ISSUE 51  |  Snow Days

Shades of Gray: Architects Pick the 10 Best Exterior Gray Paints

December 23, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

There are at least 50 million shades of gray. Which one will look best on your house? We asked members of our Architect/Designer Directory to reveal their favorites. Here are the 10 exterior gray paints that they most often turn to:

Deciding between gray and white? See 10 Easy Pieces: Architects’ White Exterior Paint Picks, also chosen by members of our Architect/Designer Directory. 

Swatch photographs by Katie Newburn for Gardenista.


Above: Top row, left to right: Benjamin Moore Sag Harbor Gray; ICI Grey Hearth; Dunn-Edwards Vulcan; Benjamin Moore Graphite; Benjamin Moore Bear Creek. Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain; Benjamin Moore Gravel Grey; Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn; Farrow & Ball Down Pipe; and Benjamin Moore Graystone.


Above: Los Angeles-based SIMO Design painted this house in Dunn-Edwards Vulcan, a cool blue-gray. It’s the bluest of the shades in our top 10.


Above: LA designers Nickey Kehoe Inc. had this house painted in Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain, a dark gray with a rich brown undertone. The same shade is also a favorite of Geremia Design and Klopf Architecture, both based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photograph by Amy Neunsinger.


Above: Chatham, NY-based architect James Dixon chose Benjamin Moore’s Sag Harbor Gray for this Hudson Valley farmhouse. A light green-gray, it’s part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic Color collection.


Above: Ana Williamson Architect, based in Menlo Park, CA, used Benjamin Moore Graphite on the siding of this modern house. The color is a true dark gray with just a hint of blue. For the trim, Williamson chose Benjamin Moore Gunmetal; the stucco was integrally colored to match Benjamin Moore Timber Wolf.


Above: SF Bay Area-based interior designer Kriste Michelini chose Benjamin Moore Bear Creek as her favorite gray. Rich in brown tones, it’s lighter than Iron Mountain but darker than Grey Hearth. Photograph via Pinterest.


Above: Both LA-based DISC Interiors and SF-based Nicole Hollis picked Farrow & Ball Down Pipe as their top exterior gray. The popular color is a complex mix with hints of blue-green. Photograph via Farrow & Ball.


Above: NYC-based architect Alex Scott Porter has used Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray on several projects, including this cabin on a Maine island. Gravel Gray is the darkest of the shades recommended here.


Above: LA’s Kevin Oreck Architect painted this new house in ICI Grey Hearth.


Above: Interior designer Laura Clayton Baker of LA-based The Uplifters Inc. used Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn on this Washington, D.C., house. The truest gray of those listed here, Peppercorn pairs well with the other shades Clayton Baker used on this exterior: Sherwin-Williams Pure White and Tricorn Black for the trim, and Benjamin Moore Vermilion in a high-gloss finish for the door.


Above: SF-based Klopf Architecture has used Benjamin Moore Graystone on several house exteriors; the shade is appealing in all kinds of light.

Find lots more designer-approved outdoor paint picks for your house at Palette & Paints. Trying to get up the nerve to paint it black? Read 10 Modern Houses Gone to the Dark Side.

This is an update of a post originally published September 16, 2013.