When searching for the perfect soft neutral paint color, two Benjamin Moore favorites often top the list – Fog Mist OC-31 and Pale Oak OC-20. At first glance they may appear similar, but differences emerge upon closer inspection.
In this article, we’ll analyze Fog Mist and Pale Oak in depth. We’ll compare undertones, light reflectance, real photos, and ideal room pairings. Read on to determine if light and airy Fog Mist or warm and cozy Pale Oak is the best soft neutral paint for your home.
Table of Contents
Key Differences Between Fog Mist and Pale Oak
Before diving into the nuances, here are the main differences between Fog Mist and Pale Oak:
- Undertones – Fog Mist is a cool beige, Pale Oak is a warm brown beige
- Light Reflectance – Fog Mist has an LRV of 70.15, Pale Oak has an LRV of 68.64
- Use – Fog Mist for airy spaces, Pale Oak for cozy rooms
- Rooms – Fog Mist ideal for modern homes, Pale Oak perfect for traditional cottages
Now let’s explore Fog Mist and Pale Oak more closely.
Benjamin Moore Fog Mist OC-31
With its soft beige-gray appearance, Fog Mist OC-31 creates a gorgeous airy backdrop. This tranquil beige has broad appeal.
Here are some key details about Benjamin Moore’s Fog Mist:
- LRV: 70.15
- Undertones: Subtly cool taupe-gray
- Finish: Available in all paint sheens
- Rooms: Whole home color, especially living spaces
- Pairings: Grays, blues, greens
Fog Mist is a pale beige with the slightest hint of cool gray or greige. In most lights it appears as a soft neutral beige. But its bare whisper of gray comes through occasionally, giving it more refinement than some warmer beiges.
With a 70.15 light reflectance value, Fog Mist provides enough illumination to keep rooms feeling bright and open. The subtle grayness prevents it from feeling too warm or yellow.
The lightness and adaptability of Fog Mist is one of its greatest strengths. This tranquil neutral pairs effortlessly with both cool and warm accents. Popular combinations include:
- Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
- Benjamin Moore October Mist
- Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
- Benjamin Moore Simply White
Use Fog Mist to create serene, livable spaces full of soft sunlight. This hazy neutral helps rooms feel relaxing yet bright. It works well throughout the home.
Benjamin Moore Pale Oak OC-20
With its light brown appearance, Pale Oak OC-20 creates a gorgeous natural-looking neutral. This versatile beige has broad appeal.
Here are some key details about Benjamin Moore Pale Oak:
- LRV: 68.64
- Undertones: Strong yellow-brown
- Finish: Available in several sheens
- Rooms: Living spaces, traditional homes
- Pairings: Browns, reds, greens
Pale Oak is described as a “golden oak-inspired” color. It has very noticeable warm yellow-brown undertones reminiscent of natural oak wood. This gives Pale Oak a cozy and inviting appearance.
Despite the oak-inspired base color, Pale Oak reads as quite light and airy still. With a 68.64 light reflectance value, this soft neutral helps rooms feel cheerful and bright.
The strong oak undertones pair wonderfully with organic textures and natural materials like wood furniture and woven accents. Pale Oak helps spaces feel extra cozy and grounded. Use it alongside other warm, nature-inspired tones like:
- Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
- Benjamin Moore Simply White
- Benjamin Moore Essex Green
- Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
This versatile beige looks gorgeous across many styles from modern farmhouse to craftsman bungalows. It excels in these spaces:
- Living rooms
Comparing Fog Mist vs. Pale Oak
Now that we’ve examined their unique traits, let’s directly compare Fog Mist and Pale Oak:
With an LRV of 70.15, Fog Mist reflects slightly more light than the warmer Pale Oak at 68.64 LRV. But both offer decent illumination.
This is a key distinction. Fog Mist has subtle hints of cool gray tones, while Pale Oak has very strong warm yellow-brown oak undertones.
The coolness of Fog Mist gives it an airy, ethereal effect. Pale Oak’s bold oak-like warmth feels cozy and grounded.
Fog Mist works well for modern breezy spaces seeking soft illumination. Pale Oak’s strong warmth is perfectly suited for traditional, welcoming environments.
