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Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray (HC-168) Color Review

Learn all about Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray in this paint color review.

A bucket of Benjamin Gray Chelsea Gray paint

Chelsea Gray is a beautiful complex warm gray paint color that can be used for both interiors and exteriors of your home. 

This color is a great accent paint color to use in multiple spaces within a home, helping to tie different spaces together. However, it is typically too dark to be an interior whole-house paint color.

From kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities to accent walls and even exterior trim, BM Chelsea Gray paint is a versatile paint color that can work well in many homes.

*Note: Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray should not be confused with Sherwin-Williams Chelsea Gray. They are very different colors, with Sherwin-Williams’ version being lighter and much cooler.

A swatch of Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray paint
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray (HC-168)

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What is the LRV of  Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray?

BM Chelsea Gray (sample) has an LRV of 23, which makes it a darker mid-tone gray. It’s much darker than some of Benjamin Moore’s popular light gray and greige paint colors. Edgecomb Gray, for example, has an LRV of 63 and BM Balboa Mist has an LRV of 67.

Is BM Chelsea Gray warm or cool?

Chelsea Gray is a warm gray paint color. Even though it is fairly dark, it can help keep a room feeling warm and welcoming when used as an accent. It also pairs well with other warm colors and finishes, like natural wood floors and warm whites.

What undertones does Chelsea Gray have?

Chelsea Gray has green undertones that sometimes flash violet, though you see much more green than violet in the color. These undertones give the color its warmth.

When should I use Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray?

While Chelsea Gray is typically too dark to use as the foundation for an interior whole-home color palette, it still has many uses throughout the interior and exterior of a home.

Can I try Chelsea Gray kitchen cabinets?

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray kitchen cabinets are one of my absolute favorite uses for this gorgeous paint color. My own kitchen features Chelsea Gray lower cabinets as part of my tuxedo kitchen cabinet palette.

Tuxedo kitchen cabinets are painted with Chelsea Gray and Simply White paint
Photo by K. Geha

The kitchen features upper cabinets in Sherwin-Williams Pure White (sample), a warm white that pairs really well with the warm Chelsea Gray lower cabinets. The countertops are Silestone Stellar Snow, and they have a sparkle!

Make your home your own with the perfect colors

Chelsea Gray adds just enough color and depth to the kitchen cabinets without making the space feel too dark. And it’s versatile enough to look just as good with the white quartz countertops as it does with the warm wood floor of my kitchen.

Tuxedo kitchen cabinets are painted with Chelsea Gray and Simply White.
Photo by K. Geha

Is a Chelsea Gray bathroom a good idea?

Chelsea Gray can work really well in a bathroom. BM Chelsea Gray bathroom vanity is really beautiful! You can consider painting the walls Chelsea Gray if you have tons of natural or artificial light, or lots of white tiles, countertops, and ceilings to balance the dark color.

I used a Chelsea Gray vanity in my own home’s bathroom to tie into the lower kitchen cabinets and make the two spaces feel cohesive. It keeps the bathroom feeling modern and fresh while also adding some warmth and color to the otherwise white space.

A bathroom vanity's cabinets are painted with Chelsea Gray.
Photo by K. Geha

Can I paint a Chelsea Gray front door?

Chelsea Gray is a beautiful choice for a front door color, both exterior and interior. In my own home, I painted a Chelsea Gray interior front door and love the way it looks with the warm white walls of my entryway.

An interior front door is painted with BM Chelsea Gray paint.
Photo by K. Geha

One of the best ways to pull design elements together in a room or a whole home is to repeat similar colors over and over again, creating layers of color throughout the space.

By continuing the BM Chelsea Gray from my kitchen cabinets into the entryway of the home, it keeps the whole main level feeling really cohesive. I also opted to paint my pantry door Chelsea Gray, which really elevated the look of the kitchen.

A pantry door is painted with BM Chelsea Gray paint.
Photo by K. Geha

Is Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray a good whole house color?

BM Chelsea Gray is typically too dark to be a good interior whole-house color scheme, but it works really well as an accent color throughout a home. 

Using Chelsea Gray as I did throughout my house – as a cabinet color, bathroom vanity color, and front door color – can help make your home feel put together and elevated.

Chelsea Gray would also work well as an accent wall color in an office, bedroom room or living room.

Can I use BM Chelsea Gray exterior paint?

The one place Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray can work well as a whole-house color is on the exterior of a home. Its warm green undertones pair well with red brick and other warm stone accents. As with other paints, looks brighter in direct sunlight than indoors.

