Design Trends

8 Gray Kitchens That Nail Warmth and Balance

Look to subtle undertones and the right mix of cool and warm tones in your color choices

Source: Houzz

Gray has been the “it” color in decorating for a few years now. The top wall color choice for homeowners renovating a kitchen is gray, according to a 2017 Houzz kitchen trends study. But that doesn’t mean you can walk into a paint store and grab any can labeled “gray” and create a beautiful, inviting kitchen. You’ll want to pay attention to undertones and warm and cool tones to strike the right balance for your space and the surrounding materials. Here are a few examples of gray kitchens that get it right.

Adding a new backsplash can have the greatest impact on the overall warmth of an existing kitchen. These warm blue-green glazed tiles bring life and balance to the gray-toned cabinets, which work here because of the warm light pink undertones. But the Fantasy Brown quartzite countertop and 8-inch oak floorboards play a role as well in adding warmth. It’s worth noting that there is no sheen to these floorboards. When adding a soft gray stain, the designer used a Rubio monocoat to create the wonderfully dull finish.

For similar cabinetry paint, try Sea Salt or Gray Owl, both by Benjamin Moore, or Royal Gift by Fine Paints of Europe.

Here the designer also used warm gray-pink cabinets, but with a slightly deeper pink undertone than in the previous kitchen. She then warmed things up even more with warm-toned hardwood floors, decorative accessories and a fabulous vintage bench.

For a similar cabinetry paint, try Wool Peacoat by Benjamin Moore.

This kitchen strikes the right mix of warm and cool tones and architectural finishes. Notice that the cabinetry is still warm even though a matte gray stain has been applied to the straight-grained oak. The grays in this kitchen lean strongly toward the warm shades. The organic texture of the oak is permeating through the stain. The sandstone tile floor further adds texture to create a sense of warmth.

Here the sandy tones of the countertops (Caesarstone’s Lagos Blue in a honed finish) complement the gray wood paneling cabinetry. The deep red floorboards are actually an oak with a custom stain brimming with warmth.

Here, the milk-colored Caesarstone counters establish contrast grays in the cabinetry, which lean toward the blue-violet side — lighter for the island and darker for the wall cabinets. The far wall cabinetry, in the dark gray laminate, has both a high gloss and wood grain finish, and I find the contradiction of the two extremely interesting. A large expanse of warm wood on the floor provides the perfect balance of tones.

For a similar island paint, try Silver Bells by Benjamin Moore. For a similar wall cabinet paint, try Sterling Silver by Benjamin Moore.

These cabinets offer slightly cooler, blue-violet undertones. The wonderfully veined and varied granite counters promote similar tones while the vintage refinished red oak floors bring the warmth, for the balance of warm and cool we crave. Meanwhile, a colorful vintage rug adds personality.

For a similar light gray paint color, try Whitecap Gray by Pratt & Lambert. For a similar darker paint, try Railings by Farrow & Ball.

We designed this custom pocket kitchen within a 4-by-8-foot footprint. We had to think of it in terms of a yacht or a Gulfstream galley for its overall design and efficiency. In order to meet the client’s requirements, we included a mini fridge and a 24-inch gas range by Bertazzoni.

Our client requested a “quiet” kitchen, especially since it would be seen through the custom French doors. We used a soft warm gray with pink undertones and a translucent stain applied to custom milled quarter-sawn white oak.

The star of this kitchen is the Silver Stravos granite slab we used for both the counters and the backsplash. The cuts were meticulously mapped out to incorporate the most active and deepest purple portions of the slab. We used a milky white 48-by-48-inch ceramic tile for the floor.

We painted the walls in the palest shade of lavender (Fine Paints of Europe’s Delicious). The ceiling is Wet Porcelain, also by Fine Paints of Europe.

For a similar cabinet paint, try London Fog by Fine Paints of Europe.

The grays here are an interesting combination. The lighter cabinets lean toward green while the darker uprights venture into the blue-violet territory.

Designing the cantilevered dining counter to drop from the dark cabinet is brilliant. The absence of sheen on all the architectural finishes is sublime.

The fine oak wood plank flooring oiled in gray is an ideal blend of warm and cool, while the touch of teal on the extruded metal exterior door frames are a welcome surprise.

By all means, embrace gray in your kitchen. But if you’re concerned about a too-cold, unstimulating experience, be sure to consider several different options for bringing in warmth and balance.

For a similar light cabinet paint, try Halo by Benjamin Moore. For a similar darker paint, try Railings by Farrow & Ball.

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