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Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore

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Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore is a well-known and best-selling paint color. This soft, light gray is not only loved by homeowners but by designers as well. It’s a go-to neutral that is extremely versatile allowing it to mesh well with any style.

Hello all!

What an exciting day it is. Why you may ask? Simply because today we are chatting about a very popular and well-loved paint color.

Now I choose this color today not only because it is a fantastic color but also because it is one that has been requested a ton lately. And honestly, it is on my mind.

I hope you are all ready to learn about

BENJAMIN MOORE PALE OAK OC-20

BM Pale Oak PAINT CAN SWATCH

Let me get right on into it with the stats on Pale Oak.

STATS

  • LRV: 68.64
  • HUE FAMILY: Yellow, near the yellow-red
  • VALUE: 8.50
  • CHROMA: 0.73
  • COLOR COLLECTIONS: Off-White Collection, Best-Selling Colors
  • AKA: Pale Oak 858

Pale Oak has an LRV of 68.64. This is on the higher side. Now, what exactly does LRV mean?

LRV, or Light Reflectance Value, is a measurement commonly used by design professionals. It measures the amount of light reflected from and absorbed by a surface. LRVs range from 0 -100, with 100 being pure white and 0 being absolute black.

So the higher the LRV the more light reflecting it will do.

A great article to read if you want to learn more about LRV is Light Reflectance Value: What Do Those Numbers Mean?

Hue family is a helpful piece of information to know because it lets you know where the color comes from. Unlike undertones where they are merely subjective, the paint color’s hue family stems from scientific data. Pale Oak comes from the yellow hue daily, leaning closer to the yellow-red side.

Pale Oak is also known as Pale Oak 858. This is a common thing with Benjamin Moore. They have multiple paint colors with aka names.

Benjamin Moore groups their paint colors in collections and sometimes paint colors overlap collections. The color is the same, it is simply the collection that’s different.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PAINT COLORS

painting tracker graphic

PALE OAK COLOR STRIP

  • Baby Fawn OC-15
  • Cedar Key OC-16
  • White Dove OC-17
  • Dove Wing OC-18
  • Seapearl OC-19
  • Pale Oak OC-20
  • Winter White OC-21

WHAT COLOR IS PALE OAK?

Pale Oak is considered to be an off-white paint color. Benjamin Moore describes it as

With its warm gray undertones, this versatile neutral conjures the quiet majesty of white oak.

Benjamin Moore

I do think that’s the perfect way to describe this color. It is not quite a full-on gray nor is it a full-on white. It sits happily somewhere in between.

Whether you want to call Pale Oak a gray or an off-white, it is definitely a light warm neutral paint color. It’s rich, yet subtle at the same time.

Simply looking at the paint swatch, it looks like a light warm gray paint color.

But remember, the way a paint color looks on a small paint chip is not an accurate representation of how it will appear on your walls. The small paint chips are dyed to match the paint colors, they are not the actual paint. This is why I always say you have to sample your paint colors!

Overall, I’d say like many other paint colors Pale Oak is a chameleon. It reacts to the lighting it is in and the elements around it.

In a room with a ton of natural lighting, Pale Oak may look more like an off-white. Or in a northern-facing room, it can show as a very creamy light gray with taupe tones.

But if you have the perfect setting with balanced lighting Pale Oak will look like a soft and elegant light gray paint color.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE PAINTING WITH THE BEST QUALITY PAINTBRUSH.

IS PALE OAK A GREIGE PAINT COLOR?

Many people describe Pale Oak as a greige paint color. And yes at times, it does look to be a bit greige-ish. The greige comes from the warmth as well as the gray that Pale Oak has.

Is Pale Oak always going to look like a greige? Nope.

There are times it may not look greige because of lighting and elements in a space. So be cautious of that and always, always sample your paint color!

Use Samplize Peel & Stick Paint Samples for a mess-free way to test paint colors!

IS PALE OAK A WARM OR COOL-TONED PAINT COLOR?

Pale Oak is a warm-toned gray paint color. It’s not the most warm-toned gray you will find yet it is warmer than some other gray paint colors.

You can expect to see PO looking a bit more gray in cooler north-facing light and a bit more greige in warmer southern-facing light.

