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paint color review: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl

What Color is Gray Owl?

a swatch of benjamin moore gray owl

BM Gray owl is a light gray color that reads as a neutral-to-cool gray on the wall. It is one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular shades of gray and brings a fresh and modern look to any room. It can lean slightly green or slightly blue depending on the light in the room as well as the surrounding furnishings.

Is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl Warm or Cool?

Gray Owl is a gray color with a green-blue undertone, so it is a cool paint color.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl living room
Gray Owl (lightened by 50%) via Cozy Cottage Cute

Is Gray Owl the Perfect Neutral Gray?

The ever illusive perfect gray paint color. I bet you’ve been searching high and low for it. I’m sad to tell you, that it doesn’t exist. Sure, you may find a gray that’s perfect for you – but it will have an undertone of some variety. You might love how it looks on your walls, but it may not look exactly the same on someone else’s walls!

Gray Owl Bedroom
Benjamin Moore Gray Owl via HomeBunch

Gray Owl (2137-60 or OC-52 – same color, 2 different collections!) has been a very popular gray paint color for the past half decade, alongside Benjamin Moore’s other popular gray, Stonington Gray. If you are looking for a gray paint color that adds some brightness, but is certainly still a gray, then this may be the paint color you’re looking for.

In the past few years, the popularity of the cooler-toned grays has swayed in favor of warm grays as well as the uber popular greige paint color. Of course, many of you out there still love a cooler gray. They have a certain clean, modern look to them…when done right.

What Undertones Does Gray Owl Have?

Gray Owl has a soft blue-green undertone. While the green makes it warmer than some other “cool” grays, it will still look like a cool gray on your wall.

However, this blue-green undertone can be unpredictable, sometimes favoring the blue and other times favoring the green.

Gray Owl Office

What is the LRV of Gray Owl?

Gray Owl has an LRV of almost 66. LRV, or Light Reflectance Value, is the number that refers to how light or dark a color is on a scale of 0-100. The closer the number is to 100, the lighter it is (white being the lightest). The closer the number is to 0, the darker it is (black).

gray owl against white baseboards
Gray Owl against White Baseboards via Caitlin Creer Interiors

At almost 66, it has enough saturation that it is clearly gray, but it’s also light enough that it won’t feel heavy. If your room is really dark and you’re hoping this will perk it up, it may not be light enough. Instead, try Benjamin Moore Paper White.

What Are The Best White Paint Colors With Gray Owl?

Choose a crisp, white trim color like Benjamin Moore Super White or Chantilly Lace.

Colors That Coordinate Well with Gray Owl

Gray Owl works well with a bright, beach vibe so cool colors in shades of white, green and blue work really well. If you are looking to do an accent wall, or an adjoining room in complementary color, Benjamin Moore Beach Glass makes for a beautiful coastal vibe or BM Philipsburg Blue adds striking contrast, while working with Gray Owl’s inherent undertones.

black windows with gray owl walls
via Devon Grace Interiors

If you want to achieve a really modern look, pairing gray owl walls with black accents is really striking when done correctly.

The colors you choose alongside Gray Owl will also affect how it looks. Looking at the three images below, you can see how Gray Owl on the left, looks more gray or more green depending on the color it’s paired with.

comparison swatch of gray owl to chantilly lace
comparison swatch of gray owl to simply white
comparison swatch of gray owl to hale navy

Where Should You Use Gray Owl?

Gray Owl is a great choice for many spaces – the kitchen, dining room, family room, hallway, bedrooms, and bathrooms. It looks beautiful on walls and on cabinetry. You could even use it as a trim color with white walls.

gray owl nursery with aqua and orange accents
Gray Owl Nursery via Delightfully Noted

Personally, I love it used as a wall color for light wood floors. The contrast is phenomenal!

Is Gray Owl a Good Exterior Paint Color?

If you’re looking for a light soft gray for your home’s exterior, Gray Owl is a great choice. It pairs really well with a coastal color scheme of navy blue or greens, and even with black.

gray owl painted on a front door
Gray Owl exterior via The Phinery

Just remember, because the exterior gets a lot of natural light, the color will appear lighter than it would indoors.

