Favorite Gray Paints & Tips

Hi, sweets.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and Monday!
I thought I’d run through a few of my favorite {gray, grey, greige} paint colors tonight
as I’m frequently asked what colors I used in my living room, hallway, etc.
{Thank you for loving it enough to ask.}


Before I share my favorite gray paints,
I do want to say that gray is probably one of the toughest colors to get right,
but when you do, it’s so lovely and fresh.
Gray is very sensitive to light and shadow so it can sometimes look different
from one room in your home to another, depending on the number of windows, etc.
{The sensitivity to light and shadow happens to be one of the things I love most about gray.}
There are also several undertones in gray paint
that can subtly shift what looks like ‘just gray’ on the swatch
to muddy gray, bluish gray, greenish gray, or almost lavender, etc. once it’s on your walls.
But, fear not the gray paint!
There are a few easy things to keep in mind when choosing a gray for your walls.
1. TEST your gray paint candidate(s) on your walls first.
Don’t just walk into a paint shop, grab a gray swatch, and have it mixed in a gallon on the spot.
This is a general rule of thumb for paint but especially gray.
Most paint lines offer actual sample pots of paint now for a few dollars. This is your best route.
If sample pots aren’t available and purchasing a quart to test isn’t in the budget,
grab several of the paint swatch cards.
2. Test your gray paint on all four walls in the room
and watch your color swatches(s) throughout the course of a day.
Gray can shift subtly or drastically in color from dawn to dusk, etc.
After dark, turn on a lamp and look at the color.
Incandescent light bulbs can affect gray too.
Because I’m a bit color fussy, I’ve used Reveal Light Bulbs for about four years.
They omit the warmer, yellow, amber cast of a traditional light bulb, keeping color truer.
They are tad more expensive than most light bulbs, but I {love} the pure light that these bulbs give.
It’s a very crisp and clean light. Like heaven.
{Not that I’ve been there.}
GE just came out with the CFL version too. Sweet.
I was in no way approached by GE or compensated in any way for writing that.

It’s just one of my little tips and a product that I love to use in my home. That’s it.

3. PRIME your walls first.
This should technically be STEP 1 because you should prime even before you test your samples.
Gray is especially sensitive to the color it’s going over.
If you want a fresh, clean, and crisp gray then PRIME.
I’ve seen recommendations to test your paint samples on a piece of white poster board
which is a great tip (and easier), but the texture and white still won’t mirror the surface of your walls.
The way I see it, if you know you’re going to go gray, particularly light gray, just prime first.
I know I was rather wordy above but these are things I’ve learned along my lil’ home journey
that I wish someone would have told me.

Really, it’s just a matter of priming, testing (a little more carefully), and painting.

Here are the gray paints that I’ve used in my home… 
 My living room and hallway paint color is a custom mix.
Actually, every color but white in my home is.
 I can never find ‘the’ color straight from a swatch it seems.
Living room FORMULA for a sample pot of Sherwin-Williams:
BAC Colorant    OZ     32    64     128
       B1 Black        –        -       1        1
N1 Raw Umber     –       2       1        1
*Note: Just print out the formula and take it to your local SW.
The formula is for a sample pot (or quart).
If you want a gallon, they can simply multiply the formula in their computer paint system.
My bedroom color is nearly identical to the formula above, minus a dash of black.
Bedroom FORMULA for a sample pot of Sherwin-Williams:
BAC Colorant    OZ     32    64     128
       B1 Black        –        -       1         -
N1 Raw Umber     –       2       1        1
While I’m at it, the white used for my trim and hallway stencil is
Ben Moore’s Wedding Veil 2125-70.
It’s a crisp, bright white but isn’t stark and sterile.
There are so many shades of gorgeous grays out there
like Sherwin Williams’ Requisite Gray SW7023 below,
which creates a very clean & sophisticated look.
 Do you have a favorite gray or any tips?
If so, please share in the notes below!
Thanks for reading.
Welcome, new sweets!

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  1. Your bedroom color looks perfect. I was thinking gray was not for this house, even though I love it. I think I could do something like that though. Hmm, deep thoughts..

  2. Kat says:

    I love gray! My kitchen is Benjamin Moore, Wedgewood Gray. I love it. We did a half concentration of it on the ceiling mixed with white.

  3. Nice post, Jami! I love all your greys! I always tell my clients the same tips you’ve mentioned, to actually put the sample on the wall and watch how it looks throughout the day and when they have lights on at night. The new place we are moving to, they painted the kitchen a light grey {the countertops are grey}, but I think I may add a stencil in there somewhere. I forgot how much I love the one in your hallway!

  4. Hi Jami, What about the chalk paint greys? I think we both felt the Paris Grey is a bit heavy…I just got the country grey from ASCP and it is coffee/beige, not grey. Interesting to know, prime walls first…

  5. We used a colour from General Paints called Cartogrphic and it is a wonderful warm, rustic gray. Not at all cool. I love it!!!