An excellent way to recognize if a paint color is warm or cool-toned is to compare it to another paint color. For example, let’s take Pale Oak and compare it to Moonshine. When placed side by side you can see that Moonshine is cool-toned.

Pale Oak vs Moonshine

PALE OAK BENJAMIN MOORE UNDERTONES

The Benjamin Moore website says Pale Oak has warm gray undertones. I’d have to also agree with them.

But the real question is what colors will Pale Oak possibly flash?

In unbalanced lighting, Pale Oak can sometimes flash or appear to have a purple or even a slight pinkish tone. This is not the case for everyone. It all comes down to the lighting, fixed elements, and decor you have in the space you are using the paint color.

Undertones and possible colors that can be seen in Pale Oak all revolve around lighting, fixed elements, and decor you have in your space.

If you really want to see how it will appear in your room, grab a paint sample and test in it the space. This will give you an accurate representation of how the color will perform.


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CARDINAL DIRECTIONS, LIGHTING, & PALE OAK

Lighting is one, if not the most, important factor when it comes to what a paint color will look like

It largely affects how you will perceive a paint color. For this reason, it’s a great idea to be knowledgeable about the lighting condition and the cardinal direction of the room you are choosing the right paint color for.

lighting direction chart

The table shows the four cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west, with a brief description of how the light looks from each direction.

NORTH-FACING ROOMS – Light in North-facing rooms comes off cooler and somewhat bluish. Lighter colors will appear more muted, while bolder colors will show up, or appear sounder.

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 a bit brighter while softer colors will appear to look like they are gleaming.

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 mainly in the evenings, going with a warm palette will help balance the lack of natural light.

WEST-FACING ROOMS – Early evening is when West-facing rooms have the most favorable 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 strong as they would in the evening.

It’s important to remember to always take lighting into consideration while choosing a paint color. But you cannot forget about the other elements that influence how a paint color may look. This includes fixed features like cabinetry, flooring, tiles, etc. as well as the decor colors you choose for your home.

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 time!

WHAT ARE THE BEST LIGHT BULBS TO USE?

Don’t forget about your light bulbs! The color of the light bulbs in your home is commonly overlooked and it can affect the way a paint color will look.

All lighting affects your paint color, whether natural or artificial. But with artificial lighting, it can somewhat be doctored and that’s with the color of the light bulb you use.

The color of the light bulbs you use will influence how a paint color will look in a room. And unfortunately, it’s an important detail that is often overlooked.

With the variety of light bulbs available and it can become overwhelmingly confusing. I mean what really soft white and bright white?

Thankfully, it becomes easier once you know a little bit about light bulbs.

For reference, light color or light appearance is measured on the Kelvin (K)temperature scale. Lower Kelvin numbers mean more yellow light; the higher the Kelvin number the whiter or bluer light.

Remember, lower Kelvin (K) numbers = yellow light, Higher Kelvin (K) numbers = white/blueish light

I always recommend using this type of light bulb.

Be cautious of the light bulb names such as “daylight” or warm light”. I’d advise against picking a light bulb by its name.

Instead, always check the package for actual facts. This allows you to choose the best bulb for you.

Don’t forget, as much as lighting plays a significant part in how a paint color will look at times, there are other determinants to be aware of. For instance, decor, furniture, fixtures, cabinetry, and floors. These are all elements that can affect and/or influence the way a paint color will look in your room.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SAMPLE?

I’m an advocate for testing and sampling paint colors. I wholeheartedly believe it’s a surefire way to see how a paint color will look in a room. I feel as though many people brush over this step in the painting process and I think it’s wildly insane.

LEARN HOW TO TEST YOUR PAINT SAMPLE THE RIGHT WAY.

GRAB A SAMPLING PAINT COLORS WORKSHEET TO LEARN HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SAMPLES

Do not skip on test sampling your paint colors! It’s one of the most significant painting mistakes you can avoid.

Now that we are clear that sampling is a must, what is the best way to sample Chantilly Lace?

SAMPLIZE PEEL & STICK PAINT SAMPLES OF COURSE!

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
  • Mess-free
  • Non-damaging
  • Made with real manufacturer paint
  • Displays color just like a wall
  • Environmental friendly
  • Reusable
Samplize Swatch

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.

