Grey (gray!) walls.

In line with my current obsession with all things grey, I am really itching to paint at least ONE room in my house (most likely the living room) a very, very pale shade of misty grey. Every time I see a photo of a grey room, I say OOOOOOOOOooooo and move a little closer to making a trip to the paint store.

This looks very much like my living (1) room (2) in terms of layout and architecture, and I think that’s a curtain solution that could work for me. Maybe with window film on the lower panes?

Yet another convincing case for white-painted floorboards!

Oh! Those little yellow lamps!

We actually saw (and lusted after) this very same sofa last year at the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair. Doesn’t that rich, orange-red look great with pale grey? I love how it curves into the bow-front of the house, too.

(All photos from LivingEtc, my most favorite magazine.)

55 comments
  1. Orange PatternAug 21, 20083:30 pm

    Oh how I agree. I’m totally digging grey. Orange and grey is nice…

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  2. Cupcakes and CashmereAug 21, 20083:31 pm

    i love the idea of a pale gray room…i think i’d be more inclined to incorporate it into my bedroom though. love these pictures!

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  3. JadeAug 21, 20083:36 pm

    Love these examples. I’m loving the grey walls too. Depending on what you pair it with, it totally changes the look, which is cool.

    Great blog by the way – I lived in New Windsor/NYC growing up, now in Dutchess County. Good to find interesting people around here :)

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  4. read me...Aug 21, 20083:42 pm

    we’re just painting our hallway a lovely pale grey from Farrow & Ball called Strong White… it’s a very satisfying colour. Can’t wait until we’re done.

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  5. ABAug 21, 20083:53 pm

    I am going through this right now, trying to find the lightest of greys for my dining room, and it is about to kill me. Every color I try throws either blue or purple. If you find the perfect one, please report back!

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  6. karlyAug 21, 20083:54 pm

    I just painted most of my house light, crisp gray, I LOVE IT! I ended up with Ben Moore Harbor Gray (de-saturated by 25%) but I tried about 15 (no exaggeration) swatches first. Be sure to sample sample sample!

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  7. karlyAug 21, 20083:56 pm

    AB: If your colors are throwing blue or purple you need to grab a real warm gray. what looks brownish gray in the store will skew cooler in your house (it sounds like you’re getting a lot of light and that’s why the color is going SOOO cool) try ben moore harbor mist or abalone

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  8. Kate F.Aug 21, 20084:10 pm

    Yes! Do it! We painted our living room (and tv room) Benjamin Moore’s Silver Fox and I looooove it. The shade changes a lot with the light; there are loads of photos in my flickr set of house stuff: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katef/sets/72157600890878260/

    Might be a tad darker than you’re going for, but I must say I went lighter (Revere Pewter) in the hall and it’s loathsome, that particular BM color is pretty blah.

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  9. ashleyAug 21, 20084:42 pm

    I adore grey! I’m wearing a grey skirt right now, AND I picked up some new grey pants this weekend at a Banana Republic outlet while visiting Florida for my brother’s wedding. Clearly your finger is ahead of the design pulse as, of all places, this month’s issue of Better Homes and Gardens (starting showing up inexplicably in my mail 3 months ago!) features grey as a suggested paint and decor color. Sets the right mood on so many levels, I feel.

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  10. RebeeAug 21, 20085:56 pm

    I love grey so much – I think it and deep brown are my two favorite neutrals. I really love the grey paired with dark purple like the little chair in the corner in the last photo and the chair on the left in the first photo. It’s just so elegant.

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  11. ReganAug 21, 20086:57 pm

    I ended up with 14 samples of grey paint on my living room wall. The agony! The room is shaded by three huge trees so the light coming in is very filtered. I wanted a light and creamy grey but everything turned into icy almost purple-y grey. I am really looking forward to the winter and seeing how the grey changes when the green of leaves isn’t reflecting off the walls. Don’t get me wrong, I love my trees but… My basement is going to be great when I use those sample pots to paint the storage cabinets. heh. Waste not and all that jazz. The beautiful thing thing about grey is that so many colors look divine paired with it. I do wish you happy grey paint hunting. Go for the white floors. Do it, do it!

