HomeThe Best Paint ColoursBENJAMIN MOORE & SHERWIN WILLIAMS: Paint Color ReviewsBenjamin Moore Gray Owl OC-52: Paint Color Review

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl OC-52: Paint Color Review

Posted on January 19, 2020 by KylieMawdsley

All About: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl – Undertones and More!

Are you looking for the perfect gray paint color? Well, let me be the first to burst your gray-tinted bubble and say that while there IS no perfect gray paint color, you’ll get pretty darned close with Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.

But, why is there no such thing as a perfect gray paint color, you might ask? Well, it’s all about perception, and exposure…and undertone…and LRV…and so much more. And we’re going to cover all of that shortly.

The best gray paint colour, review of Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, virtual online paint colour consulting. DIY advice blogger

What type of paint color is Gray Owl? Is it warm or cool?

The funny thing is that while Gray Owl is technically a warmer gray, it ALMOST ALWAYS looks cool, especially with its blue-green undertones. If you’re looking for a more TRADITIONAL warm gray, you may want to read this.

Hallway with reclaimed wood flooring and white railling. Benjamin Moore Gray Owl and built in bookcase. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color

What is the LRV of Gray Owl?

Gray Owl has an LRV of almost 66, so it has a pretty softness to it, making it not an off-white, but not even CLOSE to the light-medium range either – it sits quite happily in the middle. Not sure what LRV is? You really should read THIS.

Painted kitchen cabinets. Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, Gray Owl, white subway tile, black laminate countertop. Budget friendly Kylie M Interiors E-design Colour expert (1)

With an LRV of 66, Gray Owl offers a nice contrast with white trim, without adding too much visual weight to the walls. And while it will wash-out on a WELL-lit wall, unless you go darker, any paint color will do the same. However, if you have a dark room, it COULD feel a bit flat if you don’t have adequate interior lighting.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, maple flooring, black granite countertop, Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

And while it might not SEEM that way, Gray Owl is classified as a warm gray (whodathunkit), which can be a bit deceiving based on how it shows up on the walls! This basically means it’s not an ICY cold gray, it has a softness to it without going obviously warm.

Read more: The 4 Best Warm Gray Paint Colors by Sherwin Williams

What are the undertones of Gray Owl? Will my walls look blue or green?

While most gray paint colors have a preferred undertone, many of today’s popular gray paint colors can EASILY slide into any of the 3 gray undertones – and Gray Owl is NO exception!

Gray Owl WANTS to commit to its green undertone, as you can see in this next photo. However, like many gray paint colors, it can EASILY be swayed by trim color (Sherwin Williams Alabaster in this photo), exposure, reflection, other interior finishes and more.

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, best gray paint colour. Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim white kitchen. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, client photo

This means that Gray Owl gets around and isn’t faithfully married to its green undertone – not by a LONG shot, and you can easily expect that green to sliiiide on back to be replaced by a blue-green or almost straight-up blue undertone, as shown in this next photo…

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl one of the best gray paint colours for a dark hallway or staircase by Kylie M Interiors. With photo gallery wall of kids and dark wood and metal stair railing

It can even vary on a wall-to-wall basis as shown in this next photo – a bit more green on the left and a touch bluer on the right!

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with wainscoting, dark wood handrailing on stairs. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

And there it goes in this next photo, looking pretty darned gray with very LITTLE undertone…

Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with industrial style lighting and clock

Long story short, when it comes to Gray Owl (or any paint color), it’s VITAL to sample it carefully in your OWN space before committing to a full gallon on the walls.

What’s the difference between Gray Owl and Stonington Gray?

I get this question ALL the time – so much, it could be a blog post unto itself. And it is, HERE!

However, to satisfy your curiosity quickly, check out how Gray Owl looks slightly more green compared to the stormier, slightly bluer look of Stonington Gray…

Stonington gray and Gray Owl. colour review undertones. Kylie M Interiors Edesign online

The best gray paint colors for your room. Benjamin and Sherwin. Edesign, Kylie M Interiors online paint colour services. Home decorating and diy ideas blogger.market

Click HERE or on the above photo to view my Online Consulting Packages!

Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…

Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…

  • Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
  • At $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needing for traditional paint sampling
  • If you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room

Save money on paint samples by visiting the SAMPLIZE website HERE

What are the best white paint colors with Gray Owl?

Gray Owl is definitely one of the more flexible gray paint colors when it comes to whites and can accommodate everything from cool, crisp whites, to warm, creamy ones! And although it’s shown in a few of the above photos with Sherwin Williams Alabaster, personally, I love it with Benjamin Moore White Dove, Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace and Sherwin Williams Pure White.

Entryway, stairwell, reclaimed pine wood flooring, treads, white railing, white wainscoting. Benjamin Moore Cloud White and Gray Owl. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour and decorating blog

Read more: The 8 Best Benjamin Moore White Paint Colors

Is Gray Owl a good paint color for the exterior of my home?

Maybe…but there’s a LOT to consider when choosing an exterior paint color. When it comes to the DEPTH/LRV of Gray Owl, you’ll want to consider whether it has enough of it to hold up to intense southern light, which could wash it out considerably. You’ll also want to make sure that the undertones jibe with your roof, stone or brick as well.

Exterior metal roof, Benjamin Moore GRay Owl siding and Sherwin Williams Drizzle shutters. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

Read more: 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Paint Color for Your Exterior

Tips for Using Gray Owl in Your Home

  • In my experience, I’ve found that rooms with reduced natural light and/or northern exposure can bring out the blue undertones a bit more
  • Warm whites (trim) can enhance the cool undertones hiding in Gray Owl
  • Gray Owl is GREAT for resale if you have a nice mix of exposures in your home. However, if you have a lot of north-facing light, it can be a bit cold looking for mass appeal
  • If you want something a bit warmer, but equally as popular, check out Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
  • Overall, if you don’t like cool colors but would like a gray, you may want to forget about Gray Owl. It might be CALLED a warm gray, but you can expect it to act cooler on your walls. See if you can find something more up your alley in this article instead…The 9 Best Benjamin Moore Gray Paint Colors

Not sure if Gray Owl is YOUR gray paint color? I’ve got another good one right here…


The best gray paint colour, Sherwin Williams Big Chill, a popular neutral. Kylie M Interiors paint color review of grey. Edesign, online and virtual paint colour consultant

Read more: Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Big Chill

Not sure which gray paint color is best for your room?  

Check out my Online Color Consulting Services

The best gray or grey paint colors for your room. Benjamin or Sherwin. Edesign, online paint colour services Kylie M Interiors. diy home decorating ideas blogger.market

Chat soon

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature


Gray: The 3 Undertones You HAVE to Consider

Stonington Gray vs Gray Owl – Undertones and More

Sherwin Williams 10 Best Gray and Greige Paint Colors

Benjamin Moore 9 Best Gray Paint Colors

Originally written in 2015, awesomely updated in 2020


  1. Ohh..how I wish you had provided this info about 2 weeks ago. I painted my home office (which is very small and connected to my laundry room) Gray Owl. I was convinced it was the color for me until…I finished. It looked like a blue baby nursery! All I could determine was that the wall color from my laundry room (SW Interesting Aqua) was bouncing off my office walls. Total disaster on my part. I ended up painting my office BM Balboa Mist which I like a lot better. Whew!
    I would give anything I had also found your blog about 2 years ago! Thanks for all the great details on paint. It can be so complicated.

  2. Did you ever give Kylie your thoughts on which darker gray would do well for the island. I’m putting a vertical ship lap style on a wall in a small beach house?

  3. What a bummer! I was in a house last week that had gray owl and it really was the perfect gray with no visible undertones. I guess it just depends on your light and what surrounds it! I’m glad you are embracing the green undertones! Do you have white trim to help off set some of those tones?

