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Four Go-To Gray Paint Colors

Sunny living room with a purple couch

Four Go-To Gray Paint Colors

It’s official – gray is the new beige.  Where we used to see camel, sand, and caramel grace family room walls, we’re now seeing colors like Nantucket Mist, Coastal Fog, Gray Mirage… you get the drift.

For our new house I knew I wanted a few different gray paint colors throughout our ground floor, and I knew I wanted them warm.  I happen to love the blue, steely grays as well, but those weren’t going to fit my warm grasscloth wallcovering in the dining room, or the Chiang Mai pattern I had chosen for the living room throw pillows.

I’m sure my painters thought I was nuts, but I ended up bringing home nearly 40 different colors to try around the house, and at least ten of them were gray!   Herewith some photo evidence of my paint sample madness:



Oh and here’s more:

Yikes!  I know, I know, I’m a crazy person.  But I really wanted to get it RIGHT.  And in the end I’m telling you I could not be more thrilled with the colors I’ve chosen.   I have found four awesome warm grays that you literally can’t go wrong with.

Isn’t it nice to know that I tested 800 different grays and found the perfect ones so you don’t have to??  All of these are Benjamin Moore, by the way – the brand of choice for the painters I hired.  Fine with me – BM has great colors and quality paint.


Benjamin Moore’s Coastal Fog:

coastal fog sample

Coastal Fog

Now, this picture above is straight from the BM website, but I’m telling you it reads much darker and more brown than this picture lets on.  Coastal Fog is a deep, brooding wall color that at first you might think “Yikes! Too dark!” but I promise it’s not too much – perfect for a velvety den or family room.

You’ll see our family room painted in Coastal Fog, below.  Such a sad state of affairs, this room (I swear it will get better!  We moved in five days ago!).  But I really wanted to show you how cozy and dark those walls are, and how gray / beige they are…


 Benjamin Moore’s Inner Balance:

inner balance sample

Inner Balance

Again, this color comes out more beige and neutral and dark than this picture above would have you think.  Inner Balance is actually super close to Coastal Fog, but it’s a bit more gray and a touch lighter.  I had our entire entry hall painted this color, in the hopes that it will make a nice background for this fabulous stenciling project in the near future:


stencil wall

Via Jones Design Company

 Actually, the wall color in the picture above is almost how Inner Balance looks in real life – a cross between beige and gray.  Very warm, and dark enough to be a bit dramatic.


Benjamin Moore’s Ashwood:

ashwood sample


 Ahhhh, Ashwood.  I had our living room painted in this color, and actually our upstairs hall as well.  This is a breathy, light, fresh gray.  Here’s a living room shot I found that looks true to form:


living rooms - Benjamin Moore - Pale Oak - sofa cream gray white green Our LR

Via Decor Pad

You may notice that some of the really light grays can feel clinical or really steely – not Ashwood.  It’s like a fluffy cloud.  An absolutely terrific neutral.


Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak:

pale oak sample

Pale Oak

I had my toddler’s room painted in this neutral, pale gray.  I have a Navy and Orange color scheme going in there, and I thought a pale gray might be a nice change from the typical “little boy blue”.  It’s terrific – a totally modern color; a very very pale gray.

Here’s a great shot of Pale Oak in a little girl’s room:

Via Little Green Notebook

Turns out Pale Oak is also one of interior designer Candice Olson’s favorite grays – do you recognize her name from HGTV?  Apparently Pale Oak is one of her go-to colors!


So there you have it – four fabulous grays, all warm in tone and all personally tested by yours truly.  Go with these colors and I promise you can’t go wrong!

  • Katie

    January 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM Reply

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post! I have a pile of gray paint samples to rival yours, but just couldn’t find that right warm gray for our kitchen remodel. After reading your post I ran out to ACE, picked up Pale Oak and Ashwood, and gave them a try. Ashwood is the winner, let the painting begin!

    • Lorri

      April 12, 2013 at 8:53 PM Reply

      Sorry I never responded to your comment from SOOOO long ago. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to hear you enjoyed this post and then actually used my recommendations!! I hope you love Ashwood as much as I do…I am seriously in love with that color. Thanks so much for your note!!

  • Lisa

    October 20, 2013 at 1:17 AM Reply

    Hi! Not sure if you’ll see this comment… however, do you have any suggestions for a color that might work with clear maple floors? My kitchen island is a dark green with white veins and my kitchen cabinets are glossy white however my clear maple floors seem ‘warm’ which totally throws me off! Any suggestions? I have an open floor plan with a two story ceiling in the living room.
    Thanks for any help you might be able to offer!

    • Lorri

      October 20, 2013 at 6:50 AM Reply

      Hi Lisa,
      It’s hard to say without seeing a picture! Sounds like you might have a few different colors going on so I would go as neutral and light as possible. If you have your heart set on a gray color, I might sample the Pale Oak. It really is so light and neutral. You could also opt for a nice warm white color – I love White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Good luck!

  • Lisa

    October 20, 2013 at 1:17 AM Reply

    The kitchen island is a dark green MARBLE with white veins

  • Mary

    June 3, 2014 at 8:06 PM Reply


    I am not the best at picking out wall colors but ended up using the Benjamin Moore Grey Mirage in my family room (have blonde wood flooring & white trim). The large hallways that lead into this room are gold (from original owners) which will need to be changed. Can you please advise on a color that would compliment the Grey Mirage for this purpose? It would be painted in all hallways with high ceilings.

    My style is cottage/antique mixed with some traditional.

    Thank you!


  • Chelsea Peacock

    May 23, 2016 at 6:15 AM Reply

    Its beautiful!… What an awesome art you have done.. I loved it.. I am not good at that painting but a surely I will need a Southern Painting Contractors in Fort Worth for my house.. Thanks for these beautiful ideas.. Keep exploring.

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