Gray Owl vs Stonington Gray

Stonington Gray is another equally popular gray from Benjamin Moore. If you are trying to decide between the two, there are a few distinct differences that may help with your decision.

benjamin moore gray owl version stonington gray

Gray Owl is a few shades lighter than Stonington Gray, with a more prominent green undertone. Gray Owl has more of a light, casual, almost beachy look, while Stonington Gray is a bit darker with a tendency to lean quite blue in cool light.

I find that Stonington Gray lends itself well to bedrooms as well as more masculine spaces.

Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray living room
Stonington Gray Living Room Walls

Gray Owl vs Classic Gray

swatch comparison of gray owl and classic gray

Gray Owl and Classic Gray are very different colors. Gray Owl is a light paint color with an LRV of 66. However, Classic Gray is considerably lighter in color; it’s an off-white with an LRV of 73.6.

Gray Owl is a cool gray with a green-blue undertone. Classic Gray on the other hand is a warm gray with a soft beige undertone, that can sometimes lean a bit purple or pink. Classic Gray is a great choice for rooms with cool northern light where you don’t want a blue undertone.

Gray Owl vs Revere Pewter

swatch comparison of gray owl and revere pewter

Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl and Revere Pewter are both popular neutral paint colors, but they each possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. Revere Pewter is a warm, light to medium gray-beige, often referred to as a “greige.” It has an LRV of 55.4, making it a darker gray than Gray Owl.

Its warm undertone leans more towards beige, making it appear cozier, and it can occasionally pull a slight taupe or muddy green in specific lighting conditions.

While both colors are versatile, Gray Owl might be better suited for spaces where a fresh and airy feel is desired, and Revere Pewter shines in spaces where a cozy, welcoming ambiance is the goal.

Gray Owl vs Collingwood

swatch comparison of gray owl and collingwood

Collingwood is a slightly darker light gray with rosy undertones and an LRV of 62, lending it a warmer aura. While Gray Owl can sometimes skew blue or green in certain lights, Collingwood might reveal subtle pinkish hues.

Gray Owl suits spaces desiring a crisp gray look, whereas Collingwood offers a hint of warmth.

Gray Owl vs Wickham Gray

swatch comparison of gray owl and wickham gray

Owl is a soft, light gray that carries subtle blue and green undertones, presenting an LRV of 65. This gives it a fresh, airy essence, perfect for spaces that need brightness.

Wickham Gray, on the other hand, leans more distinctly towards a soft blue undertone, giving it a serene and spa-like quality.

While both colors are adaptable and light, Gray Owl has a broader neutral range, while Wickham Gray’s blue undertone can become more prominent in certain lighting.

When choosing between the two, it’s vital to consider the desired ambiance: Gray Owl offers a neutral freshness, whereas Wickham Gray provides a calming, slightly cooler feel.

Gray Owl vs Repose Gray

swatch comparison of gray owl and repose gray

Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl and Sherwin Williams’ Repose Gray are two sought-after neutral paint colors, each with its distinct qualities.

Gray Owl is a soft, light gray with subtle blue and green undertones, characterized by an LRV of 65. It offers a fresh, airy feel, versatile for various spaces.

In contrast, Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams leans towards a true warm gray, presenting a more neutral backdrop without leaning too heavily on specific undertones, though it can occasionally pick up a subtle purple, green hint in certain lighting conditions.

When comparing the two, Gray Owl might lean slightly cooler because of its blue-green nuances, while Repose Gray provides a balanced warmth. Both shades are adaptable, but the choice between them often hinges on the desired undertone and ambiance for the space

Gray Owl vs Agreeable Gray

swatch comparison of gray owl and agreeable gray

Agreeable Gray from Sherwin Williams is a warm greige (gray + beige) that leans towards a light beige with a touch of gray, making it warmer than Gray Owl.

Agreeable Gray’s balanced warmth is often considered one of the most neutral paint colors available, versatile for nearly any space. When comparing the two, Gray Owl has a slightly cooler vibe due to its blue-green undertone, while Agreeable Gray has a cozier, warm undertone.

How Lighting Can Affect Gray Owl

Lighting is one of the main factors contributing to how a paint color will look, and can completely change how a color looks because it can make undertones more apparent.

