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Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore is a highly popular gray paint color. It is on Benjamin Moore’s Most Popular Paint Colors list and for good reason. Gray Owl is a super versatile crowd-pleaser.
Welcome to another episode of Cate goes on and on about paint colors. You all know I just cannot help myself.
Today’s color is a great one. It is an absolute stunner. However, it is sometimes not what you were expecting.
I know it’s fun to explore pictures of a paint color you see online. You see a color in someone else’s home, it looks great, and you are sold. Believe me, I know it’s easy to get sucked into all the pretty pictures on Instagram and Pinterest but, don’t run out and order that paint color without testing it in your home!
I’ll get more into why testing and sampling paint colors are so important later. The moral of this story is to never buy a paint color you see online without testing it in YOUR home first.
Ok, now that I think I have made my point, let’s talk about today’s super fabulous paint color.
Please stand for the one, the only….
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL OC-52
First things first, let’s get the stats on Gray Owl.
Benjamin Moore Gray Owl has an LRV of 65.77, which is good in terms of reflecting a decent amount of light.
For those of you new around here LRV, or Light Reflectance Value, is a measurement commonly used by design professionals that measures the amount of light reflected from and absorbed by a surface. LRVs range from 0 -100, with100 being pure white and 0 being absolute black.
- Gray Owl is a part of Benjamin Moore’s Color Preview Collection. This collection is comprised of bold, saturated colors.
- It is also one of the best-selling neutral paint colors.
- According to Encycolorpedia.com
In the RGB color model #d4d5cd is comprised of 83.14% red, 83.53% green and 80.39% blue. In the HSL color space #d4d5cd has a hue of 67° (degrees), 9% saturation and 82% lightness. This color has an approximate wavelength of 568.73 nmEncycolorpedia.com
WHAT COLOR IS GRAY OWL?
Guess what? Benjamin Moore Gray Owl is a gray paint color. I know, you knew that already. But to elaborate a little bit, Gray Owl is more of a mid to light neutral gray. If I had to guess, Benjamin Moore named this color after the Great Gray Owl. The paint color is reminiscent of the coloring of the Owl itself.
I decided to look up the coloring of the Great Gray Owl and this is what I found according to allaboutbirds.org.
Great Gray Owls are silvery gray overall—patterned with fine white, gray, and brown streaking and faint barring. Their yellow eyes shine through the fine gray-and-brown concentric circles of the facial disk. Two pale arcs form an “X” between the eyes. Across the neck sits a white “bow tie” marking with a black center. Their bill, if visible, is yellow. Males and females look similar.allaboutbirds.org
And I bet you thought we’d only be learning about the paint color Gray Owl not the bird too. Getting back to what color BM Gray Owl is, In a balanced state of light, it can be described as a clean and crisp mid-tone gray with flashes of green.
IS GRAY OWL A WARM OR COOL PAINT COLOR?
Here is where things can get a bit confusing. Some people consider Gray Owl to be a warm gray paint color and others say it’s a cool gray. I say, it all depends. I know, that’s probably not the answer you wanted to hear.
If you were to look at Gray Owl in the Benjamin Moore Paint Deck, you will most likely think that it looks like a fabulous neutral gray with the perfect balance of warm and cool tones. However, as you know, paint colors look very different once you get them on the walls in your space.
So one person may paint Gray Owl in their room and see it as a neutral gray whereas another person may paint it in their room and see it as a cool gray with blue undertones coming through.
That’s why I say it depends. You have to factor in everything about the room you are painting, and you have to test your paint colors.
WHAT UNDERTONES DOES BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL HAVE?
BM Gray Owl has blue and green undertones. Now, depending on the elements and lighting in the room you are painting, you may see one or the other or even both. I have seen Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl with both blue and green undertones showing through. Sometimes the undertones can be very subtle, and other times they can be full-on present.
In my experience, I have seen a strong green undertone come through in North-facing rooms with little natural light.
READ MORE: THE BEST GREEN PAINT COLORS
DOES BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL LOOK BLUE
It has the potential to look blue at times. Most often, I have seen Gray Owl look a greenish blue in rooms with cool North facing light. I have also noticed that lighting plays a big role in how this color looks. But also the elements in your space influence Gray Owl as well.
For example, if you have a green carpet in a north-facing room, you will most likely see BM Gray Owl with its green undertones.
GRAY OWL OC-52 AND LIGHTING
We know that lighting is one of the main factors contributing to how a paint color will look. It can virtually change the appearance of any color. That’s a big deal when you are trying to choose the right paint color. So, it’s best you are familiar with the lighting situation of the room you are finding a paint color for.
