Monday, November 11, 2013

My Top 5 Favorite Charcoal Gray Paint Colors


Grays have always been a favorite for exteriors, over the past several years gray has become very popular in interior design as well.   From Light grays to dark grays and everything in-between, grays has been used across the gambit.  I have used grays a good bit over the past couple of years in projects and I must say the gray that gives the most bang for the buck is charcoal gray.    I'm in love with charcoal gray.  It offers a softer contrast than black, but like black it serves as a neutral and plays well with many color combinations.

Recently, when Traci Zeller and I designed  Hamp Adam's Gentleman's Dressing Room in the Traditional Home Adamsleigh Show House, we chose "Stout" by C2 Paints.  C2 Paints graciously served as sponsors for the show house.  We had the option of using their paint which was donated or buying our own.  Naturally, when doing a show house, you opt for any sponsored products, even if you aren't familiar with the line.  When the paint arrived it was a tad bit bluer, than we had anticipated, but since there wasn't a C2 distributer locally, we only had the small chip on the fan deck to rely on so the color wasn't exactly what we wanted.  Boy were we kicking ourselves, when we realized that several of the other designers, had chosen paint colors from familiar lines  and simply had C2 reformulate in their product line.  Oh well, live and learn.  All's well that ends well though, right? We corrected our issue by having the local paint store add more black to the "stout" color and achieved the perfect charcoal color we needed for our room.  I must say that C2 Paint is really great paint!  It goes on smoothly and covers well.  So favorite charcoal #1 is C2 Paint.  Just remember you may have to add a little black to if it looks  a little bluer than you want. In many applications the blue undertone can be nice.

Credit: Stacey Van Berkel

Our goal was to find a charcoal gray that worked with well with our 
custom architectural wallpaper. 

Stout shown in the gentleman's dressing room designed by myself and Traci Zeller. 
 All the trim is painted in stout and the striped floor is as well.  Needless to say, 
we were very pleased with how our charcoal turned out and have used charcoal 
in several projects since.  I wanted to share a few more of my favorite charcoal 
paint colors  with my readers today.  

1) Stout #C481 - C2 Paints 

Credit John Besslar

"Stout" as shown in our show house room on the floor and trim 

Down pipe charcoal grey makes a handsome door color as shown here.  

 I love how down pipe is used on the lower cabinets in this kitchen and
 the uppers white are painted white to avoid making the kitchen to dark. 
 Down pipe anchors the space and provides balance in the space.  
This application is an updated variation of the traditional 
black and white color scheme.

Down pipe looks great as a wall color too. The trend of painting the walls and
 trim the same works well here,when trying to unify the woodwork and walls.  
This a dramatic look, but squashes the myth that you can't paint an entire
room in a dark color. 

3)  Kendall Charcoal HC-166 -  Benjamin Moore  

Kendall charcoal is a versatile neutral and works well with many colors.

Shown here mixed with white, kendall charcoal works well for a bedroom

Kendall charcoal provides a warm backdrop for this mirrored parson's desk 

By Arthur Rutenberg Homes

                   Here is a bathroom with walls Grizzle Gray .  Doesn't it pair well with marble?

Of course when Grizzle gray is paired with white, the contrast is
interesting as well.  Here it provides a dramatic back drop for
black and white photography.

Shown here on the doors, Iron Mountain is great as an accent

Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain on accent wall behind bed
 Iron Mountain shown as an accent on this bedroom wall.

However, when used with light colored floors and furniture Iron
Mountain can work well as a wall color. 

Well, there you have it!  5 great charcoal paint colors.  Do you have a charcoal paint color you have used, that I haven't mentioned?  Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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  1. Love the Grays!
    So glad they are now "in" since I've had them for 5 years.......

    1. You are right Patty grays have been around for a while, tell me which charcoal gray you have used. I would love to know since I admire your color eye.

  2. My grandmother always used gray to great effect in her house. For that reason I still find it kind of cozy and I use grays everywhere at my house.

  3. This is a great post to refer to when I need grays! I'm pinning it. I prefer a charcoal gray that is deeper usually. Sometimes I just dilute a deep black until it's a deep dark gray.

    1. I'm glad you find it helpful! Thanks for popping in and commenting!

  4. Gorgeous. I thought about gray for my bridesmaids - long ago but went with navy. Both navy and gray are classic and chic. If I could dress in navy or gray all year I would. ha ha, in fact I am wearing gray now, gray cashmere.

    1. I can just picture you all cozy in gray cashmere! oxoxox

  5. Hi Lisa, I love the rich saturated shades of charcoal, so striking!

    Feature: "House Proud"

  6. I just love a good gray. What a great list of pretty grays :)

  7. Great picks for charcoals, Lisa! And I love that Grizzle Gray fireplace - I've been doing so many fireplace makeovers this year, but that's a great new look to try!

    1. Thanks Kristie! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

  8. Hello Lisa, I just bought two charcoal colors of couch and wonder what gray I should paint on the living room wall. lighter gray or charcoal gray?

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  10. I have black shingles, black garage doors,will kendell charcoal stucco colour compliment this or will it be too dark.

    1. Yes, I think it will work if you have white or light grey trim, if you look at the second photo of my examples of Kendall Charcoal there is a bedroom with black photos over the bed on a kendall charcoal wall.


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