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the absolute best gray paints

A neutral hued primary bedroom/ Photographer: Haris Kenjar / Farrow & Ball's Dimpse, a go-to gray for pros, appears in this peaceful primary bedroom designed by Brian Paquette.

Gray is having a major moment—actually, it's having a major year. After all, a shade of the color, Ultimate Gray, was named one of Pantone's two Colors of the Year 2021. But designers have long been reliant on the neutral to balance out bright colors (like Ultimate Gray's sidekick, Illuminating, a Pantone yellow that also claimed Color of the Year fame), and imbue a space with calm. How can you know which of the many grays are right for your space? We polled some of our designer friends on their favorite shades of gray to sample.

A gray wall with two graphic artworks/Photographer: Tony Soluri/A custom gray by Farrow & Ball proves how much impact a neutral can have when paired with graphic artwork—in this case, works by artist Santiago Parra in a home designed by Aaron Bladon Studio.

Designer Alison Rose, of her eponymous firm, calls out Farrow & Ball’s Purbeck Stone for being "not too warm, not too cool." Want something a bit warmer? Kirsten Grove of We Three Design says, "I am a huge Dimpse by Farrow & Ball fan. It's a light gray that is way more warm than cool."

A gallery of images set against a gray paint backdrop/Photographer: Mike Schwartz/A deep gray, Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball, complements artwork in a dining room designed by architect Michael Abraham.

Designer Barry Goralnick chooses Sherwin-Williams's Drift of Mist, while designer Traci Connell goes for Farrow & Ball's Lamp Room gray. Designer Rachel Cannon opts for Benjamin Moore's Amherst Gray.

A living room with gray walls/Photographer: Aaron Leitz/Benjamin Moore's Amherst Gray paint covers the walls in this stately sitting room by designer Jessica Joers.

Just be sure to sample different variations of the shade. As designer Molly Ballard of Castle Design says, "Gray is hard because the undertones are so important. No one wants to end up with a lavender laundry room when they wanted light gray!" Her choice? "Sherwin-Williams's Amazing Gray is a sure bet when you want a little more depth of color."

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