2.18.2014

My "Go To" Paint Colors...Gray

Welcome to Abby Manchesky Interiors!

Today I'm sharing my favorite gray colors and why. I'm excited about this!

If you missed the first installment of go to colors, that's where I explain why I don't offer up a "good beige" or "nice gray" at dinner parties.  I also share my go to beige colors.

Here's what I want you to know about gray: it makes all other colors look better.  No really!  Jewel tones?  Look amazing with gray.  Neutrals?  Look great with gray.  Pastel colors?  Gray compliments them so well.  Also, gray will skew three ways: purple, green, or blue.  Be careful with that.  This isn't bad, you just don't want to be surprised after you think you've painted your room gray and now it's blue or lavender. ;-)

Don't be deceived by this graphic.  These colors are in deed different from each other.  If you're looking for the perfect gray for your home, I think you could find one here. 
 But as always, it's ideal to consult with a designer for best results.


Let's check examples.

Horizon is a favorite.  It's very light, but works fabulously in a two-story entry, or any large open space where you have a lot of walls to paint but don't necessarily want to be overwhelmed by color.

Gray Owl is a color I use often.  I love it in kitchens with white cabinets, in master bedrooms, living rooms, and even nurseries.  This is a true light gray.

Gray Cashmere is the perfect green-gray.  If you need a green tone on your walls, but you're nervous you'll have sage green coming out your ears, try Gray Cashmere.  It's subtle.

Stonington Gray is another color I recommend to clients often.  It a deeper shade than Gray Owl, but another true gray.  Both of those colors can have blue and green undertones depending on the time of day and lighting.  If you are looking for a light gray but need more contrast, try Stonington Gray.

Lead Gray on the walls is for my risk-taker friends.  Or just those of you who want to add a richness to your space.  This color is a nearly black gray with a definite blue undertone.  I've used Lead Gray in a dining room, but would also recommend it for a powder room or master bedroom.
Just be sure to add plenty of white.

Brewster Gray is a mid tone gray with blue undertones.  I used this in my son's bedroom and it's a sophisticated color.  In our house, it's much more gray than this photo.  The best way I can describe this color (and how I sold it to my son) is that it's close to shark skin.
 Brewster Gray is not only great for bedrooms, but I would recommend it for a kitchen or bath.
Brewster Gray

What do you think?
Have you used any of these colors yourself?

If you would like to work together creating a home you truly love, 
email me at abbyminteriorsinfo@gmail.com or click on my services page. 

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27 comments:

  1. This is a fabulous series Abby! I love grays and have used a few in my home like the dark GunMetal in my laundry room and I'm using Cumulus Cloud in my guest room. Beautiful examples. Have a great day! xo Nancy

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    1. Thanks Nancy! Gunmetal is actually on one of my boards for later this week on cabinet/furniture colors. I have it in my laundry room. :)

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  2. I this is a great series of posts. I would love a post explaining some of your color rules. In particular how lighting and room size effect paint color choice. Why does the direction a room faces change paint choice. Its so wonderful to be educated by a pro.

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    1. Hi Kelsey~
      My friend Anne-Marie has already written a post explaining (very well) how natural light can effect color. So I'm linking to her post here! I'm so glad you're liking this series. http://10rooms.blogspot.com/2010/08/color-post-how-natural-light-in-your.html

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  3. Love the series! I have Horizon on our first floor ceilings and finished basement walls. Great color! :)

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    1. Thanks Amber! Oh, Horizon on the ceiling? I like that!

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  4. This post is very timely for me! I actually just got a test can of Horizon on Monday, but it still feels dark in my space. Right next to it on the paint card is Whisper White, which I had tried originally, and it feels too icy...I am looking for something between the 2. I feel like I've tried them all...do you have any thoughts on a lighter than Horizon color that's still warm? Thanks! And I love your blog!

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    1. Hi Lindsey- Thanks for liking my blog! Quick question: Are you using Benjamin Moore's "Horizon OC-53"? Because Benjamin Moore does not make a Whisper White, and it's not on the same paint chip as their Horizon. Maybe that's why it looks so dark in your space? I hope that helps! Keep me posted. :-)

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    2. Yes, they are BM. And I was a little off, it's called White Wisp (I was close!). Tonight I did bigger test spots of Horizon, Gray Owl, and White Wisp, so we'll see...the difference between night and day light seems drastic. White Wisp just seems harsh, or icy to me. Paper White is on the same card, and I had originally gotten a test can of that, but I'm not sure they put the color in it, it's just white. So I want to pick that one up this weekend and try it. It seems softer to me. Paint colors are so hard, there are just so many options!! These rooms are just the first ones!