We used Chelsea Gray siding for the client’s home pictured below, and it looks completely classic and timeless. The brick accent on the front of the client’s home looks fabulous with Chelsea Gray. It goes to show that when you have the right complementary paint color for red brick, you don’t need to paint the brick at all! Chelsea Gray also had the same undertones as the brick mortar for a cohesive look.

A home with red brick exterior is painted with BM Chelsea Gray paint and features a welcome sign.
Photo by M. Marceny

We used BM Soft Chamois (sample), a light greige, for the trim. This color acts like a white paint color in the strong Colorado sunshine but doesn’t look too stark next to the Chelsea Gray siding. It also provided the perfect transition between the home’s bright white vinyl windows and the darker BM Chelsea Gray exterior paint.

A home is painted with Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray exterior paint.
Photo by M. Marceny

We continued the Soft Chamois on the ceiling of the front porch, which helped brighten up the entry. The white color also reflects into the interior of the home and makes it lighter.

A home is painted with BM Chelsea Gray exterior paint and features red brick accents with a wood front door.
Photo by M. Marceny

Chelsea Gray also looks really beautiful with the home’s warm wood front door and BM Onyx (sample) shutters. The deep, dark black shutters contrast well with the other exterior paint colors and create a classic, clean look when paired with the white trim and gray body.

A home is painted with Chelsea Gray exterior paint and features black shutters with white trim.
Photo by M. Marceny

Chelsea Gray can also be used as an exterior trim color in certain applications, particularly when paired with much darker body color. 

We used Chelsea Gray paint for the trim of the client’s home pictured below. It looked really beautiful with the SW Cyberspace (sample) siding color and bright green front door.

While I would typically not use gray paint for trim and handrails, it works well here because of the gray undertones of Cyberspace and because Chelsea Gray looks very light in the bright, high-altitude sun.

A home is painted with SW Cyberspace exterior paint with a bright green front door and BM Chelsea Gray trim.
Photo by M. Marceny

What Are Some Chelsea Gray Complementary Colors?

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray paint can be paired with many other paint colors and hard finishes, thanks to its versatile gray color and warm green undertones.

Does Chelsea Gray go with blue or green?

BM Chelsea Gray looks really beautiful when paired with dark muted greens and blues, particularly blues with warm green undertones. 

In the photo of my kitchen below, you can see how great Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue (color review) in the adjacent dining room looks with the Chelsea Gray kitchen cabinets.

A dining room painted with Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue paint is pictured next to BM Chelsea Gray and Simply White tuxedo kitchen cabinets.
Photo by K. Geha

You could get a similar look by pairing BM Chelsea Gray with BM Atmospheric (sample), a muted blue-green paint color with lots of gray in it.

Does Chelsea Gray go with pink?

Pairing Chelsea Gray with pink is definitely a bold choice, but they look really lovely together. In the photo of my laundry room below, Chelsea Gray cabinets are contrasted with Sherwin-Williams Pinky Beige. It’s a color combination that’s not for everyone, but I loved it until I painted over the walls with BM Simply White.

Pink laundry room walls are paired with BM Chelsea Gray cabinets and a white backsplash.
Photo by K. Geha

Does Chelsea Gray go with white?

Absolutely! Pairing a medium gray with white paint is a classic color combination. When using BM Chelsea Gray, opt for a clean white or warm white, nothing too cool or blue.

I used BM Simply White upper cabinets with Chelsea Gray lower cabinets because the warm yellow undertones in Simply White pair well with Chelsea Gray’s green undertones.

What are the Best Trim and Ceiling Colors For BM Chelsea Gray? 

When it comes to choosing trim colors for Chelsea Gray, soft off-white paint colors or clean whites generally work best. If you want a more crisp look, try BM Chantilly Lace (color review) trim and ceiling paint. For a warmer look, BM Simply White (color review) or BM Cloud White (color review) can both work well.

And while I generally wouldn’t pair Chelsea Gray with a cool white paint with blue undertones, this color can work well with Sherwin-Williams Extra White trim. 

That’s good news because Extra White is the most common trim color in the U.S. If you have a new build, especially, there’s a very good chance you have SW Extra White trim!

What is the easiest way to sample Chelsea Gray?

You should always sample and test your paint colors. The easiest way to sample BM Chelsea Gray (and any paint color for that matter) is via SAMPLIZE. Their peel-and-stick paint samples are easy to use and true to color.

There is no mess, and the cost is less expensive than purchasing a sample and a white poster board. Since you don’t need to dispose of the paint, it’s also environmentally friendly!

With Samplize you can easily see how different shades look on your unique wall.

