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Is whitish gray a color?

Is whitish gray a color?

Whitish gray is definitely considered a color. Colors can be described in a few different ways – by hue, shade, tone and tint. Whitish gray is a neutral color, meaning it falls in the white, black and gray color families. Specifically, whitish gray is a tint of gray, meaning it is a gray color that has been lightened by adding white to it. So whitish gray is made by mixing white with gray to lighten the gray color and give it a paler, whiter appearance. This results in a soft, muted neutral color that has elements of both white and gray.

Defining Colors

To understand why whitish gray is considered a color, it helps to understand how colors are defined. There are a few key ways to describe and categorize colors:


Hue refers to the base pigment of a color, or where it falls on the color spectrum. For example red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple are all hues. Gray is considered an achromatic color, meaning it lacks hue and is a mixture of black and white.


Shade describes how dark or light a color is. A shade is created by adding black to a hue to darken it. So navy blue is a darker shade of blue.


Tone is similar to shade, but instead of using black it uses gray to mute a color. So a blue-gray has gray added to blue to mute it and make it less saturated.


A tint is made by adding white to a color to lighten it. Pink for example is a tint of red, created by adding white to red. Whitish gray is considered a tint of gray, because white has been added to lighten the original gray color.

So based on these color categories, whitish gray is definitely considered a color. Specifically, it is a tint of the neutral achromatic color gray.

Properties of Whitish Gray

Whitish gray has some unique properties as a lighter tint of gray:

  • It lacks color saturation and is considered a muted, soft neutral.
  • It falls between white and gray on the color spectrum.
  • It has an inherently ambiguous, hazy quality from the mix of white and gray.
  • It can lean slightly cooler or warmer depending on the ratio of white to gray.
  • It creates a sense of weightlessness or ethereality when used in design.
  • It has high value (lightness) but low chroma (color intensity).
  • It works beautifully as a background color thanks to its neutrality.

These properties give whitish gray a delicate, gentle aesthetic that sets it apart from true white and true gray. Whitish grays are popular colors for painting walls in bedrooms, living spaces and galleries because they create a soft, cozy backdrop.

Whitish Gray vs. White vs. Light Gray

Whitish Gray vs. White

Whitish gray differs from true white in subtle ways. White is the lightest possible tone, containing no traces of any other color. Whitish gray retains hints of cool gray mixed in with white to very slightly mute the brightness. This results in a whisper soft, elegant neutral that is not quite as crisp as white. So whitish grays have a gentle quality while white is crisper and more intense.

Whitish Gray vs. Light Gray

Light grays are created by adding small amounts of white to pure gray to lighten it. Whitish grays flip this ratio, with more white added to pure gray. So a light gray may be a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio of gray to white, while a whitish gray uses much more white at a 30/70 or 20/80 ratio. This higher concentration of white gives whitish grays a far softer, subtler effect than light grays.

Whitish Gray Color Palette

There are endless variations of whitish gray depending on the exact ratio of white to gray. Here are some examples:

Color Name Hex Code
Isabelline #F4F0EC
Cultured #F5F5F5
White Smoke #F5F5F5
Gainsboro #DCDCDC
Floral White #FFFAF0

As you can see, whitish grays span the spectrum from greens and blues to pinks and yellows. All are much paler and softer than a true light gray.

Using Whitish Gray in Design

Thanks to its versatile neutrality, whitish gray can be used in all kinds of interior design schemes:

  • Minimalist modern: Whitish grays create an airy, contemporary backdrop.
  • Scandinavian: Whitish grays complement blond wood tones.
  • Industrial: Whitish gray walls contrast dark metals and woods.
  • Traditional: Whitish gray offers a fresh neutral alternative to beige.
  • Eclectic: Whitish gray lets bold colors and patterns stand out.
  • Shabby chic: Whitish gray lends vintage softness.
  • Coastal: Whitish gray evokes driftwood and sea glass.

Whitish gray is a timeless, versatile shade that works in virtually any context. It offers a soothing yet interesting neutral backdrop for decor and furniture.

Whitish Gray Paint Colors

Many popular paint lines have whitish gray options. Here are some top choices:

  • Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
  • Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray
  • Behr Silver Drop
  • Valspar Rocky Road
  • PPG Voice of Color Misty Shadow

These chic paint colors range from blue-tinged grays to warm, greige tones. All provide beautiful and livable foundation colors for any room.


In summary, whitish gray absolutely qualifies as a color. It is characterized by subtle hints of cool gray tones mixed with creamy white to create a soft, evocative neutral shade. Whitish grays have a gentle, ethereal quality unlike true white and light gray. This makes them perfect for creating peaceful, inviting spaces. So next time you want a wall color that calms and soothes – consider going whitish gray!