shades of gray

Shades of Gray Color – 90 Curated Grayish Tones to Explore

Gray is not something most people would choose as their favorite color. Categorized as being somewhere in-between white and black, there is a lot more to this color than meets the eye. For one, you do not only have a single gray color but there are many types of gray, from light gray to dark gray colors. We have curated over 90 gray shades for you, including visuals, descriptions and color codes.

Table of Contents



Shades of Gray

Below are our curated 90+ shades of gray with their gray color names. Each of these colors can be identified online by using a gray hex code. The hex code is a simple representation of the different colors involved in creating a specific color. The tables below also show your RGB and printing codes for easy reference.

gray shades



Abbey is a deep, muted gray with subtle blue undertones, reminiscent of a cloudy twilight sky. Its depth offers a sense of calmness and stability.

Hex: #494F55
RGB: 73, 79, 85
CMYK: 14, 7, 0, 87



Aluminium is a sleek, metallic silver that shines with the brightness of polished metal. It’s modern and industrial, evoking a futuristic feel.

Hex: #888B8D
RGB: 136, 139, 141
CMYK: 4, 1, 0, 45


Amethyst Gray

Amethyst Gray combines the stability of gray with the serenity of a soft purple. It has a mystical and gentle presence, perfect for peaceful settings.

Hex: #66606D
RGB: 102, 96, 109
CMYK: 6, 12, 0, 57



Anchor is a strong, dominant gray. It’s as deep and reliable as its namesake, suggesting stability and security.

Hex: #41424C
RGB: 65, 66, 76
CMYK: 14, 13, 0, 70



Arsenic is a dark, mysterious gray with a hint of green. It’s enigmatic and slightly ominous, perfect for creating a moody atmosphere.

Hex: #3C4748
RGB: 60, 71, 72
CMYK: 17, 1, 0, 72


Ash Gray

Ash Gray is a light, soft gray that resembles the pale remnants of a fire. It’s unobtrusive and harmonious, providing a neutral backdrop.

Hex: #B2BEB5
RGB: 178, 190, 181
CMYK: 6, 0, 5, 25


Battleship Gray

Battleship Gray is a strong, solid gray reminiscent of naval ships. It’s robust and commanding, perfect for making a bold statement.

Hex: #848482
RGB: 132, 132, 130
CMYK: 0, 0, 2, 48


Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap Molasses is a rich, deep brown with black undertones, like the syrup it’s named after. It’s warm and enveloping, perfect for cozy spaces.

Hex: #2B2523
RGB: 43, 37, 35
CMYK: 0, 14, 19, 83


Blue Gray

Blue Gray is a cool, calming color that blends the tranquility of blue with the neutrality of gray. It’s versatile and soothing, ideal for serene environments.

Hex: #98AFC7
RGB: 152, 175, 199
CMYK: 24, 12, 0, 22


Bright White

Bright White is a pure, radiant white. It’s crisp and clean, offering a sense of clarity and openness.

Hex: #FBFBF9
RGB: 251, 251, 249
CMYK: 0, 0, 1, 2


Cadet Gray

Cadet Gray is a muted blue-gray that evokes the feel of a military uniform. It’s disciplined and understated, yet striking.

Hex: #91A3B0
RGB: 145, 163, 176
CMYK: 18, 7, 0, 31


Carbon Gray

Carbon Gray is a deep, dark gray with a robust and industrial feel. It’s reminiscent of carbon steel, strong and impactful.

Hex: #625D5D
RGB: 98, 93, 93
CMYK: 0, 5, 5, 62



Carrara is a soft, elegant gray with hints of blue, resembling the prestigious Carrara marble. It’s sophisticated and timeless.

Hex: #E9E9E4
RGB: 233, 233, 228
CMYK: 0, 0, 2, 9


Cement Gray

Cement Gray is a solid, mid-tone gray that captures the essence of raw cement. It’s urban and contemporary, perfect for modern designs.