  4. AHHH!!! I just discovered a Gray Owl conspiracy, I’m sure! I have two color strips from different hardware stores with the Gray Owl on them and although they are close, they have different undertones. I kept reading your articles and thinking that one of us was a tad color blind because the sample I have pulls brown/red. The other one is cooler. I’ll send pics, if you like. I was getting pretty frustrated but I’m glad I can go back to trusting what I’m seeing and what you’re telling me here. 🙂
    All I need is a light cool silvery gray that can go with my warm white cabinets and not pull pink or purple. It’s been an uphill battle and I’ve learned a ton from your site so hopefully I can nail something down soon. Thanks for all the info!

  5. Kylie,
    Your website and color assessments are amazing and SO helpful — thank you! You have become our go-to source for color selection. My husband and I are repainting our first floor. I love Gray Owl, but he thinks it is too green. He’s pushing for Edgecomb Gray but I’m not in love with it, as I think it’s too similar to the ivory paint we inherited in the house. We are considering Stonington Gray as well, but ideally I would like a color that is a wee pit softer like Gray Owl. Are there any others in that family to consider? Thank you!!

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  6. Hi!
    I just finished painting my room SW Sea Salt and my next project is to paint my bathroom. I am looking for a nice light gray. Would Owl Gray be a good choice or do you think it will come out looking more green or blue because of the Sea salt?. I got a sample of the SW Repose Gray the other day but to me it has too much of a tan undertone than what I am aiming for? I plan to paint my back bedroom whatever gray I decide to go with for a nursery at some point as well.


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  7. We just had our whole downstairs painted in gray owl and we love it. I had many sleepless nights trying to pick a color and your blog helped me so much. I can’t thank you enough. My husband thanks you too!

  8. Hi Kylie!

    Love your insight and knowledge of colors… Your website is one of the most helpful resources I have found to understand and compare colors, so thank you for all the time and effort you put into it!

    Some say the gray trend is coming to a close, do you think Gray Owl will be outdated in a few years or do you think this is a classic, timeless color? I’m thinking of doing Gray Owl at 50% or Horizon as a main house color but I’d rather stay ahead of the curve.


  9. Hi Kylie, love your blog. Looking for a nice clean fresh gray. My main living area is north to south. I have large windows, both ends and two long narrow windows on the west side. My dominating feature is the floor to ceiling fireplace that is stacked rock. It’s shades of grays with muted rust here and there. My kitchen cabinets are espresso with nickel handles. The living room suite is chocolate brown leather and the floors are a medium oak colour, not too light or dark. Our art works are colourful, originals from Italy, France and Cuba, they all have some turquoise, reds and yellows in them, very cheerry colours ☺ What do you think of Gray Owl ??? Thanks in advace Christine

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      Hi Christine, from the SOUNDS of it, it could work quite well! Of course without seeing photos I’m not sure, but it seems okay from what you’ve written!

  10. I am in a grey delimma… the house I lived in was painted the absolute perfect grey… it was light and calming yet always changing colors… I had taken a picture of the name of the paint the woman who lived their before me had painted it…. through my move, my phone died and I lost my pictures … I cannot for the life of me remember it. I know it was not Owl grey yet your description sounds so similar to it…. I had white baseboards and in high light it would reflect blue…. other times look like a pale grey but in low light in the evenings it reflected greens…. it was just the coolest color and I fear it is forever lost …. are their any other greys that reflect blue and green?

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      Hi Kendal, check out BM Shoreline and SW Crushed Ice. Sometimes it’s MORE about the exposure/light coming in the windows (ie: trees/grass) than it is about the colour. I mean, that’s not necessarily the case with you, but it can shift things 🙂 YOu can also check out Moonshine, which does lean green, but I’ve seen it easily flash blue. I hope that helps!

  11. What do you think about Gray Owl on the walls and White Dove kitchen cabinets/doors and trim? Would white dove work well? thank you.

