Asked on Aug 15, 2016

What is the best gray color for interior walls?

Jackie Byrd
by Jackie Byrd
I'm closing on a house 9/9 and want to get the painting and floors done before I move in. I'm in love with gray walls with white trim. Forget 50 shades of gray, there are 13,827,273 shades. So, give me your input --- what is your favorite shade of gray from interior walls.
I'm going to do a total repaint. Ceiling, walls, and trim. I'll use a flat or matt for the regular walls and a semi-gloss for the kitchen bathroom walls. The ceiling will be flat white ceiling paint.
Here's 2 photos to give you an idea.
  31 answers
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Aug 15, 2016
    There are so many gray shades! I have found that depending on the lighting, natural and otherwise, the color changes. I buy sample size first, because I find I need to see it with natural light at different times of the day. I recently painted a bedroom with a lovely light gray that looks like mud in the hallway, but, is gorgeous in the bedroom! I liked it so much in the bedroom I thought it would look gorgeous everywhere, but it isn't the case. I also started going lighter with the samples, as the colors I was picking were too dark on the wall.
    • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 15, 2016
      In the hall do you have incandescent light bulbs or a light shade that gives off a yellow cast? Or, maybe the flooring is casting a yellow sheen onto the walls in the hall.
  • Gma Kirk Gma Kirk on Aug 15, 2016
    I totally agree with Cynthia. Having painted an accent wall in my kitchen gray without testing like a poster board size of the paint. I did look at the paint swatch in that light but that wasn't enough. A lovely color called "stone manor" in my kitchen to go with black granite, white cabinets and light grey stone tiles with dark veining? The kitchen is now accented with a wall that has a definite dark green cast to it. And when I hold the swatch up to it. Yep. It matches. Expensive lesson.
    • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 15, 2016
      I am so glad you mentioned the green cast. I've got some paint chips from Lowe's Valspar, I really like the 4005 & 4006 groups, colors Voyage and Metropolis but then I think I see a green cast to them. Especially when I put Olympic's OL128 Silver Charm next to them. I keep moving the Silver Charm around, putting it in sunlight, iridescent light, and energy saving -- but I don't see the green cast. It's like they blend lots of colors together to get the Valspar color then added different amounts of white. But they started with a true black with the Olympic then added the white. It does sound like I need to buy a couple of the small sample cans and paint a couple of poster boards and put them in different areas to see who they appear at different times with different lighting. Oh, speaking of the green cast. I also see it looking at the Sherwin Williams chips. And here I thought I'd picked up the most gray gray there was.
  • Jerilyn Grasmuck Black Jerilyn Grasmuck Black on Aug 15, 2016
    We just finished a river weekend home, 1200 total square feet. Because it's small & has an open concept in the living area, I wanted to paint the whole house one color. Huge decision to make since that's a big statement to make. We chose Sherwin Williams "Evening Shadow." It's a light silvery color. I can honestly say there are no undertones...just the light silvery gray. We have dark wood tone flooring & white trim. We have received so many compliments on this wall color. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a true gray color.
    • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 15, 2016
      It sounds lovely. Congratulations on the results. I'm worried about going too light so that the walls just look dingy. I'll look at the "Evening Shadow".
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Aug 15, 2016
    My input...Be very careful with gray.Light plays a very Important role when selecting that color. It may look brownish,greenish,etc.In my opinion I would look at paint chips ,and buy samples of the colors first. Test in your home based on lighting as well.
    • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 15, 2016
      I thought I'd picked up some basic (read pure) gray chips. Then when I started comparing them to each other I thought I was seeing a green cast. And it really popped out when I put a really cool/pure gray up against them. So strange. Standing in the hardware store, the one's I picked didn't look like they had a distinct undertone and a lot did. I really do need to buy some samples and paint some poster boards.
  • Carol Carol on Aug 15, 2016
    My sister-in law just purchased a home and is doing a total remodel. We looked at gray after gray after gray. We had so many painted swatch tests on the walls it was crazy. And yes they can turn all kinds of different shades depending on lighting. From lavender to brown to blue to green and all whistle stops in-between. We needed one that held it's true gray and would work in all her numerous lighting scenarios. The smaller darker spaces (hallways and bathrooms) and then the lighter living, family, kitchen and dining rooms. And two of the rooms have solar tubes which bring in a ton of natural light and are wonderfully bright. After days (weeks) of samples and trials, she went with Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist and for a few accent walls, Benjamin Moore La Paloma. They are GORGEOUS!
