Our Review of Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray is a lovely, versatile paint color that has ‘classic’ in its name for a reason. However, the ‘gray’ part is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, Classic Gray is a warm gray paint color, but it actually tends to read as more of an off-white… especially on home exteriors.

Read on to discover more about Classic Gray’s undertones, technical specs, recommended applications, 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!


Classic Gray: The Specs

Classic Gray is a warm off-white / light gray paint color that comes across as soft and muted. It has an LRV of 74.78, which is considered in the higher range, meaning this is a light color that will reflect more light. (Learn more about LRV here — it’s incredibly important for exterior painting.)

All off-whites, grays, and greiges have undertones that are key to understand in choosing a paint color for your home’s environment. These undertones can lean blue, green, or purple (or some combination thereof). Classic Gray has a passive purple undertone. But don’t let that scare you. In most environments and with most paint and material color pairings, the purple undertone is not noticeable (and it’s less noticeable than with other similar off-white colors, like Sherwin Williams’ Eider White).

As always, test, test, and test some more before you commit to an exterior paint project.


Recommended Applications for Classic Gray

We weren’t just tossing words around when we said that Classic Gray is versatile. It works in so many environments: on stucco, brick, siding, and James Hardie siding. And we’ve used it on contemporary, modern, traditional, transitional, and farmhouse homes as well as on commercial exterior designs.


Classic Gray Paint Color Pairings

Classic Gray has enough depth that it can work when paired with a higher LRV paint color on trim (below). It can also be used as a trim color option when paired with other more saturated colors and materials (above).

We love Classic Gray when paired with warm neutrals like Revere Pewter, Urbane Bronze, and Kendall Charcoal.

When using it as a base color and looking to pairing it with a lighter trim, we love Simply White.

Classic Gray also plays well with saturated colors like Regent Green (on the shutters below) and black and near-blacks.

Finally, this paint color works beautifully with all sorts of natural materials, including wood in different stains, stone, copper, limewashed brick, and natural brick. One note: We recommend leaning warm with any of these material selections.

Farmhouse style home rendered in Benjamin Moore's Classic Gray with Regent Green shutters

Pros and Cons of Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray

Pros:

  • Hugely versatile.
  • Warm, soft, muted.
  • Timeless, with staying power.

Cons:

  • While they aren’t too strong, beware of the purple undertones.
  • If you want to make a bold statement, this might not be the base color for you.

Classic Gray Alternatives

Think Classic Gray might be the exterior paint color for you, but want to compare against some similar options? Always a good idea. Here are a handful of similar alternatives.

Home rendered in Seapearl

Seapearl by Benjamin Moore

Seapearl is our 2021 paint color of the year for good reason. It’s also a warm off-white color with gray undertones. With an LRV of 77, it’s just a touch brighter than Classic Gray.


Home rendered in Gray Mist

Gray Mist by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore’s Gray Mist is a suitable alternative to Classic Gray for those of you wanting a bit more warmth. Gray Mist has an LRV of 74, so it’s a heavier off-white, even more of a greige. Its undertones lean cream or yellow.


Commercial office building rendered with the brick in Balboa Mist

Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore

Next, Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist is remarkably similar to Classic Gray, just with more body and depth (and a lower LRV, 67, to match). Balboa Mist is more solidly gray than off-white and may be considered a greige.


The Bottom Line on Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray

Classic Gray is an excellent choice for the base color of your home’s exterior. It’s more of a warm off-white than a gray and can work well in a broad range of applications and with all sorts of different building materials and complementary trim and accent colors.

Would you love to see Classic Gray (or another paint color) on your home’s exterior before committing to it? That’s why we created our virtual exterior design services! We’ll help you envision your new curb appeal before committing to costly changes. Not only do we recommend paint colors, we also provide suggestions for exterior lighting, hardscapes, decor, and more, with a clickable resource list to guide your renovation project. Get started today!