The Top 9 Gray & Charcoal Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore
Gray is undoubtedly one of the most popular paint colors. And with various depths, shades, and undertones, it’s easy to see why gray has been a top choice for walls, cabinets, exteriors, and more.
However, when choosing a gray paint color, you must pay EXTRA close attention to the undertones. Of course, you always have to pay close attention to undertones when picking a paint color, but they are far sneakier when tucked into gray.
THE BEST GRAY PAINT COLORS
1. BENJAMIN MOORE REVERE PEWTER HC-172
Revere Pewter is a light (closer to light-medium) warm gray. Revere Pewter is slightly warmer than some other comparable grays and has an earth-toned look when up against fresh and cool grays. It’s also WELL-known for picking up a faint green undertone.
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Revere Pewter is also gorgeous on kitchen cabinets and interior doors…
See more of this kitchen remodel here
See more of this entryway here
Revere Pewter was darkened by approx 25-50% for the above kitchen cabinets and doors. Why? Sheen affects how a paint color looks, and with the satin sheen (vs. the standard eggshell on walls), it would’ve looked too soft at regular strength.
WHY IS REVERE PEWTER A POPULAR WARM GRAY?
- While it’s in the light range, it borders on the light-medium range and can be heavy for a dark room or hallway.
- With an LRV of 55, it’s important to note that Revere Pewter will not be a fresh, bright gray. While it won’t absorb light, it’s not going to reflect a ton either if you don’t have great natural or artificial lighting (learn some AMAZING THINGS about lighting HERE).
It can also work on a home’s exterior (especially when paired with Cloud White) but can look warmer than you’d expect with natural light!
2. BENJAMIN MOORE STONINGTON GRAY HC-170
Stonington Gray is very comparable to Revere Pewter in depth; however, it’s on the cooler side with its passive stormy blue undertone. Compared to Revere Pewter, it will look like a cleaner, cool gray but can sometimes slide slightly blue or blue-green with its undertones.
WHY IS STONINGTON GRAY SO POPULAR?
The cool nature of Stonington Gray will help balance out the heat of a south-facing room.
- It can pick up a tiny (wee tiny) touch of green, but don’t expect it to – it heavily favors blue.
- It’s a light color; however, it’s more of a ‘heavy’ light as it’s not AS fresh as many other gray colors (like Gray Owl below…).
- The LRV of Stonington is 59, a bit better than Revere Pewter, but not HUGELY different. Overall, because Revere Pewter is a bit more muddy-looking, Stonington Gray will look fresh in comparison.
3. BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL OC-52
Gray Owl is a light gray paint color with super subtle undertones of blue and green.
Gray Owl CAN look good on a home’s exterior, but if it gets a good hit of natural light (south or west), it can wash out a LOT. It’s best suited to a home with frontal northern exposure.
WHY IS GRAY OWL ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR GRAY PAINT COLORS?
- Gray Owl works well in south-facing rooms. While it can work in a north-facing room, it won’t look REMOTELY warm.
- It’s beautiful and fresh with white paint colors.
- Gray Owl has a green undertone (that also loves to flex over to blue), but overall, it often acts like a soft, light, fresh gray.
- With an LRV in the mid-60s, Gray Owl WILL freshen and brighten a room as it reflects natural/artificial light back into the space.
4. BENJAMIN MOORE COLLINGWOOD OC-28
While Collingwood isn’t greige, it certainly wants to lean that way with its soft, pretty warmth. But just because it LOOKS gray doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a sneaky undertone hiding inside – specifically, purple.
5. BENJAMIN MOORE BALBOA MIST OC-27
Balboa Mist is kind of like a lighter, softer version of Collingwood. It’s also slightly more likely to pick up a very weee wink o’ pink in its purple undertone.
See more of this stunning bathroom here: A Marble Inspired Ensuite
WHY ARE COLLINGWOOD & BALBOA MIST POPULAR SHADES OF GRAY?
- with trends leaning warmer, warm grays like Balboa Mist and Collingwood are more likely to last
- Collingwood and Balboa Mist look great with cherry-toned cabinets
- they do well in north or south-facing rooms but thrive best in reasonably well-lit rooms
- the LRV of Balboa Mist (LRV 67) with Collingwood coming in at 62 – BANG on my magic number!