Both Fog Mist and Pale Oak come in any sheen from flat to high-gloss. They allow for beautiful soft finishes.
Fog Mist vs. Pale Oak Comparison Chart
Here is an overview of how Fog Mist and Pale Oak compare:
|Fog Mist OC-31
|Pale Oak OC-20
|Subtly cool beige-gray
|Strong warm yellow-brown
|Airy, modern spaces
|Cozy, traditional rooms
Real Photos: Fog Mist vs Pale Oak
To better visualize the differences, here are real photos of Fog Mist and Pale Oak:
As shown, Fog Mist reads as slightly cooler and grayer, while Pale Oak is warmer and more golden oak-toned. But lighting affects their appearance significantly.
Should I Choose Fog Mist or Pale Oak?
So how do you decide between Fog Mist vs Pale Oak for your home? Here are some helpful tips:
Consider Fog Mist if you want:
- A soft beige with subtle cool gray tones
- An airy, ethereal neutral
- A versatile backdrop for modern and transitional rooms
- Light and luminous feel
Consider Pale Oak if you want:
- A light brown beige with bold oak undertones
- A cozy and welcoming traditional feel
- A cottage style neutral with natural warmth
- A soft but grounded foundation
As with any close paint decision, get samples and test Fog Mist and Pale Oak on your walls before deciding. Both create beautiful, welcoming backdrops.
Ideal Room Pairings
Here are rooms well-suited to showcasing Fog Mist and Pale Oak:
Fog Mist OC-31
- Airy living rooms
- Bright bedrooms
- Sophisticated dining rooms
- Modern kitchens
- Contemporary bathrooms
Pale Oak OC-20
- Cozy living rooms
- Craftsman kitchens
Fog Mist fits best in open, modern spaces, while cozy Pale Oak excels in traditional cottages or farmhouses. But both add soft illumination.
Decorating Ideas and Color Pairings
Fog Mist and Pale Oak create welcoming backdrops. Pair them with these colors:
Fog Mist Color Pairings
- Benjamin Moore White Dove (white)
- Benjamin Moore October Mist (green)
- Benjamin Moore Gray Owl (gray)
- Warm wood tones
Pale Oak Color Pairings
- Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (blue)
- Benjamin Moore Simply White (white)
- Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (gray)
- Benjamin Moore Essex Green (olive green)
Fog Mist vs Pale Oak: Which is Best for Your Home?
So which soft neutral paint color works best in your home – Fog Mist or Pale Oak? Consider the following:
Choose Fog Mist if you want:
- A beige with subtle cool gray undertones
- An airy, ethereal vibe
- A versatile neutral for modern styles
- Light and bright aesthetic
Choose Pale Oak if you want:
- A light brown beige with bold oak warmth
- A welcoming cozy cottage feel
- A traditional neutral with natural organic tones
- A grounded, welcoming foundation
While Fog Mist offers luminous softness, Pale Oak provides natural cozy warmth. Test them in your home before deciding! Either one creates a beautiful soothing backdrop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still trying to choose between Fog Mist vs Pale Oak? Here are helpful answers:
Does Fog Mist have purple undertones?
No, Fog Mist does not have purple tones. It is a soft beige with subtle hints of cool gray. Depending on lighting, it may appear to pick up occasional blue-gray hints.
What colors pair well with Pale Oak?
Pale Oak works beautifully with navy blue, gray, sage green, deep red, brown, and other natural colors. It excels with organic palettes.
Can I use Fog Mist in a south-facing room?
Yes, Fog Mist would work well in a south-facing room awash with natural sunlight. Its soft beige-gray tone and decent light reflectance prevent it from feeling too warm.
Is Pale Oak suitable for bedrooms?
Definitely! With its cozy oak undertones, Pale Oak creates a warm, welcoming retreat in bedrooms. Its versatility also makes it suitable for kids rooms.
Does Fog Mist brighten up a space?
Yes, with a 70.15 LRV Fog Mist reflects a good amount of light, making it a great choice for brightening up darker rooms that need a neutral soft backdrop.