Your Nest Design
Remember to balance your grays with lots of white, warm woods, a touch of black and some reflection - chrome, silver, mirror.  Gray makes other colors look great, but gray on its own can be a little depressing.  Give it a little lift and it will do the same for you.

Hi Claudine,
I read your article on gray paint while searching for info on the Internet. I'm building a new cape cod home, very traditional. White hardiplank with a stone walkout basement. I want to use a lot of gray in the house. The great room and kitchen are adjacent. I will
have butter yellow kitchen cabinet with distressed black color island. I'm looking for a warm gray paint to use for both areas. Can you give me some ideas of B.M. colors or S.W. colors I might use. I will be using white trim on the baseboards , window casings, and crown in this part of the house. Could you also recommend a white trim paint to go with the gray.
Also, I'm thinking of using a gray paint for the trim and casings in the front of the house with the walls painted off white or cream color. I did this when I lived in York, PA. and it looked very good but I thought I could have picked a better gray color for the trim. I will be painting the baseboards, window casing and crown with the gray. The rooms involve the dinning room, office, hallway, and staircase to 2nd level.
I will have oak flooring thru out and have not decided whether to stain dark or keep natural. Open to suggestions on this? I'm leaning toward dark. I'm trying to get the house to have a New England or cottage feel to it.
John Wright
Huntsville, AL

Dear John,
Warm grays range from griege (gray beige) to taupe.   Generally they are grays with a brown undertone, or beiges with a healthy dose of gray.  Here are a few I like and am happy to recommend.  As paint can look so different depending on room size, ceiling height, available light, etc., it is wise to test a few colors to find your perfect hue, especially since these rooms are adjacent to rooms using black and butter yellow. 

Dolphin Fin has a healthy dose of beige and can look very different depending on your lighting.  As with all paint selections, I recommend purchasing a sample pot of 2-3 colors you have in mind for a room and painting generous swatches on the walls - if the walls are white - or on poster board if they already have a color on them.  Leave a 2" border of white in this case so the current wall color will not influence the proposed color, and make sure you do two coats to get a true example of the paint color.
Gray Owl is one of my favorites, here paired with another favorite - White Dove, a rich warm white that plays nicely with grays.
Revere Pewter is probably Benjamin Moore's most popular gray - loved by designers and consumers alike - it doesn't seem to have a beige undertone until you put it next to other grays.  It is wonderfully warm all the same.

Live Like You
A trip to your local Home Depot will be all you need to acquire this lovely hue - Fashion Gray by Behr.  It loves deep wood tones and crisp white trim.
For areas where you need more light, try Pashmina - a lighter shade of gray.

Restoration Hardware
Slate is the color Restoration Hardware chose to paint their retail store interiors - and is available through Restoration Hardware - or can be color matched at your local paint store.
My So Called Home
Sherwin Williams' Comfort Gray is a cooler gray that works magic with beige and tan.
While Copley Gray is in the greige (gray/beige) family and is warm toned.
I also like Flagstone by Martha Stewart - available at Lowes
To keep that fresh, traditional Cape Cod appeal, make sure you bring in fresh whites - in trim, furnishings or accessories.
Gray for painted wood trim? I would go dark - a nice charcoal - try one of these, but make sure all the grays you use in your home play nicely together - this will bring a cohesive look throughout.

Dear Lillie
The darker gray looks beautiful against a beige or gray/beige and really pops with white.
Dark flooring is more traditional and more formal, the natural is more 'cottag-ey' or rustic and casual. Both will work with your palette, and the choice will be one of personal preference.

Good luck in your choices, and don't hesitate to ask again - I know you have been very patient in waiting for my reply and I appreciate that as I've been travelling back and forth from California to Utah to help my mother.