6. BENJAMIN MOORE CLASSIC GRAY OC-23
Classic Gray is a beautiful off-white gray with subtle warmth to it. Unlike Revere Pewter, which can cast green, Classic Gray has a weeee drop of purple, which can sometimes lean just slightly purple-pink. I’m NOT a pink/purple fan at all and have this in my home and LOVE it.
Classic Gray walls, Sherwin Williams Pure White cabinets
See more of this project here
WHY IS CLASSIC GRAY A POPULAR WARM GRAY PAINT COLOR?
- Classic Gray is a warm gray, but it doesn’t have enough beige/warmth in it to be greige.
- It has an LRV of 74, so it’s pretty darned light while offering a bit of contrast with the right white trim.
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SAMPLIZE peel-and-stick paint samples are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER, and ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots.
- samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1 business days; depending on the location
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Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE
7. BENJAMIN MOORE CHELSEA GRAY HC-168
Chelsea Gray is an AWESOME medium-toned gray. Not too light, not too dark…juuuust right. Chelsea Gray contains only a wink of undertone – green, but it can be VERY vague. And believe it or not, it’s actually a WARM gray, but you’ll hardly know it unless you compare it directly to cooler gray paint colors.
Chelsea Gray is a beautiful choice for kitchen cabinets, as long as your countertop/flooring can humor that vague green undertone.
Stonington Gray walls / Chelsea Gray doors
WHY IS CHELSEA GRAY A POPULAR DARK GRAY PAINT COLOR?
Whether it’s a small or large bedroom, Chelsea Gray is neither overwhelming nor underwhelming as long as you are comfortable with some depth.
Chelsea Gray is fantastic as an exterior color, particularly on the body of the house.
Great for cabinets and furniture.
- Chelsea Gray has an LRV of 23 – it will absorb light and look quite heavy in a room without adequate lighting.
8. BENJAMIN MOORE AMHERST GRAY HC-167
Amherst Gray is like a darker version of Chelsea Gray that’s EQUALLY as beautiful on walls, cabinets, cupboards, furniture, and feature/accent walls. And like Chelsea Gray, it does love to grab a wink o’ green!
In this next photo, notice the gorgeous green undertone on the Amherst Gray accent wall…
Next, look how much warmer and brighter Amherst Gray looks on this fireplace surround via the paint finish (satin) and the artificial light shining on it…
IS AMHERST GRAY A POPULAR DARK GRAY PAINT COLOR?
- While Chelsea Gray is definitely MORE popular, Amherst Gray is top amongst those looking for a shade with more DEPTH.
Amherst Gray can be too strong for an entire room if you don’t have good natural and artificial lighting. However, it ALWAYS looks fab as a feature/accent wall or on cabinets.
Amherst Gray is a great shade of gray for the exterior body of your home if you’re looking for some drama and depth (it’s also a great accent/trim color).
- The LRV of this paint color is under 20…yup, it’s dark. If you want something a bit darker, check out Kendall Charcoal.
9. BENJAMIN MOORE METROPOLIS CC-546
Compared with Chelsea Gray, Metropolis is very similar in depth (Chelsea Gray is only a tiny wink darker). Where you’ll see the BIG difference between these two dark shades of gray is in their undertones. Chelsea Gray caters to a very mild green; Metropolis caters to a violet undertone.
And while both are warm grays, Metropolis is likelier to pass as a taupe/warm gray, whereas Chelsea Gray is most definitely GRAY. Of the two, I suggest Metropolis 10x more than Chelsea Gray for my Online Paint Color Consulting as it tends to suit more projects.
WHY IS METROPOLIS A POPULAR SHADE OF GRAY
Putting green next to Metropolis will bring out the purple undertones, so be cautious if that isn’t the look you’re going for.
- While Metropolis is a warm gray at heart, it’s warm enough that, in some cases, it looks more like a dark taupe.
- Every gray has undertones, and it’s important to find the one that best suits your surfaces. The violet undertone of Metropolis tends to suit more interior finishes.
- ALL of the above photos are via my Online Color and Decorating Services!
Still not sure which color to pick?
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2021, UPDATEDIN 2023