The trouble with gray

My first problem with gray starts with the very spelling of the word. According to the internets “gray” is the more common American spelling and “grey” is the common spelling for the UK. Both words can refer to the color but they refer to a different color. There is even a website about the differences in gray (or grey). 

My second problem actually deals with the color itself. By definition gray is

“of a neutral tone, intermediate between black and white, that has no hue and reflects and transmits only a little light.”

If it has no hue and is such a neutral tone than why am I having the hardest time of my life picking the right gray for my bedroom?

I feel like the past few days I have thought about this “intermediate” color more than I’ve thought about anything else. After initially selecting a color for the bedroom (and of course putting it on the wall) I’ve realized they grayest of grays looks too blue. What? How? I have been saving different pictures on pinterest of green and gray bedrooms as inspiration only to realize my gray isn’t the same as the one in my examples. Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?

While searching for the right gray, I certainly have learned a lot about the color so while I compare more swatches, check out a roundup of my favorite gray rooms.

This is probably the most elegant gray bedroom I have ever seen. Swoon!

A super cool way to do gray with some other colors. I might have to rethink the dining room now.

That’s one sleek looking gray living room.

A much darker gray room but with the white fireplace the wall color doesn’t overpower the room.

So what about you all? Ever have your own trouble with grays? What’s your favorite shade? I think it’s back to the hardware store for me to grab more swatches.

Sources: One, two, three, four


Bookmark and Share

18 Comments on "The trouble with gray"

  1. Gray is definitely a tricky color. There are so many gray’s out there, which usually have an underlying color of blue, purple, green, etc. I tend to gravitate towards the warmer grays with yellow undertones. Keep with it, you’ll find the right one and your room will be fabulous!

  2. Amanda says:

    You might look at London Coach. It has a slight red undertone which gives it a brown & purple hue depending on the lighting, but usually photographs grey. Our home is painted completely in London Coach. I originally wanted darker, but after seeing the romantic shade on the walls with all the white trim… I stuck with it. I can share pics if you like ! Happy paint hunting!

  3. Susan says:

    I am struggling finding the perfect gray. I am building a house and I have to turn my colors into the painter the first of next week, I have been searching and searching for the gray , it is for my kitchen and family room, it is one great big room.. I like the first on on this site,. Do you know the color? Or do you have another suggestions. If you would would you email me thanks

    • Courtney says:

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and thanks for your comment!

      In reference to that gray in the first picture on my site I do not know that color but I can give you some great suggestions. I just painted my bedroom Cathedral Gray from Valspar which is a great neutral and it’s not to blue or too yellow. I also really like Benjamin Moore’s Silver Fox and Thunder and Behr’s Porpoise. Also, check out my post on the final gray I picked which has some pictures of other gray swatches: I hope this helps and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

    • SHARI says:



  4. Jennifer G. says:

    I, too, have been struggling with grey (gray) for months. We just built a new home and I love the warmth grey can give a room. For our living room/ kitchen/ eating area I chose a lighter grey to keep the room open. I chose Benjamin Moore French Grey. For our master I have had the hardest time because I am wanting to imitate the first picture you posted of the bedroom. Any idea what color that is or where the pic come from? So far, I have landed on Valspar Cathedral Grey.

    • Courtney says:

      I absolutely love the color in the first picture too and while I have done some digging I haven’t been able to find the name of the paint color. UGH. At any rate, I went with Cathedral Grey in my bedroom and I absolutely love it. It didn’t come out too blue and it’s a really great grey. Looking at both my bedroom and that example picture though it looks like a really close match. Sorry I couldn’t get you an exact color name but good luck and happy painting! Let me know if you go with Cathedral Grey and if you like it too!

  5. donna gaines says:

    Did you ever show a photo of your completed gray bedroom ? I would love to see it.

    • Courtney says:

      Hey Donna,

      I was actually waiting for the weekend so I can take pictures during the day and get some good natural light in there. I promise to have pictures up this weekend though! Thanks for stopping by :)

  6. Jacqueline says:

    I found a wonderful gray through a photographer who did my daughters pictures. Lucky for me, she did all the experimenting and found a perfect one…,.Martha Stewart “Cement”. Paint a swatch and good luck. I too was on the hunt for the perfect gray/grey :)

  7. Kym says:

    LOVE your design ideas!!

  8. Jennie says:

    I love the grey color in this first picture! Do you happen to know what the color is?

  9. Kelli says:

    Do you have any idea what color the second photo is – the dining room one? I love that color and have honestly bought 6 samples trying to find it with no luck. I just love how cool it looks. Thanks! Kelli

    • Courtney says:

      I’m not totally sure what the paint color is, but it looks really close to a color I used called Urban Sunrise by Valspar. It may actually be a little lighter than that one, so if you go to Lowes, see if there is a lighter one in that color family. I know the picture is from West Elm and they collaborate with Benjamin Moore so there is a good chance it is a BM paint. I would also check here. Hope that helps!

  10. Lorraine says:

    Well with advice from others I painted my kitchen dark grey and after second coat it is now black not grey. Also my walls are light grey well not really as they turned out a pale blue so everyone tells me. Nothing like the beautiful colors in your photos which is what I was after.

    So take a photo or something to make sure you get what you want or you too will be upset when you finish and nothing is as it should be. Good Luck
    Love the rooms in the photos.The colors are just right. Not like my place.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. The chosen one | |
  2. Where the magic happens -

Got something to say? Go for it!