When it comes time to paint our kitchen cabinets, many of us have our hearts set on a bold shade like navy or green. And while these colors will look undeniably striking in your space, they’re not the only options on offer. Subtler, more versatile colors—like gray—can look just as sleek.
While picking a neutral may seem like a boring choice, it’s actually a pretty bold one: it frees up space to play with statement-makers elsewhere. You can load up on eye-catching backsplash tiles, invest in out-of-the-box floors, or fill your shelves with pretty pieces without giving it a second thought.
Still not convinced? Scroll on to see 22 stunning kitchens that have made the most of gray kitchen cabinets—just don’t be surprised if you’re ready to stock up on gray paint once you’re through.
Spring for a Bold Backsplash
Gray may seem like a boring choice for bold decorators, but it’s actually a really great one. The versatile neutral makes a solid backdrop for all kinds of statement-making decor—bold backsplashes, included.
If you’ve had your eye on some seriously striking tiles, go ahead and cover your walls in them. Then, paint your cabinets a sleek light gray to balance out your space.
Switch Up Your Hardware
Taking a two-tone approach to your cabinets by painting your lower cabinets gray and your top cabinets white is a pretty popular choice. But, if you want to take the design decision a step further, you can switch up your hardware when you switch up your paint colors.
Using knobs on your white cabinets and handles on your gray cabinets can be a great way to draw attention to the distinction in tone.
Pair Gray With Gray
Looking to make a statement with your neutral-filled kitchen? Go monochromatic and pair your gray cabinets with a gray backsplash.
It may seem strange to suggest that using one gray is subtle while using two grays is statement-making. But, committing to any color that thoroughly is a bold choice, even if that color is as gentle as gray.
Play With Naturally Gray Materials
Paint isn’t the only way to bring gray into your space. There are plenty of natural materials—like marble, cement, and stone—that look naturally gray. By pairing gray cabinets with gray marble countertops, you can cement your palette while adding some texture to your kitchen.
Paint Your Island
You can paint your kitchen gray without painting every set of cabinets in your kitchen gray. How? Pay attention to your focal points.
Odds are, the cabinets in your kitchen are more prominent than the cabinets in your wet bar—and your kitchen island may be more prominent than either of them. Spread color throughout your space by painting all of your cabinets to match, or pick and choose the places where the paint will have the biggest impact.
Keep It Sleek
Remember that painting your cabinets isn’t the only way to get gray cabinets. You can always stock up on new cabinets or replace the fronts on the cabinets you already have.
This will let you play with texture, as well as color, so you can stock up on cabinet fronts that look exactly the way you want them to.
Go Grayscale From Floor to Ceiling
Gray is a pretty subtle color. And—like anything—this comes with pros and cons. The bad news is that gray cabinets probably won’t be enough to establish your kitchen’s palette. You’ll have to use other pieces to reinforce your color scheme.
The good news is that gray is so subtle that you could actually outfit a room in it without overwhelming your space. So, if you feel tempted to go grayscale from floor to ceiling, do it. And remember that you have adjacent tones—like black and white—to play with, too.
Layer Shades of Gray
Say the word “gray,” and most of us will envision pewter—a shade that’s not too light and not too dark. But, it’s not the only gray on offer. If you’re filling your kitchen with the color, consider switching up your shades.
Paint your island cabinets charcoal, line your counters with pewter gray marble, cover your backsplash in light gray tiles, and top things off with a few silver appliances.
Let Your Shelves in on the Fun
Your cabinets aren’t the only part of your kitchen that deserves a little love—your shelves may be in need of a tune-up, too. So, why not let them in on the fun?
Painting your shelves gray can be a great way to bring your space together, especially if you’re only painting some of your cabinets gray and you need a way to echo the accent around the room.
Choose a Surprisingly Subtle Shade
Gray can be as bold or as subtle as you want it to be. If you’re trying to curate a kitchen that’s just a touch more interesting than average, consider picking an incredibly light gray for your cabinets. The shade will warm up your space, making a statement that’s present but not particularly loud.