    • See 1 previous
    • Carol Carol on Aug 18, 2016
      Yes it is positively yummy. It could easily be used for all walls not just accent. Good luck to you. It is worth the journey :)
  • Jen Jen on Aug 16, 2016
    If you are looking for a light gray that really looks gray. Not green or blue or brown. Try Valspar "Kitty Whiskers". I have it in my "industrial farmhouse" style kitchen. It's a nice gray against white trim and hickory cabinets
  • Lee Lee on Aug 16, 2016
    I just repainted my home interior with Sherwin Williams Olympus White. Everyone loves it .
  • Jane Perry Johnson Jane Perry Johnson on Aug 16, 2016
    I redid my bedroom last summer in Benjamin Moore "Silent Night" #1613, and I love the color. Not too dark, not too light. I did an accent wall with a deep lavender color, and my bedding is grey, plum, and lavender, but most any color will go with the grey for accessories. It's not blue, green or brown toned that some greys are.
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 16, 2016
    You are lucky! You picked the right color for your bedroom. ;-) It sounds lovely. Yeah, you gotta watch those undertones if you don't want them. A chip is the store might not look like there is one but when you get it home or compare it to other chips then they start popping out.
  • Marlene Serwinek Marlene Serwinek on Aug 16, 2016
    The best tip I can give you, so you save LOTS of money and heartache, is to be sure to buy several small cans of the paint colors that appeal to you and paint large squares on your walls. The exact same paint will look completely different in one room than it will in another. It's all about light exposure and every single room is different. Since you're going to be investing alot of money in getting alot of walls painted, it's much better to spend a few dollars up front and be sure you like the color you choose. I have learned this the hard way. Two times (I'm a slow learner) I picked out paint colors just bringing a few of those color chips home from the paint store. I thought one looked great, gave it to the painter and when he was done, I was POSITIVE he'd used the wrong paint!!! But I got the chip out and it matched. But it looked so different after it was up. So now I always buy as small an amount of the exact color paint as I can and go home and paint a big square (about 3 feet square) on all four walls, just to see how it looks when the sun is shining on it or how it looks in a darker corner. Then I know if I'll like it. Please take the time and extra expense to do this. You'll be very happy you did. It's a big investment and worth it.
  • Joni Joni on Aug 16, 2016
    Dunn Edwards , Muslin. You can have the color mixed at any paint store, Home Depot or Lowe's.
  • JaineyCakes JaineyCakes on Aug 16, 2016
    I used industrial gray.
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 16, 2016
    But, what color to choose? I picked up some chips that did not seem to have a cast but when I put them against other chips that I also thought were just gray they started to show a cast, generally green, but some were brownish. AUGH I really want a cool gray, medium tone, without a cast. The closest I've come is Olympic's "Silver Charm".
  • Kathy Bitzan Kathy Bitzan on Aug 16, 2016
    We just painted the gd baby room with grey , we ended up painting it twice to get the right color she wanted.
  • Malak Malak on Aug 16, 2016
    The bigger the room, the darker you can go. Usually use a lighter color to make a room look smaller. If you want to go with a darker color in a small room, you could consider an accent wall or even doing a darker bead board 'wainscoting'. Best of luck with your projects. May you fill your new home with wonderful memories.
    I painted most of my "public" rooms grey, with an arctic white semi gloss for the woodwork...don't have the name for the white. The greys I chose depended on the amount of light each room got. My Living Room I painted Fine Silver, the Dining Room, which I wanted more dramatic is Intercoastal. The Sun Room which gets LOTS of light is Surreal Blue - which regardless of the name is grey! MyBathroom and Hallways are Silver Trophy. They are all from the same colour pallet from C.I.L. You don't have to use C.I.L. fact, I didn't - I took the colour card to the paint store and had them colour match in the type of paint that I prefer to use (Behr). Paint guy gave me a great your old lids for colour matching in the future....the paint itself if left over will dry out and not be useful, but you can always get a "sample size" jar of paint mixed up fresh for touch ups and the lid will always be much easier to store, and large enough not to get lost or thrown out like the paper cards do.
