Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal vs Chelsea Gray: What’s the Difference?

When searching for the perfect deep, dark gray paint color, it’s easy to get stuck comparing two similar rich shades. Popular Benjamin Moore choices Kendall Charcoal HC-166 and Chelsea Gray HC-168 appear very alike at first glance. But what really differentiates these two dramatic grays?

In this guide, we’ll analyze Kendall Charcoal vs Chelsea Gray in-depth to help you determine the right bold gray paint for your home. We’ll look at undertones, light reflectance, real-life photos, room pairings and more.

Let’s dive in!

Key Differences Between Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray

Before getting into the nitty gritty, here is an overview of the main differences between Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray:

  • Undertones – Kendall Charcoal is a cool dark gray, Chelsea Gray is a true dark gray
  • Light Reflectance – Kendall Charcoal has an LRV of 23.33, Chelsea Gray has an LRV of 14.61
  • Use – Kendall Charcoal suits modern spaces, Chelsea Gray works in any style
  • Rooms – Kendall Charcoal excels in bold modern kitchens, Chelsea Gray shines in dramatic living rooms
  • Availability – Both come in all paint sheens

Now let’s explore Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray more thoroughly.

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal HC-166

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal HC-166
Image Credit:@ archstudioinc

With its dramatic charcoal gray color, Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal HC-166 creates a bold, sophisticated backdrop that feels chic and contemporary. This deep cool gray works across many styles.

Here are some key details about Kendall Charcoal:

  • LRV: 23.33
  • Undertones: Cool dark gray
  • Finish: Available in all paint sheens
  • Rooms: Modern kitchens, dining rooms, offices, living rooms
  • Pairs Well With: White, green, black, metallics
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Kendall Charcoal is an intense charcoal gray with subtle hints of blue undertones. In certain lights it takes on a bold graphite gray appearance. The sophisticated color has modern appeal.

The 23.33 light reflectance value creates a deep, dramatic feel while avoiding feeling too dark and gloomy. Kendall Charcoal strikes a perfect balance of depth and vibrancy.

This adaptable gray complements both cool and warm accents. Popular Kendall Charcoal color pairings include:

  • Sherwin-Williams Pure White
  • Benjamin Moore Mountain Moss
  • Matte black hardware
  • Brushed brass and gold accents
  • Crisp white trim

While suitable anywhere in the home, Kendall Charcoal excels in these chic, modern spaces:

  • Kitchens
  • Dining Rooms
  • Offices
  • Living Rooms
  • Bathrooms

Kendall Charcoal’s bold sophistication helps create a dramatic yet livable backdrop. Use it to create an upscale modern feel.

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray HC-168

Real Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
Image Credit:@ zehnderkristin

With its intense blackish-gray color, Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray HC-168 creates a striking, dramatic backdrop. This versatile true dark gray works across all styles.

Here are some details about Chelsea Gray:

  • LRV: 14.61
  • Undertones: True dark gray
  • Finish: Available in all paint sheens
  • Rooms: Living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, offices
  • Pairs Well With: Light neutrals, blue, green, wood tones

Chelsea Gray is an extremely deep gray without any noticeable undertones. In all lighting it maintains its pure dark charcoal gray appearance.

The 14.61 light reflectance value creates a bold dramatic look while avoiding feeling too inky or black. Chelsea Gray strikes an ideal balance of sophistication and depth.

This adaptable gray complements light neutrals and vivid accent colors nicely. Popular Chelsea Gray color pairings include:

  • Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
  • Benjamin Moore Nebulous Blue
  • Vibrant green and teal accents
  • Crisp white trims
  • Rich wood finishes

While suitable anywhere at home, Chelsea Gray truly excels in these dramatic spaces:

  • Living Rooms
  • Dining Rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Offices
  • Libraries

Chelsea Gray’s deep smoky color helps create an elegant, moody feel. Use it to dramatize any space.

Comparing Kendall Charcoal vs Chelsea Gray

Now that we’ve examined Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray independently, let’s directly compare them:

Light Reflectance

Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray have very similar LRVs of 23.33 and 14.61 respectively. They offer nearly identical low illumination.

Undertones

Here’s where the main difference lies. Kendall Charcoal is a cool-toned dark gray while Chelsea Gray is a true neutral dark gray.

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Use & Rooms

Kendall Charcoal’s modern vibe excels in contemporary kitchens and dining rooms. Chelsea Gray’s versatility suits any dramatic space.