Hi Claudine,
I recently stumbled upon your website and would love it if you can help me with my paint dilema. We want to update our kitchen by painting the cabinets a lighter color (because we dont get much sunlight and I'm thinking it will help lighten the space?) but I am having a tough time deciding on a color. Can you recommend one? The backsplash and floor have neutral colors creams, browns, and a light sage green (in the backsplash) and our countertops are black. Also what wall color would you go with and should it coordinate with our living room walls since they are kind of connected? I've attached two pictures for your reference. This space is very important to us because we spend most of our time here and entertain our guests in this space. Please help us! Thanks in advance, Yvonne

Yvonne:  Paint will give your kitchen a facelift that will amaze you.  Your glass tile backsplash is full of wonderful neutrals and freshly painted cabinets will look great with the black granite counter-tops.  You will have the added benefit of really bringing the backsplash to the forefront as a feature - right now it is being overwhelmed by the warm wood tones of the cabinets.  It's difficult to see all the colors in the backsplash, but see how these look with it for the cupboards:
Edgecomb Gray is a wonderful neutral putty color that is soothing to the eye and looks amazing with black and stainless steel.  Add silver knobs and you have beautiful classic style, like the kitchen below.
Jillian Harris

close to LEGENDARY GRAY - DUNN EDWARDS (on wall)
possibly WHITE DOVE - BENJAMIN MOORE (on cabinets)
Just for the record, let me say I am seriously coveting this kitchen right now.  I love the color of the wall, in fact I just used it in a master suite (see 1st photo in this blog) and it is divine with white and silver and deep toned woods.  There is a serenity to this combination.   So, consider white cabinets and dramatic walls if you need calm in your life.

But, if you are concerned about darkening your space, this lighter gray is also a perfect choice.  And if there is a hint of green/blue in the back splash - try this color (one of my favorites)
which will look really wonderful with white trim and black accents -  you can use it on the wall or the cabinets.  

Generally speaking, stay in the neutral colors you will find in your backsplash and you will keep a pulled-together cohesive look to your decor.    And since your living/family room is visible and shares a wall with the kitchen, bring a little of the black and whatever neutral color you choose into that area as well - with fabrics or accessories.    Hope that helps!  Good luck!

Hey Claudine,
I came across your blog and really enjoy looking through all your wonderful pictures. My husband and I just purchased a home and we are trying to decide on paint colors...and it seems this is your area of expertise so I would love to get your ideas. We love grays, browns, reds, olive green, rust, and colors like this. We are thinking of going more neutral (browns and grays) for the walls and bringing in the reds and colors through accents and decor. Our trim is white and we use dark woods for most of our furniture. Our problems are we do not know what colors to choose that would work best together and how to transition from one color to the next in an open type floor plan. I would prefer not to have every room the same color. Can you give me any ideas with this amount of information?
Thanks for your help. You have a true talent.

Dear Kim:   In choosing wall color I always try to keep to neutrals.  A neutral wall doesn't have to be boring, or disappear, but it will allow you to bring colors into your room as accents.   I like to chose a neutral that has a little gray in it (or a lot).  The graying down of colors makes them easier on the eye and easier to live with.  Most colors have a gray neutral.  There are green/grays, blue/grays, brown/grays or taupes, purple or lavender grays, beige grays, and just plain grays.  They are also considered neutrals.
Choosing color for your entire home can be daunting, but I have a couple of  easy to follow rules that can help.    Find one color you love.   Pick a neutral, like 'Driftwood' above or 'Intellectual Gray' below.  Then find 2-3 other colors that are similar and look beautiful with it.  Repeat these colors throughout your home and you will have a good flow and a cohesive look.  Don't choose too many colors - it can interrupt the flow and make it look choppy.

for example, all of these colors look beautiful together and have the same gray base that gives them the common denominator to work together

or in the examples above of Benjamin Moore paint colors - I might choose Camouflage, add Silken Pine, November Rain and Dry Sage to the palette - they look lovely together and will flow easily from room to room
Another example: I love Carolina Gull and might use it as an accent wall in a room with Gray Cashmere as the other 3 walls.  I can also use Silver Marlin, Sea Haze and Gray Owl in the same home and they will look beautiful.

If you feel you need more help, give me a starting point with one neutral color
from Benjamin Moore's palette that you love and want to use in your home,
and I will help you build your palette from there.
Good Luck!

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