Amy Howard One Step Paint: Understanding the Greys

When you need a neutral and are tired of white, you reach for grey, right?

I frequently use neutrals on my painted furniture, and LOVE grey.  I was especially excited when I found out that Amy Howard created 8 different grey tones in her One Step paint.  Wow.  (By the way, there are 52 One Step paint colors!)

So I thought I would go through the best sellers (and my favorites) to help you guys pick out the correct grey tone for your next paint project.  So without further ado…


Luxe Grey – When I first started painting furniture, I made my own chalk paint and my “go to” color was a pale, pale grey.  Almost white.  This is Luxe Grey.  It is soft and elegant and pairs nicely with almost any other color.  Here it is with Atelier (Luxe Grey is the lighter color).

Oh yes, this is a Cracked Patina finish…could you die??

ornate chippy mirror

ornate chippymirror2

Atelier – Atelier is my “French Grey.”  It has a blue undertone and reminds me of the lovely painted French antiques you’d see at a Parisian flea market (I know what goes on in Parisian flea markets because of Pinterest and bloggers who have more exciting lives than I do.) 😉

The first time I used this color was on this French nightstand.  A match made in heaven.

one step paint amy howard



Selznick Grey – I call this the “Restoration Hardware” grey.  It is the most neutral grey in the One Step line and it is gorgeous layered, as a wash, or on its own.  You can’t go wrong with this color.  If you need a grey and aren’t sure, pick this one.  To show you how versatile it is, check out these three very different projects.

This gorgeous china hutch began its life in Selznick Grey and then got layered with Graphite, dark wax and mica powder until it had an antique finish with a metallic sheen.

china cabinet 2

china cabinet

I used a dry brushing technique to give this server a very rustic look in Selznick.



I wanted a Restoration Hardware look on this cane back chair and Selznick grey does not disappoint in its ability to completely update an old French provincial piece.  It now has a great cottage or beach house look to it.


Graphite – Not to be mistaken with another popular color called Graphite, this Graphite is a driftwood grey.  It has the exact same hue as Selznick, only a shade darker.  A wonderful rich grey, but don’t confuse it with a deep charcoal color. Until the first of the year there was not a dark grey until Amy Howard introduced…

A Good Man is Hard to Find – Finally, a true, dark grey!  Very, very popular and completely versatile.


dark grey server

So there you have it!  Our most popular Amy Howard One Step grey colors. 

Have you signed up for my handy Paint Guide yet?  I created it to make your furniture makeover projects easier!  It’s a fun infographic that walks you through your particular piece of furniture and the look you want to create so you pick the right paint for your project every time!

Sign up here and then check your inbox to confirm your subscription.  Once you do that, your download will be on its way!


  1. shelly cabler says:

    Would Selznick Grey be a good color for an oak kitchen cabinet makeover?

    • I LOVE Selznick Grey! Whether or not it’d be a good color for your kitchen depends on how much light is in that room and other colors in your house. I would do a sample board first and make sure you love it in your room. If it’s too light, try graphite. If it’s too dark try Atelier or Luxe Grey. Best of luck! Would love to see when you’re finished! 🙂

    • I was thinking about doing my oak kitchen cabinets in this as well with the dark wax but have to see it both ways.

  2. Charlene says:

    On the Luxe Grey piece you did first, it looks like you painted it grey first then the patina and lastly it looks like linen? Is that right? or did you do linen, patina, and then the luxe grey? Lol sorry I just love the look and its perfect for our house colors and want to get it right.

    • Hi Charlene! That piece has a coat of Atelier One Step paint, followed by Cracked Patina and then a coat of Luxe Grey on top. No linen at all! The palest color is Luxe Grey.

  3. Vanessa says:

    Hi! Great information here! Thank you. Do you have any experience with Hugo Grey? I am also painting our outdated oak kitchen cabinets and tested the Luxe Grey and Atelier. Atelier was reading too blue and Lux too light (I wish I read this before buying the paints)! I am debating between the Selznick and Hugo. My local retailers do not sell samples of the Amy Howard paints so it gets pricy to buy several ‘test’ colors. Any insight you have between these two colors would be incredibly helpful.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Vanessa! Yes, Hugo Grey has a khaki/green undertone. It’s a “beachy” grey. I like it a lot, but you have to make sure it has the right undertone for your room. When in doubt, I always reach for Selznick grey. Very neutral and goes with anything!

      Best of luck with your cabinets!

      • Vanessa says:

        Thank you! One more quick question. I have been reading that the Amy Howard Matte Sealer is a great finish for kitchen cabinets to keep them clean. Do you know if the Matte Sealer will adjust the color at all? I know the light and dark waxes will but am unsure if the matte sealer has any color affect.

        Thank you again!

        • The matte sealer dries completely clear as does the clear and light wax. The light wax does have an amber color, but it simply warms up the finish and is not noticeable unless you are using stark white. The wax cures in 30 days and is also extremely durable for cabinets.

  4. I have a unfinished cabinet. DO you put something on the cabinet before the first one step paint?

    Did you put the dark colored grey on first then the lighter grey? ALso did you put the cracked patina on it when it was dry or still wet?

    Thanks, Emily

    • one more thing? Which waxes did you use for cracked patina finish?

      Thanks for your help! I am a first timer!

    • Hi Emily, Clean your piece first with a degreaser and then paint right over the existing finish. Click here to read my blog post with some other helpful furniture painting tips.

      On the Cracked Patina piece I painted the dark grey first, let it dry, painted Cracked Patina, let dry and then the light colored One Step paint. I used light and dark wax and Dust of Ages for my finishing products.

      I am working on a Cracked Patina video! I started it back in the spring, but my daughter got engaged in April and married in August, so all things in my life came to a screeching halt! It is getting edited and I will be offering it soon!

      Sign up for my email list to get updates on that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. How did you achieve the look on the cane back chair? Just painted it?

  6. Thank you so much for your post on Amy Howard Grey’s. I am planning to redo my Windsor kitchen chairs and table in a grey. I was leaning Luxe…but now that I’ve read your article, I am leaning Selznick. Your “Restoration Hardware” description sold me 🙂

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