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The Best Light Gray Paint Colors for Walls

The Best Light Gray Paint Colors for Walls

Have you ever stood in the paint aisle, overwhelmed by countless shades of seemingly identical light gray paint swatches? Maybe you pulled out a bunch of options, took them home, and became totally frustrated and even more confused about which one is the best choice for your space? Trust me, you’re not alone. Picking the right shade of light gray wall paint can be like finding a needle in a haystack, especially when you’re aiming for that ideal balance of warmth and coolness. I’ve been there, and I know the struggle is real. In this post, I’m sharing my favorite, go-to light gray paint colors that have never let me down. So, if you’re dreaming of a space that feels effortlessly chic and modern, stick around. With picks from renowned brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, I’ve got you covered!

It’s very important to read through the descriptions so that you can understand the undertone of each color and how it might work in your home. The other day I did a consult with a client to select paint colors for her open living room / dining room / kitchen. The home had been a builder spec home in a new development, and the client had re-painted when they moved in but felt the color, which was a very cool blue-gray, wasn’t quite right.

Her instincts were right, and I could definitely see how she’d had trouble selecting the right paint color. The builder had used a pretty stone on the fireplace with warm gray undertones, tan carpeting, medium dark wood floors (not too red, which was good), espresso colored cabinets, and then granite countertops that were mostly gold with flecks of burgundy. The fixed finishes were all over the place, and the gray they’d picked was too cool to coordinate with any of them.

I brought my Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore paint decks along with loose swatches of some of my favorite colors. I also brought drafting tape and a piece of white foam core. I like to tape the loose swatches to the foam core and then move the foam core around the room. Plus, the white of the foam keeps the existing wall color from distorting the color of the swatches.

We eventually settled on three options for the living area that were all warm grays and then three options for blue-greens in the kitchen and dining area. We discussed painting the cabinets ivory to better coordinate with the cottage style the client prefers.

The following colors are my stand-by, slightly warm, light gray paint choices and my starting point in just about any room where I know I’m not doing a color or a beige.


Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray SW 7029

Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams is definitely one of my top favorite colors for walls. It’s a warm gray paint, stony in hue, right in between true gray and beige. The undertone of the color leans more towards yellow-orange than toward green. Agreeable Gray is a good stand-in for Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter if your painter prefers Sherwin-Williams paint and you are worried about getting a good match.

Freestanding tub with wainscot surround. Patterned tile floor, master bathroom walk-in shower, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray painted walls
Bathroom design by Jillian Lare

Still light, but with slightly more depth, Sherwin-Williams Anew Gray is another good choice for warmer light gray walls, but when you want more contrast to your trim than Agreeable Gray can provide. We used Anew Gray on the walls of the primary bedroom at the Home Show Expo.

bedroom with clerestory windows with woven wood roman shades, painted Anew Gray by Sherwin-Williams
Bedroom by Jillian Lare

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172

I know that Revere Pewter has been and remains very popular with designers and decorators and with good reason. It has a little more pigment in it than the Sherwin-Williams light grays (second swatch down on the strip) and has a more yellow-green undertone. At our 2018 award winning Home Show Expo home, we used Revere Pewter throughout much of the main level including the home office and kitchen pictured below.

Home Office by Jillian Lare
transitional kitchen with white shaker cabinets, light gray walls painted Revere Pewter, Sea Pearl Quartzite countertops, beveled glass subway tile backsplash
New Construction Kitchen by Jillian Lare

In a farmhouse bathroom renovation, I designed a minimal wainscot with board and batten detailing. The wainscot is painted in Revere Pewter, while the lighter walls above are Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist. I think Balboa Mist is an often overlooked almost white that is gray but with a green yellow undertone.

corner bathroom vanity with wall cabinet asymmetrical vanity caesarstone vanilla noir
Bathroom remodel in progress by Jillian Lare

Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray SW 7043

Worldly Gray is cooler than Agreeable Gray with more green in the undertone. It’s a beautiful color that looks lovely with natural wood, the perfect warm light gray paint color (that doesn’t read as taupe). We specified Worldly Gray throughout the main level of our Oak Tree renovation, which you can see highlighted in the photo below that shows the hallway separating the entry from the great room. With its’ green undertones, it was the perfect backdrop to the other rich shades of green and gray we selected for the design and decor of the home.

For our Valley West Court kitchen renovation, we chose Worldly Gray for the wall color. Since so many of you have asked, the print in the photo below is actually a tea towel. You can purchase one online.

Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray Jillian Lare Des Moines Interior Designer
Kitchen remodel by Jillian Lare

Sherwin Williams Gossamer Veil SW 9165

Over the last several years, Sherwin-Williams Gossamer Veil has become one of my favorite go-to light gray paint color. I feel like it’s a well-kept secret, and I have been shamelessly using it on repeat. I have even had the painter cut it by 50% when I wanted the feeling of Gossamer Veil but lighter.

I love this particular shade of gray with slightly creamy white trim for creating a fresh and light space that isn’t all white. It has no strong undertone that I can perceive, but is probably a green gray. It’s stunning with light natural wood tones.