Hex: #868A81
RGB: 134, 138, 129
CMYK: 3, 0, 7, 46



Charcoal is a dark, intense gray with a hint of black, like the charred remains of a fire. It’s dramatic and powerful, ideal for creating depth.

Hex: #36454F
RGB: 54, 69, 79
CMYK: 32, 13, 0, 69



Chrome is a shiny, metallic gray that mimics the polished surface of chrome. It’s sleek and reflective, exuding a high-tech vibe.

Hex: #D7DDE4
RGB: 215, 221, 228
CMYK: 6, 3, 0, 11



Cinereous is a soft, warm gray tinged with red, resembling the color of ash. It’s subtle and earthy, evoking a sense of natural elegance.

Hex: #98817B
RGB: 152, 129, 123
CMYK: 0, 15, 19, 40



Cloud is a light, airy gray that captures the essence of a cloudy sky. It’s ethereal and calming, perfect for creating a tranquil space.

Hex: #C5C6D0
RGB: 197, 198, 208
CMYK: 5, 5, 0, 18


Cool Gray

Cool Gray is a neutral, medium gray that strikes a balance between warmth and coolness. It’s versatile and modern, suitable for any setting.

Hex: #9090C0
RGB: 144, 144, 192
CMYK: 25, 25, 0, 25


Dark Charcoal

Dark Charcoal is an intense, deep gray with an almost black tone. It exudes a sense of mystery and depth, perfect for a sophisticated look.

Hex: #343432
RGB: 52, 52, 50
CMYK: 0, 0, 4, 80


Dark Gray

Dark Gray is a classic, deep gray, strong and unyielding. It’s timeless and practical, ideal for a range of design needs.

Hex: #323232
RGB: 50, 50, 50
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 80


Dark Liver

Dark Liver is a deep brownish-gray, reminiscent of the natural color of liver. It’s earthy and rich, with a sense of organic warmth.

Hex: #4D4646
RGB: 76, 70, 70
CMYK: 0, 8, 8, 70


Davys Gray

Davys Gray is a muted, neutral gray with a subtle green undertone. It’s understated and versatile, blending seamlessly into various settings.

Hex: #555555
RGB: 85, 85, 85
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 67


Dim Gray

Dim Gray is a medium-dark gray with a low lightness. It’s unobtrusive and modern, offering a sleek and contemporary feel.

Hex: #696969
RGB: 105, 105, 105
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 59


Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray is a timeless, medium gray, embodying elegance and sophistication. It’s versatile, fitting seamlessly into both modern and classic designs.

Hex: #ACA79E
RGB: 172, 167, 158
CMYK: 0, 3, 8, 33


Dull Gray

Dull Gray is a flat, medium-light gray lacking in brightness. It’s subtle and unassuming, perfect for creating a neutral backdrop.

Hex: #8B837E
RGB: 139, 131, 126
CMYK: 0, 6, 9, 45


Dusty Gray

Dusty Gray is a soft, light gray with a hint of earthiness, as though covered in a fine dust. It’s gentle and soothing, ideal for a calm setting.

Hex: #B19CA2
RGB: 177, 156, 162
CMYK: 0, 12, 8, 31



Eclipse is a deep, dark gray that mimics the shadowy darkness of a lunar eclipse. It’s mysterious and alluring, perfect for creating a dramatic effect.

Hex: #373737
RGB: 55, 55, 55
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 78


Faux-Favy’s Gray

Faux-Favy’s Gray is a unique blend of gray, mimicking the classic Favy’s gray but with a modern twist. It’s versatile and adaptable to various styles.

Hex: #4D4C5C
RGB: 77, 76, 92
CMYK: 16, 17, 0, 64



Fedora is a warm, medium-dark gray, reminiscent of the felt hats it’s named after. It’s classic and stylish, with a hint of vintage charm.

Hex: #655967
RGB: 101, 89, 103
CMYK: 2, 14, 0, 80



Gainsboro is a light gray that radiates a soft, silvery sheen. It’s unobtrusive and elegant, providing a gentle, sophisticated backdrop.

