BENJAMIN MOORE: the DARKER side of taupe & greige…
When it comes to the most popular DARK gray, greige and taupe paint colours, Benjamin Moore is the top dog in the gray end of things and holds its own with greige. HOWEVER, in the taupe world, BOTH Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore come up a bit lacking. Why? Let’s have a little chat…
WHAT UNDERTONES DO GREIGE & TAUPE HAVE?
When it comes to greige and taupe, there will always be undertones. Like taxes, death and empty wine bottles, they’re impossible to avoid.
A BIT ABOUT GREIGE
Snuggled in tight between gray and beige sits a lovely colour called GREIGE. Some greiges cater to gray, making them look a bit cooler, whereas others lean into the warmth of beige, making them look warmer. As for undertones, greige favours a green undertone and more rarely flashes into violet.
In the light range, it’s a bit easier to find greiges that have a MINIMAL undertone. But once you hit the darker end of things, they tend to grab a bit more GREEN, meaning there are few greiges that make the cut as they often read more ‘green’ than ‘neutral’.
A BIT ABOUT TAUPE
Just like greige, taupe is in between gray and beige and can lean warmer or cool depending on the blend. But unlike greige which leans into green, taupe has a preference for a VIOLET undertone (sometimes violet-pink) and more rarely flashes into green.
Even in the light range, taupe doesn’t make a secret of its undertones for those who are sensitive to violet and pink. However, as taupe darkens, you’ll see it pick up more VIOLET and BROWN.
1. BENJAMIN MOORE KINGSPORT GRAY HC-86
TAUPE – UBER SUBTLE VIOLET UNDERTONE
I’ve got MAD love for Kingsport Gray. Why? Well, as far as Benjamin Moore goes, it has the LEAST undertone, to the point where I could almost call it a NEUTRAL taupe! However, with its lack of commitment comes the chance that it could flex slightly into green. Why? You ask a lot of questions – I like that about you. Because the LESS committed a colour is to a particular undertone, the more likely it is to shift into another based on exposure, surroundings, sensitivities, etc…
Now you might be wondering about the DARKER look of Fairview Taupe which sits right above Kingsport Gray in the fan deck. While it might have taupe in its name and certainly has a bit of violet in it, it ALSO leans pretty hard into beige, to the point where it loses the whole gray-beige blended look and looks more BROWN. This is what we talked about earlier, how taupes often pick up a LOT more brown and/or violet as they darken.
2. BENJAMIN MOORE DRAGON’S BREATH 1547
GREIGE – GREEN UNDERTONE
No, we’re not talking about my morning breath, we’re talking about Dragon’s Breath (same-same, really). Dragon’s Breath is a WICKED dark greige with a gorgeous green undertone. Now if you’ve been doing your research looking at Sherwin William’s greiges as well, this might sound AWFULLY familiar – and it should. Dragon’s Breath is the kissin’ cousin to Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze, however, Dragon’s Breath is a bit warmer and a weeee bit greener.
In my consulting, I RARELY refer to Dragon’s Breath unless a client specifies Benjamin Moore paint only. Why? I find that Urbane Bronze is that BIT more subtle in its approach while still getting the point across (unlike me, who is NEVER subtle when I have a point to make).
3. BENJAMIN MOORE STARDUST 2108-40
TAUPE – SUBTLE VIOLET UNDERTONE
Stardust is a beautiful taupe with just a WINK of a warm violet undertone. With an LRV of 23, Stardust has a subtle rich warmth without diving into the brown end of things.
And while Sherwin Williams is usually my go-to for darker taupes, Stardust is actually more neutral looking (has considerably less undertone) than most of my fave Sherwin William’s taupe paint colours.
Do you love VIOLET when it’s MORE than an undertone? Check out this blog post: The 9 Best Benjamin Moore Purple Paint Colours
4. BENJAMIN MOORE ROCKPORT GRAY HC-105
GREIGE – GREEN UNDERTONE
Rockport Gray is a WICKED popular greige. Not only does its LRV of 35 make it flexible for walls, cabinets and exteriors, but its green undertone is also subtle enough that some people don’t even know it’s there!
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
5. BENJAMIN MOORE TAOS TAUPE 2111-40
TAUPE/WARM-GRAY – VIOLET UNDERTONE
While Taos Taupe is DEFINITELY a taupe due to its violet undertone, with its reduced warmth it could easily be mistaken for a warm gray. However, compare it to an ACTUAL warm gray like Benjamin Moore Metropolis and you’ll see the shift.
Taos Taupe is along similar lines to Stardust with an LRV of 42, making it a great depth for a WIDE variety of surfaces without washing out nor looking overly heavy.
Because I’m dedicated to showing you REAL HOMES and only refer to my Online Colour Consulting clients photos, I don’t have any great examples of this beautiful colour (some photos just come through too low-quality to use). Thank you to those who’ve sent their photos in!
6. BENJAMIN MOORE GARGOYLE 1546
GREIGE – GREEN UNDERTONE
Gargoyle is picking up where Dragon’s Breath left off but with a slightly SOFTER approach. With an LRV of 17, Gargoyle still has some SERIOUS meat on its bones without the more striking depth of Dragon’s Breath.
7. BENJAMIN MOORE WAYNESBORO TAUPE 1544 / ASHLEY GRAY HC 87
TAUPE – MINIMAL UNDERTONE
Two names, same colour. In fact, there’s a THIRD name for this colour – Shenandoah Taupe. Thank you, Benjamin Moore, for confusing your customers.
But no matter WHAT you call it, this gorgeous paint colour is a taupe with the MOST PASSIVE UNDERTONE…ever. Ashley Gray has an LRV of 32, putting it smack dab in the middle of the medium depth range and making it flexible towards a wide range of surfaces, from exteriors and cabinets to entire rooms.
In the above photo, notice the shift from Ashley Gray’s passive violet undertone to River Reflection’s subtle green undertone – this shows taupe and greige at their best!
8. BENJAMIN MOORE COPLEY GRAY HC-104
GREIGE – GREEN UNDERTONE
Copley Gray sits right above Rockport Gray in the fan deck and comes in with a LOWER LRV of 24. However, whereas Rockport Gray makes a polite nod to green, Copley Gray leans in a bit more and also picks up a touch more richness/warmth.
What’s the most POPULAR dark greige or taupe paint colour (Benjamin Moore)?
If you check out the light end of things, Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray is the TOP choice. But once you get into the DARK end of greige and taupe, there’s no CLEAR winner, although I’d say Benjamin Moore Rockport Gray is reasonably popular AND massively flexible as it relates to exteriors, feature walls, cabinets and entire rooms.
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