So before choosing paint color, determine the exposure of your room and then decide how that may impact the color you’re choosing.

Reading nook painted benjamin moore gray owl
Reading Nook via House of Jade Interiors
  • North-facing rooms: These rooms often showcase a cooler, gray cast. Lighter paint shades may seem subdued, while richer, dark shades can stand out, accentuating the room’s cool ambiance. When painted with Gray Owl, expect its blue/green undertones to be prominent.
  • South-facing rooms: These rooms enjoy warm light throughout the day. South-facing light is quite versatile and accommodating to both warm and cool tones. As the light intensifies any warmth in these paint shades, a paint color will a warm undertone will look even warmer. Really light paint colors can look washed out.
  • West-facing rooms: The light starts off cool in the morning, becoming warmer and more vibrant by the late afternoon or early evening — the time when these rooms are most illuminated. The red-orange tint of the afternoon light can make warm colors seem overpowering. Yet, if you’re using the room mainly during mornings, colors will be less intense due to the cooler light. In these rooms, Gray Owl will present a cooler hue in morning hours.
  • East-facing rooms: These rooms receive a yellow-orange toned light in the morning, making them brighter, but the light becomes cooler as the day progresses, which amplifies blue undertones.

Frequently Asked Questions

In a room with northern light, or cool morning light (west facing) or cool afternoon light (east facing), the blue undertone in Gray Owl may be more obvious.

Benjamin Moore Sea Haze is one shade darker than Gray Owl on the color strip.

To Summarize:

  1. Description: Gray Owl is a light gray paint color by Benjamin Moore with slight green-blue undertones. It offers a fresh, modern look suitable for any room.
  2. Warmth: It’s categorized as a cool gray due to its green-blue undertones.
  3. Popularity: Gray Owl has been a popular choice for about half a decade and competes with other favorites like Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray. Cooler grays are currently being rivaled by warm grays and greiges.
  4. Undertones: Gray Owl has a soft green undertone that can also appear blue in certain lighting conditions.
  5. LRV (Light Reflectance Value): Gray Owl has an LRV of almost 66, which means it’s on the lighter side.
  6. Color Combinations: It pairs well with crisp white trim colors like Benjamin Moore’s Super White or Chantilly Lace. Beach Glass and Philipsburg Blue are good complementary shades, and black accents can enhance a modern look.
  7. Usage: Suitable for various spaces, including kitchens, dining rooms, hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and exteriors. It pairs well with coastal color schemes.
  8. Comparisons:
    • Stonington Gray: Darker than Gray Owl with a stormy blue undertone.
    • Classic Gray: An off-white warmer gray with an LRV of 73.6.
    • Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams): A true warm gray.
    • Agreeable Gray (Sherwin Williams): A warm greige, warmer than Gray Owl.
  9. Impact of Lighting: North-facing rooms can highlight Gray Owl’s blue/green undertones, while south-facing rooms provide warmth. West-facing rooms may see cooler hues of Gray Owl during morning hours, and east-facing rooms amplify blue undertones as the day progresses.

Final Thoughts on Benjamin Moore Gray Owl

Clearly, Gray Owl is popular for a reason. If you’re looking to achieve a fresh, clean looking gray on your walls, I think you will love it. Like any gray paint color, don’t let the undertones scare you – they are what make this paint color so exciting!

You’ll notice that this particular gray works well with wood tones as well as the more commonly used white. In fact, from what I can tell, it works beautifully with all tones and in all different lighting conditions. This isn’t always true for a light-to-medium gray like this, so that’s something that makes Gray Owl special!

sitting room with gray owl walls
Gray Owl Walls via Donna Benedetto Designs

Don’t Forget…

Don’t forget – no matter what you’ve read or photos you’ve seen online, it’s really important to sample paint colors in your home before committing!

Samplize provides real paint samples that are easy to move around your home, and cheaper than buying a gazillion paint pots! It’s the only way I buy paint samples.

Have I persuaded you to choose Owl Gray for an upcoming paint job? Or have you already used Gray Owl in your home? Do you have a paint color that you absolutely swear by? I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. I’m deciding between BM gray owl & SW gossamer veil for my north facing living room with very high cathedral ceiling
    I have two red chairs and medium wood floors

    1. Hi Judy, As per the statement above the comments section, personalized recommendations will only be answered through the Ask a Decorator service. Thanks!

