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Ask a Pro: The Best Gray Paints for Inside and Outside Your Home

Designer Marika Meyer and architect David Benton share their favorite hues.

Marika Meyer’s room for the 2012 Design House used shades of gray on the walls, ceiling, and trims.

Gray. So neutral, it seems like a simple paint choice—until you realize just how many shades there are. Green-tinged grays. Blue-hued ones. Grays that turn lavender in dim light. Grays that most closely resemble a prison wall. And so on—the truth is, there are too many to count. So how do you pick the perfect one for your space? We checked in with two local pros for some expert guidance on how to select the right gray, for both inside and outside your home.

For interiors:

Designer Marika Meyer suggests starting out by considering what type of feel you want in your space. Do you want warm or cool? Is the room traditional or modern? 

“Cooler shades of gray in eggshell and in a high-gloss finish exude a contemporary feel, while warmer gray tones in a flat finish provide a more traditional and transitional application,” she says. And don’t limit yourself to walls: “Gray looks great on walls, but also on ceilings and trim, and is a great color choice for furniture, such as a vintage midcentury-modern cocktail table in high-gloss gray that I recently purchased. It can be paired with a broad spectrum of accent colors.”

Ready to get started? Here are five of Meyer’s go-to hues:

From left: Benjamin Moore OC-52 Gray Owl; Farrow and Ball Hardwick White; Benjamin Moore OC-30 Gray Mist; Farrow and Ball Lamp Room Gray; Benjamin Moore 1548 Classic Gray. 

For exteriors:

Of course, painting isn’t reserved exclusively for your home’s rooms. Architect David Benton of Rill Architects offers this bit of advice on how to choose the right hue for your home’s facade: “Selecting grays for the exterior really depends on the style of the house. Darker grays work well for trim and door colors, while a lighter shade would work for the body of the exterior. Gray becomes a neutral where you can play up any trim or door color such as a bright green, red, or the blue we used on the front door of the DC Design House this year (C2 BD-24 Pond Shimmer). Red and gray is a classic combination.”

If you want a green undertone, Benton suggests such shades as the taupey Benjamin Moore Gloucester Sage or the lighter Revere Pewter, a versatile shade that works well for the body of a home, trim, or interiors. For trim, try Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray to impart a subtle historic vibe—versus the crisp newness of a bright white—or China White, an off-white with gray undertones. For accents, shutters, or the front door, go for a deep charcoal, such as the dark blue-toned Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray­ or the rich Iron Mountain.

From left: (All Benjamin Moore) HC-100 Gloucester Sage; DC-172 Revere Pewter; 2127-30 Gravel Gray; HC-173 Edgecomb Gray; 2134-30 Iron Mountain.

 

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