Benjamin Moore Thunder AF-685

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Benjamin Moore Thunder AF-685 is a soft neutral gray paint color that will add sophistication to any space.

I know what you are thinking, another gray paint color. 

But, this is not a gray off the list of the usual cast of characters. This gray, in my humble opinion, does not get the love it deserves. 

That’s why for today’s post I want to turn the spotlight on and give this fantastic gray it’s moment to shine.

Allow me to introduce, 

Benjamin Moore Thunder AF-685

Benjamin Moore Thunder

So what is it about BM Thunder that is so fantastic?  Where do I begin?

For starters it is in the Color trends Palette for 2020.  So that is kind of a big deal.

It’s also a part of the Affinity Color Collection by Benjamin Moore.

What is the Affinity Color Collection by Benjamin Moore? I’m glad you asked. 

Benjamin Moore Affinity

A sophisticated palette of harmonious hues designed to express your color vision with confidence. Our most recent introduction of 144 beautiful colors was designed expressly so that each color works seamlessly on its own or in combination with any other color in the Affinity palette.

Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore Thunder

Another reason I sing such high praises of this gray is that it’s pretty dang neutral in terms of gray paint colors. However, like all grays, some sneaky undertones can show up in certain lighting, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.

Let’s get a little technical with Thunder Benjamin Moore before going anything further. By technical I mean LRV. I guess I could have just said that, to begin with. 

Thunder has an LRV of 48.05. 

As a reminder, LRV, as defined on the Benjamin Moore Website, is 

 a measurement commonly used by design professionals—such as architects and interior designers—that expresses the percentage of light reflected from a surface. LRVs range from 0-100, with 100 being pure white and 0 being absolute black.

So, the higher on the LRV scale the more light that paint color will be reflecting. With an LRV of 48.05, Thunder is sitting pretty almost smack in the middle of the scale. 

What Color is Benjamin Moore Thunder?

Ben Moore Thunder is a soft and sophisticated gray. It’s not too dark yet, it’s not too light, you can say it is the middle of the road. If you compare it to BM Edgecomb Gray, you can see its much darker. Then is you compare it to BM Sparrow, it is lighter.

There are also no incredibly strong undertones pulling it one way or another as you see in some other gray paint colors. Yes, some undertones will show in certain light situations. However, Thunder is a great versatile gray paint color that stays fairly neutral.

Let me add, BM Thunder is best suited for a space that is well lit. I’d say the more light the better for this guy.

This picture was taken in a dimly lit hallway. You can see how the color on the paint chip appears to be dark.

For reference, the color on the wall next to the white trim is Sherwin Williams Repose Gray. You can see that the tone of these two colors is close. Thunder is a tad bit darker than Repose Gray. But that’s only comparing off the paint chip sample.

Is Thunder Considered Greige?

Thunder can be considered a greige.  But, in different lighting situations, it can look more gray than greige once it’s painted on the wall. If you were to look at the paint chip you get from Benjamin Moore, it does, however, look a bit more beige.

That’s the problem with those small paint ship samples. They aren’t fully accurate. Always swatch the actual paint color or use  Samplize peel & stick paint samples to test out paint colors. Check out my full review on Samplize Peel & Stick Paint Samples.

Don’t forget to pick up these amazing painting tools! They will only make your life easier!

Is Thunder Warm or Cool?

 Now, when you look at the paint strip, Thunder looks very warm when compared to the cooler Benjamin Moore Metropolitan. But, that’s because you are seeing it next to other colors. When you take Thunder on its own, you will see it’s not that warm of a paint color. Yes, there is warmth in it because of its undertones but. it is not overwhelming.

In my opinion, BM Thunder strikes a beautiful balance between warm and cool.

Thunder paint strip

Benjamin Moore Thunder’s Undertones

Now we are getting into the good stuff, Thunder’s undertones.  

Undertones are what make a color. Thunder has subtle greige undertones. It also has a tiny bit of purple in there. The undertones are not too cool, yet not too warm. Basically it’s the perfect balance of both warm and cool.

Benjamin Moore Thunder and Lighting

  • North-facing rooms – Light in North-facing rooms come off cooler and somewhat bluish. Lighter colors appear more muted, while bolder colors will show up, or appear better. Thunder in a north-facing room has the potential to appear cooler and even show that slight purple undertone it has,
  •  South-facing rooms– In South facing rooms, there tends to be a consistently bright light throughout the day. Warm and cool tones work with south-facing light, This light intensifies colors, so darker colors will seem brighter while,  softer colors will almost look like they are glowing. Benjamin Moore Thunder will look it’s best in a south-facing room.
  • East-facing rooms– East facing rooms have the brightest light in the mornings, with a yellow-orange tone.  If an east-facing room will be used mostly in the evenings, going with a warm palette will help balance the lack of natural light. Thunders warmer tones may come out more in the morning of an East-facing room.
  • West-facing rooms- 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. Thunder in a west-facing room will look warmer because of the red orange light.

WAIT! Before you start painting make sure you have the best painting tools to make your job easier. It will take hours off your painting times!

Where can you use Thunder BM AF-685?

Considering Benjamin Moore Thunder is such a versatile gray, it can be used anywhere. 

Use it on the Exterior of a home.

