The Francis Files
Charcoal Rooms & The Best Dark Gray Paint Colors
MARCH 16, 2023 - Written by Kevin O'Gara
When it comes to sophisticated interiors, a coat of dark gray paint can be depended on to create an atmosphere of intimacy and moody drama. While you may gravitate towards lighter colors for living areas, there is an undeniable appeal to using deep, moody shades of gray to instantly elevate a room. One of the surprising benefits of using dark paint colors (like I did in this small living room) is that they can obscure the edges of a room, creating the illusion of greater space. This may seem counterintuitive, but by blending walls and corners together, the resulting sense of cohesiveness can open up smaller spaces.
While gray paint colors vary tremendously in undertones, warmer grays in the charcoal family complement darker wooden antique furnishings – and I tend to lean towards these warm-undertone grays myself. Alternatively, cooler gray (such as Englewood Gray below) are better paired with warm brass accents. The coolness of the paint helps to balance out the warmth of brass decor, resulting in a balanced space that lends itself to more contemporary decor. One of the great aspects of using dark gray paint is its versatility across various design styles – find gray paint color inspiration from some of my favorite interior examples and my list of go-to colors below.
Designer-Approved Gray Paint Colors
Sherwin Williams Iron Ore (SW 7069)
This cool, deep and mysterious charcoal can lend an air of sophistication when used in spaces for a truly moody look.
Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal (HC-166)
With its rich, varied undertones, this dark neutral works beautifully with a wide spectrum of colors.
Clare Paint Irony
Inspired by the color of Iron, this is Clare's darkest gray color, and as with all their paints, is Greenguard Gold certified and zero-VOC.
Sherwin Williams Peppercorn (SW 7674)
This versatile dark gray, evenly balanced between warm and cool, can create a bold focal point in your home or a rich and timeless exterior.
Benjamin Moore Englewood Cliffs (1607)
A mid-tone blue-gray, evocative of rocky cliffs overlooking a vast river, which provides cooler undertones.
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray (HC-168)
A handsome gray with rich brownish-violet undertones, making it a warm and approachable hue that doesn't overwhelm.
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