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  12. TaraAug 21, 20088:55 pm

    We painted all of our old hardwood floors BM CC20 in oil. It’s so much better than how it looked before, but I must say that the upkeep is significant. With a dog and three kids, our floors are always needing to be washed or they end up showing every little drip and fleck. I’m washing my floors every second day right now. Hoping winter socks will mean less dirty feet!

    We’re also into the grey. We’ve painted most rooms in our house some variation of it.

    Good thing we have happy landlords that let us paint away!

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  13. GeorgieAug 21, 20089:48 pm

    I am also loving grey at the moment = I posted a similar post the other day. How gorgeous is it!!

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  14. AdamAug 21, 200810:30 pm

    I think grey would look great in your living room. I really like light grey as well. I love the bedspread in the third picture, that shade of blue is exquisite! And don’t get me started on what I would do for that sofa and ottoman!

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  15. jennifer in sfAug 21, 200811:41 pm

    I’ve been sold on the light, warm grey walls for quite a while now. Unfortunately, ever color I’ve tried so far has been wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m going back again this weekend and had better find the right grey!

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  16. kimAug 22, 20082:32 am

    i’ve had many shades of mid-gray in my bedroom and it’s always had the most fantastic combo of comfort and personality reflection.

    on that note, really dig some of these images.

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  17. zeeAug 22, 20084:04 am

    Lovely choice of images Anna! I’ve been mulling for so long about where to use some grey in our home. I guess our living room already is a mushroomy grey, but I prefer those soft, misty greys.

    I adore the yellow lamps too – they’re by Anglepoise: http://www.homebug.net/2008/07/anglepoise-love.html

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  18. kellytAug 22, 20088:52 am

    Where are the pictures from? They are beautiful!

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  19. Anna at D16Aug 22, 200810:03 am

    Kellyt, the photos are all from various issues of LivingEtc.

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  20. lesleyAug 22, 200810:17 am

    BM Titanium rocks my world.

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  21. KateAug 22, 200810:48 am

    you’re right, the orangey red is gorgeous and I love the shade of purple of the velvet (?) chair in the background of that pic too!

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  22. nicoleAug 22, 200810:58 am

    i am a huge fan of gray walls with 5 of our rooms painted in a variety of shades (behr mineral gray is my favorite – rich, dark, warm). it’s the perfect neutral and shows off artwork and furniture beautifully.

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  23. sammieAug 22, 20086:14 pm

    do grey walls & white floors

    oe maybe grey floors

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  24. suzanneAug 22, 20088:06 pm

    Grey is such an amazing color that it even looks good with itself! I have super pale grey walls in my living room (Valspar MS Siamese Cat) with a dark grey couch (and a bright orange eames rocker). I guess you could say that I also love grey!

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  25. Sally W.Aug 22, 20088:48 pm

    Grey is on my mind too. I thought the first photo might be of your home (I saw your house tour on Apartment Therapy) and love, love, love it.

    Trying to paint my living room a grey that is faint, but noticeable, to bring some freshness to the place.

    Started bringing it in as an accent to the bedroom and love the way it compliments so many different colors. Also love that it is a peaceful color.

    Keep up the wonderful blog.

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  26. EmilyAug 22, 20088:55 pm

    Go for it!! Take the plunge and paint the walls gray.

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  27. meganAug 23, 20085:38 pm

    my friend just painted her walls gray and they look FANTASTIC — like you, i’m totally having a gray (and yellow!) moment, so i say go for it, too!

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  28. AliciaAug 25, 200812:32 am

    Anna — speaking of the Rhinebeck Antique Fair, what’s it like? I’ve never been to an antique fair before, is this one very overpriced because its antiques, or are deals to be had there? I might go next year! Thanks!