The exterior of a home is the perfect spot to use Thunder. This soft gray will look absolutely stunning. But remember because it is on the exterior, Thunder will surely look lighter because of the full exposure of natural light.

See More Benjamin Moore Exterior paint color options.

Benjamin Moore Thunder Exterior
via Home Bunch

Kitchen Cabinets

Another fantastic opportunity to use BM Thunder is on your kitchen cabinets. Gray cabinets are a great way to add character to a kitchen and using a neutral gray paint color such as Thunder will make them stand out.

Thunder kitchen Cabinets
via Tracery Interiors


Walls are the most obvious place to use BM Thunder. It creates the perfect canvas for furnishings and decor because of how neutral it is.

Rooms with a ton of natural light are the ideal space to use Benjamin Moore Thunder. The natural light will keep this gorgeous gray looking it’s best and not dark, dull or drab.

via Lisa Gutow Design

Don’t start painting until you have the right tools!


Colors similar to Ben Moore Thunder

Similar colors to Thunder

A few colors that are very similar to Benjamin Moore Thunder are:

  • Himalayan Trek 1542
  • Shale 861
  • La Paloma Gray 1551
  • Silver Fox 2108-50
  • SW Mindful Gray

Colors that coordinate with Thunder

We know Thunder is a great neutral gray paint color and its versatility allows it to coordinate nicely with many paint colors especially, colors from the Affinity Color Collection.

The Affinity Color Collection was created so that all the colors work in combination with one another. 

A few colors from the palette Thunder works especially well with are Dragonfly AF-510, Serenata AF-535, and Mascarpone AF-20.

via Benjamin Moore

As I mentioned earlier, BM Thunder is also in the Color Trends Palette for 2020. Some additional paint colors it will coordinate with from that palette are:

  • First Light 2102-70 ( Benjamin Moores’s 2020 Color of the year)
  • White Heron OC-57
  • Buxton Blue HC-Blue
BM the color trends 2020 palette

Thunder vs. Revere Pewter

Benjamin Moore Thunder and Revere Pewter are both fantastic gray paint colors, but how do they compare?

  • Revere Pewter has an LRV of 55.51 which is a tad higher than Thunders 48.05
  • Thunder is more of a neutral gray. whereas Revere Pewter is more of a greige.
  • Revere can sometimes look a little muddy or earthy.
  • Thunder has the tiniest bit of purple in it and Revere has a touch of green in it.
  • Thunder is well balanced between warm and cool tones.  
  • Revere Pewter has warm tones.

Who is the winner of this paint color battle?  I don’t think there is a winner or loser here. Both Benjamin Moore Thunder and Revere Pewter are fabulous gray/greige paint colors. It depends on whether you are looking for a warm or more neutral paint color.

In my opinion, I gravitate towards Thunder. 

Benjamin Moore Thunder Recap

  • Thunder by Benjamin Moore is a mid-toned greige paint color.
  • It doesn’t have any overwhelming undertones coming through. 
  • There is however a slight purple undertone that can be seen in certain lighting situations.
  • Thunder is a part of the Affinity Color Collection.
  • BM Thunder is in the Color Trends 2020 Palette
benjamin Moore thunder paint strip

Final Thoughts

I think Benjamin Moore Thunder is an outstanding gray paint color that has a soft and sophisticated look to it. This mid-toned gray provides a beautiful neutral backdrop for a well-lit room with lots of natural light. 

I think this color has been under the radar for too long. But now that it’s on the Color Trends Palette for 2020, I think it will get the recognition it deserves. 

Interested in More Paint Colors?

Remember, every space is different. And lighting, furnishings, and decor all affect how a paint color will look. A north-facing room with little natural light that’s painted with Thunder will look differently than BM Thunder painted on the exterior of a home.

It’s best to swatch the color in the space you are considering using it and observing it throughout the day. By doing this will give you a good idea of how it will look morning, noon and night.

Be prepared to swatch! Grab yourself some chippy brushes.

Looking for an easier way to swatch paint colors? Try Samplize Peel & Stick paint samples. These peel & stick paint samples let you test a paint color in all different areas of a room. You know how I feel about testing paint colors in all lighting situations. And the best part about Samplize? They are mess-free! Check them out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.


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10 thoughts on “Benjamin Moore Thunder AF-685”

  1. I love Thunder! We’ve been using it in our home since 2012/2013. We are currently remodeling our “cozy” 1950’s ranch bathroom. We are using painted white shiplap on the lower portion of the walls. I’m tempted to use Thunder for the upper portion of the walls, but I would like to try a lighter gray. Thunder isn’t that dark when painted on walls, but next to white and in a small bathroom, I would like something a little lighter. Any suggestions for a lighter and complimentary gray color to try?

  2. just painted out north facing living room bm shale 861. I noticed in certain light it has a purple look. Should i paint a accent wall to help tone down that look. I was thinking bm smoke as the pillows I have do have that color in it or are accent walls outdated. I have dark brown leather couch with accent pillow of teals brown and grey. I was disappointed with the undertone as it was not evident on the color swatch. Could it be the brown/tan rug in the living room be bringing out the purple? Thank you

  3. Do you think Thunder will look ok with warmer tones in Venetian Gold counters? The cabinets are painted China White and we have oak floors in the room. Thanks!

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