Friday, January 24, 2014

The Perfect (Chinoiserie) Gray

Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath
I have mentioned that my next big project in my own home is a Chinoiserie Man Cave for Mr. Chinoiserie Chic. I am in the planning stages right now. I have decided to paint it a pale gray. I'd love input from you on the perfect gray.

I have already used two of my favorite grays in my home. My garage is painted Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath, the color shown in the room above. It is a wonderful warm gray - a greige. My powder room shown below is painted Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray that has decidedly blue undertones. I adore both these colors, but I need a neutral gray for the man cave. Not too dark, not too blue, not too green, not greige, just right. Finding a gray without undertones is harder than you think!

Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray

I have been considering all of these -

BM Stonington Gray - Too blue?

BM Gray Owl - looks perfect

BM Wickham Gray - too blue?

BM Coventry Gray - too dark?

BM Titanium - too green?

BM Classic Gray - looks perfect

They are all so pretty! Have you used a gray in your home that you love? Please share it with the class. ;-) Here are a few inspiration photos below of the gray I am going for -

This is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl

This is Benjamin Moore Classic Gray


  1. I have just painted my bedroom elephant gray and it is so crisp but there is a taupe coming through as well but then again I do live in London so I wonder if it will react differently in California. I also painted another bedroom Mizzle and I must say it is one of the most interesting colors I have come across. Depending on the light, it looks green, gray and beige. So interesting and it is my new favorite color.

  2. I have used BM Titanium in my south-facing bedroom and I love it. It does have an aqua-green undertone, which is what I wanted. I have also used BM Classic Grey in my powder bath. It is the perfect neutral grey: not too blue, green, purple, or taupe. I went through several sample quarts before finding these. Exposure and time of day make such a difference. I always ask the "mixologist" at the BM store to tell me the pigment formula and that helps narrow the choices. Good luck, have fun!

    Alexandria, VA

  3. Not a fan of gray, but my first with the gut choice would be Coventry. I googled the color and on Houzz got some interesting looks. I think it would look best with the trim the same color. That's my 2 bits (not in Bitcoin) worth.

  4. BM 1550 Cumulus Cloud or 1552 are two of my favorite grays.

  5. I love to use grey! two of my favorite "go-to" colors are BM Moon Shadow and SIlver Lake. Good luck! Picking paint colors is always so much more difficult when you are doing it for yourself.

  6. Have you looked at Sherwin Williams Repose gray. Everyone I've known who has used it calls it the 'perfect' gray!

  7. Because any gray that's not strictly a mixture of pure black & pure white is bound to have undertones--which tones, in commercial paints, often don't manifest themselves till the light is bouncing back & forth between your newly pained walls--when I needed a totally neutral gray for my first apartment, I did it the easy way: I mixed up a bunch of samples out of black & white paint. After they dried, I picked the one with the best value--I wanted a darker gray than you do, but the process is the same--then took it to the Benjamin Moore store and had them match it. Presto! Magnaverde Gray. With no unexpected surprises after-the-fact.

  8. When I lived in Los Angeles I painted the main floor in gray - it was a soothing contrast to the hot sun and washed out beiges that were everywhere there. And it's so much sharper than white - picture frames stand out on it, and it gives a level of style that white and beige just don't. Lovd it.

  9. I've used gray in my Arlington VA home and while lighting in the room makes a difference, I found Valspar's Frappe and Ralph Lauren/BM Cinderblock to be perfection. I tried MANY samples of what I thought were gray and they either went green, brown or lavender. The 2 colors I used are what I consider a medium tone but you could have them mixed at 1/2 strength or something. It seems you may be hunting a lighter shade. Good luck!


  10. Am I too late to comment? I have BM Classic Grey in my Bathroom. Love, love, love it. So pretty.

  11. You have probably painted by now; however I too have just used BM Classic Gray in one of my bathrooms (S/E location) with plenty of artificial lighting but also has a large skylight. That said; it is actually classified as 'a white' and is not necessarily a 'gray'. Summary; it is extremely neutral. The first coat(over a white primer) read very warm and almost a very light beige (due to the yellow and bit of red in the formula) whereas the second coat reads in both lightings as a very light gray (due to the black/white in the formula). Hope this helps anyone wondering about its properties. -Brenda-