There may not be fifty different shades of gray chalk paint available, but it is an adaptable and useful color when it comes to painting different aspects of your home. And it does come in different shades. It is how you choose your gray chalk paint that will make the difference to aspects of your home.
Introducing gray chalk paint
Gray is a mix between black and white, right? Doesn’t that make gray the blandest color possible? It’s not even truly anything, just an in-between. Well, no, actually. Gray can be a very versatile color, especially when it is mixed with soft tones of other colors.
Use a dark gray to provide contrast in a white room, or a steel gray for sophistication. A blueish gray will go well in the bathroom, whereas a gray with slight red undertones will match your purple lounge carpet beautifully.
So, you see, gray is anything but a boring color. And gray chalk paint will give you a lot of options for your home.
Some shades of gray chalk paint
Chalk paint was first made by Annie Sloan as a perfect paint for furniture. Since then, it has been developed by different paint companies, all of which have their own ‘take’ on shades of a different color, including gray chalk paint.
There are a few shades of gray on the Annie Sloan paint color palette, including:
Country gray: an almost brownish putty-like color
Paris gray: a mixture of blue and gray, with the dominant color remaining gray.
Château gray: A mixture of gray and some green, with the green showing through quite strongly (very close to sage green)
French Linen: a predominantly grayish paint, but with definitely visible undertones of beige
Graphite: a dark, slate-colored gray
Antique: very light, rich gray
Sea shell: lightish gray, with a slight hint of brown-green
French Gray: greenish gray (quite close to sage green)
Gray Flannel: a true blue-gray color
Lace: very light gray, with a hint of turquoise
American Paint Company
Plymouth Rock: Light gray
Smoke Signal: Rich, medium gray
Freedom Road: Very close to Smoke Signal, but a little darker
Dawn’s Early Light: gray/white, with a hint of purple
Dollar Bill: dark, blueish gray
Contrasting and complementary colors
It is very unlikely that you will use gray chalk paint on its own in a whole room, so it is important to think about what colors you can use it with.
A true gray is really useful because it goes with anything. However, because there are so many shades of gray chalk paint available, you do need to be a little careful when choosing colors that either go with a particular shade, or contrast with it completely.
When you look for complementary colors, particularly (but also contrasting colors), always take into account that the tint of any paint can be altered by adding black or white to the mix.
The easiest way to choose a color that will complement or contrast with a particular shade of gray chalk paint is to consider what the undertones of the paint are.
Dawn’s Early Light
The shade Dawn’s Early Light (American Paint Company) has a slight hint of purple in it. This means that any shade of purple paint will go well with it. Because this is a light shade, you could try to use lighter tints of purple. A mauve may work better than a deeper color.
If, however, you specifically want to create a marked contrast between the two colors, you may very well choose a rich purple, or mauve, which will create a feature wall.
Some shades of blue may go with this shade of gray chalk paint, but try to avoid the yellow and green end of the spectrum, as these are more likely to clash with Dawn’s Early Light.
The shade of gray chalk paint called Lace (Vintage Market Furniture Paint) is a light gray with a hint of turquoise. A perfect color to complement this is a shade of green chalk paint called Sea Foam (American Paint Company), which is a strongly turquoise-based, rich color, but which has the feeling of lightness and brightness that Lace has.
Create a feature wall of Sea Foam in a room with three walls painted in Lace gray chalk paint (Vintage Market Furniture Paint). This can be complemented by white furniture, with upholstery that matches the darker wall.
It would be better to avoid using colors of red and yellow, even possibly purple, with Lace, because of its specifically green and blue undertones.
French Linen (Annie Sloan) is a slightly aged-looking shade, in which you can distinctly see some beige. This shade will go well with any shade containing yellow, orange, or brown. It would be more effective to avoid using pastel yellow and pink. Rather go for a stronger tint, because the French Linen gray chalk paint is quite strong.
You could use this paint very effectively in a room with natural wood furniture and finishing, whether the wood is light-colored or quite dark.
Avoid using paints that are clearly blue or green with French Linen gray chalk paint, as they will contrast rather than complement and the overall effect will not synthesize comfortably.
Using gray chalk paint in the home
When you use gray chalk paint in and around your home, you can either think of it as a neutral color, or turn it into a feature.
