Pale Oak vs Classic Gray: What’s the Difference?

Pale Oak vs Classic Gray

When searching for the perfect versatile neutral paint color, two Benjamin Moore favorites often top the list – Pale Oak OC-20 and Classic Gray OC-23. At first glance they may appear similar, but differences emerge upon closer inspection.

In this article, we’ll analyze Pale Oak and Classic Gray in depth. We’ll compare undertones, light reflectance, real photos, and ideal room pairings. Read on to determine if warm and cozy Pale Oak or flexible and adaptable Classic Gray is the best neutral paint for your home.

Key Differences Between Pale Oak and Classic Gray

Before diving into the nuances, here are the main differences between Pale Oak and Classic Gray:

  • Undertones – Pale Oak is a warm brown beige, Classic Gray is a warm greige
  • Light Reflectance – Pale Oak has an LRV of 68.64, Classic Gray has an LRV of 73.67
  • Use – Pale Oak for cozy traditional spaces, Classic Gray for versatile style
  • Rooms – Pale Oak perfect for cottages, Classic Gray suits any room

Now let’s explore Pale Oak and Classic Gray more closely.

Benjamin Moore Pale Oak OC-20

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 warm yellow-brown
  • Finish: Available in several sheens
  • Rooms: Living spaces, traditional homes
  • Pairings: Browns, greens, blues

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 welcoming and cozy appearance.

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Despite the oak-inspired base, 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 natural textures and materials like wood furniture and woven accents. Pale Oak helps spaces feel grounded and inviting. Use it alongside other warm, organic tones like:

  • Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
  • Benjamin Moore Simply White
  • Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
  • Benjamin Moore Essex Green

This versatile beige looks gorgeous across many styles from modern farmhouse to craftsman. It excels in these spaces:

  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Offices

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC-23

Classic Gray

With its gray appearance accented by subtle warmth, Classic Gray OC-23 creates a versatile backdrop. This greige has enormous popularity.

Here are some key details about Benjamin Moore Classic Gray:

  • LRV: 73.67
  • Undertones: Slight warm grays
  • Finish: Available in all sheens
  • Rooms: Any room in the home
  • Pairings: All colors

Classic Gray is a gray with faint hints of brown or taupe. In most lighting it appears as a true gray. But its subtle warmth gives it more versatility than many cool grays.

With a 73.67 light reflectance value, Classic Gray supplies moderate brightness for a gray. The slight warmness makes it highly adaptable to any design style. Popular pairings include:

  • Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green
  • Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
  • Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
  • Benjamin Moore Simply White

Thanks to its versatility, Classic Gray works well throughout the home. Its greige tone creates a flexible backdrop for accent colors to pop. Use it in:

  • Living rooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Offices

Comparing Pale Oak vs. Classic Gray

Now that we’ve examined their traits, let’s directly compare Pale Oak and Classic Gray:

Light Reflectance

With an LRV of 68.64, Pale Oak reflects more light than Classic Gray at 73.67 LRV. Pale Oak will make spaces feel a bit brighter.

Undertones

This is a key distinction. Pale Oak has very strong warm yellow-brown oak undertones. Classic Gray has subtle warm gray undertones.

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Pale Oak’s bold oak warmth feels welcoming and cozy. Classic Gray’s greige warmth provides flexible versatility.

Use

Pale Oak is perfectly suited for traditional, cozy spaces that benefit from its natural oak warmth. Classic Gray’s subtle warmth adapts well as a whole home neutral.

Paint Finish

Both Pale Oak and Classic Gray come in a variety of sheens from flat to semi-gloss. They allow for beautiful warm finishes.

Pale Oak vs. Classic Gray Comparison Chart

Here is an overview of how Pale Oak and Classic Gray compare:

Paint Color Pale Oak OC-20 Classic Gray OC-23
LRV 68.64 73.67
Undertones Strong warm yellow-brown Slight warm grays
Use Cozy, traditional rooms Flexible, versatile neutral
Sheen Multiple finishes Multiple finishes
Style Warm, organic Subtly warm, adaptable

Real Photos: Pale Oak vs Classic Gray

To better visualize the differences, here are real photos of Pale Oak and Classic Gray:

Pale Oak

Pale Oak

Classic Gray

Real Classic Gray

As shown, Pale Oak is noticeably warmer and more golden-oak toned, while Classic Gray appears cooler and grayer. But lighting impacts their appearance significantly.

Should I Choose Pale Oak or Classic Gray?

So how do you decide between Pale Oak vs Classic Gray for your home? Here are some helpful tips:

Consider Pale Oak if you want:

  • A light brown beige with bold oak undertones
  • A cozy, welcoming traditional feel
  • An organic cottage style neutral
  • A soft but grounded foundation

Consider Classic Gray if you want:

  • A warmer gray with subtle greige tones
  • A flexible, versatile whole home neutral
  • To complement a wide range of colors
  • A subtly warm transitional backdrop

As with any close paint decision, get samples and test Pale Oak and Classic Gray on your walls before deciding.

Both of these neutral paint colors create beautiful backdrops.

Ideal Room Pairings

Here are rooms well-suited to showcasing Pale Oak and Classic Gray:

Pale Oak OC-20

  • Cozy living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Craftsman kitchens
  • Offices

Classic Gray OC-23

  • Living rooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Any room!

Pale Oak fits best in cozy cottages and traditional homes, while versatile Classic Gray works anywhere. But both provide beautiful warmth.

Decorating Ideas and Color Pairings

Pale Oak and Classic Gray create welcoming backdrops. Pair them with these colors:

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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)

Classic Gray Color Pairings

  • Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green (green)
  • Benjamin Moore October Mist (green)
  • Benjamin Moore White Dove (white)
  • Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray (greige)

Pale Oak vs Classic Gray: Which is Best for Your Home?

So which neutral paint color works best in your home – Pale Oak or Classic Gray? Consider the following:

Choose Pale Oak if you want:

  • A light brown beige with bold oak warmth
  • A cozy welcoming traditional cottage feel
  • An organic neutral with natural tones
  • A soft but grounded foundation

Choose Classic Gray if you want:

  • A greige with subtle warm grays
  • A flexible and versatile whole home neutral
  • A subtly warm transitional style
  • To complement a wide range of colors

While Pale Oak offers cozy oak warmth, Classic Gray provides flexible subtle warmth. Test them before deciding! Either one creates a beautiful, welcoming backdrop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still trying to choose between Pale Oak vs Classic Gray? Here are helpful answers:

Does Pale Oak have green undertones?

No, Pale Oak does not contain green. It has strong golden yellow-brown undertones reminiscent of natural oak wood. The warm tones give it a cozy feel.

What colors pair well with Classic Gray?

Classic Gray complements a wide variety of colors thanks to its subtle greige warmth. Great combinations include navy, black, white, gray, green and red.

Should I use Pale Oak in a north-facing room?

Yes, Pale Oak would work well in a north-facing room without much natural light. Its warm undertone and decent light reflectance prevent it from feeling dreary.

Is Classic Gray suitable for kitchens?

Definitely! Classic Gray is a versatile neutral that works wonderfully in kitchens. It provides a warm, welcoming backdrop for kitchen spaces and cabinetry.

Can I use Pale Oak in bathrooms?

Sure! With its cozy oak undertones, Pale Oak creates a warm and welcoming backdrop in bathrooms. It provides a soothing natural ambiance.

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