best ofInteriorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Best of: Gray

by Amy Azzarito

I’ve been on a gray kick for quite a while. Every room in my apartment is painted in some shade of gray. And while I do love gray, it can be an extremely difficult color to get right. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect gray. I’ve learned the hard way (a.k.a. repainting an entire room), that grays have a habit of turning to baby blue in my living room. Now I paint huge swatches and then force myself to wait and watch how the light plays with the color. In my living room, I’ve gone with a cooler gray with blue undertones, it feels like it works with my subtle nautical vibe. But in the bedroom, I have a gray with a bit of a warmer, more taupe undertone. Do you have a favorite gray? –  –Amy Azzarito

Image above: Soft grays and a sheepskin covered Bertoia make Crystal Ellis’ bedroom in Providence Rhode Island, a calm space to relax.

This post is brought to you by Sherwin-Williams.  Turn your inspiration into reality with Sherwin-Williams Color Selection Tools.

Image above: The entrance to jeweler Jennifer Sarkilahti’s bedroom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is adorned with a wool dreamcatcher that she made out of wool roving and feathers.

Image above: The perfect gray tonal bedroom in Katie Graham’s Australian home.

See more gray + my own bathroom after the jump!

Image above: The entry wall when you first walk into art director Jessica Walsh’s New York City apartment.

Image above: The dining room in Leslie Kraemer and Philip Atchison’s 1930s brick bungalow in Charlotte, North Carolina is painted the perfect shade of dark gray. The bookshelves hold old family photos and mementos from travels.

Image above: Paige Morse is a prop stylist for Wisteria so she knows a thing or two about creating a great backdrop for art.

Image above: This built-in cupboard is original to Victoria Suffield’s 1930s home in Winchester, South England.

Image above: Jason Gnewikow and Jeff Madalena used tones of gray for their Catskills bedroom. The closet door was found at a barn sale.

Image above: Benedicte Sartorio found this antique wardrobe at the Paris flea market and painted it a dark gray. It’s the perfect storage unit for the children’s room.

Image above: Sarah Sherman Samuel’s home studio space where she can often be found designing and creating into the night.

Image above: In Rebekka and Maley Seale’s Nashville home, gray in the dining room provides the perfect backdrop for the crystal chandelier

Image above: Jess + Mr Lively painted their Chicago entryway paint a dark gray.The amazing chest is from the 1880s, found at Chic Antique. It was a great find because it has plenty of storage and merged Jess’ white marble obsession with Mr. Lively’s love of rustic finishes.

Image above: Lara Collins kept things simple in her Fredericksburg, Texas home so as to serve as the perfect backdrop to her vintage finds.

Image above: Jane Cameron’s office doubles as a spare bedroom. The cast iron bed was an eBay find and the fireplace mantle doubles as a headboard.

Image above: Dark gray brings out the wood tones in Luke Fenech and Oliver Chapman’s home in Greenwich, England.

Image above: After pulling up the carpet in their Twin Cities home, Mary Jo Hoffman deided to paint the subfloor as a stop gap measure until they could afford to redo the wood floors the way they wanted. The fireplace chimney is tiled with trial images for her
STILL blog. It started as a temporary inspiration board but became a permanent installation.

Image above:
This is the guest bedroom in Luke Mortimer’s Australian country house. The cross-stitch on the wall was done by his Grandmother who just used whatever thread she had on hand. It’s the perfect pop of color against the gray wall in the white frame.

Image above: Joshua and Jodie Steen have spent the last five years cultivating their Williamsburg apartment into a space that they describe as “Brooklyn modern meets mid-century.” The dark gray perfectly compliments their vintage finds.

Image above: A family’s summer house on the southern tip of Lopez Island in Washington State. The house has had the same decor since the 1950s and is filled with great midcentury furniture set off by perfect gray .

Image above: This is my own bathroom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I picked a dark gray to frame the big clawfoot tub.