  2. Ashley McVickers says:

    Hi there!

    Who would have known how crazy light gray and white colors could drive a person? Well, I now know because I’m spinning! Ha. Quick and dirty…we have a large master bathroom that gets a lot of natural light. Ten foot ceilings and very substantial, pretty trim work around doors. On one side of the room…the side with the large window…there is a shower that is carrara marble up to about 8.5 ft or so. That marble continues down the wall and goes behind the freestanding tub…up to about 5ft, probably. The marble is very cool toned. On the opposite side of the room are our vanities. Floor is a white tile with really neutral gray and even some greige veining. Counter is a very white quartz with blue/gray veining (very spread out). Our walls were painted nebulous white by the previous owner and it screams blue to me.
    I feel like it makes the marble even look more blue.

    Here’s the thing…I wanted very light gray cabinets that almost glowed. Just light and airy, but some color. I finally chose gray owl and I really like it. But in order for it to stand out and truly look light gray, I want some version of white on the walls. Chantilly seems a bit stark against the marble, but I was looking at Oxford White, as well. I was considering SW Pure White, too. Do you think Oxford White on the walls and trim would go well with Gray Owl? It seems to when I put the chip up next to a drawer, but I was curious if you had ever seen it done and if it looked good!

    I know that was a lot. Thank you for any insight!!

    1. Hi Ashley, As per the statement above the comments section, personalized recommendations will only be answered through the Ask a Decorator service. Thanks!

  3. I presently have gray owl in my whole house, I’m moving and want to use it again, I love blue and see lots of blue undertones, I’m hoping it’ll still read blue at our next house

  4. Jacqueline Lombard says:

    Hi Jenna,

    I’m in a funk with the choice of my living room color we are about to paint. I would love to try Metropolitan Gray AF-690 but it is 2 shades to dark with the natural light coming through the room. We love an airy space by the sea. I cannot seem to find a lighter alternative ? So far, I’m considering Sterling 1591 or Sleighbell ?

    We live by the ocean on the South West side with lots and lots of natural light. I’ve been through several color schemes ranging from BM smoke , silver marlin to gray owl and neutrals in between. They all come out too dark or too light far from the original hue (Gray Owl for one). Any suggestion ? I know right ??

    1. Hi! Trying getting it lightened by 50% and see how you like it. I don’t give personalized decorating advice over comments, but you’re welcome to submit via my ask a decorator service (linked above the comments section) if you need more specific advice!

      1. Jacqueline says:

        Thank you so much Jenna, we’ll try lightening our Colors. Not all suppliers can do this however, as we’d already inquired about this option.

        1. Hi Jacqueline, I’ve never heard of a paint store that won’t lighten the colors. I’ve had it done at several Ben Moore, Sherwin Williams and hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace.

  5. susan hansen says:

    I”m getting ready to paint a beach house walls gray owl. All the trim in the house is extra white SW. The main floor which is great room, kitchen and dinning area face west. Lots of light! My concern is the cabinets are black and the island is a dark turquoise color with a black granite top. The countertops with the black cabinets are whitish with slight brown/gray undertones.Do you think the Gray owl will look more gray vs blue or green. Unfortunately I am unable to go to the house prior to the painter starting the job. I plan to paint bathrooms, few bedrooms with the Gray owl color. I’m hoping the extra white SW trim will make the walls look more gray vs the undertones… Help !!

    1. It totally depends on the source of light, aspect of the room and everything around it! Even what’s outside the window will dictate how it will look! If you have lots of bright light, more than likely it will look gray…but without seeing it in person, I can’t guarantee it!

  6. Laura Muzzo says:

    Will Gray Owl pair well with existing Cloud White trim? I’m looking to brighten my office space which has a light wood desk and bookcases (brown antique pine, looks like oak). Will another shade of white gray pair better with the could white?
    Also want to paint the adjoining small sunroom (5 x 8) in the same light neutral colours which is currently covered in tongue and groove pine walls and trim.

    1. If you already have cloud white as your trim color, then yes, it’s fine! It’s a nice soft warm white for trim.