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    3. Lindsey! I figured out the problem. Benjamin Moore has TWO different Gray Owl paint colors. You are using Gray Owl 2137-60 and I am recommending Gray Owl OC-52. They are not the same. I hope this helps!

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    5. Oh my gosh!! As if picking paint isn't hard enough, they go and have 2 colors with the same name! I had the colors matched at Home Depot (probably my first problem), but I checked the label and it says OC-52...I think my room is just dark, so all of the paints are looking dark. We really like that color in another room. I had also picked 'Paper White' to test...and ended up with SW Paperwhite (white) and not BM Paper White (light gray). Back to the paint store tomorrow - thank you!

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  5. I just discovered your blog today and LOVE it! Love seeing your client before and afters and all the advice. Especially love this post on gray paint colors because I hoping to redecorate by next year and am wanting to go with gray. Are the paint brands specified somewhere?

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  6. Just had my kitchen painted Brewster Gray... there is nothing else in the room except my oak floors right now... soon to have natural cherry cabinets, dark gray/blue quartz countertop and backsplash in grays (travertine) - white trim ... but can't decide what to do with the adjoining family room which has a natural brick fireplace and white built-in wall shelving. Both rooms are southfacing. Thinking of light greens - Hollingsworth or grays, Ben Moore's HC Rever Pewter or Edgecomb or Stonington, or go dark - Yorktowne or Narragansett - or a lighter blue?

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  7. Lindsey, why not reduce the Horizon color to say 60%, 75% or whatever percentage you need to achieve the lightness or darkness that you are after. In that way you will have the exact color you desire. I hope this helps anyone with this issue. Happy painting!

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  8. Help Pls! I painted my master bathroom in stonington gray; now I don't know what color I should use in my master bedroom. The rest of the house is revere pewter. Thanks for your help.

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  9. I am thinking of:
    A) gray owl
    b) silver chain

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  10. I used gray owl oc-52 in our office and I love the color. It has a slight green undertone. The problem is that I have a chair rail in this room & painted the top half gray owl. Having a hard time picking a color for the bottom half that will not be too overwhelming and dark. Please, any suggestions? Thank you.

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  11. Just discovered this blog. Excellent. We are using lots of Carrara Marble in our master bath. What would be a good wall color? Would probably paint the master bedroom the same. I love the marble & want it to be "the star" so want a paint color that wouldn't mind a supporting role. lol.

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  12. Gray Owl 2137-60 and Gray Owl OC-52 are the same color. It's one of several that were recarded from the old OC deck to the larger one. White Wisp is another one with two numbers.

    Question, though, in light of the great advice above: I have a very large open-format basement. The largest part is a family space/media room/"mancave"; a smaller part (kind of a separate section the same room) is a children's play space. We don't get a ton of natural light down there, but I am absolutely obsessed with Benjamin Moore's Iron Mountain (2134-30) and am wondering if I could get away with it for the larger part of the space, paring it with something lighter (Gray Owl, maybe?) for the children's play space. Thoughts?

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  14. I have woodlawn blue in my kitchen with light maple cabinets and white woodwork and north facing and it shows a light blue almost powdery blue in the morning and more grayish blue at night. My question is about my adjacent livingroom. It is not open concept but I want it to flow since you can see the kitchen from the livingroom. It has a softer light source than kitchen with double doors that have built in blinds and some indirect light coming from entryway. Im debating to keep the woodlawn blue or going with owl gray. Would it be too cold next to the woodlawn blue? I tried a sample of wickham gray and that is very green in the light. And the gray owl seemed to be a true gray.I just want a soft color. I also have a reddish brown leather sofa and chair to throw the color off.lol

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  15. I'm redecorating my main floor and just went with Gray Owl in my familyroom and am now looking for a complimentary colors for my kitchen and diningroom. It's somewhat of an open concept so the colors really need to compliment each other. My staircase is off the kitchen and so I need to continue the color up through the hallway upstairs.

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Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400

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