Suggested For You


  • I love a soft, sooty smoke grey – not overwhelmingly dark, but deep enough to make a clean statement against white trim.

  • Benjamin Moore’s Owl Grey is an awesome light grey that looks perfect against the contrast of white trim, I love Overcoat for a dark charcoal.

  • I’m so glad I’m not the only one obsessed with grey. I just love the way it works with so many colors and textures, but sometimes I have to remind myself not to go overboard.

  • Be. Still. My. Heart. Grey. I love it. Charcoal grey. Our kitchen countertops are a mix of grey and white, the floor is a darker almost black with white flecks. At first my husband balked – he wanted primary colors, I said we’re not in kindergarten anymore honey. Grey it is. (appliances are black, cabinets are poppy red, sink is white.)

  • I love gray. It creates such a calm, neutral backdrop that lets other colors pop. Our favorite gray is SW Anew Gray. (I too have learned the hard way and have a more blue than gray home office which needs repainting).

  • I have also struggled with the perfect grey, painting my bedroom 3 times and about to tackle the living room for the second….
    Are there any good tips for understanding what aspects change our greys and how to control and/or counter them to get just the right shade in the end?! I put up a light grey in the living rm and got this chameleon of mint green! The dark bedroom turned lilac grey! Why!

  • In our wee little house, four of our seven rooms are painted different shades of grey. Our living room is a deep, warm charcoal (Pittsburgh Paints Dark Ash), our bedroom is a mid-tone grey (Pittburgh Paints Stonehenge Greige), and both of our entryways sport a pretty pale grey that I mixed myself – using a pile of different greys that we’d rejected for other rooms!
    Grey has been a perfect compromise for our family: a great backdrop for my weird vintage treasures – but not too out-there for my color-phobic other half.

  • Grey is a very difficult color as evidenced by the fact that I have 9 different test swatches of grey on my walls right now. Only one looks actual grey (Benjamin Moore Moonshine) the others all look blue, lavender, green, white, pink…it’s all over the place. Color is very affected by light and depending on how much light your room gets it will make the color change. You can’t see a color in someone else’s house (or a picture online) and expect it to look just like that in your house. I always recommend people buy test cans of paint and try it out in the room before they commit. Live with it for a while and see it at different times of day to make sure it works in their space.

  • thanks rachel for the tip of SW anew gray. it looks like the right shade of that is warm, but not too dark. i am on the hunt for the right shade of grey to paint my house

  • I have just recently had the same grey-turned-out-baby-blue fiasco in my kitchen. I am grateful to all listing their favourite grey, I will check them out. My new favourite is Resene Double Sea Fog.

  • I think that the grey is a really nice alternative to plain white walls. Am moving into a new place in a month and this is giving me lots of ideas/inspiration!

  • I am so glad to see a post about gray interiors! I am a gray lover and when I told my friend that I was painting my bedroom light gray I got a funny look. I suppose gray doesn’t seem like the happiest of colours. The colour I picked is perfect (Behr Burnished Clay) and almost appears to change with the light. It doesn’t feel cold at all and keeps my room feeling light and airy without having stark white walls.

  • This is THE BEST post on this blog to date. I can’t believe it! I loved every single image. Your bathroom is my favorite, though! =]

  • Thanks so much for this round-up. However, it would have been nice to include the brand/paint colour in the captions for each home featured. As it was, I had to scour each sneak peak to greater or, sadly, no success.

    • hi lynne

      all of our home tours include any paint colors we’re given. if they’re not supplied i’m afraid the home owner didn’t know it or remember it :(


  • Like you, I’ve got a love affair with grey…..and I’m not talking 5o shades of….,
    Planning to paint our bedroom a grey when we finally get around to decorating….I feel very inspired by the pictures in this post, but have already purchased my grey paint(don’t tell my husband)….Its a Farrow and Ball “blackened white”……Its lovely and light…just the grey side of white, but it has the lovely property of changing undertones in the light….from blueish in the morning, to mauve in the evening…I know because we used to have it in our front room in our old flat…..not very adventurous, I know, but hey: I love it!!
    thanks for posting

  • I love grey! We had it in almost every room of our other house but we moved a few months ago & are fully renovating our new home & of course grey is in our new plans too!!! I do agree though it is a very difficult colour to get right as so many greys end up blue or brownish. We spent ages finding the right soft grey for our bathroom but have found it now so can’t wait until the room is finished now!
    Thanks for all this lovely grey inspiration.