Gray chalk paint can create a neutral canvas for your kitchen. If you are redoing your whole kitchen, then begin with the walls. Choose a neutral light tint of gray chalk paint for the wall surfaces that will be exposed. Use a darker tint of the same gray to paint the cabinet doors. The color of the countertops should go with the gray. If you are using granite, go for a darker, mottled shade. You could introduce a hint of color in the granite, that can be picked up elsewhere in the kitchen.
Keep to a stainless steel color for the appliances in the kitchen, as they will match the general gray color in the room. Tie in the backsplash with the same shade as the gray chalk paint, possibly even a darker tint.
If you want to introduce some color into the neutral, gray kitchen, then you can use colored tiles in the backsplash. Try to keep this consistent with the color in the granite, if it’s more than just gray. A clever way to introduce color is in some appliances, even the small ones like a toaster.
Light gray is like white – a clean color, so you can choose a light gray for your bathroom. Switch it up a bit and use tiles on the walls up to splash height, then paint the wall above it. If the tiles are white, you can use a darker shade of gray chalk paint.
With a little imagination, you can change the whole look of your bathroom by using gray chalk paint creatively. Choose a shade of gray that has a particularly strong undertone, such as Gray Flannel (Vintage Market Furniture Paint), and match it with the blue undertone. Very dark colors in a bathroom can make it seem smaller, so be a little creative with your use of color. Stick to white bathroom fixtures, but use blue tiles and gray chalk paint on the door and upper part of the walls.
Using gray chalk paint outside
Not only is chalk paint useful in the home, but it can also be used outside. Bear in mind that chalk paint adheres to just about any surface, including wood, terracotta, stone, and concrete.
Use a light shade of gray chalk paint on the exterior walls of your house, then paint the features such as the corners, fascia boards and window frames, with a darker gray. What will be very effective is if you use different tints of the same shade of gray chalk paint. So, use a very light shade of Smoke Signal (American Paint Company) for the walls, then a dark tint of the same shade for the features. If your house has a porch, then you can paint the balustrade in with the darker shade of gray chalk paint.
You can also work with two different shades of gray chalk paint that work together. Antique (Vintage Market Furniture Paint) is a very light shade of gray, which can be used for the walls, with Freedom Road (American Paint Company) for the features.
There are a few shades of gray chalk paint that have blue undertones, so match them with a shade of blue paint for an interesting look and contrast on the exterior of your house.
Gray chalk paint adheres very well to wood, so you can use it effectively to paint some of your outdoor furniture.
A lovely feature to have in a garden is a wooden bench, which often has panels, or separate wooden bars. Take a particular shade of gray chalk paint and paint the slats of the bench in progressively lighter tints of the basic shade. This will create an interesting ombre, which will stand out in your garden. Select a shade of gray chalk paint that has a green undertone to enhance the effect. Chateau Gray (Annie Sloan) or French Gray (Vintage Market Furniture Paint) will work well here.
A cement bench is also a lovely thing to have in your garden and is already gray. Use a shade of gray chalk paint to paint the bench, so that you keep the original color, but enhance it. In this case, use a rich gray such as Graphite (Annie Sloan) or Smoke Signal (American Paint Company).
Plants in terracotta pots are an attractive feature on a porch, or lining a path in your front garden. You can turn them into a feature by painting them with a gray chalk paint that features a particular color, such as the blue in Gray Flannel (Vintage Market Furniture Paint), or Country Gray (Annie Sloan).
Is there only one type of gray chalk paint?
Gray chalk paint is available in a range of different shades from different paint manufacturers. The shades of gray depend on the amount of black and white in the gray. When other colors are added to the mixture, then even more shades of gray chalk paint are created.
Which is the best shade of gray chalk paint to use in the bathroom?
Bathrooms are usually quite small rooms, so go for a lighter shade of gray chalk paint, which will make the room feel lighter and bigger.
Gray is often held to be a neutral color, without much character. This is very far from the truth when you look at how to use gray chalk paint in your home. There is a range of shades of gray available, all of which have a sort of character of their own. Is this a color you love to use in your home? If so, I’d love to hear how you’ve used it in the comments below.