Is it just us, or has blue gray been popping up pretty much everywhere lately? The versatile, moody shade is nothing new, but it seems to be experiencing a major resurgence. And it's no mystery why. The muted hue goes with pretty much any style of decor, from laid-back bohemian to California casual to Scandinavian minimalist spaces.
For many designers, like LeeAnn Baker and Ally Marks, the aforementioned versatility makes this color choice a no-brainer. Gray-based shades tend to look different in different lights, giving the space a fresh (and somewhat magical) effect that adjusts as the sun goes down and those light switches flick on. Hints of green and even purple can emerge from these blue gray shades depending on the time of day and the type of overhead lighting being used.
- Color Family: Blue
- Complementary Colors: Neutrals
- Pairs Well With: Neutrals, pinks, greens, or rusty oranges for a bold pop of color
- Mood: Moody or serene, depending on the depth of the color
- Where to Use: Across the home, including walls, cabinets, trim, and front doors
While the competition for the industry's all-time favorite blue gray is pretty fierce, there are more than enough swoon-worthy shades to go around, as this list proves.
Read on to find the perfect shade of blue gray to transform your home like a total pro.
Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue
Many designers, like Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design, advise opting for a shade that also incorporates green to add a little more contrast to your space. "Farrow & Ball's Inchyra Blue is beautiful—it has a little bit of green in it, which works well if the floor color has a warmer tone," she explains.
Portola Paints Sharkskin
Whoever said gray was boring clearly never met this adorable (and playful!) children's room. The aptly-named hue "sharkskin" by Portola provides an appropriately youthful backdrop for souvenirs, signs and wall art of all types.
Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
Those cabinets need some love too—especially when they're front-and-center like at this high-impact wet bar setup by Devon Grace. Whether you're creating a modern serving (or cocktail) area in a dining room or finally refurbishing a kitchen's worth of cabinets, a deep shade of blue gray is the perfect way to add some drama. Hale Navy was a favorite among several designers we queried, including LeeAnn Baker of LeeAnn Baker Interiors, who noted that it "seems to work perfectly on any surface, in any light."
When painting cabinets, remove the doors and drawers from the hinges first to achieve the best results.
Farrow & Ball Down Pipe
Check two trends off your list in one fell swoop. We've been obsessing over these unique "grid" wall treatments for a while, and painting them a rich shade of deep blue gray only makes them that much more wow-worthy.
Benjamin Moore Eternity
As interiors photog Amy Barlam captures, this ultra-soothing shade is perfect for a nursery—especially a gender-neutral one, as designer Ally Marks found—since it's muted yet cozy. Plus, it's an easy color to grow into, so you can put off painting for a few years.
Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart
Is there anything more striking than the perfect mid-range shade of blue gray against a background of crisp white? We didn't think so. Even the most basic built-ins will be transformed into the crown jewel of the kitchen with a coat of paint like this one.
Benjamin Moore Black Panther
If you're working with a textured wall (like beadboard or paneling), painting it a dark shade of blue gray is a surefire way to make it "pop," as Emily from Emily Everyday found. Look closely: this nearly-black shade is actually described as a "dark cyan," so while its blue tones are subtle, they will reveal themselves in certain lights. Emily's decision to keep the remaining walls white adds some much-appreciated brightness to this sweet sunroom, while wicker furniture drives home the coastal-inspired vibe.
Farrow & Ball Parma Gray
Some grays that skew more blue can come off feeling too youthful for some spaces, so it's important to strike the right balance. "My favorite blue gray is Farrow & Ball Parma Gray," says Mary Patton. "It really reads like a light blue once it’s on the wall, but it is the most flattering color—not juvenile or overly feminine."
Benjamin Moore Gentleman's Gray
A little bit of blue gray goes a long way, as this modern mudroom reimagining reveals. Shoe storage looks downright chic in this commanding shade.
Benjamin Moore City Shadow
This entrancing shade of gray only improves the more you look at it, with hints of periwinkle and purple enlivening its gray base. Painting even a few lower cabinets—like those at the island, as Katie Hackworth did—is more than enough to add a bold streak to this modernized country kitchen. Hackworth used a custom stain to let the wood grain show through and add more depth to the color of City Shadow.
If you needed any more proof that blue gray doesn't need to be "traditional", consider this your sign: Emily Henderson's powder room pairs Sherwin-Williams' "Waterloo" painted millwork with a fun, energetic wallpaper print from Rebecca Atwood, and the effect is downright delightful.
Sherwin-Williams Smoky Blue
Don't believe the hype that small spaces require lighter paint colors to feel roomy. This petite bathroom is in its glory in a smoky shade of blue gray. "Smoky blue is a perfect blue gray for if you're afraid to go too dark, but want to add that moody vibe," explains interior stylist and photographer Anita Yokota.
Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur
Don't neglect doors and trim when it comes to this color trend. Just a small dose of a dreamy blue gray shade can transform an entire room from a blank slate into something truly special. Bonus points if you tick off two trends at once with a sliding barn door like this one.
Benjamin Moore Sea Glass
We're obsessed with how this oceanic blue gray shade makes the unique slab of stone and brass utensil bar stand out even more. This hue is a versatile choice since it subtly changes color in different lights.
Benjamin Moore Slate Blue
Slate blue never goes out of style. This smart psuedo-neutral has us dreaming of overcast Northeastern beach days...especially when paired with lots of bright whites for an airy feel. "When you don't want to go as neutral as white, but need a subtle touch of depth and drama, add gray!" suggest Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett of Hackett Interiors.