Modern marble fireplace with built ins on each side, linear fireplace with Samsung Frame TV by Jillian Lare Des Moines Interior Designer
Living room design by Jillian Lare

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray 1548

Classic Gray has become another staple of mine lately. It’s lighter than Revere Pewter and doesn’t tend to go as green. It’s a warmer light gray with a touch more pigment in it than Gossamer Veil. Classic Gray is one of those light neutral paint colors that reads one click deeper than white. So if you want a little more depth and contrast between your white walls but still love that white on white look, Classic Gray would be a good color to test out.

At our Timberline Remodel project, shown below, all of the walls on the main level are Classic Gray paired with Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17 for the trim and ceilings.

a built-in Dining Nook bench with a round pedestal table and black modern wishbone chairs,  Benjamin Moore Classic Gray. Artwork by Jeanine Coupe Ryding. Designed by Morris Lare Interior Design Des Moines Iowa Interior Designers.
Kitchen Renovation by Jillian Lare

The photo below is of a bathroom renovation in progress in a 1920s South of Grand cape. We used classic white subway tile with a black pencil liner as a wainscot detail that wrapped the entire room. With ceilings just shy of 8′, we wanted the wall paint above to provide a soft contrast and not split the room or make it feel shorter. Classic Gray was the perfect choice for this vintage inspired design.

white subway tile wainscot with black accent. vintage style bathroom black freestanding vanity. RH recessed medicine cabinet.
Bathroom remodel in progress by Jillian Lare

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173

Edgecomb Gray is right below Revere Pewter in the Benjamin Moore paint deck, but Edgecomb Gray has more yellow in it than Revere Pewter and less pigment. It’s a wonderful alternative to beige and much more versatile.

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

Sherwin Williams Useful Gray SW 7050

Useful Gray has a yellow-green undertone to it and also looks great with natural wood. It’s light and fresh feeling. Useful Gray can work well with both crisper white trim or a softer white trim color like Benjamin Moore White Dove or Sherwin-Williams Alabaster.

Sherwin-Williams Useful Gray

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray SW 7015

Repose Gray is another versatile gray that is slightly deeper than some of the other grays on this list. It has a warm stoney undertone to it, and I particularly love it for bedrooms because it has a calming and soothing effect.

Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray
Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray

Sherwin Williams Drift of Mist SW 9166

Drift of Mist has quickly secured its spot on my list of beloved paint colors. If you’re familiar with the Sherwin-Williams paint deck, you may have noticed it shares a strip with Gossamer Veil. But don’t be fooled into thinking they’re merely different shades of the same base – they each boast their unique character. While Gossamer Veil is ever so slightly deeper and warmer, Drift of Mist leans a tad cooler. Think of leaning towards blue-green on the color wheel vs. yellow green but just by the tiniest bit.

This color is perfect for rooms where you want to create a serene or peaceful feeling. It works well with a cooler palette but feels more contemporary than the builder basic too-cool grays. It works well (reduced by 50%) in more modern interiors like our Echo Valley project below, but it can play equally well when contrasting with white trim in a classic interior.

All of these grays play very nicely in rooms with lighter hardwood floors and in rooms with wood trim. If you prefer darker colored walls or just a little more pigment than these light grays, you can always use the third swatch down on the Sherwin-Williams paint strip or the fourth or fifth swatch on the Benjamin Moore strip (for the non HC colors). I like to use the lightest color on the strip for the ceiling instead of stark white.

If you’d like a free printable PDF download with all of the light gray paint colors I shared in this post with their respective numbers, click the button below. It’s a handy reference to take with you the next time you are headed to the paint store.


Pick the Perfect Paint Color Every Time

If you’ve ever wondered how I consistently find the right shade for my interior design project, it’s not magic; it’s method. I’ve detailed my approach in a straightforward e-book, sharing the steps I personally use with my clients. It’s about making informed decisions and avoiding those common paint pitfalls. If you’re keen on minimizing mistakes when choosing paint colors for your home, my e-book might just offer the insights you’ve been looking for.

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best light gray paint colors for walls

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Melissa

Monday 22nd of April 2024

In the main level of your “oak tree renovation” what color did you paint the interior door that you see in the picture above? My walls are worldly gray, I painted the interior doors tricorn black but whatever you used looks even better!

Jillian

Saturday 25th of May 2024

Melissa - the doors were alder, and we had them stained a deeper dark brown. I think it was a Minwax color, but I'm not entirely sure.

Sander

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

I am also wondering what color to choose for the walls at home. I'm doing a renovation and it's a good time to choose such colors. The problem is whether to make all the walls the same color or have different ones. The white ones are nice, but won't the meringue be too white - when I paint everything in these colors. Maybe someone will be interested in my website about learning gardening https://obserwise.blogspot.com/

Beth Wright

Friday 14th of April 2023

We just moved into a small Home with kitchen cabinets painted SW natural Linen. I am having a hard time coming up with a neutral to paint the walls. Any suggestions?

Christine Silverberg

Sunday 19th of February 2023

What color was used with the tall stone fireplace? We are torn between Revere Pewter and Agreeable Grey, as have a great room with a ton of light that make both look good, but the north facing side of the home concerns me with agreeable grey. Thanks!

Jillian

Sunday 19th of February 2023

That was Revere Pewter.

Lisa Lawson

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

If I paint my kitchen Crushed Ice, what color grey should I paint my kitchen island? I am thinking about Dorian Gray. Does anyone have an opinion about those two colors?

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