  6. Oh my goodness Jami, Your home is sumptuous!! I love gray, and your right, it’s hard to find just the right color. Thanks so much for the tips.
    Hope your having a beautiful week.

  7. janet says:

    I’m in love with Silvered Sateen by Behr Utra…just beautiful !

    I really enjoyed this post and learned something along the way.

    Janet xox

  8. andrea says:

    Thanks for the lovely post! I especially like the bedroom photo. I myself have Ben Moore Hazy Skies in my front room and hallway and I LOVE it! Gotta have some grey! Andrea @ townandprairie

  9. I never would have thought bought grey being so light-sensitive…great info!! My walls are actually grey, but a little dark… They need lightening up :)

  10. Burlap Luxe says:

    Beautiful Gray’s /Grey’s

    Love your beautiful gray’s in your home :)
    I too use alot of gray!
    I end up tinting my own to get that perfect old gray for the funiture pieces :)

    Thank you Jami for your gray inspiration


  11. d. reyné says:

    So wonderful Jami!
    You are so…right about getting grey right..you have mastered it though and I am so glad you shared your paint colors and tips!
    Thank you!
    Still lovin’ that hall!

  12. Yummy Mummy says:

    Oh my goodnss, I just stumbled upon your blog and love love love it! New follower here!

    I used SW Agreeable Grey in daughter’s nursery and powder room, and Restoration Hardware Silver Sage in master. Love them both.

    Come say at http://www.yummymummykitchen.com


  13. Barefoot in Blue Jeans says:

    I love gray. I recently painted our guest room gray with pops of white and and red. My husband calls in prison gray, but I guess to each his own. I like it.
    Have a great day!

  14. Pamela says:

    Thanks for the awesome tips!!
    I love grey!!

  15. I have never painted a room gray, but all of your photos make me think twice! They are so peaceful!

  16. Patricia says:

    What a timely post…I’m just getting ready to look for paint for our master bath renovation and had planned on a slate gray, to go with the black and white tiling throughout the room. The exterior of our house is a similar color and I love it with the white trim and black door. But after seeing your lighter gray bath, I may have to rethink my plan. Thanks for all your tips!

  17. stefanie says:

    thank you!!!! i thought I found the perfect grey, so light in the can, did a tester on my cupboards…looks purple!!!! yuk!!! so I am off to get some samples!!!

  18. Hi Jamie! This post rings close to home…in fact, my “painting snafus” are what prompted me to start blogging… Moving into this fixer upper, I didn’t really have a clue on the proper way to test paint samples. It was only AFTER I googled & researched (and AFTER 3/4′s of my home was painted) that I figured it out… I love gray…in fact 3 rooms in my house are in the grey family. And yes, lighting matters!!! That was my main downfall…Next time though. I don’t think I will be busting out any paint brushes anytime soon…it was hard enough the 1st time around! lol

    Have a great day!



  19. You have chosen the most perfect grays in your house, Jami. They are light and clean looking. Just perfect! I would love to paint my bedroom the same colors as your. It’s so peaceful looking…. ♥ Thank you so much for sharing these tips and formulas!! :)

    xoxo laurie

  20. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing:)I love the lavender greys too.

  21. Destiny says:

    Thanks for the advice! We tried to go gray in my living room a while back, but it ended up looking lavender on all the test spots, so we scratched that idea! Maybe I’ll try again in a different room and PRIME this time! LOL I’m hosting a $50 giftcard giveaway if you want to hop on over and enter! Have a great weekend! ~Destiny

  22. Oh my goodness I LOVE the gray! It is a color I’ve never considered for my home but now I’m wondering why! Thanks for sharing the paint formulas. <3

  23. Tina says:

    Love your post! I’m having problems finding the right gray also. So i’m thinking about priming! Makes sense.
    But what color primer? Just a white primer?


    • Jami says:

      Hi Tina! Sorry for the slow response. You were lost in a sea of spam comments following my WordPress move! I just used a white primer. Hope that helps! xo Jami

  24. Mary Mouw says:

    I am looking to repaint our entire house in greys or whites & just can not make up my mind. Any tips on that?

  25. Barbara FIllion says:

    Thanks for the tips on greys and ur photos. I have painted a sample of gray in my bathroom but it looks blue gray (dont like the blueish tone). I am going back to Lowes to have it tinted. I will add raw umber or plain brown tint. It is a gallon so I am thinking of adding 4 drops to start.What do u suggest?

  26. Katie says:

    I just painted my living room and foyer Silver Drop from Behr. Acadia White from Benjamin Moore for trim, and I have medium shade wood flooring (bronzed birch) Mt problem is, the walls look a bit too blue for me in some lights, what kind of light bulbs do I need to get on order to bring back the grey. Also, I have an accent wall, is there a color that would go well with silver drop that will make it look more grey. Thank you for any of your help, this is my first home I hope I didnt ruin it!

  27. Selena says:

    I’m currently trying to decide on the perfect grey! My house is currently BM’s Sussex Green but I want to lighter. Everything from my trim to cabinets are white and my furniture a brown. I can’t make a decision!! Help! Lol.

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