- North-facing rooms – North-facing rooms tend to have light that comes off cooler and even somewhat blueish in tone. Paint colors that are on the lighter side will appear a bit muted whereas bolder dark colors will pop and embrace that cooler light. You can expect Gray Owl to show its blue/green undertones in North facing rooms.
- South-facing rooms– In South facing rooms, there tends to be a consistent warm light throughout the day. Warm and cool tones work nicely with south-facing light. This light intensifies colors, so darker colors will seem brighter while, softer colors will look like they are gleaming. South facing light tends to be most desirable.
- West-facing rooms- Light is cooler in the morning and warmer or brighter in the afternoon/ early evening. Early evening is when West-facing rooms have the best light. Warmer tones might seem overwhelming because of the red-orange the light gives off. However, if the main use for the room is in the mornings, the colors won’t appear as intense because of that cooler light. BM Gray Owl will look on the cooler side in the mornings of a west-facing room.
- East-facing rooms– Light is warmer or brighter in the mornings and cooler in the afternoon/evenings. An East facing room’s bright morning light is more yellow-orange toned. Going with a warm palette will help balance the lack of natural light in the evening. Benjamin Moore Gray Owl will look will show cooler in the evening in an east-facing room.
Let’s not forget about artificial lighting! The color of your light bulbs will also influence how your paint color will look.
Check out my favorite light bulbs to use with Gray Owl.
As much as lighting plays a major part in how a paint color can look at times, there are other factors you simply cannot forget about.
For example the color of your decor, furniture, fixtures, cabinetry, and floors. These are all elements that can affect the way a paint color will look in your room.
Don’t start painting until you have the right tools!
SHOP MUST HAVE PAINTING TOOLS
WHERE SHOULD YOU USE BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL?
Use Gray Owl anywhere. There are no rules here! G Owl is such a beautiful crisp clean gray that it looks good in so many different applications.
Try using Gray Owl on cabinets, walls, trim, you name it, you paint it.
Seriously though, it’s such a great paint color that it just works anywhere. With that being said, you still have to test the color in the space you want to paint it before using it to make sure you like it.
WANT TO SAMPLE PAINT COLORS THE EASY WAY?
IT’S THE MESS & FUSS FREE WAY TO TEST PAINT COLORS.
- Living Room
IN THE BEDROOM
BM Gray Owl is a great paint color choice for a bedroom. The blue/green undertones will give a bedroom a calm, relaxing feel.
Julie Buckingham Interiors used BM Gray Owl on the walls of this gorgeous master bedroom.
SHOP BEDROOM ACCESSORIES COMPLEMENTARY TO GRAY OWL
The kitchen cabinet is a fantastic place to use Gray Owl. It will give your cabinets a beautiful wash of color without being too bold or “in your face”.
Main Street Kitchens at Botellos used BM Gray Owl on these kitchen cabinets. The color gives the cabinets a very soft, clean, and crisp look. Absolutely stunning!
READ MORE: HOW TO PAINT KITCHEN CABINETS
WILL GRAY OWL BE A GOOD EXTERIOR PAINT COLOR?
Gray Owl certainly can be an option for the exterior! Don’t forget though, paint colors will wash out or look a bit light in the sun. So that’s something to keep in mind. Also, make sure you factor in the other color elements of your exterior, for example, the roof and any stonework you have.
GRAY OWL COMPLEMENTARY COLORS
Neutral paint colors tend to be the easiest to find complementary colors for, especially grays. However, you have to keep in mind the undertones in the paint colors.
In regards to Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, there are blue/green undertones. So, the accent colors you choose can either enhance those undertones or not.
It’s also important I note that cool-toned paint colors like this work well with dark wood.
SO WHAT COLORS GO WELL WITH BM GRAY OWL?
Gray Owl will also work with several blue-gray paint colors.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE TRIM! TRY ONE OF THESE 8 AMAZING WHITE PAINT COLORS.
IS THERE A SHERWIN WILLIAMS EQUIVALENT TO BM GRAY OWL?
There is no exact Sherwin Williams paint color equivalent to Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. However, there are several colors that are quite comparable but, not identical. The one Sherwin Williams color that is a rather close match is:
- Sherwin Williams Big Chill
As I said not identical but similar.
If you were thinking of color matching Gray Owl in Sherwin Williams paint, you should always get a sample beforehand. Sometimes when you color match between paint manufacturers, the colors don’t come out exactly. This is because each brand uses formulates its paint differently.
READ MORE: THE BEST SHERWIN WILLIAMS GRAY PAINT COLORS
Before we move on, I think now is a good time to talk about the BEST way to sample your paint colors.
Quickly, let’s talk about testing paint colors.
Instead of physically going to your nearest paint store to grab your samples, you need to try Samplize Peel & Stick paint samples.
Why should you try Samplize?
