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What shades of GREY are warm?

What shades of GREY are warm?

Grey is a neutral color that can range from cool to warm undertones. The warmth or coolness of a grey shade is determined by how much red, yellow, blue, and black pigment it contains. Warm greys have more red and yellow undertones, while cool greys lean towards blue and black shades. When decorating with grey, it’s important to understand what qualifies a grey as warm or cool so you can create a cohesive color scheme.

What Makes a Grey Warm?

Greys with warm undertones have a subtle hints of reds, oranges, yellows, tans, and browns. These warm earthy tones make the grey appear richer and more inviting. Warm greys work well in spaces you want to make feel cozy and comfortable.

The more red or yellow pigment a grey contains, the warmer it will appear. Greys with only a small amount of black or blue mixed in will also read as warm. Light reflections can also influence the perceived warmth or coolness of a grey. Warm greys may skew towards beige, oatmeal, taupe, or have a yellowish cast.

What Qualifies as a Warm Grey?

In general, warm greys fall in the middle to lighter range of the grey spectrum. Very dark charcoal greys appear cooler even if they technically have warm undertones. Here are some common shades that are considered warm greys:

– Beige grey
– Mushroom grey
– Taupe grey
– Oatmeal grey
– Dove grey
– Silver grey

Greys with color names like sand, stone, moss, khaki, buff, or pecan are also typically warm. Light to medium greys with brown, red, orange, or yellow undertones are warm. Greys that are neutral to slightly yellowish or beige are warm.

How Much Red/Yellow Makes a Grey Warm?

There is no set formula, but generally speaking:

– Greys with up to 25% red or yellow stay neutral in appearance
– 25-40% red/yellow shifts grey into the slightly warm range
– 40-60% red/yellow produces a warm, cozy grey
– Over 60% red/yellow makes grey turn overtly taupe, beige, or brown

The more red and yellow pigment, the warmer the grey. But even a 15% shift towards red or yellow undertones can give a grey a subtle warmth compared to a pure neutral grey.

What Greys are Considered Neutral?

Neutral greys do not lean noticeably towards warm or cool. They are the “middle” of the grey spectrum. Some popular neutral greys include:

– Light grey
– Medium grey
– Charcoal grey
– Slate grey
– Steel grey
– Ash grey
– Graphite grey

Neutral greys appear balanced without any strong red, yellow, blue, or black cast. They fall in the middle for lightness as well. Neutral greys work well as “blank canvas” backdrop colors.

How Can You Tell if a Grey is Warm?

Here are some tips for identifying warm greys:

– Compare to a known neutral grey. Warm greys will appear slightly tan, beige, or brownish.
– Check undertones. Warm greys reflect hints of red, yellow, or orange.
– View in natural light. Warm greys may take on a subtle golden or peach glow.
– Pair with a strong blue. Warm greys will stand out as more tan/brown next to a blue.
– Notice temperature associations. Warm greys evoke thoughts of coziness, earthiness, and warmth.

Trust your eyes – if the grey makes you think of toast, coffee, or terra cotta, it likely leans warm. Cool greys read more modern, sleek, and icy.

Are Greiges Considered Warm Greys?

Yes, greiges are inherently warm greys. Greige is a combination of grey + beige, two colors with warm undertones. The beige tint shifts the grey to become a warm neutral. Greiges have an inherently creamy, inviting vibe. They work well in cozy bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms.

Some greige shades are more strongly beige, while others are a subtle hint of beige in a dominant grey. But all greiges sit on the warm, inviting end of the grey spectrum.

How Warm Greys Differ from Cool Greys

Warm and cool greys differ in subtle ways. Here’s a brief overview:

Warm Greys Cool Greys
Red, yellow, or orange undertones Blue and black undertones
Tan, beige, khaki, or brown tint Icy, blueish, or black tint
Cozy and inviting Sleek and modern
Natural, earthy vibe Urban, sophisticated vibe
Medium to light shades Light to dark shades

In summary, warm greys bring to mind things like stone, clay, and wood while cool greys evoke thoughts of steel, glass, and graphite.