WHAT’S THE BEST TRIM COLOR FOR PALE OAK?

The most popular trim color is white. It goes with everything and pops against the wall paint color. That being said, what’s the best white trim color for BM Pale Oak?

Not all white paint colors are created equally. Some are warm, some are cool, and there is virtually a white paint color for every situation. As for the Pale Oak, it works beautifully with a ton of white paint colors. Some of my favorites for trim are:

READ MORE: THE BEST WHITE PAINT COLORS FOR TRIM

WHERE CAN YOU USE BENJAMIN MOORE PALE OAK?

Pale Oak is such a flexible color that it can work anywhere. The fact that it’s a color chameleon allows it to work for almost any color palette and style.

KITCHEN CABINETS

colorfulcupboardpainting on Instagram used Pale Oak on these kitchen cabinets.

The color works with the existing counters and backsplash.

READ MORE: HOW TO PAINT KITCHEN CABINETS

thehollishouse on Instagram chose to paint the walls of her living room Pale Oak and I think it was a perfect choice.

Here the color looks more of a neutral beige. Absolutely stunning!

IS PALE OAK A GOOD EXTERIOR PAINT COLOR?

Pale Oak Home Exterior
via dreamersofdreams

Pale Oak will certainly work for the exterior of a home. But the thing you need to keep in mind is that it will read more like a warm off-white.

Paint colors on the exterior will always look lighter. This is due to the direct sunlight.

I think Pal Oak is a great option for someone who is looking for a color with a tad bit more depth than a straight white paint color. If you are struggling with whites for your exterior, Pale Oak may be a good option to look at. It just may surprise you,

EXPLORE MORE EXTERIOR PAINT COLORS:

WHAT IS THE SHERWIN WILLIAM S EQUIVALENT TO BM PALE OAK?

This may be one of the most highly asked questions about paint colors. Is there an equivalent in another paint brand? The answer is no, there is not.

Of course, there are colors that are very similar to one another, though I have yet to find an actual dupe.

Honestly, I think this is a good thing. Who wants a ton of the same paint colors?

It gives us more choices in the world of paint colors. But I do understand why people ask about equivalents. Sometimes we don’t have access to certain brands and if you fall in love with a paint color from that brand you want to find it elsewhere.

So for the curious, I have found a Benjamin Moore paint color that is similar to SW Kilim Beige. Not a dupe, but similar.

SW 9589 LIMEWASH Sherwin-Williams Emerald Designer Edition

  1. VALUE: 8.5
  2. CHROMA: 0.7
  3. HUE: Yellow
  4. LRV: 67.
Pale Oak vs Limewash

SW 7631 CITY LOFT

  • VALUE: 8.6
  • CHROMA: 0.7
  • HUE: Yellow
  • LRV: 70
Pale Oak vs City Loft

I know what you are thinking, can’t I just color match between brands? Yes, you can but I must warn you to proceed with caution. Every brand formulates its paint colors differently. This means that if they make up a paint color that isn’t theirs, it has the possibility of being slightly off.

If you still want to go for it, I highly suggest getting a sample of it to start. This way you can see if the color works for you.

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 time!

PALE OAK COLOR PALETTE

Creating color palettes can be challenging. Occasionally it’s just plain hard to figure out what colors go best together. That’s why I always like to throw out a few colors that will work with the showcased paint color.

Luckily though, Pale Oak is such a timeless neutral paint color that it pairs well with virtually any color.

Pale Oak looks great with yellows, greens, pinks, and reds. It also complements a wide range of wood tones.

COLOR COMPARISONS

Let’s talk color comparisons!

Believe it or not, comparing paint colors is a helpful little trick you can use to choose a paint color.

.By placing two colors you like head to head, you may discover one is a bit warmer or one has more of a blue cool tone to it. It can sometimes help you see certain aspects you may not see by looking at a color alone.

It truthfully can help your paint color decision. But it doesn’t replace the sampling you need to do with your paint colors. Comparing colors will help you narrow down your search, but it doesn’t tell you if the color will work in your home. Always sample your paint colors!

That said, I pulled a few popular colors to compare to BM Pale Oak. Let’s take a look at how they compare.