Availability

Both Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray come in any sheen from matte to glossy.

Kendall Charcoal vs Chelsea Gray Comparison Chart

Paint Color Kendall Charcoal HC-166 Chelsea Gray HC-168
LRV 23.33 14.61
Undertones Cool dark gray True dark gray
Use Modern kitchens, dining rooms Any dramatic space
Finishes All sheens All sheens
Style Modern, contemporary Versatile

Real-Life Photos: Kendall Charcoal vs Chelsea Gray

Let’s look at real-life photos to better visualize the differences between Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray:

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

Real Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal HC-166Image Credit:@ gloss_interiors

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
Image Credit: @zehnderkristin

While they can overlap, Kendall Charcoal generally appears slightly cooler than the pure true dark gray of Chelsea Gray. But lighting affects their look.

Should I Choose Kendall Charcoal or Chelsea Gray?

So how do you decide between Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal or Chelsea Gray for your home? Here are a few tips:

Choose Kendall Charcoal HC-166 if you want:

  • A cool, bold charcoal gray
  • A dramatic color suitable for modern styles
  • A sophisticated backdrop for contemporary kitchens and dining rooms
  • To allow lighter accents to pop

Choose Chelsea Gray HC-168 if you want:

  • An intense true dark gray without undertones
  • A versatile dramatic color suitable for any room style
  • A moody but livable backdrop with depth
  • A bold neutral that fits well with varied schemes

Get samples of both Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray. Paint large sections on your walls viewing at different times of day. This gives you the best sense of how they’ll look in your lighting.

You can also pair them with decor you already have. Both offer gorgeous deep grays that provide dramatic elegance.

Ideal Room Pairings

Here are some rooms that are especially well-suited to Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray paint colors:

Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

  • Kitchens
  • Dining Rooms
  • Offices
  • Living Rooms
  • Bathrooms

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray

  • Living Rooms
  • Dining Rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Offices
  • Libraries

While both deep grays work well in many elegant spaces, the above rooms tend to make optimal use of their unique tones.

Decorating Ideas and Color Pairings

Complement Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray with other colors and materials to let them shine:

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Kendall Charcoal HC-166 Pairings

  • Sherwin-Williams Pure White
  • Benjamin Moore Mountain Moss
  • Matte black hardware
  • Brushed brass and gold accents
  • Crisp white trim

Chelsea Gray HC-168 Pairings

  • Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
  • Benjamin Moore Nebulous Blue
  • Vibrant green and teal accents
  • Crisp white trims
  • Rich wood finishes

Kendall Charcoal vs Chelsea Gray – Which is Better?

So which deep gray paint color is better for your home – Kendall Charcoal or Chelsea Gray?

Consider Kendall Charcoal HC-166 if you want:

  • A sophisticated cool-toned dark gray
  • A bold modern color for contemporary kitchens and dining rooms
  • To allow lighter accents to pop against the backdrop
  • A dramatic yet livable backdrop

Consider Chelsea Gray HC-168 if you want:

  • An intense true dark gray without any undertones
  • A versatile dramatic color suitable for any room style
  • A moody but livable backdrop with depth
  • A bold neutral that fits well with varied color schemes

While Kendall Charcoal offers modern edge, Chelsea Gray provides versatile drama.

Get samples before deciding. Either rich deep gray you choose will create a gorgeous focal point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still trying to decide between Kendall Charcoal or Chelsea Gray? Here are answers to some common questions:

What are the main differences between Kendall Charcoal and Chelsea Gray?

The main differences are their undertones and suitability for varied spaces. Kendall Charcoal is a cool dark gray while Chelsea Gray is a true neutral dark gray.

What colors complement Chelsea Gray?

Light neutrals like chantilly lace, vivid blues and greens, white trims, and wood tones complement Chelsea Gray’s bold intensity beautifully. Vivid colors also pop against it.

Can you use Kendall Charcoal in a bedroom?

Kendall Charcoal could work in a modern bedroom if paired with lighter accents and fabrics to balance its dramatic intensity. Avoid making the whole room dark.

Is Chelsea Gray suitable for northern exposure?

Yes, Chelsea Gray’s 14.61 LRV is dark enough for a north facing room without appearing too gloomy or dreary when accented properly.

Does Kendall Charcoal come in eggshell finish?

Yes, Kendall Charcoal is extremely versatile and comes in any sheen from flat matte to eggshell to high gloss semi-gloss.

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