Are There Controversial Warm Greys?

Not really. Most people agree on the general warm or neutral designation of common greys. But there can be debate around greys that fall right on the cusp between slightly warm and bare neutral.

For example:

– Some call ash grey warm while others insist it’s a true neutral.
– Light French greys can read as bare neutral or hint warm depending on the lighting.
– Dark charcoal that’s barely warm is still perceived as neutral grey.

Unless very far on the warm end, darker greys tend to appear more neutral even with subtle warmth. Lightness brings out undertones more. Overall, warm vs neutral grey is reasonably cut and dry.

How To Use Warm Greys in Design

Warm greys are versatile neutral colors that can make a space feel welcoming and calm. Here are some tips for decorating with warm greys:

– Use warm greys for large surfaces like walls. Their cozy vibe creates an intimate, relaxed feeling.

– Pair warm greys with materials like wood, leather, wool, and linen. These natural textures complement the earthy tones.

– Add pops of reds, yellows, oranges or greens. Warm greys make an inviting backdrop to display vibrant accent colors.

– Use warm greys in north facing or perpetually shaded rooms. Their subtle glow can brighten up gloomy spaces.

– Add warmth with lighting. Candle light, incandescent bulbs, and natural sunlight bring out the beige undertones of warm grey.

– Ground a space with warm grey floors or furniture. Greys like mushroom or oatmeal work well for big statement pieces.

– Accessorize with metallics like bronze, brass, and copper. The shine of these metals relate beautifully to warm greys.

Are Warm Greys Relaxing?

Yes, warm greys are praised for their relaxing, calming effect. The innate warmth provides a welcoming, cozy vibe. Warm greys are soothing without being sedating like a bright warm beige. They provide just enough interest without going too neutral.

People associate warm greys with things like a fluffy bathrobe, smooth pebble, steaming mug of tea, nestled cat, or sunbeam. Their comforting essence makes them ideal for self-care spaces like bedrooms, spas, and lounges. Warm greys help people mentally unwind.

Do Warm Greys Make a Room Look Bigger?

Warm greys can help a room feel more expansive thanks to their light reflectivity. Light greys and off-whites are known for visually opening up a space, and warm versions of these colors perform the same trick.

While deep, intense colors seem to advance and saturate a room, airier warm greys recede gently. Their lighter tones reflect light evenly around the room which makes the boundaries appear to stretch. Warm greys open up smaller spaces in a cozy, welcoming way.

Are Warm Greys Good for Kitchens?

Warm greys are wonderful for kitchens. Their versatility pairs perfectly with all different cabinetry, countertop, flooring, and decor finishes. Warm greys like oatmeal, mushroom, tan, wolf, or greige work well.

The innate warmth of these hues creates an inviting, lively ambiance. Warm greys make people feel at ease in the kitchen, transforming the space into a welcoming hub for connection. Their softness also contrasts beautifully with gleaming stainless steel appliances in a modern kitchen.

Warm greys strike the ideal balance between cozy and clean. They provide a fresh, neutral backdrop without sterility. Warm greys help kitchens become more human.

Do Warm Greys Go with Oak?

Yes, warm greys complement oak wood tones beautifully. Oak has rich golden-orange undertones which relate harmoniously to shades like beige-grey, taupe, oatmeal, and tan. The warmth of the grey plays up the natural glow of oak.

Warm greys help oak feel grounded and luxe instead of stark or overwhelming. Combining oak cabinets, flooring or furniture with walls, textiles, and decor in warm greys creates a welcoming space.

Cool greys would bring out an unflattering yellow-orange in the oak. Only warm greys can match the cozy essence of oak wood.

How Do You Decorate with Warm Greys?

Some tips for effectively decorating with warm shades of grey:

– Textures are key. Use nubby, soft, cozy materials like wool, velvet, linen, and sheepskin.

– Metallics like antique bronze, brass, and copper relate beautifully to warm greys.

– Add pops of ochre, mustard, olive green, and terra cotta to bring out undertones.