PALE OAK VS SWISS COFFEE

Pale Oak vs Swiss Coffee (
  • Swiss Coffee has an LRV of 83.9. This is higher than Pale Oak;’s 68.64
  • Swiss Coffee is the lighter paint color of the two.
  • Pale Oak is a bit more saturated. Swiss Coffee has a tiny bit less color to it.
  • Both colors are from the yellow hue family.
  • Swiss Oak is closer to an off-white, and Pale Oak is more on the gray side

READ MORE: SWISS COFFEE PAINT COLOR REVIEW

PALE OAK VS BALBOA MIST

Pale Oak vs Balboa Mist
  • Balboa Mist has an LRV of 65.5, Very close to Pale Oak’s LRV of 68.64
  • Pale Oak is a slight bit lighter than Balboa Mist.
  • Balboa Mist is less saturated, it has a bit less color.
  • Both colors are from the yellow hue family.
  • Pale Oak has a slightly more greige look to it

READ MORE: FULL PAINT COLOR REVIEW OF BALBOA MIST

PALE OAK VS AGREEABLE GRAY

  • Agreeable Gray has an LRV of 60, lower than Pale Oak’s 68.64
  • Both colors are from the yellow hue family
  • Pale Oak is the lighter paint color
  • Both are very similar in saturation, Pale Oak has a bit more color
  • Agreeable Gray has a bit more gray.

READ MORE: AGREEABLE GRAY REVIEW

PALE OAK VS CLASSIC GRAY

Pale Oak vs Classic
  • Classic Gray has an LRV of 74.8, higher than PO’s 68.64
  • Both are from the yellow hue family
  • Classic Gray is a little lighter
  • Pale Oak is the more saturated of the two.
  • Both colors have a chance of showing purple in unbalanced lighting

PALE OAK VS EDGECOMB GRAY

Pale Oak vs Edgecomb Gray
  • Edgecomb Gray has an LRV of 63.9, a tad bit lower than Pale’s 68.64
  • Both colors are from the yellow hue family
  • Pale Oak is a slight bit lighter
  • Edgecomb Gray is the more saturated color.
  • Edgecomb Gray is more of a beige-gray

READ MORE: EDGECOMB GRAY REVIEW


DON’T FORGET YOUR TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES!

Make your life easier by using the painting tools the pros use!

This paintbrush will up your painting game!


RECAP

Now that I have given you everything you need to know about Benjamin Moore Pale Oak, let’s quickly recap what we learned.

  • LRV: 68.64
  • HUE FAMILY: Yellow, near the yellow-red
  • VALUE: 8.50
  • CHROMA: 0.73
  • COLOR COLLECTIONS: Off-White Collection, Best-Selling Colors
  • AKA: Pale Oak 858
  • It’s a light warm gray
  • in unbalanced lighting, it may show a bit of purple
  • can be used just about anywhere
  • goes with many different styles and color palettes
  • Sherwin Williams Limewash and City Loft are comparable colors
  • It may look more like an off-white on the exterior
  • the best way to sample it is to use SAMPLIZE Peel & Stick Paint Samples
  • Looks great with a bright white trim
  • It’s a very flexible paint color.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We have come to the end and I have to say, Pale Oak is such a fantastic paint color. I can see why it’s such a fan favorite.

I mean when I was updating my guest bedroom Pale Oak was one of the contenders. I went with BM White dove because it fit more with the look I was going for but non the less, it made the list.

I think Pale Oak is a great timeless and classic color. It’s a beautiful neutral that truly does work amazingly as a backdrop to and decor style.

It’s a quiet, refined neutral that creates a warm and inviting feel.

I think the only thing to look out for with PO is that it can flash a bit of purple in unbalanced lighting. Make sure you sample it to see how it acts in your home.

Overall, I think Pale Oak will not disappoint. It is a true best-seller and a fabulous paint color.

Are you planning on tackling a painting project on your own?  Use these tips to help you paint your room like a pro.

Do you want to paint like a pro?

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.

A high-quality paint brush will go a long way. The same goes for paint rollers. You want to use tools that will work with you, making your painting job more manageable.

Looking for more color options? Grab your own Benjamin Moore fan deck

Looking for more color options? Grab your own Sherwin Williams fan deck.

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