RGB: 220, 220, 220
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 14



Granite is a dark, grainy gray, similar to the stone it’s named after. It’s solid and enduring, reflecting the rugged beauty of natural granite.

Hex: #676767
RGB: 103, 103, 103
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 60


Granite Gray

Granite Gray is a medium to dark gray, echoing the versatile and timeless nature of granite rock. It’s reliable and practical for various applications.

Hex: #666362
RGB: 102, 99, 98
CMYK: 0, 3, 4, 60



Graphite is a deep, dark gray with a hint of blue, resembling the mineral graphite. It’s strong and striking, ideal for making a bold statement.

Hex: #251607
RGB: 37, 22, 7
CMYK: 0, 41, 81, 85


Gray Dolphin

Gray Dolphin is a medium-light gray with a playful, aquatic feel, reminiscent of the color of dolphins. It’s friendly and approachable, suitable for relaxed spaces.

Hex: #5C5858
RGB: 92, 88, 88
CMYK: 0, 4, 4, 64


Gray Goose

Gray Goose is a light, silvery gray, evoking the sleek feathers of a goose. It’s gentle and soothing, perfect for a peaceful ambiance.

Hex: #D1D0CE
RGB: 209, 208, 206
CMYK: 0, 0, 1, 18


Gray Web

Gray Web is a medium gray, representing the color of the World Wide Web. It’s modern and connected, symbolizing the digital era.

Hex: #808080
RGB: 128, 128, 128
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 50


Gray Wolf

Gray Wolf is a strong, medium-dark gray, embodying the wild and natural essence of a wolf. It’s powerful and untamed, ideal for an impactful design.

Hex: #504A4B
RGB: 80, 74, 75
CMYK: 0, 7, 6, 69


Gray X 11

Gray X 11 (listed twice) is a standard medium gray, versatile and neutral. It’s balanced and adaptable, suitable for both modern and traditional styles.

Hex: #B6B6B4
RGB: 182, 182, 180
CMYK: 0, 0, 1, 29


Gray X 11

RGB: 190, 190, 190
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 25



Gray-Green is a subtle mix of gray with green undertones. It’s natural and calming, reflecting the colors of a misty forest.

Hex: #5E716A
RGB: 94, 113, 106
CMYK: 17, 0, 6, 56


Gunmetal Gray

Gunmetal Gray is a dark gray with a bluish tint, resembling the color of gunmetal. It’s strong and impactful, perfect for a sleek, modern look.

Hex: #2A3439
RGB: 42, 52, 57
CMYK: 26, 9, 0, 78


Heavy Gray

Heavy Gray is a deep, intense gray that feels weighty and substantial. It’s solid and reliable, ideal for grounding a design scheme.

Hex: #0D0D0D
RGB: 13, 13, 13
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 95



Iridium is a unique, metallic gray with a slight bluish tint, reflecting the rare metal. It’s futuristic and high-tech, suitable for innovative designs.

Hex: #3D3C3A
RGB: 61, 60, 58
CMYK: 0, 2, 5, 76



Iron is a strong, dark gray, evocative of the metal. It’s industrial and robust, perfect for a bold, grounded look.

Hex: #61666A
RGB: 97, 102, 106
CMYK: 8, 4, 0, 58


Lavender Gray

Lavender Gray is a soft, gentle gray with a hint of lavender. It’s romantic and delicate, ideal for a serene and soothing atmosphere.

Hex: #C4C3D0
RGB: 196, 195, 208
CMYK: 6, 6, 0, 18


Light Gray

Light Gray is a pale, unobtrusive gray. It’s easy and light, providing a clean and airy feel to any space.

Hex: #D3D3D3
RGB: 211, 211, 211
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 17


Light Slate Gray

Light Slate Gray is a medium-light gray with a hint of blue. It’s reflective of slate rock, versatile and timeless.

Hex: #778899
RGB: 119, 136, 153
CMYK: 22, 11, 0, 40



Manatee is a medium gray with a bluish tint, soft and calming like the gentle sea creature it’s named after.