– Use warm grey foundations like walls or larger furniture pieces, then accessorize with wood, leather, ceramics and live plants.

– Accent with creamy off-whites and beiges for a harmonious monochrome vibe.

– Introduce some weathered, reclaimed woods. The patina relates nicely to warm greys.

– Use warm-hued lighting like incandescent bulbs, candles or string lights to cast a cozy glow.

Do Warm Greys Go With Brown?

Absolutely. Brown and warm greys work seamlessly together. Shades like beige-grey, tan, taupe, dove, pewter, oatmeal and khaki grey all complement and enhance different wood tones.

The red and yellow undertones in warm greys reflect brown’s natural earthiness beautifully. Browns give warmth and texture while warm greys add subtle depth and interest.

Together, rich wood browns and warm greys create spaces with lots of natural character. The pairing has an approachable, inviting feel.

Should You Use Warm Grey or Cool Grey for Walls?

This depends on the overall style you want to achieve:

– For a cozy, welcoming look, use warm greys like beige-grey, greige, taupe, tan, or oatmeal. The warmth is inviting.

– For a more sleek, modern, or industrial vibe, lean into cooler greys like charcoal, slate, or steel tones.

– In smaller rooms, warm greys make the space feel more expansive and airy.

– South facing rooms can handle cool greys, while north facing rooms benefit from warm greys’ subtle glow.

– Existing wood trim or floors may appear more flattering against warm greys vs stark cool greys.

Overall, warm greys provide a soothing, lived-in comfort while cool greys read more sophisticated and contemporary. Choose the vibe you want to cultivate.

Do Warm or Cool Greys Look Better with White Trim/Cabinets?

White trim and cabinets look beautiful with both warm and cool greys. The key is sticking within a coherent color palette for the whole space. Here are some pairings that work:

– Warm greige, oatmeal or tan grey walls with bright white trim and cabinets
– Light grey walls with slightly warm off-white trim and antique white cabinets
– Charcoal grey walls with clean, stark white trim and cabinets

Don’t mix stark bright white with very warm greys. And keep cool greys from clashing with yellowed antique white tones. Match the undertones for a harmonious look.

How to Choose Warm Grey Paint Colors

Here are some tips for selecting the perfect warm grey paint for your space:

– Figure out how warm you want the grey to appear – just barely hinting warm or clearly in the tan/beige family?

– Look at grey paint chips in natural daylight to see undertones accurately.

– Compare swatches to color palettes and materials already in the space.

– Test grey paint samples on the wall and view at different times of day before fully committing.

– Favor light reflectivity for large surfaces like walls and darker shades for accents.

– Don’t forget to coordinate grey floors or furniture into your scheme so everything ties together.

– Trust your eyes and gut. Pick the warm grey that makes you feel good.

Top 10 Warm Grey Paint Colors

Here are 10 stand-out grey paint colors with warm undertones:

1. Anew Grey by Benjamin Moore – a greige with beige undertones

2. Balboa Mist by Sherwin-Williams – a light warm grey that reads as a true neutral

3. Accessible Beige by Benjamin Moore – a popular greige with a warm sandy base

4. Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore – slightly warm with more grey than beige coming through

5. Eider White by Sherwin-Williams – minimal warmth but reads cozier than a true neutral

6. Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore – a light brownish-grey, works well in every room

7. Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore – medium-tone greige, feels both classic and fresh

8. Biscuit by Behr – a greige with definite beige influence, but muted and modern

9. Coventry Gray by Sherwin-Williams – a warm, inviting medium-tone grey with green undertones

10. Classic French Grey by Benjamin Moore – a romantic Parisian twist on warm grey


Identifying warm greys comes down to detecting those slight red, yellow or brown undertones. Greys that make you feel enveloped in a cozy throw blanket likely lean warm. Decorating with these hues can help create welcoming, relaxed spaces. Just steer clear of overtly orangey beige tones unless you want an intentionally vintage 70s feel. Use warm greys as a backdrop in any room to achieve a timeless, livable style.