Comparisons With BM Chelsea Gray Alternatives

BM Chelsea Gray vs BM Kendall Charcoal

Chelsea Gray and Kendall Charcoal are both popular Benjamin Moore warm grays, but Kendall Charcoal (HC-166) is a bit darker, with an LRV of 15. Both colors have warm green undertones. But while Chelsea Gray can sometimes flash violet, Kendall Charcoal usually commits to green.

BM Chelsea Gray vs BM Kendall Charcoal

BM Chelsea Gray vs SW Gauntlet Gray 

Sherwin-Williams Gauntlet Gray (SW 7019) is slightly darker than Chelsea Gray, with an LRV of 17. While Chelsea Gray has green undertones, Gauntlet Gray’s undertones are violet, making it much cooler.

BM Chelsea Gray vs SW Gauntlet Gray

BM Chelsea Gray vs SW Dovetail

Sherwin-Williams Dovetail (SW 7018) is another paint color that can be used in similar exterior applications. Inside Dovetail will look different thanks to its violet undertones. With an LRV of 26, it is just slightly lighter than Chelsea Gray. 

BM Chelsea Gray vs SW Dovetail

BM Chelsea Gray vs BM Amherst Gray

Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray (HC-167) is also very similar to Chelsea Gray. It is slightly darker than Chelsea Gray, with an LRV of 19. It has much stronger green undertones that make it less neutral.

BM Chelsea Gray vs BM Amherst Gray

BM Chelsea Gray vs BM Dolphin

Benjamin Moore Dolphin (AF-715) is another very close match for Chelsea Gray. It has an LRV of 24, just barely lighter than Chelsea Gray. Dolphin has violet undertones and is much cooler but can be used in similar applications.

BM Chelsea Gray vs BM Dolphin

What Is the Sherwin-Williams Equivalent to Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray?

While it’s easy to think that SW Chelsea Gray might be a good alternative to BM Chelsea Gray, they’re actually very different colors. Instead, the closest Sherwin-Williams equivalent to BM Chelsea Gray is SW Attitude Gray (SW 7060). This color has an LRV of 20 and looks more green than Chelsea Gray but it still a close match.

BM Chelsea Gray vs SW Attitude Gray

Key Learning Points

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray is a versatile, warm gray paint color that works really well as an interior accent color or exterior paint color.

  • Chelsea Gray paint is a wonderful choice for kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanity cabinets, and even interior doors.
  • While Chelsea Gray is too dark to use as a whole-home paint color, it can be used as an accent color throughout the home to help tie different spaces together.
  • Chelsea Gray is a beautiful exterior paint color, particularly when paired with warm, red brick and classic black shutters.

Remember: NEVER, EVER use paint matches from a different brand than the one specified. Results are poor and there are no standards for the sheens.  Even though your painter may truly believe it can be done, don’t do it. See results from paint matching here.

No matter what, always test your paint colors. It’s a standard best practice.  Whenever I test my paint colors, they are perfect, and when I don’t test they turn out wrong. Learn how to test your paint colors here.

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A Chelsea Gray front door is pictured in a graphic with text

We love your comments! Please note that the blog is meant as general advice, and it is not possible to give out specific answers to your paint questions.  If you want more specific advice, please consider purchasing a color consultation. Thank you for your understanding.

About the Author

Michelle Marceny, principal designer and founder of The Color Concierge, a paint color consulting company in Denver, Colorado.

Hi, I’m Michelle Marceny, founder, owner, and Principal Color Designer at The Color Concierge. I believe a fresh coat of paint can completely transform a space. The Color Concierge was born out of my drive to help clients fall back in love with their homes. My clients trust me to help them find the perfect paint color for their home – whether it’s a whole-house paint color scheme or ideas for a single room. 

Since The Color Concierge was founded in 2017, we have completed over 3000 color consultations, both online and in-person.  I am a Certified Color Expert with 7 years of experience creating interior and exterior color palettes throughout North America.

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4 Responses

  1. Love the color but to dark except for accent color. Love the house painted in Chelsea Gray and the front door.
    Love see new paint colors. I’m actually getting ready to paint my living room and kitchen. Do you have any suggestions with gray brown tone?
    Thank You

  2. I love both Chelsea Gray and Kendall Gray for both of my bathroom vanities. Walls are Pale Oak and countertop’s are soft gray with charcoal/taupe colors. I’ll have to decide on darker or lighter.

  3. Would SW Extra White work on exterior trim with Ben Moore Chelsea Gray? I want a crisp white but not too stark. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Extra White is way to stark and bright to use with Chelsea Gray. Instead, try a darker white such as SW Oyster White or SW Pearly White. Also, don’t paint match Benjamin Moore colors to Sherwin.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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