Hex: #9AA2A4
RGB: 154, 162, 164
CMYK: 6, 1, 0, 36



Marengo is a dark, charcoal gray with a hint of blue. It’s sophisticated and deep, perfect for creating a sense of depth.

Hex: #4C5866
RGB: 76, 88, 102
CMYK: 25, 14, 0, 60


Matte Gray

Matte Gray is a subdued, flat gray without any shine. It’s understated and modern, perfect for creating a sleek, contemporary look.

Hex: #A5A5A8
RGB: 165, 165, 168
CMYK: 2, 2, 0, 34



Monsoon is a deep, moody blue-gray, reminiscent of stormy skies. It’s dramatic and intense, ideal for creating an atmospheric and brooding ambiance.

Hex: #787276
RGB: 120, 114, 118
CMYK: 0, 5, 2, 53


Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine is a rich, deep red with warm, brown undertones. It evokes the coziness and warmth of spiced wine in winter.

Hex: #594D5B
RGB: 89, 77, 91
CMYK: 2, 15, 0, 64



Nickel is a medium gray with a metallic sheen, similar to the metal it’s named after. It’s practical and unassuming, yet holds a subtle industrial edge.

Hex: #6A6E6A
RGB: 106, 110, 106
CMYK: 4, 0, 4, 57


Off White

Off White is a soft, muted cream, less stark than pure white. It’s warm and inviting, offering a gentle alternative to brighter whites.

Hex: #FAF9F6
RGB: 250, 249, 246
CMYK: 0, 0, 2, 2


Old Gray

Old Gray is a classic, time-worn gray with a sense of history and permanence. It’s nostalgic and comfortable, perfect for vintage or rustic themes.

Hex: #989692
RGB: 152, 150, 146
CMYK: 0, 1, 4, 40



Onyx (listed twice) is a deep, dark black with a slight gray undertone, like the precious stone. It’s powerful and sophisticated, ideal for creating depth and contrast.

Hex: #3C3C3C
RGB: 60, 60, 60
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 76



Hex: #3C3C3C
RGB: 60, 60, 60
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 76


Pale Silver

Pale Silver is a very light gray with a silvery sheen, exuding elegance and a subtle glamor. It’s delicate and light, ideal for a chic, refined look.

Hex: #C9C0BB
RGB: 201, 192, 187
CMYK: 0, 4, 7, 21


Pastel Gray

Pastel Gray is a soft, muted gray with a hint of warmth. It’s gentle and soothing, perfect for creating a calm, restful atmosphere.

Hex: #CCCDC6
RGB: 204, 205, 198
CMYK: 0, 0, 3, 20


Payne’s Gray

Payne’s Gray is a dark blue-gray, more intense and moody than typical grays. It’s deep and sophisticated, suitable for a bold, artistic statement.

Hex: #40404F
RGB: 64, 64, 79
CMYK: 19, 19, 0, 69



Platinum is a light metallic gray with a prestigious and luxurious feel, reminiscent of the precious metal. It’s sleek and high-end, perfect for sophisticated designs.

Hex: #E5E4E2
RGB: 229, 228, 226
CMYK: 0, 0, 1, 10



Porcelain is a very light, almost translucent white, evoking the smooth and delicate surface of porcelain. It’s refined and elegant, suitable for a pristine, clean look.

RGB: 255, 254, 252
CMYK: 0, 0, 1, 0


Quick Silver

Quick Silver is a bright, metallic gray with a lively and dynamic feel. It’s flashy and futuristic, ideal for a vibrant, high-energy space.

Hex: #A6A6A6
RGB: 166, 166, 166
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 35



Rhythm is a soft, muted blue with gray undertones, calming and rhythmic like a gentle melody. It’s harmonious and balanced, perfect for peaceful environments.

Hex: #696880
RGB: 105, 104, 128
CMYK: 18, 19, 0, 50


Rocket Metallic – A Warm Gray

Hex: #8A7F8D
RGB: 138, 127, 141
CMYK: 2, 10, 0, 45


Roman Silver

Roman Silver is a medium gray with a hint of blue, noble and classic like ancient Roman architecture. It’s dignified and timeless, ideal for a sophisticated look.

Hex: #7B8593
RGB: 123, 133, 147
CMYK: 16, 10, 0, 42


Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz is a soft, pale pink with a gentle, soothing presence. It’s romantic and tender, perfect for creating a soft, nurturing environment.

Hex: #AA98A9
RGB: 170, 152, 169
CMYK: 0, 11, 1, 33


Rustic Gray

Rustic Gray is a warm, earthy gray with brown undertones. It’s reminiscent of aged wood and rustic settings, ideal for a cozy, natural feel.

Hex: #A5A7A4
RGB: 165, 167, 164
CMYK: 1, 0, 2, 35


Santa’s Gray

Santa’s Gray is a cheerful, light gray with a hint of red, merry and bright. It’s playful and festive, perfect for joyful and spirited spaces.

Hex: #9897A9
RGB: 152, 151, 169
CMYK: 10, 11, 0, 34



Shadow is a deep, dark gray, like the densest part of a shadow. It’s mysterious and elusive, ideal for creating a sense of intrigue.

Hex: #7B7A72
RGB: 123, 122, 114
CMYK: 0, 1, 7, 52


Silk Gray

Silk Gray is a smooth, light gray with a hint of softness, like delicate silk. It’s elegant and refined, perfect for a luxurious touch.

Hex: #B6B3A8
RGB: 182, 179, 168
CMYK: 0, 2, 8, 29



Silver is a bright, metallic gray, reflective and shiny like polished silver. It’s glamorous and modern, suitable for a sleek, contemporary look.

Hex: #C0C0C0
RGB: 192, 192, 192
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 25


Silver Chalice

Silver Chalice is a medium gray, balanced and steady, like the metal of a chalice. It’s dependable and unpretentious, ideal for a stable, grounded feel.

RGB: 172, 172, 172
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 33


Silver Metallic

Silver Metallic is a shiny, bright gray, like sparkling metal. It’s lively and dynamic, perfect for adding a touch of modern brilliance.

Hex: #AAA9AD
RGB: 170, 169, 173
CMYK: 2, 2, 0, 32


Silver Pink

Silver Pink is a soft, muted pink with a hint of gray. It’s delicate and subtle, perfect for a gentle, understated elegance.

Hex: #C4AEAD
RGB: 196, 174, 173
CMYK: 0, 11, 12, 23


Silver Sand

Silver Sand is a light, pale gray with a sandy texture. It’s soft and unobtrusive, ideal for creating a serene and tranquil ambiance.

Hex: #BFC1C2
RGB: 191, 193, 194
CMYK: 2, 1, 0, 24


Slate Gray

Slate Gray is a medium-dark gray with blue undertones, sturdy and reliable like slate rock. It’s classic and versatile, suitable for various applications.

Hex: #708090
RGB: 112, 128, 144
CMYK: 22, 11, 0, 44


Smoky White

Smoky White is a soft, muted white with a hint of gray, like smoke. It’s subtle and sophisticated, perfect for a refined, understated look.

Hex: #F0F0F0
RGB: 240, 240, 240
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 6


Sombre Gray

Sombre Gray is a deep, dark gray, solemn and introspective. It’s powerful and intense, ideal for creating a mood of seriousness and depth.

Hex: #111016
RGB: 17, 16, 22
CMYK: 23, 27, 0, 91


Sonic Silver

Sonic Silver is a bright, energetic gray with a futuristic vibe. It’s dynamic and modern, perfect for spaces that need a touch of vibrancy.

Hex: #757575
RGB: 117, 117, 117
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 54


Spanish Gray

Spanish Gray is a medium-light gray that evokes the classic, timeless feel of old Spanish architecture. It’s elegant and subtly romantic.

Hex: #989898
RGB: 152, 152, 152
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 40


Stone Gray

Stone Gray is a solid, earthy gray, reminiscent of natural stone. It’s dependable and grounded, perfect for creating a sense of stability.

Hex: #928E85
RGB: 146, 142, 133
CMYK: 0, 3, 9, 43


Storm Sky

Storm Sky is a dark, brooding blue-gray, evocative of a turbulent, storm-filled sky. It’s dramatic and intense, ideal for creating a mood of anticipation.

Hex: #807C7D
RGB: 128, 124, 125
CMYK: 0, 30, 2, 50



Taupe is a warm, medium-dark gray with brown undertones. It’s versatile and understated, easily adaptable to various design styles.

Hex: #483C32
RGB: 72, 60, 50
CMYK: 0, 17, 31, 72


Taupe Gray

Taupe Gray is a muted, medium gray blended with brown. It’s warm and unassuming, perfect for a subtle, sophisticated look.

Hex: #8B8589
RGB: 139, 133, 137
CMYK: 0, 4, 1, 45



Timberwolf is a light, warm gray, reminiscent of the fur of a timber wolf. It’s natural and unobtrusive, ideal for a soft, welcoming feel.

Hex: #DBD7D2
RGB: 219, 215, 210
CMYK: 0, 2, 4, 14


Vampire Gray

Vampire Gray (listed twice) is a deep, dark gray with a hint of mystique. It’s bold and enigmatic, suitable for creating an air of mystery and sophistication.

Hex: #565051
RGB: 86, 80, 81
CMYK: 0, 7, 6, 66


Vampire Gray

Hex: #514B4C
RGB: 81, 75, 76
CMYK: 0, 7, 6, 68


Warm Gray

Warm Gray is a comforting, medium gray with a hint of brown. It’s inviting and soothing, perfect for creating a cozy atmosphere.

Hex: #6E6259
RGB: 110, 98, 89
CMYK: 0, 11, 19, 57


White Smoke

White Smoke is a very light gray, almost white, like delicate smoke wisps. It’s airy and ethereal, ideal for a light, open space.

Hex: #F5F5F5
RGB: 245, 245, 245
CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 4


Window Gray

Window Gray is a medium-light gray that suggests the color of a rain-washed window. It’s clean and refreshing, perfect for a serene environment.

Hex: #989EA1
RGB: 152, 158, 161
CMYK: 6, 2, 0, 37


Winter Sky

Winter Sky is a pale, cool gray that captures the crisp, clear essence of a winter’s sky. It’s serene and tranquil, ideal for a peaceful setting.

Hex: #F3F2ED
RGB: 243, 242, 237
CMYK: 0, 0, 2, 5



Xanadu is a deep, muted green-gray, named after the mythical city. It’s mysterious and alluring, perfect for creating a sense of hidden depths.

Hex: #738678
RGB: 115, 134, 120
CMYK: 14, 0, 10, 47


Zombie Gray

Zombie Gray is a medium-dark gray with a slightly eerie, undead feel. It’s unique and unconventional, suitable for edgy, avant-garde designs.

Hex: #63645E
RGB: 99, 100, 94
CMYK: 1, 0, 6, 61



Shades of Gray Color: A Brief History

The name “gray” first appeared in English in the seventh century. It has two spellings: “gray” in European English and “grey” in American English since the early 19th century. In the Middle Ages, gray, the color of undyed wool, was common in peasants’ clothing, symbolizing poverty and humility. Franciscan friars, known as “gray friars,” wore gray, linking it with religious humility.

During the Renaissance, gray gained popularity in fashion and art. It complemented the dominant black and white colors, with artists like Rembrandt and El Greco using it in backgrounds and skin tones. James McNeill Whistler’s famous “Arrangement in Gray and Black No.1” (1871), also known as “Whistler’s Mother,” features gray prominently. The painting technique “grisaille” involved a white and gray base, sometimes left as-is for a sculpted effect.

Gray Color Names Whistler’s Mother (1871) by James MacNeil Whistler; James McNeill Whistler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

British artist William Payne accidentally created “Payne’s gray,” a dark blue-gray, by mixing Prussian blue, yellow ochre, and crimson lake. In the 18th and 19th centuries, gray became fashionable for both men’s and women’s clothing. Business suits, especially in London and Paris, frequently used gray.

During the American Civil War, the Confederate army wore gray uniforms for camouflage, a practice adopted by other armies, including Germany in both World Wars. Their “Field Gray” was a grayish-green, hard to spot at a distance.

In the early 20th century, gray symbolized industrialization and war. Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” (1937), inspired by the Spanish Civil War, used gray to depict the horrors of war. Post-World War II, gray suits became a symbol of status in society and business, evolving from the formal frock coat to the less formal English-style drape suit.



The Meaning of Different Shades of Gray

All colors have meaning, and gray is no exception. Shades of gray are mostly identified with uncertainty or indecisiveness, indifference, neutrality, boredom, old age, humility, depression, loss, and modesty. Unfortunately, the color is not a favorite of many, and only about one percent admit that gray is their favorite color. The saying, “it is a gray area”, is used to describe situations where the solution or answer is not clear.

Gray RGB

This might look like it is mainly associated with negative things, but there is humility and also balance. The color is in-between black and white, offering a kind of balance. Various types of gray can be successfully used as graphics or fonts in online designs that appeal to and attract an audience. For example, the company Apple uses gray to great effect in their advertising and products. A gray color palette is also popular when designing interiors as it is a neutral color that can work well with many other colors, creating a soothing and inviting environment.



Where Does Gray Fit Into Color Theory?

Describing colors can seem like a challenging and complicated matter. However, there are tools like the color wheel, which help us identify colors and how they interact with each other. The color wheel is simply a circular visual interpretation of the various colors. 

The three main terms that pop up when describing color theory include hue, chroma, saturation, and color value.

  • Hue: This is just another word for your actual color like green, red, or blue.
  • Chroma: The chroma is how pure the color is, for example, a color with a high chroma will have no gray, white or black added to it.
  • Saturation: The saturation of a color is how strong or weak a color appears.
  • Color Value: The color value can be described as how light a color is, or how dark. A high color value means the color is lighter.

Gray is seen as a neutral color and as with all neutral colors, it can technically not be found on the color wheel. Your other neutral colors are white, black, and a few shades of brown. Your basic gray is a mixture of your neutral colors white and black. Your white color is a pure color, meaning you cannot mix any color to get white. However, black can be blended and this is where you get your various shades of gray.

This is where you can get warm or cool gray colors, also known as color temperature. On the color wheel, you should notice that your red, orange, and yellow colors are on one side, and your green and blues are on the other side. These form your warm and cool colors, like red, for example, represents heat and warm colors, while blue represents cold, ice, and cool colors.

Make Light Gray Paint

Connected to these colors are your meanings, red being energetic, while blue represents more of a calming effect. Since the black in gray can be manipulated by adding different colors, it all depends on how the colors are mixed to form warm and cool shades of gray. A neutral gray has no added color.

The different shades of gray are not only created with paints, as today we also have computers, graphics, and printing. To differentiate, people developed various models to work from to create and identify the correct colors. For example, painters use the RBY or red, blue, and yellow model, while the RGB model, which represents your red, green, and blue colors, is for your computers and televisions.

When it comes to printing, the CMYK color model is used, which uses the colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to create all other colors. For example, gray is obtained by combining the same amount of cyan, magenta, as well as yellow.



Painting With Shades of Gray Color

The various shades of gray have been mainly created by blending black and white paint in different quantities. Then by adding a little red or a small amount of blue, you could make the color warmer or cooler. So, when dealing with black and white, you can manipulate the black to create your warmer or cooler gray colors.

  • Create a black by blending blue and brown, using darker colors. For example, dark umber and indigo blue.
  • By adding a little more blue, you create a cooler black color. This also works the other way around, by adding in more umber, it creates a warmer black.
  • You then add in small amounts of white to get your shades of gray.
  • You can also change the mixture by using various shades of blue and brown. For example, try using Prussian blue mixed with burnt umber.

What Colors go With Gunmetal Gray

Gray can also be created by combining your complementary colors. These are colors on a color wheel, which are found opposite one another. Below are some ideas for creating various shades of gray. You can experiment with all the primary colors and cool and warm colors to create an extensive gray color palette.

  • Create a green using ultramarine blue and lemon yellow then add a small amount of cadmium red, which will come up as a greenish-gray. Lighten the color by adding in a small amount of white.
  • Combine cadmium red and yellow, then add ultramarine blue. Add a little white to show off the gray color.
  • Combine alizarin and ultramarine blue to create a violet color, then add a little azo yellow to create a mauve-gray. Mix in a little white to lighten and highlight the gray color.

When painting, it will be up to you to decide whether you need to use warm or cool gray colors. The decision will rely heavily on what you are painting. Of course, you can also use both warm and cool grays in a single painting. In certain instances, the decision to use a certain color is natural, for example, if you are painting in shadows, this will naturally be a cooler shade of gray. Warmer grays can then be used to create more contrast within a painting. 

Remember, that when you are experimenting with creating various shades of gray, you should create and document the gray color palette so you can create the same color again.



Design and Shades of Gray

When considering shades of gray for a website, you can make it look great by using contrasting colors. This can create a beautifully modern and sophisticated look. Gray can be an extremely understated color, sitting in the background. You may not even realize gray is a big part of a design. Some big companies that incorporate a gray color palette into their design include Facebook and YouTube. Even though these companies are associated with other colors like blue and red, gray also plays a dominant role in the design, however at more subtle levels. 

gray shades and design

If you look closely, you will notice that many websites use gray for the text or backgrounds, from light gray to darker gray colors. Solid black is avoided as a background with lighter text as it can cause blurring in people with astigmatism, an eye disorder suffered by quite a large percentage of the population. Another term for this is known as “halation,” which refers to the “halo” effect the image produces. Using a shade of gray instead of black produces less strain on the eye and reading is easier. 

Now that we have discovered that gray plays a major role in website design, we are now going to find out how gray and interior design work together.


Interior Design Gray Color Palettes

Gray has become extremely popular as it is so versatile and can be used with many other colors and accessories as it provides a sense of balance. You may think gray is a cool color, but we have learned you can get warmer gray colors as well.

Various shades of gray work extremely well with white and other neutrals. When choosing a warmer gray, these pair best with natural elements like wood and stone. Darker gray colors can be more intense and sophisticated, while light gray provides more of a soothing and welcoming effect.

Yellow and Gray

Another reason for the popularity of gray is that it can be used in any room of the house. You can also paint the outside of the house gray. When painting or decorating a room, it is also important to check how much light enters the room. Does the sunshine enter a room or does it remain quite dark and cool throughout the day? If it is a dark room, you might want to go for a warmer gray color as a cool gray will make the room feel even colder.

When painting walls, you can create a more sophisticated and luxurious look by using gray paint that is glossy or has a semi-gloss finish. Shades of gray color are also a good idea for open spaces and areas like hallways and provide a neutral zone that can lead to other rooms. Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore are both popular brands that offer a variety of different types of gray.


The color gray is perfect to experiment with, and you cannot go wrong with a gray color palette in your home. There are many shades of gray that you can use, both warm and cool, making it a versatile color that works well with most colors.


Take a look at our gray color palette webstory here!


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Shades of Gray Color – 90 Curated Grayish Tones to Explore.” Art in Context. November 29, 2022. URL:

Lewis, C. (2022, 29 November). Shades of Gray Color – 90 Curated Grayish Tones to Explore. Art in Context.

Lewis, Charlene. “Shades of Gray Color – 90 Curated Grayish Tones to Explore.” Art in Context, November 29, 2022.

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