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The 3 Best Gray Paint Colours – The Ninjas of The Gray World

Posted on May 9, 2019 by KylieMawdsley

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.

Contemporary living room. Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, tile fireplace surround with floating hearth and linear gas insert. Kylie M Interiors Decorating and Design Online and local in Nan

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.

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, best gray paint colour, bedroom with beige carpet and patterned drapes. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

Repose Gray is in the light range, but I find it to be a ‘heavier’ light, not a fresh and bright one.

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray with teal and yellow accents in a palette

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.

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray in kitchen, fantasy brown granite. OPen layout to family room. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant #edesign

  • 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.

How to pick the best gray paint colour. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consulting. Grey is Benjamin Moore Shoreline

How to choose the best gray paint colours, undertones. Kylie M INteriors example of Benjamin Moore Shoreline

How to pick the best gray paint colour. Showing Benajmin Moore Shoreline by Kylie M INteriors Edesign blog

  • 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.

Entryway in Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray with oversized large clock, charcoal bench seat and front door painted Urbane Bronze. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color expert - Copy

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.

Open concept kitchen, living, dining room, great room. Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray walls, Alabaster kitchen cabinets. rattan bar stools and transitional home decor. Kylie M Interiors Ed - Copy

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!

Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray in living room. Kylie M Interiors Edesign. Tv above electric fireplace with tile surround. Transitional style home decor - Copy

  • 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?

Check out my affordable and fun E-Design

Online paint colour consultant Benjamin Moore Sherwin Williams, Vancouver Island, USA, UK. Interior, exterior, edesign colors. Kylie M Interiors, blogger marketing

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature



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Comments

  1. 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.

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      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!

  2. 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.

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      Author
    2. 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!

  3. Hi Kylie,

    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….

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      Author

      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 😉
      ~Kylie

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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