  • Umm I think Luke Mortimer’s lovely room doesn’t match the caption (the original sneak peak has this room as the main bedroom…& his grandmother’s cross-stitch, in his guest bedroom, looks amazing!)

  • Feeling somewhat weak in the knee after scrolling down this post as I’m partial to gray – and there is so much prettiness. I really like that handmade dreamcatcher (how clever) and completely covet the cupboard (tongue twister) in the 1930s house. Beautiful post.

  • Our last house (UK) had a north / south aspect so greys either looked too blue, too green or too brown. I was on a mission for perfect neutral light, mid and dark greys. I’m a bit of a grey obsessive! After many, many swatches (which mostly just turned blue) I found these to be perfect with no undertone of blue, green or brown: Farrow & Ball Strong White (pale silver grey), Farrow and Ball Pavilion Grey (light-mid grey), Marston & Langinger Ash Grey (true mid-grey) and Marston & Langinger Mullet (the most perfect dark grey). Unfortunately Mullet is now discontinued but Dulux Greyfriars is a close match. Still love grey and will use Strong White and Pavilion Grey in probably every house I live in! Though finding the perfect dark blue with no green undertone is a new obsession!

  • I was intrigued by the ‘cross stitch done by Luke Mortimor’s grandmother’ but when I clicked on his post it says it is a painting done by his friend Steve. Upon further investigation, I discovered the cross stitch in his guest bedroom (which is also painted gorgeous grey).

  • I love grey too…it’s funny how popular it is but I see very little grey fabric in the stores. Lots of yellow…but not grey…but it’s a great counterpart to something as bright as yellow. I do have a pretty grey cotton with lavender embroidery border on it somewhere it my stash. I’ve a mind to pluck that sometime soon and sew up a pretty dress with it…making the embroidery the star of the show…maybe on the button band?

  • My house is only 4 years old. I thought I was finished painting and decorating till I saw this amazing place. I want to start over! Each room is amazing……

  • I also have Burnished Clay by Behr in my bedroom and I LOVE it! It’s warm and soothing, a far cry from the marigold (which I loved too!) color I had before. It took me some time to finally go for it, but it’s the perfect gray for me.

  • The soft greys in these older homes updates the feel of the rooms. The soft grey color will be awesome on my wall with the AmbionAir Flame electric wall mount fireplace I have hung. This article is a great inspiration. What colors are used with the room that has the buffet in the wall and the crystal chandelier?

  • All the bedrooms in our beach house are painted in Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray. It’s cool, inviting, restful, and ever-changing.

  • Sigh. I, too, love gray. My mom who works in psych always told me not to tell anyone that gray was my favorite color or esle they’d think that I was depressed. It all looks beautiful.

  • Yes, everyone be warned! I never knew that grey looking sky blue was a thing until I painted my whole living room! I’m still disappointed by it (especially looking at all these gorgeous rooms) but I can’t go through with doing the job over.

  • Gray has been my favorite ‘go to’ accent color for a while now. Absolutely love the soothing, sophisticated feel of it. Beautiful pix… Thanks for the inspiration!

  • when looking for a grey, and it is on a colour card, always follow it up to the lighter colours (tints) and this should give you an idea of how the grey has been made up and whether it is a cool grey or a warm grey. Also, don’t paint several swatches directly onto your wall, you will only get confused, but paint the different colours on large squares of cardboard. These can then be moved around to see how the colour behaves in different places in your room/rooms and how the light at various times of day affects the colour.