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  29. ShashiAug 25, 200811:09 am

    I love love love the grey walls too. I’ve tried to convince my boyfriend that we need a grey room, so far he’s not biting. : )

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  30. Anna at D16Aug 25, 20081:37 pm

    Alicia, I commented on the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair last October, and that is pretty much the truth of it! That said, it’s definitely fun to look at super-old stuff that’s in really amazing condition, like beautiful 300-year-old rugs that cost a billion dollars. I’ve never seen any “deals” there, aside from a pair of Wassily chairs that were marked at $400 for both (I didn’t examine them for authenticity, though). I had much more luck that day (and most days!) going to church rummage sales and junk shops. :)

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  31. NatalieAug 25, 20082:33 pm

    I absolutely LOVE love love your blog. And gray is amazing. I love it paired with deep purple.

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  32. mrslimestoneAug 25, 20083:58 pm

    You know Im a fan of the gray. (Although I will warn you that a very pale gray may just look like a dirty white…my brother painted his house this years ago and it was not good)

    I have the window film in my kitchen. I put it up thinking it would be a temporary fix but Im loving it. Clean lines, gives me privacy and allows plenty of light in. I think Ill be doing it to my living room too as soon as I get the chance.

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  33. erin@designcrisisAug 25, 20084:03 pm

    I painted my living room BM Abalone and it’s very pale and chameleon-esque… Kind of warm during the day and cooler at night. Looks fab with orangey red and yellow. Silver Fox is its darker brother, and is also stunning. I think BM Revere Pewter is pretty, but it’s darker and has green undertones. Looks great with peachy colors.

    Gray is haaaard to get right, but you seem to have an excellent sense of color, so I’m sure you could pick the perfect one for your space.

    ps, I NEED that couch!

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  34. CoreyAug 26, 20087:48 am

    I love the pale gray in my house. We went with Behr ‘Sterling’ and couldn’t be happier.

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  35. CoreyAug 26, 20087:51 am

    Here is a link that shows the sterling http://www.materials-world.com/paint-colors/behr/behr-colorsmart/behr-colorsmart-42.htm.

    We paired it with billowy down for our trim.

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  36. heatherAug 26, 200811:01 am

    I’m with you on the greys and whites – that’s all I want to look at these days. I thought it was because I’m watching plaster dry and turn from grey to white and that maybe I’ll eventually want color on the walls – but who knows?
    I can’t wait to see if you do paint your floors white – I really want to eventually paint my attic floor white and would love to see how yours turn out!

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  37. FionaAug 26, 20089:19 pm

    My bathroom is Revere Pewter and I have to agree that it is not exciting. It’s okay, but I’m planning to repaint a less taupey gray when we retile.

    Glad to get all these gray leads here!

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  38. MargaretAug 26, 200810:04 pm

    I’ve been painting various dwellings Ben Moore’s Stonington Grey for about 6 years now, and it has looked amazing in every place — every light level, different floors, furniture, modern or old, etc. People walk in and immediately ask what the paint color is. To me, it’s the perfect grey (and I am obsessed with grey in everything) — pale but not insipid or dingy, absolutely neutral, which I had almost given up on — not greenish, nor blueish, not purple, brown, beige. Just pure pale grey that beautifully sets off every color that’s near it and looks perfect with white trim.

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  39. MMWSep 6, 20082:13 am

    What an AMAZING blog you have. So fresh fresh fresh. Thanks for the input on Grey Walls. Also love all the comments. Ready to pass on recommendations.

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  40. SusanSep 9, 200811:24 am

    I had a gay roommate (decorator extrodonaire) who painted my guest room light gray before he moved out. It’s now going to be my nursery and I’ve decided to keep it because it’s the perfect neutral and goes great with pops of color.

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  41. TheVintageChairSep 11, 20086:40 pm

    I’ve developed an obsession with grey too! Grey clothes, grey make up, grey decor, EVERYTHING! I love mixing it with bright pops of ketchup red, or neon green. Grey walls just look so fresh!

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  42. house decorSep 25, 20081:12 am

    That Red leather sofa looks so cool.

