Gray is the new black. This multitonal neutral is genderless, sophisticated yet simple and clashes with almost nothing. That’s why I LOVE using it in interiors. But paint colors can be tricky. Grays have multiple personalities. What looks good in a photo or in a paint can looks very different on the wall, in natural light, at night and with the blue sofa pulled up in front of it.
I always tell clients to get samples, paint a swatch on two walls in a room—one that gets loads of natural light and one that does not—and look at the paint at different times of the day and with other colors to see how it’s going to look living in your room day after day. Then commit to painting.
So which are the best gray paint shades for you? Believe it or not, look in your closet first. Do you gravitate towards classic, preppy, edgy or laid-back silhouettes?
Here are my favorite go-to grays based on the styles you may be drawn to:
1. Behr’s Cathedral Gray. If you consider yourself classic (not at all boring!), like Victoria Beckham, this shade’s for you.
I’ve painted furnishings and interiors this perfect gray. Grays have three undertones—blue, purple and green. It’s very hard to tell the undertones when you’re staring at samples side by side but much easier to tell when they go on the wall. Cathedral Gray has just the right combination. It doesn’t lean too blue or too green.
2. Sherwin Williams’ Gray Clouds. If you favor a fresh, preppy style, modeled by Alexa Chung, this gray with the slightest hint of blue is for you.
I paired this happy, soothing, calming, fresh shade with the faux-wood pallet wall in Scott’s and my bedroom and in my brother’s powder room.
3. Martha Stewart’s Gabardine. If you fancy Kate Moss’ edgier look, a rich dramatic gray might suit you.
Gabardine has lots of blue undertones that can instantly cozy up a den or set the mood in the bedroom. I painted our kitchen this dramatic blue gray to add a bit of edge to the adjoining room’s grasscloth-covered walls.
4. Behr’s Shale Gray. If you like a more laid-back look, like Jennifer Anniston, this beachier gray with blue would be great for you.
Living so close to the beach, this blue gray was kind of a no-brainer to paint the beige stucco walls of our patio. But this gray also has a little bit of French-country thing to it, and it would look amazing in a house with bright white trim and shabby chic furnishings.
Now tell me: What shades of gray have you used in your home that you love—or not?
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