Keep Your Appliances in Mind
When upgrading your kitchen, it’s useful to pay attention to what’s already there. What appliances are already in your space, and how will these factor into your palette? And if you’re starting from scratch, what appliances do you need and how will those factor into your palette?
Pairing light gray cabinets with silver appliances can be a great way to cement a monochromatic palette, but pairing light gray cabinets with black appliances can be just as interesting.
Experiment With Exposed Storage
Exposed storage options like cabinets with glass doors can be a great way to show off your prettiest kitchen items. But, if your cabinets are colorful, you may be tempted to put only your most minimalist wares on display.
That’s where gray cabinets come in. Since gray is such a versatile color, you can pair it with just about anything. You can proudly display vibrant items in your cabinets without worrying about overwhelming your space.
Make the Most Your Floors
Unless you’re planning to redo your floors sometime soon, it’s important to factor your floors into your overall palette. If they’re particularly light, you may want to pick a darker shade for your cabinets, and you can always ground your space with an even darker rug.
Explore the Darker End of the Spectrum
Light gray can look great on kitchen cabinets—but dark gray can, too. Don’t neglect the darker end of the gray spectrum: if you want your kitchen to feel sleek and contemporary, charcoal is sure to get the job done, and since it’s a touch lighter than black, it’s unlikely to feel too bold in your space.
Play With Pops of Gray
Gray may seem like a strange choice for a pop of color. But, when paired with crisp white walls and off-white marble, even an incredibly light gray can make a bold addition to your space.
Use Color to Add Structure
If you know you want to take a two-tone approach to your cabinets, it can be tough to figure out which cabinets should be which color. Thinking about the structure each color will add to your space can make it a little easier.
If you want your kitchen island to feel separate from the cabinets lining your walls, consider painting your island cabinets one color—and the rest of your cabinets another color.
Remember that darker colors tend to have more visual weight than lighter colors, so keep that in mind as you curate your space.
Commit to Your Palette
If your cabinets are equipped with hardware, the color of that hardware will play a role in your overall palette, so you’ll want to choose those pieces carefully. One particularly striking option? Match your hardware to your backsplash.
Backsplashes—especially bold backsplashes—tend to draw the eye in any kitchen, and echoing the shade of your backsplash in your hardware can be a great way to bring your space together.
Add Contrast With Texture
Once you’ve committed to a palette, it can be tough to find places to add contrast. Remember that you can play with texture as well as color. Pair your sleek gray cabinets with some marble countertops, wooden shelves, and a tile-lined backsplash—and maybe throw in a plush rug for good measure.
Match Your Barstools to Your Cabinets
It’s pretty rare to match your barstools to your cabinets. Why? Both elements are prominent in your space. So, if you’re playing with a bold color, you could easily overwhelm your kitchen by color-coordinating the two.
But, when you’re working with colors as subtle as gray, you can easily pull off the bold design choice. Gray cabinets paired with gray bar stools are likely to leave your space feeling balanced and welcoming rather than dizzyingly loud.
Create a Wall-to-Wall Color Scheme
A palette sets the tone in any space, and if that palette is rendered from wall to wall, you can create a full-blown atmosphere of color. Paint all your kitchen cabinets gray, line your floors with gray tiles, and cover your walls with a bold gray backsplash.
Ordinarily, this kind of wall-to-wall commitment would feel a little too intense, but when gray is your color of choice, you can get away with it.
Sprinkle Gray Throughout Your Space
Your palette doesn’t have to stop at your cabinets. In fact, your kitchen will look more cohesive if you sprinkle gray throughout your space. Let your color scheme extend to the tiles on a nearby wall—and maybe even onto your floors with a printed rug.
Go All In on Neutrals
The beauty of decorating with gray? It’s a neutral, so you can layer in tons of other neutrals—like black, white, and brown—without overwhelming your space. This makes furniture and décor shopping a whole lot easier.
Instead of carefully color-coordinated every single piece, you can simply stock up on pieces you love. As long as they fit within your pared-down, neutral palette, you can rest assured knowing they’ll look great together.