- Super affordable
- Made with real manufacturer paint
- Displays color just like a wall
- Environmental friendly
These peel & stick paint samples are super affordable and allow you to test a paint color in all different areas of a room without the mess of a traditional paint sample!
You know how I feel about testing paint colors, it’s a must!
Don’t create more work for yourself. Order Samplize now and have them shipped directly to you. No-fuss, no mess! Check them out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.
Everyone loves a good comparison (with paint colors of course). And as I’ve mentioned before, comparing paint colors is a wonderful way to help you see undertones and whether it’s a warm or cool color.
Below are some of the most requested color comparisons for Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL VS STONINGTON GRAY
- Gray Owl is a bit lighter than Stonington Gray.
- Stonington has an LRV of 59.75 and Gray Owl an LRV of 65.77
- Gray Owl’s predominant undertone is green.
- Stonington Gray is a bit cooler with its blue undertone
- Both are gorgeous, clean light gray paint colors
READ MORE: STONINGTON GRAY COLOR REVIEW
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL VS CLASSIC GRAY
- Classic Gray has an LRV of 74.78
- Between the two paint colors, Gray Owl is darker.
- Classic Gray is a very light warm gray. It will act as a white paint color in rooms where white doesn’t look right.
- Classic Gray also has green undertones; however, they rarely are seen.
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL VS AGREEABLE GRAY
- Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray has an LRV of 60, a tad bit lower than Gray Owl at 65.77.
- Of the two colors, Gray Owl is the cooler-toned paint color.
- Agreeable Gray is a very versatile warm gray /greige paint color.
- Agreeable Gray also has a green undertone that can be seen in certain instances.
READ MORE: AGREEABLE GRAY- IS IT THE BEST GREIGE OUT THERE?
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL VS MOONSHINE
- Moonshine has an LRV of 68.28 which is a hair higher than Gray Owl’s 65.77.
- These are very similar.
- Moonshine is a tiny bit lighter.
- Moonshine is also a cooler-toned gray.
- Both Gray Owl and Moonshine have blue/green undertones.
- Gray Owl can look a bit more of a neutral gray in the right situation.
- *Bonus* I am so in love with Benjamin Moore Moonshine.
READ MORE: MOONSHINE COLOR REVIEW
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL VS REVERE PEWTER
- Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter has an LRV of 55.51
- Compared to Gray Owl, Revere Pewter is the warmer gray / greige.
- Gray Owl has more of a clean, crisp feel to it.
- Both have a green undertone that can show up.
- Revere Pewter works well as a transitional color.
READ MORE: BM REVERE PEWTER – STILL A FAVORITE?
BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY OWL VS BEHR GRAY OWL
- Behr Gray Owl has an LRV of 16, which is the complete opposite of BM Gray Owl’s 65.77.
- As you can clearly see in the picture, Behr Gray Owl is more of a dark, cool tone brown.
- Other than the name Gray Owl, there aren’t any similarities between these two paint colors.
GRAY OWL RECAP
- Benjamin Moore Gray Owl has an LRV of 65.77.
- It is one of BM’s most popular gray paint colors.
- Gray Owl is a light gray paint color.
- It has green/blue undertones.
- A North facing room will enhance the cool tones of BM Gray Owl.
- In a very well-lit room with a lot of natural light, it has the possibility to wash out a bit.
- Gray Owl is a versatile paint color that can work in almost any room.
- It’s a fantastic paint color to use anywhere, especially the kitchen cabinets.
- Gray Owl looks amazing with crisp clean white paint colors like Super White and Chantilly Lace
I have to say, I get it. I can totally see why Gray Owl is one of Benjamin Moore’s best sellers. It’s a true beauty and I wholeheartedly believe it’s a versatile gray paint color.
With that being said, I also think you need to sample BM Gray Owl before you paint your entire room. Why? because you want to make sure the color will work in your space, with your decor, and with your furnishings. Sampling the color is the only way you will know whether or not the green/blue undertones will show up.
In conclusion, if you are ok with a possible blue/green undertone showing up at times, I think you will love Gray Owl. However, if you want nothing to do with those undertones and want a warmer gray I’d suggest looking At something like Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray or Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray.
At any rate, I would highly recommend Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR PAINTING TOOLS AND SUPPLIES!
Get the painting tools the pros use!
Drop cloths are a must for any painting project. Paint is messy! Save yourself the hassle of unnecessary cleanup by using drop cloths. You’ll be happy you did.
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As a seasoned paint color consultant and former proprietor of the highly regarded painting company WOW 1 Day Painting in Bergen County, my journey in the world of design and home improvement has been a colorful one, quite literally. Nestled in the scenic landscapes of Northern New Jersey, I’ve cultivated a passion for transforming spaces through the power of paint, furniture restoration, and thoughtful home decor.