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3 Gray Paint Colors You Can’t Live Without

August 29, 2019

I love the way designing for others allows me to explore new paint colors that I might have missed when looking for myself. This way, I’ve discovered three gray paint colors you can’t live without!

Image Credit: Apartment Therapy

Paint is a very popular topic and I can see why! It literally can transform any object, wall, cabinet, floor, ceiling into something magnificent and different. I love how designing for myself and others allow me to explore new paint colors. I discovered three gray paint colors you can’t live without!

Recently, one of my clients wanted me to help choose their interior paint colors after their bathroom renovations were complete. The bathrooms were white and she wanted to warm up the other common areas. She also noted that her 3 teenage kids and dog would probably get white walls dirty pretty fast.

She suggested the old go-to paints of the past such as Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige or Agreeable Gray. These two are still wonderful to use. However, I have seen it used a bit too much. So, it was fun to whip out my Sherwin Williams paint deck and explore the options for her! Her home is built in the early 1980s, so there are tall ceilings, closed-off rooms, and choppy floor plans.


Do you know the difference between the overall tone versus undertone in paint colors?

The mass tone is what you see on the paint chip at the store. The undertone is a bit more inconspicuous. Undertones are what makes or breaks your choice for the color. Once you can spot the undertone, you can decide quickly if the color is yours.

I found this color with ColorSnap® Visualizer for iPhone by Sherwin-Williams: Accessible Beige (SW 7036).

Image Credit: Sherwin Williams

For example, my client wanted a greige and suggested Accessible Beige. Why did I immediately know that was NOT a color for her home?

Well, it’s because one look at the paint chip order, I noticed the very darkest shade is Van Dyke Brown. And I didn’t want to choose anything in the brown family. I wanted to steer towards cooler tones such as blue and even green would be fine with me. Ultimately I wanted a light gray with cooler undertones.

Warm colors include undertones of red, orange and yellow. Cooler undertones are in the blue, purple and green categories. If you can remember this, it will cut down your search for paint in half the time!

There are other pretty tricky factors such as natural/artificial light, the trees outside the windows, and even wallpaper that can impact the paint color you choose. So beware of what you are up against before heading to the store. I suggest you take pictures of the room from all 4 corners during the brightest time of the day. And bring it into the store as a visual reminder.

Once you bring home samples, paint a swatch on each wall and observe what the paint looks like over different periods of a day. You might be surprised!

Choosing the right gray

Now that you have an understanding of undertones, it’s time to choose the right gray!
I knew that there wasn’t much light in most of the home for my client. Her dining room and kitchen were especially dark with typical 80’s low drop ceilings. Her living room had tall cathedral ceilings so I wasn’t as worried.

The first color I chose is Gossamer Veil. It was derived from the blue undertone category. Yet had the mass tone of taupe. For the naked eye, it looks quite taupe. I have the confidence it won’t turn brown or yellow though. Why? Because of the bluish undertone! Again, I’m going for a cool tone.

Another easy paint trick is to pick a shade lighter or darker to delineate adjoining rooms. Whether it’s a jack and jill bathroom or a common area leading into a kitchen (which is the case for this client), pick two shades on the same paint chip. You literally can’t lose.

Drift of Mist is right below Gossamer Veil and I think it would be a great transition to the dark kitchen in the back of the house.

A second gray color that I adore is Front Porch. Initially, it reads a true gray. The darkest shade on the paint chip is gray. That is a great clue to myself that I won’t run into too much purple or pink problems. However, the beauty of this color is that in person it is SO warm. I can’t quite describe it! This is the color that we used for our backyard cement pad refresh.

We have had it for 4 months now and it is still so inviting! Not icy cold or sterile. I’m absolutely in love with it. As an interior paint, it is fabulous to get a fresh cool look that is deep in tone. There is a subtle hint of taupe and I think that’s why it’s so inviting. But you can’t see the taupe with the naked eye. You get the best of both worlds in this one.

My third favorite gray is Worldly Gray. I just painted one of my bathroom projects in this greige and I think you’re going to love this in your home too!

I first discovered this color when another client wanted yes, again, Accessible Beige. After doing a deep dive into greige paint colors without brown undertones, I discovered Worldly Gray. It does have very slight green undertones which can be tricky for some spaces. However so far in my projects, no client has yet to complain about it. It just depends on the space and lighting.

Does this make you want to head to the paint store and start re-painting your home? I know I have the itch to paint the girls’ room! Should I paint it white or gray? What do you think?

Happy painting!

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  1. Dez says:

    I really love how we got a sneak peak into your clients home! I would love to see more!

  2. Meghan says:

    Please help me! My husband is willing to begin painting for me but I can not choose between accessible beige or agreeable gray! Help!

  3. Stephanie Hataway says:

    Is there a gray/griege that will go with cream colored cabinets? Agreeable gray looks almost lavender in my kitchen 😫

  4. Monica Drobina says:

    This was helpful! I would love your opinion as to what shade of gray you think would go best with Kincaid Ember Glaze cabinets from the Timberlake (American Woodmark) line. I have about 12 different swatches of gray on my walls and can’t seem to choose. My kitchen has alot of angles which changes things up a bit color wise. So dang difficult.

    • Anita Yokota says:

      Hi! Can you email me and maybe we can walk through on my LIVE IG Home therapy series!

  5. Valdemar says:

    Your post turned out happens to be one of the best advice ever in the lengthy decision process to repaint the interiors of our house in Texas. Most of the natural light of the first floor comes from the south where the back of the house is facing and, with the exception of one bedroom all upstair rooms and illuminated from eats and west. SW Drift of Mist has proven perfect for our needs in all the areas with the exception of the master bedroom where we wanted a more warming/welcoming tone like SW Gossamer Veil. As predicted, light wood tones, even darker, are a perfect match with these two colors in the background. Leather sofas along the line of taupe tone and grey corduroy sectionals also come to be a perfect fit with drift of mist in the background.
    I am particularly happy with Gossamer Veil on our master bedroom facing south. Our vintage Broyhill Centerpiece 4-post bedroom set from the 90s originally stained in light waxed/birch tone now looks more contemporary than ever. In summary both Drift of Mist and Gossamer Veil will make the beauty of your wood furniture stand out.
    It will take a lot of years before I can get tired of these two tones.
    Thank you!

  6. Deb says:

    Help my kitchen cabinets are light cherry red/ orange hue. I gave black granite counters and an olive green island. Little light. What color paint for walls

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