This deep, dark gray tone is somewhat reminiscent of a rock or mineral, and glossy bluish-gray tones enhance this feeling.

LRV 15
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Many of us are wary of dark gray shades, which, in general, is quite logical. Indeed, it is pretty tricky to find the ideal proportion of such a color for its harmonious use in the interior, and the lighting will have to be constantly controlled. Otherwise, even a small slip can lead to the dark gray appearing unnecessarily strict, cold, and depressing.

At the same time, designers urge not to abandon the idea of including dark gray shades in the palette for interior decoration. Today, when complex tones of various colors have again appeared on the scene, even the gradation of such a neutral, as many believe, gray promises to be an extremely interesting experiment. Their depth and variability depending on lighting can work miracles, creating the basis for both luxurious and classic, as well as discreet modern interiors. To not be unfounded, we suggest that you study in more detail one of the most curious shades from our point of view, the color HC-178 (PM-8) by Benjamin Moore called Charcoal Slate.

Charcoal Slate paint color features

Even if you have never studied mineralogy, you probably have a rough idea of Charcoal Slate’s color. Indeed, this deep, dark gray tone is somewhat reminiscent of a rock or mineral, and glossy bluish-gray tones enhance this feeling. At the same time, there is some blur in its depths, and therefore it seems more meditative and pacifying than alarming and thunderous.

It is also interesting that the shade PM-8 from Benjamin Moore is also part of the Historical Collection, like, for example, the already known Cushing Green. Developed in 1976, the collection of 191 shades celebrated its 45th anniversary this year, but most of the colors from there are still incredibly relevant. This is equally true of Charcoal Slate, which is reminiscent of old mansions’ gloomy beauty and the incredibly fashionable industrial textures today.

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Charcoal Slate: is it warm or cold?

The dark gray tone of Charcoal Slate can without any doubt be attributed to the cold colors just by looking at the surface painted with this paint. This is confirmed by the color characteristics, including a hue value of 209 degrees. In addition, the RGB model demonstrates the dominance of blue and green in the very structure of the hue from Benjamin Moore. If we ignore the dry facts, then Charcoal Slate is a really cold color. Therefore palettes with its participation should be thought out especially carefully to avoid an imbalance in color temperature.

How does lighting affect Charcoal Slate?

Even if you study a sample of Charcoal Slate paint in a neutral environment, without any influence from an additional source of light, it is impossible not to notice that this dark gray is not as unambiguous as it might seem at first glance. Even in such conditions, some see a hidden blue subtext – and they are right.

Indeed, in bright and straight daylight, Charcoal Slate becomes lighter and smokier, and the bluish-blue reflections in its depths intensify. If you use intense light from a lamp and a chandelier, you may notice that the color becomes gray-blue and even somewhat reminiscent of the famous Navy Blue. It’s another matter when there is not enough lighting at all: in this case, you get an intense and dark gray color almost on the verge of anthracite.

Charcoal Slate LRV

With a light reflectance index of 12.71 LRV, Charcoal Slate is more likely to belong to the group of dark tones, although it starts to move towards medium-dark. This means that it does not have an outstanding ability to reflect light, and if you want to see its outstanding subtle blue undertone, you have to take care of enough lighting. Whether it will be natural or from lamps, chandeliers, and sconces, it is up to you, but this condition is necessary to fulfill.

Charcoal Slate undertones

Charcoal Slate is rich in blue undertones that reveal itself with sufficient lighting for all its dark gray nature. At the same time, one cannot fail to note its unique ability to acquire a subtle anthracite reflection in direct sunlight and go into charcoal softness at dusk. However, it is its notes of blue that are of particular interest, so it is worth thinking about the location of the surfaces painted with this color so that it can reveal itself as much as possible.

Similar colors

Shades similar to Benjamin Moore’s Charcoal Slate have been tried (and still are) tested by designers and color experts from other renowned paint manufacturers. Some of them managed to get very close to HC-178 – and we do not doubt that you will be interested to know which shades from the palettes of these brands are most comparable to charcoal dark gray:

  • Kitty Gray 1589 – a very balanced gray shade with noticeably fewer blue undertones;
  • Quarry Rock 1568 – a slightly softer dark gray with almost the same LRV, but practically devoid of any gleams of blue;
  • Gun Metal 852 by Behr – a sophisticated and unusual dark gray with a pronounced steel blue;
  • Pewter 18-5203 by Pantone – almost the same dark and tinted dark gray, except with less noticeable glossy undertone;
  • Stormy Retreat by Dulux – a noticeably cooler and more mesmerizing dark gray;
  • Roycroft Pewter SW 2848 by Sherwin-Williams – darker and colder, thunderous dark gray;
  • Web Gray SW 7075 by Sherwin-Williams – a dark gray with deeper bluish notes.