  • Amber Zona Amber Zona on Aug 16, 2016
    I painted m sewing room a pale grey (it has white trim). I have the decor black/white and hot pink, so I found a color chip of the pink I use (I really use a lot of different hot pinks, but picked on I liked) and I found a grey that I liked with that pink. I think it depends on your accent colors. You might want to find a grey that you like with those wood kitchen cabinets since it will be in the same room with them.
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 16, 2016
    Great tips. Thank you very much! Using different tones/shades in the same pallet must help to tie all the rooms together. It sounds charming.
  • Glenna prosser Glenna prosser on Aug 16, 2016
    I painted my living room Revere pewter by Bm and my bedroom gray owl and I love both
  • Dayna Barnes Dayna Barnes on Aug 17, 2016
    I am using Behr Ultra in Silver Shadow in both my kitchen and laundry room. It looks fantastic--but whatever you use, be sure you go with daylight bulbs, or the color gets yellowed out.
  • Joyce Joyce on Aug 17, 2016
    Sherwin Williams Useful Grey is a nice neutral gray. And you might want to use an eggshell finish instead of semi gloss in the kitchen and bath. Just is washable but not so shiny. 😊
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 17, 2016
    Good to hear that you are happy with the results. Why the 2 different colors? What accent colors are you using?
  • Margie Hood Margie Hood on Aug 19, 2016
    your living room has so much good natural light i would opt for a little darker grey in the LR..white trim..white cabinets would look awesome wth the drk grey LR
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Aug 19, 2016
    Hi Margie, thanks for that feedback. Was out at the house the other day and was amazed at how great the natural light was all through the house. It'll be a benefit in the long run so long at it isn't shining directly into the windows. I agree with your idea that the LR can handle a little darker grey. The way the light will play off of it will add a lot of dimension to the room.
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Aug 19, 2016
    I think it is the natural lighting. Currently there is only one north facing window in the upstairs hall. The bedroom I painted has a southern exposure. Artificial lighting didn't change it very much.
  • CK CK on Aug 20, 2016
    As a decorator it's hard to tell you THE exact color of gray to use. Get a paint fan or many gray paint cards (samples) then take them to your home to see which looks best with your carpeting (if you're going to keep that). It' s the undertones that you're looking to see. After you've narrowed the choices down to about 2 or 3, buy some sample paint. Paint it on large tagboards and move them around the rooms to see how the paint looks at various times of the day and in various light conditions. It'll become much more apparently which one is your best choice. Grays are as hard as whites to choose. I'm more of a light gray lover myself and fell in love with a Valspar color called Seashell Gray. VERY light gray but you can see the difference from it and pure white trim. If you google "best gray paint color" you'll get a lot of hits you can follow to inform yourself of what designers like to use. :-) There are even cross-matches from one company paint to another if, for example, you can't get Benjamin Moore in your town but can get Sherwin Williams.
  • Yvette Spicer Yvette Spicer on Aug 29, 2016
    I found a soft dove grey that looks almost white, but doesn't have the "scream" of white paint. You really have to look at it to make sure it's gray, but yes, it is. This was many years ago so I can't tell you the color, but it was Behr ...
  • Debby Rodden Debby Rodden on Aug 30, 2016
    Worldy Gray by Sherwin Williams. It tends to morph with whatever it's near. Can go gray, khaki, lavender to pale, pale blue or even toward icy white. Can't go wrong...
  • Susan Susan on Oct 29, 2016
    what is better, a regular carpet or textured as in squares or diomand?
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Oct 29, 2016
    Susan, I'm not sure what carpet you are referring to in your post. I would suggest you begin your own Question thread and add photos is possible. The painting and new flooring has been installed in my new home. Here's a couple of photos.
  • Jackie Byrd Jackie Byrd on Oct 29, 2016
    UPDATE: The painting is done and the new flooring has been installed. I've already moved in! I used the following paint: ceiling-- popcorn removed then painted with Kilz2 a flat white ceiling paint walls-- Valspar Reserve colored to match Olympic SILVER CHARM gray #OL128 kitchen cabinets-- Valspar Cabinet Enamel colored to match Olympic SPRING THAW gray #OL179 floors-- Lumber Liquidators Delaware Bay Driftwood laminate/engineered (except kit,dining,baths) trim-- semi-gloss white kitchen cabinets--