Grey Stain for Wood: 6 of the Best Stain Colors with Examples
A very common trend we’re seeing the past couple years in home design is grey stain for wood. It’s a beautiful finish that goes well with the ever popular farmhouse decor trend and beyond. Achieving the rustic, weathered look can be a bit challenging since there are so many stains on the market. I’ve rounded up the 7 of the best grey stains for wood with examples so you don’t have to go out and test them all yourself!
We will cover the following 6 stains:
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There are probably hundreds of grey stains on the market, so I picked the ones that are the most used and get consistently the best results on varying species of wood.
How to Stain Interior Wood
When working with wood stains, there are a few things you should know first.
A final stain color varies greatly depending on several factors. The wood species alone affects how a stain is absorbed. Some woods have more grain than others, some soak up the stain more, and the original color of the wood itself affects the color of the stain once applied. A cherry wood with a deep raw wood color will look different than pine wood which is much lighter, even if the same stain color is used.
Another factor is how the stain is applied. You can use a rag, a foam brush, or a bristle brush to apply stain to wood. Then you might decide to wipe off any excess stain with a rag or do multiple coats of stain for a deeper color. All of these different techniques will result in a different finish at the end.
When you are sampling stain colors for yourself, play around with different application techniques and see which works best for your project.
Staining your kitchen cabinets? Check out my tutorial on the exact steps we took to stain our kitchen cabinets here.
I’m very passionate about wood stains and all the different application techniques because during the process of finding the right stain color for our kitchen cabinets, I learned just how difficult it really is.
I sampled 10 or more stain colors, even custom mixing my own, and could not find the right stain color I envisioned for our kitchen cabinets during our kitchen remodel. It was extremely frustrating! I spent countless hours researching the best stains, staining tips, and any advice I could find to help.
Finally, I found a stain combination I loved and I’m happy to say we nailed it and the results are even better than I hoped. It’s the perfect warm wood with a hint of grey combinationI was after. You can find the exact stain colors we used in this blog post.
There are 2 key steps we did that gave us the results:
Use a wood conditioner – It’s just like priming wood before painting it. It preps the wood by opening the grain and helps it take the stain color better. I found that this helped bring out the stain color, especially if you are using a lighter stain color like grey. It may not be necessary if you are doing a super dark stain color like espresso.
Use a quality bristle brush – Dipping a rag in the stain or using a foam brush did not work well when sampling paint and is why sometimes it looks like the stain color hardly shows. Once I finally tried a good bristle brush, the stain color applied much more evenly and saturated. This brush from Amazon we used and it was amazing. A must-have in my opinion!
What Wood Stain is Best for Grey Look?
Varathane Carbon Gray
This stain is a deep, rich color with the slightest blue undertones. I noticed a few of the stains had blue undertones thanks to the grey in it. If you are going for a light grey look, this would not be the best choice.
Varathane Weathered Gray
Slightly lighter than Carbon Gray, this is another good dark grey option that is more in the middle tone. This one too has a slight blue undertone.
Minwax Classic Gray
Another medium toned gray that’s not too light but not too dark. The color tends to vary depending on the amount of grain in the wood.
A nice light grey stain with a little creaminess. It goes on fairly thick so you may want to wipe off excess stain after it soaks in for a few minutes.
Minwax Weathered Oak
This is a semi-transparent stain so the color isn’t super saturated and may take a couple coats to get a decent color. It has some warmth to it and is another good brown-grey option. A semi-transparent stain works well when used as a second layer to a different color to create a grey tint, similar to what we did with our kitchen cabinets.
This is the first coat of stain we used when refinishing our kitchen cabinets. It’s a nice light grey stain that isn’t too saturated. I found that it looked darker when we used it on doors, but the cabinet frames looked much lighter. You can’t see it in photos, but it did have a little blue tint to it which is why we ultimately added a second stain color on top.
I hope this helps you on your next staining project and that one of these colors will work! As always, you should sample the stain color yourself so you can see the color on your wood in your lighting.