It's safe to say that gray is the perfect neutral paint color. Gray is not the new black; it's the new beige. Wherever beige paint is used in decorating, the right gray can take its place, and usually with much better results. Gray is particularly versatile because of its wide range of undertones. A warm gray or greige (combination of gray and beige) paint color most closely resembles a beige and can be used almost interchangeably. Cool grays, with more blue, are the right choice when beige is too pink or yellow for your space.
The beautiful secret about gray as a neutral is that you can go much darker with it than most beige or taupe colors. By contrast, brown-based neutrals can get heavy quickly, once you venture to the other end of the paint strip. Gray somehow manages to stay crisp, even in the darker shades. The key is finding the right gray for your space and sampling colors thoroughly.
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Ally's Earring by Benjamin Moore is a stylish alternative to off-white or pale beige. This is a creamy pale gray with warm undertones. If you love the light look of white walls but want a warmer color, Ally's earring gives you that light glow of white paint but with a touch of color to warm up your space.
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Sherwin-Williams' Repose Gray is a cool gray with just the slightest hint of green undertone. The undertones make Repose Gray a beautiful option with other cool colors and green decor. If you use this color on a wall near a window, it will pick up the color of the foliage outside, intensifying the green undertones, so you might want to sample it thoroughly before committing.
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Sheer Mist by Clark+Kensington is a soothing and pure gray. This cool, light take on gray can effectively replace a pale neutral when you need to tone down the warmth of a color scheme. It's also a nice option if you're going for a classic gray rather than a beige or greige.
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Behr's Irish Mist has an airy quality, making it the perfect paint for a dark room. There is a slight warmth to this pale gray that makes it much more versatile than a traditional beige neutral. Pairing it with crisp white trim helps define the color of Irish Mist on primary surfaces.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Gateway Gray of the HGTV Home Collection by Sherwin-Williams is a wonderful alternative to taupe. Using taupe as a neutral can be tricky, due to its habit of turning pink or mauve when you least expect it. Gateway Gray has the depth of taupe without the unexpected undertones.
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If you're looking for a darker shade of neutral, and dark brown feels too heavy, it's time to sample a charcoal gray. Clark+Kensington's Cashmere Charcoal has a depth and neutrality that most dark browns cannot match. Asked to name an item of inspiration for choosing specific paint colors, a designer for Ace Hardware (maker of Clark + Kensington paint) claimed that Charcoal Cashmere, along with Garden Stone N-C10, was a choice inspired by "the vintage glamour of Grandma's tea set."
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No list of gorgeous neutral grays would be complete without a greige paint color. Valspar's Linen is extremely versatile—an exceedingly livable marriage of gray and beige. To test whether this (or any greige) is right for you, look at all of the colors on the paint swatch it appears on. Each of the darker colors (near the bottom of the swatch) is actually present as an undertone in the lighter colors toward the top. If you like the darkest color in the swatch, you'll probably like the lightest colors, too.
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Warm grays, like Behr's Natural Gray, make the smoothest transition from beige and taupe neutrals. Natural Gray is a full-bodied gray with a hint of warmth. This is a good choice if you love the look of a pure gray but will be using it in a room full of warm colors and surfaces.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Benjamin Moore's Cosmopolitan is a soft gray with warm undertones. This is a sophisticated paint color that is neutral enough for any decorating style. Benjamin Moore suggests pairing this color with Strand of Pearls (CSP-395), Barnwood (CSP-115), Gotham (CSP-385), or Brownstone (CSP-240).
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Valspar's Villa Grey (formerly Oatlands Subtle Taupe) is a rare breed of warm neutrals. This taupe skirts around the typical pink or green undertones and has a neutral gray base. For some decorators, Villa Grey may feel like the warm neutral they've been searching for all these years.