4 Go-To Gray Paint Colors

Think grays are too cold for the modern family's house? Think again.



Lorri Elder Dyner of Return to Home Interiors

It’s official—gray is the new beige (see our New Neutrals story in the Spring 2015 issue of Westchester Home for proof). Where we used to see camel, sand, and caramel grace family room walls, we’re now seeing colors like Nantucket Mist, Coastal Fog, Gray Mirage...you get the drift.

For our new house, I knew I wanted a few different gray paint colors throughout our ground floor, and I knew I wanted them warm. I happen to love the blue, steely grays as well, but those weren’t going to fit my warm grasscloth wallcovering in the dining room, or the Chiang Mai pattern I had chosen for the living room throw pillows.

I’m sure my painters thought I was nuts, but I ended up bringing home nearly 40 different colors to try around the house, and at least 10 of them were gray!

Here are some grays that stood out.

Benjamin Moore’s Coastal Fog

Now, this picture above is straight from the Benjamin Moore website, but I’m telling you it reads much darker and more brown than this sample lets on. Coastal Fog is a deep, brooding wall color that might make you think, at first, “Yikes! Too dark!” but I promise it’s not too much; perfect for a velvety den or family room.

You’ll see our family room painted in Coastal Fog, below. Such a sad state of affairs, this room. But I really wanted to show you how cozy and dark those walls are, and how gray-beige they are.

Benjamin Moore's Inner Balance

Again, this color comes out more beige, neutral, and dark than this picture above would have you think. Inner Balance is actually super close to Coastal Fog, but it’s a bit more gray and a touch lighter. I had our entire entry hall painted this color—hopefully it will make a nice background for this fabulous stenciling project in the near future.

Courtesy of Jones Design Company

Benjamin Moore's Ashwood

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You may notice that some of the really light grays can feel clinical or really steely. Not Ashwood. It’s like a fluffy cloud; an absolutely terrific neutral.

Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak

I had my toddler’s room painted in this neutral, pale gray. I have a navy and orange color scheme going in there, and I thought a pale gray might be a nice change from the typical “little boy blue.” It’s terrific; a totally modern and very pale gray.

Here’s a great shot of Pale Oak in a little girl’s room:

Turns out Pale Oak is also one of interior designer Candice Olson’s favorite grays; do you recognize her name from HGTV? Apparently Pale Oak is one of her go-to colors!

So there you have it—four fabulous grays, all warm in tone and all personally tested by yours truly. Go with these colors and I promise you can’t go wrong!


Lorri Elder Dyner is an interior designer and blogger who believes in the power of "decorating for the rest of us." Using clever, accessible, and affordable ideas, she brings us insider tips and tricks that make our living spaces feel pulled together. Lorri resides in Westchester with her husband and two small children. Visit her at returntohomeinteriors.com.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Westchester Magazine editorial staff.

 

 

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