My Favorite Paint Colors - Part 1: Go-To Grays

I am constantly asked about the best paint colors. Selecting a paint color for a space is a commitment, which makes the process very overwhelming for many. There is so much variety in shade and undertone within similar colors, these subtle variations often don’t always come through on a small paint chip which is why testing a color on your own walls is so important. That being said, I have developed my share of clear favorites over the years and thought my blog would be the right place to share them. 

First up: Go-To Grays

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The color gray has such a beautiful range of tones. From soft neutrals to dramatic darker shades, gray manages to feel striking while also maintaining its ability to go with just about everything. 

There are a few important details about gray that you need to be aware of before using it on your walls. The one thing that comes up again and again with gray is that any undertone in a gray will be reflect that as the color. So, if you have a gray with a hint of green, it’ll be a green gray. A gray with a little hint of purple, it’ll feel like a purple.

With those concepts in mind, I’ve rounded up my most loved dark, light (cool + warm), mid and tinted (meaning ones that lean a certain color direction) gray paint colors below. 


Pale Cool Gray

I also almost never use cool grays, and even more so avoid them for the PNW. Cool grays will always feel cooler and that to me is not how I like rooms to feel. Perhaps the only time it makes sense is in bathrooms where there are a lot of cool, hard materials. These grays are probably more neutral than cool, but they give off just enough coolness to feel that way. They’re the only cool grays I’ve ever used.

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Pale Warm Gray

Pale warm grays are pretty much my go-to neutral. I love a soft warm gray, it can feel atmospheric, soothing and calm. I have more warm favorites than any other shades of gray and that’s because I just love them. Light pewter I used in my Seattle Cottage living room and the bathroom in our pied-a-terre, Classic Gray is the paint color for my living room in our pied-a-terre, Skimming Stone is the color of the kitchen in our pied-a-terre and Collingwood I just used recently in one of the boy’s rooms in the Heathcote Road project.

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Classic Gray walls in our Pied-a-terre | Design + photo by Lauren Caron © 2019

Classic Gray walls in our Pied-a-terre | Design + photo by Lauren Caron © 2019

Light Pewter walls in our Seattle Cottage | Design by Lauren Caron, photo by Dorothée Brand, Belathée Photography © 2019

Light Pewter walls in our Seattle Cottage | Design by Lauren Caron, photo by Dorothée Brand, Belathée Photography © 2019


Mid Gray

Mid grays are perfect if you have a larger space or a room with a little more light or want the mood but not too much mood. I painted our dining room in our cottage the La Paloma Gray and I LOVED it. It was warm, deep enough to create a cozy mood but it didn’t feel dark.

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The wall La Paloma Gray walls in our Seattle Cottage | Design by Lauren L Caron, photography by Dorothée Brand, Belathée photography

The wall La Paloma Gray walls in our Seattle Cottage | Design by Lauren L Caron, photography by Dorothée Brand, Belathée photography


Dark Gray

Dark grays are great for creating moody spaces or using as an accent on trim and doors. I love using Railings, which was named after iron railings for outdoor elements like fencing, railings (hence the name) and statuary. These dark colors have also been on trend for exterior paint colors - we used Raccoon Fur on a clients house recently. When black can look flat, using a very dark gray will give the feeling of black but have more depth.

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Tinted Gray

Tinted Grays are tricky, but I have a few go-to choices that I use again and again. French Gray is the color of my current kitchen cabinets, Mizzle is the color of my bedroom at my parent’s house, Blue Gray and Silver Marlin are the perfect blue grays if you want a Louis XV blue, and Abalone I’ve used again and again. The warm lilac tinted grays create such a soft, feminine and comfortable tone it’s hard not to love.

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Hope you find these useful for future projects! I plan on doing more favorite color posts in the near future. If you have any recommendations or requests please let me know!