home / interior design / tips

How To Choose The Perfect Grey Paint Color



how to choose the perfect grey paint color

Move day.. is anyone ever really ready for it?  We got the keys to our new place on Monday.  It was a day.  Our plan was to slowly move this week and then have movers come this weekend for the large pieces.  So we packed up our cars on Sunday evening and woke up Monday morning to find Parker’s car battery dead.  It was annoying, but he just squished in my car.  We got to the house, did the walk through, Parker went to leave for work in my car and my battery was dead.  I  mean… We just laughed.  All I can say is thank goodness for AAA.  After replacing my car battery, Parker took my car to work and I Ubered to work.  So our plan of “slowly” moving this week just happened slower than anticipated.  Oh, and Parker’s car battery wasn’t the problem.  He needed a new body control module.

I had plans of taking my own “before” pictures of the house, but I couldn’t wait a second longer to paint samples on the walls.  These are the photos from the real estate listing.

My absolute favorite part of the house is the natural light.  It’s so bright I have to squint sometimes.  I love it.  Our old apartment was long and narrow and had two windows on one end of the apartment.  I told Parker before we started looking for a rental house that my #1 must have was lots of natural lighting.  I don’t think he believed that was a thing.  It totally is.

My second favorite feature is the original hardwoods.  They have so much character.

choosing the perfect grey paint color

choosing the perfect grey paint color

I’ve mentioned before that we are only sacrificing about 100 square feet of space, and that space is taken from the bedrooms, closets and 2nd bath we had in the apartment.  We agreed that we would much rather have a larger living area than bedrooms.  The house is about 900 square feet total – 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a living and kitchen area.  It is perfect for where we are in our lives right now.  It’s just the two of us and now that we sold our stuff on Craigslist, we don’t need much space.  The inside (and outside) of the house is charming and that’s why we love it.  But the real reason we were so drawn to this house was the location.  We are in downtown Austin, and it just doesn’t get better.  This city has our hearts.

choosing the perfect grey paint color

choosing the perfect grey paint color

Because I’m starting over with a cohesive design, paint is a necessity.  Paint pulls a space together and is 99.9% always necessary if you are giving a space a makeover.  I think the reason most people avoid painting is because choosing a color is so overwhelming.  Could the paint stores make it any harder on us by giving us 2,395,923 options?

I have some tricks if you are searching for the perfect paint color.  And chances are if you aren’t searching right now, you will be one day.  I’m sure you’ve noticed, but we have seen gray shades replacing beiges over the past couple of years.  A shade of grey is a great  paint color option if you want a light and airy feel for your space.

How To Choose the Perfect Grey Paint Color:

1.  Look at undertones.  Looking at the color strip will show you that strip’s undertone.  The bottom color is the base color of that strip. I put my favorite two grey strips together (below) to show you the undertones.  The left strip has black undertones and right strip has brown undertones.  I personally prefer black/brown undertones in grey colors (as apposed to blue, green, etc.) so my very favorite grey paint colors are found in these strips.

how to choose the perfect grey paint color

2.  Examine paint samples under different lighting.  It’s really amazing how a color can appear unrecognizable under different lighting.  Right now I am debating between Eider Gray, Repose Gray and Agreeable Gray.  Eider Gray in particular looks very different in my kitchen and living room.  The kitchen has less natural light and living space has natural light flowing in.

3.  Don’t go too dark.  A good rule of thumb is to choose a grey color somewhere on the top/middle of the strip.  Paint always looks so much darker when you have it in an entire room.  I think sometimes people want to go darker to ensure that the paint makes an impact.  When going with a grey, less is more in most cases.

4.  Research rooms with paint colors you love.  Seeing a paint color in an actual room always helps to vision what your room will look like.  Just remember, your space will not look exactly like theirs depending on lighting, furniture and room size.

I hope this was helpful if you are searching for that perfect paint color!  We are painting this weekend, so I’ll be back next week with house updates.  Wish us luck.




Living Room Update
Get The Look: Vintage Rugs

16 comments on “How To Choose The Perfect Grey Paint Color”

  1. Claire, I love your new place. I always longed to live in a cottage home with hardwood floors and just the perfect space to make it unforgettable. I’m looking forward to seeing how you add your style to the blank canvas. Have a wonderful weekend moving.

  2. I painted my rooms with SW Eider White, SW Snowbound on the ceiling and trim in SW reflective white ( absolutely no undertones) and I love it. Some of the day it looks white and other days it looks gray. The ceiling looks soft and not as harsh as my normal white ceilings I always had.

  3. I painted my master bath SW Mindful Gray. The floor has charcoal tile (so it is rather dark. The tub and shower have white tile. The vanity top is also white. PLEASE SUGGEST A PAINT COLOR FOR MY BUILDER-GRADE OAK VANITY.

  4. Hi I’m researching paint colors and came across your site! I have a 2 story great room with Windows north and east so I receive full morning sun. My kitchen cabinets are a medium maple and my oak wood floors look a little orange. My trim including columns and wainscoting are Bleeker beige. My quartzite is a creamy white w grey and some greens. I’m also trying to coordinate the backsplash tile – kind of an light olive green. My furniture fabrics are also more taupe

    Help! I’m ready to throw in the towel and just go with Bleeker beige on the walls too but that seems a little light

  5. I can’t thank you enough for this post! I have wanted to paint a bathroom with no natural light a gray-ish color. I bought six different sample paints that I liked in the store. After painting them on the wall, they all looked awful…really awful. One was too blue, another looked pink, and yet another looked lavender. I came upon this post, and I realized you were on to something with your brown and black based gray choices. When I saw SW Agreeable Gray, I knew it was THE ONE! Again thanks! Just what I was looking for.

  6. I want to design a neutral space. White cabinets, light hardwood and I was thinking a warm gray may make the space welcoming but worry about how a warm gray, like agreeable gray, would work with a natural light hardwood? I was also toying with the idea of painting the island a darker shade on the same paint sample. I’d love your thoughts.

  7. Hi

    I know this is an old post
    Just ran across it on Pinterest

    Thank you for the tips
    I’m also in search of the perfect grey

    Leaning towards agreeable

    Why color is the blue in the bedroom in your photos ?
    I love it
    Looks like the Restoration Hardware blue

  8. Please stop referring to a hardwood floor as hardwood(s) plural. Correct use of the word can be found in any dictionary. I don’t know who or when this started but I suspect HGTV has proliferated the term. Its like saying one dollars or 50 cent. Please stop the madness andconsult a dictionary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *