Benjamin Moore’s Amherst Gray is a medium-dark warm gray paint color that works beautifully on certain home exteriors. It’s a great option for a charcoal gray, and we’ve found that clients who want to go dark but don’t want to go all the way black gravitate toward Amherst Gray. However, it does have some undertones that you’ll want to be aware of before committing to using it.
Keep reading to learn about this paint color’s technical specs, recommended applications for Amherst Gray, pros and cons, and similar alternative paint colors.
As you read, you’ll notice that some of the home renderings below look a bit different from one another, even though they all make use of the same paint color. That’s because our virtual exterior design services take into account natural light, the direction your home faces, the surface on which you’re going to paint, and more. Plus, we only use paint colors in our renderings that we’ve used in real-life applications. Remember, it’s as easy to paint your house the right color as it is the wrong color!
Amherst Gray is a warm charcoal gray with an LRV of 17.12. (Learn all about LRV here.) This puts it in the getting-pretty-dark range; however, note that natural light will make it appear much lighter than it would in, say, a small powder room with no windows. Also, the more sunlight it gets, the warmer it will read.
Importantly, Amherst Gray has a slight green undertone. This means that it will pick up on greens around it and will lean more in that direction in lush settings. Rarely does it pull blue or purple from its surroundings, but it is something to test for.
Part of Benjamin Moore’s Historic Collection, Amherst Gray is intended to come across as refined and elegant. However, we’ve also used it with great success as a base color on contemporary homes.
It’s a great color for the body of your home if you’re looking for some heavy drama and depth. It’s also an excellent choice for exterior accents and as a trim color. Finally, we tend to use Amherst Gray on houses that get plentiful natural light.
Paint Color Pairings
Because Amherst Gray falls in that mid-to-dark color range, we often use it sitting in the middle between a darker accent color and a lighter trim. Or, in the example above, it’s used as a trim color to bridge the gap between a lighter base color (Seapearl on the siding) and a dark color (Benjamin Moore’s Black on the windows and trim).
A few lighter accents colors that we’ve used with Amherst Gray include Revere Pewter, Fieldstone, Classic Gray, and Light Pewter. On the darker end, Black Satin makes for a nice shutter color against this dark gray on brick or siding.
The warmth of Amherst Gray comes out strongly when used with cool-leaning materials, like a bluestone walkway. It feels a touch cooler and more of a neutral gray when paired with surfaces that read more tan, as with some natural stone and brick materials.
Pros and Cons
- An eye-catching warm neutral.
- Stunning in the right environment.
- Benjamin Moore unveiled the color for the United States’ bicentennial in 1976 (!!), and it’s still a hit, so you know it has staying power.
- Can work on homes across design and architectural styles, from traditional Cape Cods to angular contemporary two-stories (see above).
- Amherst Gray has a tendency to pick up colors around it. Be sure to test it in your environment.
- Its green undertones can work beautifully in some situations, but not so well in others or depending what you’re going for. Again, test!
Amherst Gray Alternatives
If you think Amherst Gray might be close to the exterior paint color you’re looking for and you want to compare it against a few others, here are recommendations for where to start.
Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore
One of the closest paint colors to Amherst Gray that we use with regularity is Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal. With an LRV of 12.9, it’s a few notches darker than Amherst Gray. Kendall Charcoal is a pretty neutral dark gray. It does have some green undertones, but they aren’t as pronounced as those of Amherst Gray.
Chelsea Gray by Benjamin Moore
If you’re looking for something a few shades lighter than Amherst Gray, consider Chelsea Gray. It’s a complete neutral: medium LRV (22.16), leans a bit warm but not too much, and doesn’t have tricky undertones. It is generally an easy color to work with.
Aged Pewter by James Hardie
If you want to upgrade your home’s siding to James Hardie’s fiber cement siding (first of all, smart choice) and are considering one of their baked-in colors, Aged Pewter is in the same range as Amherst Gray. It’s a warm, highly versatile dark gray… and it also made our list of favorite James Hardie siding colors.
The Bottom Line on Amherst Gray
As the renderings throughout this post demonstrate, Amherst Gray can be a great choice as a field color for a home’s exterior. Its green undertones can be tricky and may flash unexpectedly for those expecting a more neutral gray — but that’s why your should always test paint colors before committing.
Step 1 in testing a paint color = envisioning it on your home with a virtual exterior design! We’ll help you see what your home will look like with a whole new color scheme. Plus, we’ll make recommendations on hardscapes, exterior lighting, front doors, and more. Get started today.
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