Coordinating colors

Charcoal Slate charcoal gray is neutral enough to create stylish combinations with light neutral tones – both warm and cool – as well as being the perfect backdrop for bright accents. For inspiration, take a look at the colors that Benjamin Moore’s experts suggest:

  • Seattle Mist 1535 – a very light smoky shade with noticeable warm and soft undertones;
  • Coronado Cream 219 – warm, rich, and noble cream color;
  • Gray Huskie 1473 – calm and natural medium gray with watercolors, semi-washed out notes;
  • Sleigh Bells 1480 – an exceptionally light and airy silver gray shade.

The use of Charcoal Slate in interior

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about using Charcoal Slate is, of course, the accent wall. Indeed, if you need to highlight any area in the room or create a suitable background for stylish decor, this option has a right to exist. However, the designers suggest not dwelling solely on such a solution. In fact, Benjamin Moore’s Charcoal Slate has impressive potential, allowing you to bring your favorite interior styles and home furnishings to life from unexpected perspectives. So let’s break down a few popular ideas.

A new look at Neoclassical style

The interior in one of the most elegant and harmonious traditional styles offers the same calm tones and sophisticated and at the same time respectable accents. And you can rest assured that the shade of coal shale will be the perfect backdrop for all this. Let’s consider its use in the example of a living room.

Walls painted in dark gray will not look austere and cold when combined with a wooden floor with an open texture, an embossed or laconic ceiling, and window frames in soft white or snow-white colors. Sleek beige half-chairs, a sofa or ottoman with a classic finish, elegant coffee tables, and a striking wooden console will create the same feeling of the timeless aristocracy. Want to add some sparkle? Don’t forget the sumptuous crystal chandelier and flower arrangements in white porcelain.

Modern conciseness and bright accents

We have already said that Charcoal Slate is equally organic, both in the classic and modern design of a house or apartment. If you still prefer the second way, try experimenting with details and accents.

A good solution, in this case, would be to use a dark gray slate tone for an accent wall, against which you can place bright armchairs – or simply decorate it with colorful panels or posters. In the rest of the room, the walls may well be light, and well-chosen textiles or some pieces of furniture in the same colors can provide a connection with a dark surface. By the way, the uniform use of bright elements from the accent wall in different parts of the room can be a good solution.

Total Gray

You might be surprised; however, the designers have already tried to completely decorate a room in shades of gray. As experts explain, this solution allows you to fully implement the trendy concept of the shelter, create an unshakable basis for colorful and textured accents (or lack thereof) and provide the owner of a house or apartment with a feeling of complete relaxation and security.

An interior like this involves painting all indoor surfaces in Charcoal Slate. Yes, you are not mistaken: walls, furniture, ceilings, and in some cases even floors are covered with this paint. Interestingly, choosing furniture in the same shade is also recommended, and white carpets, glass surfaces, and brass lamps can add color and rhythm.
A small note: study the photos of such interiors in more detail to make sure that they are really comfortable for you visually.


With the Charcoal Slate, you can also choose between classic elegance and modern understatement in your bathroom furnishings. In the second case, try painting the walls in mid-charcoal gray, adding geometric and functional plumbing, as well as a fluffy gray rug, a stylishly framed mirror, and a couple of charming decor for extra comfort.

The classic version implies a full-fledged gray-slate background, a snow-white bathtub with legs, and brown wood furniture shades. For a more vintage look, you can add a mirror on the strap – this accessory is again at the height of fashion.

Dining room

Designers literally fell in love with HC-178 when they tried to apply it to art deco dining rooms. Indeed, white furnishings adorned with diamond pattern, luxurious lighting fixtures, glass countertops, the sheen of metal, and mind-blowing wall decor allow Charcoal Slate to be fully revealed – literally in all its blue-gray splendor. And don’t be afraid to go too far with the decor: this shade is so calm that it will balance any maximalist moods.

The use of Charcoal Slate for the house exterior

To paint the house walls entirely or, on the contrary, to limit ourselves to the door? No one, except yourself, will give the correct answer to this question, but, in any case, both options are very harmonious and charming in their way.

Using Charcoal Slate to paint your front door, you will give your home a welcoming and classically respectable look – especially when you complement the entrance lobby with symmetrical lamps in brushed black metal or green plants, also arranged in strict order. And if you have made a more daring decision and chose it for the walls, try to combine white frames with the front door in juicy wine shades – it will look imposing. Also, take the time to choose accessories for your doors: the handles and decor remain the most important detail, without which the facade seems incomplete.

Charcoal Slate from the Historical Collection is a sophisticated yet intriguing dark gray shade with blue undertones that captivated decorators and homeowners alike with its depth and sophistication. Don’t be afraid to try it in your interior as well: if you are just getting to know dark colors, it will be a great start.

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