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  43. Jane DobbsFeb 3, 20099:24 pm

    Karly: I see nothing in the BM Colour Samples of a colour called Harbor Gray. Could they have changed the paint name since Aug./08 when you left your comment?
    I have tried several grays myself, without success, and am interested in the harbor gray you think works.
    Also, in your second comment a few minutes later to AB, you mention BM Harbor Mist and Abalone. I was able to see the abalone on the BM site but once again, they’re showing no Harbor Mist.

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  44. Anna at D16Feb 4, 200912:13 am

    Jane, it’s unlikely that any of the original commenters on this post will check back and see your questions so many months later, but I’ll see what I can do to help!

    First, keep in mind that Benjamin Moore does not make sample pots of all of their colors. To look up a color number online, you have to look at the Virtual Fan Deck.

    Harbor Gray = AC-25

    I suspect “Harbor Mist” was a typo, but you can find Karly at her excellent website and ask her directly. :) Good luck!

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  45. LilyApr 17, 200911:41 am

    OMG, i think these grey room photos just totally helped me decide on how to do my room.
    I am gonna do one room light grey with a creamy white trim and the room next to it a purply grey (light though).
    THANKS!!!!!!

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  46. ShirleyApr 19, 20095:24 pm

    NEED HELP – my husband wanted dark grey walls in the living room/dining room. We have a small chocolate brown leather couch distressed, and need to pick a colour for a long couch that we would like to buy. What colour should we go with?? The room is connected to the living room and I was hoping to do the end chairs of the dining table purple and the others a different shade of grey.
    Thoughts??

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  47. JenAug 29, 20095:35 pm

    I’ve been looking everywhere for information and examples of grey paints and stumbled across this website! Thank you. I knew I wanted grey walls but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. The posting about BM silver fox with the flickr pictures was great! That’s what I needed, the pictures. I was having to pick colors based on samples online (no time for testing the paint on the wall, etc). It was making me very nervous. So to see silver fox in various lights was fantastic. Thank you!

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  48. AngelaSep 13, 200910:17 pm

    I just bought samples of BM Silver Fox and Revere Pewter along with Martha Stewart’s Soapstone Gray. All three of these are tan/brown on my walls. There is not even a hint of gray. I wonder if it is my lighting?

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  49. RhondaOct 6, 200911:03 am

    I too love grey. Looking for some ideas. We are currently redoing the exterior of our house -adding stone and new James Harding. I love grey and tan together but I keep getting the wrong grey. I think we are going to use Sherwood tan as the siding color and I want to use grey on the trim around door, windows and garage door. We have musket brown fascia, soffit and garage door. The added black to musket brown for the front door. I just keep getting the grey with the wrong undertones. Help!!

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  50. FalconeddieNov 3, 200910:46 pm

    Great pics, I am looking for a perfect light gray paint shade, just ordered 3 samples from Farrow & Ball.

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  51. lisaDec 21, 20098:39 pm

    i have painted my walls a light gray. what kind of tile should i use? house is empty and being remodeled.

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  52. annieJan 16, 20109:22 pm

    I have tried so many gray paints for my hallway!!!! There either too purple or have olive undertones. I need a paint that is more mousy grey that would go nicely with bleached oak floors. Please help, my hair is going gray just looking for gray paint!!!!

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  53. Mary BethFeb 3, 20107:53 pm

    Annie – for that “mouse” gray try BM Timber Wolf in sample first or take a look at Martha Stewart (Valspar – Lowes) Gravel Drive. Depends on how dark the mouse you’re matching is! LOL I have eggplant color furniture in my family room and have been stalking gray for sometime. The family room adjoins a kitchen with Maple cabinets and I am a litle hesitant to paint both rooms the same color. That’s exactly what i was looking for. My rooms face south so the get LOTS of sunlight. Right now they are both painted BM Desert Ta. Dining Room next to kitchen is BM Classic Caramel.

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  54. kimMay 17, 20135:33 pm

    what color (and paint company) is the gray in the top photo

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    All of these photos are from the British magazine LivingEtc. Beyond that, I can’t help.

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