How do I make my grey paint look grey and not blue?

Claire Chahal
by Claire Chahal

I painted my wardrobes in grey chic shadow only for them to look blue/purple. So I decided to buy another pot of paint in a lighter grey only for this to now look like baby blue. My wardrobes are built in and take up most of the room so I'm really not liking this at all. Great for a baby boys room but I wanted a more rustic muddy looking grey. I've primed these twice and painted over again so many times. I'm actually exhausted by it all as I've spent days painting these abd feel like I have wasted money abd have got no where. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  11 answers
  • Gk Gk on May 15, 2020

    True gray paint colors are very difficult to pick out! Been there-done that! Gray paint does have several undertones with the blue undertone most noticeable in a "cool" shade of gray paint color. You will also notice a green or purple undertone in some gray paint colors. I usually pick up NUMEROUS sample chips, bring them home and lay them on bright white copy paper. It is much easier to see the undertones when you lay the samples on white paper. Another trick I use is to find a sample strip of variations of grays going from dark to light. I have found that if you find a strip with a black as the darkest color you can go up the strip to the lighter colors and find a truer gray. I also look at all these samples in the different light that comes in the windows during the day as they change with the light. Even with all of that I recently ended up with a "blue" living room rather than the grayer color I was looking for! Sorry to say that you may have to repaint. Been there-done that too! Here are some truer grays that may help you out.

    Check out more ideas on Pinterest.

    • Claire Chahal Claire Chahal on May 16, 2020

      Do you know roughly at what price range I'm looking at reference the Benjamin Moor paint?

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on May 15, 2020

    HI Claire, the light and furniture in a room can play off against colors and make them appear "different" . It most often happens when you have orange or terracotta toned floors. If you go a hint darker than the first grey you used it should help. You can read all about color illusions here i you're interested -

  • Get some paint samples - the jars are just a few ounces and inexpensive. Paint a section with each color and see how you like them when they dry. Then you'll know which color to buy!

    • Claire Chahal Claire Chahal on May 15, 2020

      Hi. I did this but the tester only came in matt. I was painting with Satin Wood which dried totally different to the matt tester.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 15, 2020

    Add a black glaze to the furniture. It is a true black. For future reference, you will want to make sure that your grey paint is a black and white combination of color rather than something that has blue or even red in it to lessen a blue shade.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on May 15, 2020

    What type of lighting to you have in the room?

    Incandescent lighting gives off a yellow hue, and florescent a greenish tone, which can both change the perceived color of the paint on the walls. (For example, if yellow light shines on a blue wall, it is going to look more green.)

    My suggestion is to first switch to LED lighting, which is clear compared with any other kind. However, depending on whether the bulbs are warm or cool, (more or less Kelvins) it can also alter how colors in the room appear.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on May 15, 2020

    First, you must find a gray paint that is not on the blue scale. Start with the blacks and move lighter from there. You may want to try Dunn Edwards Paint in Miners Dust. Lighting is also a VERY important factor as it can totally change the look of your painted walls.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on May 15, 2020

    I struggled with this in a bedroom and went with a very true grey paint. Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray HC-170

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on May 15, 2020

    You need to watch the undertones and test a swatch and look at it at different times of the day. sounds like you want a warmer toned gray with more yellow undertones.

  • Claire Chahal Claire Chahal on May 15, 2020

    I was also advised to leave this particular paint for a week to see its true colour as it has a sheen which also reflects. How true this is I do not know. I have repainted one of the doors to the original darker grey I used which did turn blue/purple but after 2 days it did settle. Im leaving it all for a week and will research ref some if the link that you guys have kindly put on here

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on May 15, 2020

    Hello there,

    Maybe you purchases a grey with a blue tinge instead of one with a yellow tinge!

  • Janetjw Janetjw on May 18, 2020

    Hey Claire! If you search online for “true gray paint color” or something like that, there are a bunch of interior decorators that do articles about this very thing. There are so many undertones in gray! Kylie M Interiors is one of my favorites...she’s great about explaining things to regular people like us, and also has lots of videos about different colors of paint on YouTube. After years of agonizing over millions of paint chips in the stores and hoping for the best (sometimes a disaster!), I’ve finally learned that when you take professional advice like this you just can’t go wrong. They specialize in all the things (undertones, etc) the rest of us have no clue about! I usually go pick up several different paint chips of colors they recommend and take them home to choose the final one. It’s so much easier to decide between a few *safe* choices than hundreds of random unknown shades!