blog post!
These are 3 great grey color choices and it’s so helpful to see how light affects the undertone. Love your posts and your sense of humor! No one but you can explain color like this. Thanks.
Well thank you Nancy! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😉
What do you think about revere pewter ?
I have golden tone granite with gray marbling .
Right now it is compatible cream. I want to move towards gray instead of yellow. Thanks!
Some advice for you::
Love you and your site and I have used your advice (purchased a package last year).
You may want to take a look at your wording “…get the colour consultant…that designers hire.” Being an English teacher, might I suggest that you change THAT to WHO?
“THAT” REFERS TO AN INANIMATE OBJECT; “WHO” REFERS TO A PERSON (YOU). JUST SAYIN….
Well bless your heart – a decorator I am, an English major I am not ;). I always try to catch myself with things like that and DAMN I have that all over my site – well, I’m going to change it moving forward. Thank you for taking the time to right too me! Just joking, I just put those in there for fun, I’m sure it made you twitch 😉
Great post! I recently painted about half our condo with SW’s On the Rocks, and have been pleasantly surprised with no annoying undertones. We’re planning to do 2 bedrooms (one with northern light, the other with northeast light) with SW’s Rock Candy color. The samples painted on the walls look great, but I am prepared for some blue undertones to come through.
Lovely shades of grey! Thanks for sharing Kylie. Carolina at Hamilton Billiards.
I completely agree! These are three of my favorite grays, as well. I used Colonnade gray in my own house, and love it!
Any comments on SW Light French Grey? Where does it fit in?
A few months ago I “thought” I was getting SW Colonnade Grey, but ended up with BM Collingwood (I have done it before but with SW Chelsea Gray Vs BM Chelsea Gray). Collingwood is in the gray family, but in my hall it mostly looks a pretty tan. I can see the gray if the lights are off and the bathroom light is shining on it. I may have to take a second look at Colonnade Gray again though.
I am looking at all three of these paint colors for my dining room update. It’s small 12×15 furnished in mahogany with blonde colored floors. The room faces west with one window facing north. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
Have you looked at something along the lines of BM Collingwood? I can be quite pretty with mahogany and blonde woods! I would be LESS inclined to use a colour that could go blue or green.