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      Hi Laurie, that could be quite pretty, I see no problem with that, of course, without seeing your home that is 😉

  12. Kylie ,
    In your post you mentioned grey can be referred to as muddy , fresh , cool , warm ,. What color would you say is fresh and crisp ? I’m looking for a grey but I don’t want one that has a low LRV . I want something airy , fresh , crisp and clean. My house has a lot of light coming through. What would you suggest ?

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      Hi Ariel, it can really depend on your interior finishes and exposures, but generally, I’ve found that the more fresh/crisp/clean a gray is, the more you can notice the undertones – either blue, green or purple. You could go as light as White Diamond or maybe Iced Cube Silver or First Snowfall, all of which favour a blue-purple. Graytint is also popular, a bit softer and more of a purple, but can flash into blue.

  13. If you don’t mind my commenting, Sherwin Williams Silverpointe is almost an exact match to BM Gray Owl. It’s so close we were having a hard time deciding between the two.

  14. Hello! I just discovered your blog and it’s amazing! Can you please share that olive green color you used to compare grey owl and Stonington grey? It’s such a gorgeous color!

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      AHHHH, this is the one you were talking about! That colour was already in place, but from the looks of it, I bet it was along similar lines to Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray which is a med-dark charcoal with a soft, subtle green undertone :).

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      Hi Debra! Sorry, I’ve looked at the blog, but I can’t seem to see the photo you’re talking about? I’m wondering though if it’s the photo where the bookcase is kind of in the middle of the photo, that wall on the right is ACTUALLY…Gray Owl. It’s just a low light area and the camera angle makes it look much darker!

  15. I came across your blog this time last year just as I was preparing to move into a little house of my own. I knew I wanted to repaint it (the previous owner had used WAY too many colours for me) and I wanted one colour throughout for cohesiveness. You mentioned Grey Owl, and also White Dove…so, I ended up repainting the very white ceilings with White Dove and all the walls are Grey Owl (including baseboards as the ceilings are only 8 foot). I am so happy with the combo, and love the reflective qualities of Grey Owl. My house is bright no matter the weather and everyone who has seen it has remarked on the beautiful wall colour. Great blog!

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  16. Would like to paint walls kitchen gray owl, paint cabinets maybe white heron, island either palladine blue or possibly sea salt. Would this combo work well?

  17. Hi! I realize this is an older post, but I just found it! Could you please tell me what the base cabinet color is in the second photo (of the kitchen)? Really, if you happen to know what direction the light is coming from in that photo as well that would be great! I have kitchen that gets southern lighting so I am trying to find examples of kitchens with the same & I love the palette of the kitchen in that picture! :). Thanks!

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  18. Hi Kylie, I just painted my living room and my bedroom with Gray Owl, I knew I did not want to see any purple or pink (no warmer gray). I was kind of hoping to see a bit of blue or green in my walls but they turned out a perfect soft gray. It is a beautiful color, has 0 pink or purple which is what I really did not want to see. I paired it with White Dove for trims, it looks great.
    Thank you so much for all the effort and information you put in your page, it is so helpful and easy to understand.

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      Ooooo, Fanny, I bet it looks LOVELY! And while yes, the green-blue can pop up, sometimes Gray Owl settles in just the perfectly GRAY spot ;).

  19. Hi Kylie,

    Really love and value your work and enjoy reading all there is on colour.
    I’m in a fairly new build. I just finished painting my laundry room and small powder room in Gray Owl since they virtually right next to each other and share the same tile.
    I have a very open concept bungalow and normally I like to find one colour and use it throughout. I’m not fussed on drastic or stark colour transitions from room to room so I really love that flow where I see that continuity but each room having its own personality (hope I’m making sense).
    We did this build during the height of Covid supply chain was a huge issue-I would have bought differently but in the end I have what I have.
    The question- I really love Pale Oak 1st choice and Winds Breath 2nd which I believe is the better colour in my main living area , kitchen, dining room, entrance and hallways.
    Will it be an ok colour transition against gray owl? Do you think gray owl and winds breath will work ok beside each other. My trim and doors are all Chantilly Lace .
    I know I have to be careful with cool and warm tones.
    Sorry for long message.

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