Review of Gray Undertones

February 3, 2016

Undertones. We have learned enough about color to know we can not ignore them. But I have found that knowing the undertones of a color makes the color selection process much easier and less stressful.

So I thought I would do a little review as a reminder of the undertones of gray. Gray is still very popular right now and we should be aware of what makes up the color so we can be educated when choosing a color for our home.  Gray has the undertones of blue, green, violet and taupe:

Blue Undertone Grays:

The most popular grays with blue undertones are Coventry Gray HC-169:

coventry gray

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Gray Owl OC-52:

gray owl

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Stonington Gray HC-170:

stonington gray

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Notice how the blue- grays tend to look blue when on  the wall. I think it is the most obvious undertone of all the grays.

Green Undertone Grays:

The most popular of all grays are the green/grays such as Revere Pewter HC- 172:

revere pewter2

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Sandy Hook Gray HC-108:

sandy hook gray exterior

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And Rockport Gray HC-105:

rockport gray

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Green gray will look more of a neutral, grayish brown color when painted on the walls, rather than show the undertone such as the blue grays.  Sandy Hook Gray and Rockport Gray are excellent exterior choices to work with stone because of their green undertones.

Violet Undertone Grays:

The two colors I think of right away is Collingwood OC-28:

collinwood

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And Elephant Gray 2109-50:

elephant

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Taupe is a a combination of gray and beige, not to be confused with greige, which you can read more about here. Two of the most popular taupes is Cedar Key 982:

cedar key

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And Stone Hearth 984:

stone hearth

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They do have a pink undertone because of the beige color underneath. This color works really well with chocolate brown.

Not to confuse you, but there are two other combinations of gray undertones to be aware of:

Green/Blue Gray such as Gray Cashmere 2138-60:

gray cashmere

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See how the green stands out more?

Fieldstone 1558:

fieldstone cabinet

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Again you notice the green undertone first. It stands out a bit more. Fieldstone continues to be a popular cabinet color.

Then we have the Blue/Green Grays:

Woodlawn Blue HC-147:

woodlawn blue

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And Wickham Gray HC-171:

wickham gray

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Can you see how the blue is more prominent than the green in the gray? I think of these  Blue /Green Gray colors as Turquoise Blues.

 

I hope you have enjoyed your refresher course! 🙂 It is easier to understand how the color will work when you understand the undertones.

26 comments

  1. Kelly, This is such a helpful article. Thank you! I love all the examples you gave. Do you think Edgecomg Gray has a beige undertone? I painted it on a big sample board and it looks beigey, but when I painted a sample ( 2 coats) over my light maize yellow walls, it looks gray!

  2. I am painting my kitchen cabinets and trying to find the right gray. I plan to paint the bottom cabinets a shade or two darker than the top, wall cabinets. I will be using Sherwin William paints. Is there a color or colors in the grays that you recommend.

  3. Such great information! I just found your blog this morning and I’m obsessed. I’ve learned a lot about undertones but I do have a question. Should you keep the undertones consistent throughout a house? I’m building a new house so I have a clean slate to work with and I’m trying to do a whole house paint plan. I’m going with the very popular grey/beige theme but I just don’t know if all my paints should be in the same family of undertones.

    Thanks for all your information and please keep the blog going.

    • Hi Lori,
      Thanks for your kind words! Yes, you should try to keep the undertones the same, especially when dealing with beiges. With the grays you have a little more leeway but I try to keep the same undertones also so that you have a nice flow throughout your home.

  4. Hi Lori,
    Is it possible to use one of these grays in a North Facing room without making it look dull? I want to use a light but not too light color and wanted something besides tan or yellow. It is a family room. I wondered if Gray Cashmere would work. Having a very hard time finding a color.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Tracie, I would try the Gray Cashmere as a sample first in your room and see how it looks both night and day. That is the best way to see if it will work and if you really like it.

  5. Hi Lorie! I’m converting a tub shower combo at a ranch house to a limestone tile 5 ‘ shower with rimless glass enclosure / door. Will texture and paint walls. The existing floor is stained concrete and is a dark rich cordovan brown. The 10 year old trim is in perfect condition and is painted BMoore 986 ” Smokey Ash”. It will not be painted. I’m looking at BMoore 972, 971, 984, & HC 84 for the walls. (They have previously had wallpaper on them, which has been removed. ). Do you think these wall color selections could work with the existing trim color and if so, which ones are best? Please please hurry your answer. So appreciate it!! CBall

    • Hi Charlotte- who’s Lorie? 🙂

      I would use a color from the same strip as Smoky Ash. Either the smokey taupe 983 or stone hearth 984. That will tie everything in together. Hope this helps!

  6. I have a darker interior due to lack of natural light flow. My wood floors, trim and cabinets are richer darker stain. I want my space to look fresh, airy and big. Been testing collingwood, sea pearl, slipper satin, light pewter and rever pewter. Not sure what to pick to give the overall look I want. Worried about how the undertones will look when I paint a larger wall more than I have done with my sample swatching. Love collingwood but will the violet undertones be too much with lack of light? Please help!!!

  7. Hi!
    I’m having a hard time picking a nice neutral color for my master bathroom. It doesn’t get much natural light but does have a frosted window over the bathtub. It’s an older house so I have honey oak cabinets, cream counter tops and beige tile. We just got married so reno will have to wait but I’m hoping a nice new color will brighten things up a bit. Which beige colors work best? I want a nice neutral, spa-like soothing color. (I have a Revere Pewter paint chip sample and it looks dark in the room)

    • One of my favorite soft neutrals that would work Rebecca is Manchester Tan HC-81. Beautiful soft color that will work well with your existing furnishings. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Cam- my favorite grays to use with stained wood is medium to darker grays( or any color). If you look on the left side of my page,there is a search box. Put in ‘stained trim’ and you will find a few posts I have written on colors working with stained trim. Good luck!

  8. Hi
    I have a large finished attic with slanted ceilings/walls, it gets very little natural light. There is one window at each end. What color do you recommend? This will be used for a guest room.

    Thanks
    Cheri Morgan

    • Hi Cheri, One idea I would use is to paint the ceiling the same colors the walls to make the room appear larger. I would stay away from whites, because of the fear of ‘dirty’ walls. If you like light blues, I still love Palladian Blue for bedrooms or Woodlawn Blue. My new favorite beige for a bedroom is Grant Beige. Love it. Hope this helps!

  9. Hi Kelly,
    I’m trying to choose a paint for my open concept floor plan. The space has a lot of north facing light, floors are darker hardwood, counters and backsplash are greys, kitchen cabinets are antique white. We want a light grey that will stand the test of time. Currently Leaning towards collingwood. We painted revere pewter in our last place and love it, however, we want something lighter.

    Thank you

    • I think the best way to figuer out which color you will like best Ashley, is to paint two large poster boards in the two colors. Move them around day and night in the different lighting. You should be able to pick the winner!

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