Gray + Beige = Griege: The Best Neutral Color Ever?

Is Greige the Best Neutral Ever?
©Shewin-Williams

You might think that neutrals would be very easy colors to choose and coordinate when painting and decorating rooms, but it's quite the opposite. For most people, "beige" is a catch-all color that is the answer to not knowing what color to choose. At its best, beige is relaxing and uncomplicated, which is why it is universally popular. But the idea that any room will be fine when painted or decorated in beige often turns out to be the start of a long and complicated process of finding the right beige color. What seems to be a simple choice of a "neutral color" becomes a fight with undertones and color temperature. 

The Truth About Gray

Gray is another neutral with a reputation for being difficult to work with. Gray paint and decor can be gorgeous and stylish, but it can also be cold or tepid. Once again, the undertones that are used to create some gray colors can make it surprisingly difficult to match in a color scheme. Gray is more than just black and white added together—it can have a strong blue or even green cast to it. When you do get the gray right, the results can be quite sophisticated. And the lighter shades of gray can be luminous. But it is not easy to find the gray that is perfect.

Greige: The Best of Both Worlds

What if you could take the best of beige and gray and create a neutral that avoids the worst qualities of each? Greige has been wildly popular for several years, because it does exactly that—brings the best of both beige and gray to life as a truly useful and versatile neutral color.

Greige is simply beige + gray. The addition of gray to beige creates a richer color, one that can work in both cool and warm color schemes. The ratio of beige to gray in your greige determines whether it is a cool or warm neutral. Though it sounds confusing, it's very simple. A greige with a stronger gray influence can be considered a cool neutral. When you have a greige with more emphasis on beige, it can be used as a warm neutral. 

When Greige Is Better Than Beige or Gray

Greige can run circles around beige when it comes to versatility. A traditional beige shows a strong yellow undertone, which makes it hard to coordinate with cooler colors. The addition of gray to beige creates a neutral that has the ability to work with cooler colors, thereby solving the dreaded undertone issues. This can make it much easier to create a neutral color scheme.

If you love the idea of gray but worry about the coldness of most gray colors, greige could be the answer. Greige is gray that has been warmed with beige's warm undertones. You get the elegance of gray, without the cold blue undertones. 

How to Use Greige

Greige can be used in lieu of beige or gray in most spaces. The level of warmth or coolness in a particular greige will determine which shade is right for the room. Greige that leans toward gray is gorgeous with blue, white, and cool colors. A warmer greige (leaning toward beige) can be used anywhere you would use beige. Naturally, you'll want to sample any greige you're considering to get the right balance.

Some great greige paint colors to consider: