A popular intense gray with unexpected brownish-purple undertones that perfcetly underline any classic or modern design, working as an accent and base paint color.

LRV 23.33

We often refer to the Historic Collection from Benjamin Moore in our color reviews. Today is a great day to do it again. One of the prominent representatives in the most popular palette at this brand is the accent gray that almost passes the charcoal border – Chelsea Gray HC-168.

The richness and sophistication of this shade is a reliable source of depth, authenticity, and, not least, coziness since we speak about a warm color variation. Used primarily for pieces of furniture, yet it is no less appropriate as a base color, including the exterior, Chelsea Gray is a contemporary go-to paint color for those who fancy a bold yet not too striking hue that incorporates individuality and makes the most of the interior and exterior.

Chelsea Gray paint color features

This beautiful shade reveals an impressive combination of earthy and purple notes on a gray base, showing a stately appearance that feels slightly formal yet not devoid of comfort. Benjamin Moore brand has its own way with words, and colorists from the manufacturer refer to this paint color as “a well-dressed gentleman” and “graceful urbane shade of gray”. If you have ever wondered how a shade of gray can radiate so much intrigue, take a look at Chelsea Gray, and you will get it. 

Chelsea Gray: is it warm or cold?

HC-168 is deep, intense, and almost enters the dark color category. Still, it has a warm appeal, which makes this stately shade feel exceptionally cozy despite its formality. Where does it come from? While most grays showcase blue notes in their composition, Chelsea Gray is all about brown undertones that offer it this earthy sense of naturalness. This is why a space painted this way will not feel draining but rather comforting, even if we speak about a quite imposing shade.

How does lighting affect Chelsea Gray?

When the first sun rays penetrate the space in the morning, Chelsea Gray reveals a neutral gray base, slightly warmed up. During the day, when daylight is at its highest, the purple notes come to the surface and offer this paint color the loveliest appearance. Still, we were surprised to find out that, under ambient lighting, the deep gray variation shows a prevalence of blue scents, which are not part of its composition but the way lighting plays with the gray base. The same way green notes come to the surface in the afternoon. One may wonder what influence artificial lighting has on this hue. This is exactly when the brownish scents take the lead.

Chelsea Gray LRV

An indeed dark paint would have an LRV lower than 10, while Chelsea Gray reaches a value of 23.33 on a scale from 0 to 100, where the former stands for true shades of black. Therefore, HC-168 can be called a medium-to-dark paint color. Undoubtedly, it absorbs a larger amount of light than it bounces back. Still, appropriate lighting conditions make this shade bloom and reveal its true nature – standout gray with handsome and deep purple-brown notes.

Chelsea Gray undertones

Brown and purple particles definitely penetrate the earthy gray shade. Still, particular conditions can make it reveal slight traces of blue and green, which are the result of the play between lighting and the gray shade itself. All you should do is experiment with a sample in your space at different times during the day and make sure that you have the paint color you dreamt of. 

Similar colors

For our readers who love deep gray shades or simply wonder if there are any alternatives to the popular paint color that showcases an astonishing mix of undertones, we prepared a list of similar colors that you can safely use for an identical or slightly different effect.

  • Dolphin AF-715 – sleek gray that reveals a slightly lighter variation due to less intense undertones;
  • Pier PPU8-22 by Behr – identical shade of gray that preserves the same mix of undertones, even the LRV is almost the same;
  • Undiscovered Forest by Dulux – a slightly lighter variation that replicates the same gray base devoid of the brown notes;
  • Naval Grey by Dulux Australia – it seems like the same shade of gray, slightly covered with a foggy veil, making it feel a bit lighter.

Coordinating colors

Usually, deep grays like this are picky about their partners, while Chelsea Gray is quite friendly towards a wide range of shades. A monochromatic palette requires lighter variations of gray that share the same sense of naturalness and formality, while a contrasting interior with HC-168 as part of it can go with any contrast, particularly the bright ones, to dilute the overly deep sense of intrigue. We back our words with precise examples. Take a look at the following color matches:

  • Angelica AF-665 – light gray with notes of lavender that perfume its relatively neutral base;
  • Gray Tint 1611 – delicate shade of gray that features a whisper of gray with a neutral base;
  • Silver Chain 1472 – modern gray with sophisticated yet unobtrusive notes of cool;
  • Cape May Cobblestone 1474 – medium shade of classic gray with an elegant appearance that brings a balanced sense of spaciousness;
  • White Dove OC-17 – classic white with subtle notes of cleanliness and softness that lead to an irreplaceable neutral shade;
  • Sanctuary AF-620 – slightly shaded purple that cannot work any better but as an alternative to gray;
  • Indi Go-go CSP-565 – deep blue paint with a bright base for the most unexpected effect;
  • Hepplewhite Ivory HC-36 – attractive pale yellow that showcases gentle creamy notes;
  • Lemon Chiffon OC-109 – a crispy shade of white with the slightest trace of yellow that adds creaminess;
  • Concord Ivory HC-12 – a combination of yellow and gold underlined by soft apricot notes.

Use of Chelsea Gray in the interior

This is a go-to paint color for your interior if all you want is a deep shade that brings individuality, yet it doesn’t feel too striking, ensuring, at the same time, comfort. Undoubtedly, this paint color works for classic interiors due to its historic nature, although an appropriate combination of colors can make the most of this dark gray base in a modern space. From general information to concrete examples. Take a look!

Stately gray for a Classic interior

Add a bit of dark wood to the formal gray base, whose earthy notes will perfectly resonate with the natural texture, and let the Classic feeling integrate into your space. Whether you paint the walls or a built-in bookcase, the deep gray background will bring the right amount of comfort, slightly balanced, to preserve formality – exactly what a Classic interior requires. With a few modern touches, such as on furniture or textiles, you can slightly adapt the style to contemporary values.

Modern living room

When accompanied by a simple layout, limited decor, and raw texture, such as glass, wood, or steel, Chelsea Gray defines contemporaneity to the fullest. Don’t hesitate to go with this solution in your living area if a bit of intriguing sophistication would add the right amount of individuality to your overly simplified setting. Don’t forget about lighting, since it can take your interior to unexpected results.

Individuality for your bedroom

With a single change of matching colors and textures, you can switch from one style to another, while the gray base color stays the same. This is how versatile Chelsea Gray is. Consider dark wood furniture, no decor, a sleek layout, and a minimum of additional shades for the most contemporary bedroom yet not devoid of comfort. 

For those who want to put the accent on coziness, a splash of beige and wood that almost suppress the deep gray background is the no-fail option. Why opt then for such a sophisticated backdrop? The intense gray notes will let the warm beige textiles reveal their whole range of softness.

An authentic approach to the kitchen and dining room

Is gray your favorite, but you are tired of the usual shades of gray that you see in almost any kitchen and dining area? Lucky you to have found this article. Chelsea Gray is indeed popular among designers, yet not so many homeowners know about it. The rich brown and purple scents it features are a great addition to ensure a unique design. It works primarily for the cabinets combined with white to avoid any draining effect in the kitchen. 

Simultaneously, the dining room offers an impressive range of solutions, each implying Chelsea Gray as a base. You can either keep it traditional with wood furniture and familiar shapes or go with raw materials on the already modern gray background, such as an accent table of untreated wood and glass chairs.

Originality reaches the bathroom

We haven’t told you the last secret yet – Chelsea Gray is an amateur of gold details. We mention it now since the bathroom seems like the perfect place to combine intense grayish cabinets with brass hardware. Still, you can always consider silver elements to preserve the authentic sense of formality. HC-168 works for the walls with light-colored cabinetry with a similar stylish effect. The main rule to consider in this respect is to ensure an appropriate amount of lighting. Otherwise, you risk making this space feel too dark.

Use of Chelsea Gray for the exterior

A front door painted in a deep gray shade on a light background will always feel trendy. What about the whole exterior when it comes to such an intense paint color? Both traditional and modern exteriors proved to be perfect for this accent color that fascinatingly combines with the outdoor background any season. Whether you go with classic black and white companions or choose a muted teal shade for the front door, which is a trendy option now, the by-passers will simply not be able to avoid taking an impressed look at your house. 

The Chelsea Gray HC-168 paint color from Benjamin Moore brings the most authentic look to your exterior for a stylish intro to the interior, where it feels like home and spreads a similar sense of comfort in every space it is part of.  

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