Oftentimes in a new kitchen, or a remodel, with gray cabinets, homeowners will default to a safe shade of white for the surrounding walls. And while there is nothing wrong with the light and airy choice (remember the all-white trend?), every now and then it's nice to step outside of your comfort zone and push the envelope. Luckily, the color gray is quite versatile and will look stunning with a variety of different hues. Not to mention, gray is a neutral color that comes in a wide range of shades. Additionally, there are cool and warm grays that can lean blue or brown.
That being said, it's important to pay attention to the undertones of your gray cabinetry because that will affect what colors you pair it with and, ultimately, the overall mood of your space. The size of your kitchen and the amount of light it receives are also important factors to consider. "When creating a color scheme to complement gray cabinets, it is best to begin by considering the desired feeling once the design is completed. Is it dark, rich, and moody? Or light and airy? This will provide a guiding direction with choosing the other finishes in the space," says Decorist designer Sarah Ramirez.
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If you're anything like us, you're probably ready for some inspo. Scroll on for 12 wall colors that will look picture-perfect with gray cabinets.
What Wall Colors Work With Gray Kitchen Cabinets?
1. Gray and White
Going with crisp white walls in a kitchen with gray cabinetry isn't always about playing it safe. It's a no-brainer for those looking to create create a light and airy color scheme. The light gray cabinets in this cook space enhance the neutral palette and feel more interesting than an all-white kitchen. Consider adding hardware with a brass finish instead of a brushed nickel for a pop of personality.
2. Gray and Pink
Soft dove gray cabinets and pale pink plaster walls are a dream duo in this London flat designed by Jersey Ice Cream Co. The warmth of the pastel wall color balances the cool shade of gray. Complete the scene with wooden cutting boards and an assortment of copper cookware.
3. Gray and Teal
Gray shaker cabinets look moody in the best possible way when paired with a dark teal backsplash, as proven by this sophisticated design from Jean Stoffer. The vibrant tile acts as a welcome visual break from the floor-to-ceiling gray paint color. Additionally, the blue-green hue brings out the blue undertones of the cabinet color and reinforces the cool and refreshing scheme.
4. Gray and Peach
Similar to blush pink, the peach shade used in this kitchen by deVOL tempers the inherent coolness of the color gray. Small yet impactful touches — like the charming black and white floor tile pattern, skirted cabinet, and bright green window frame — add to the unique and rustic feel of the space.
This modern kitchen by Strutt Studios features gray flat-panel cabinets that are enhanced by navy blue backsplash tiles. Pairing two cool tones, like blue and gray, creates a sense of harmony that you can't help but notice. The patterned floor tile along with a handful of black accents — such as the appliances, gooseneck faucet, and cabinet pulls — provide just enough contrast and tie the whole look together flawlessly.
6. Charcoal Gray and Charcoal Gray
This bold look by deVOL Kitchens is a reminder that you should not underestimate the power of a monochrome color scheme. Here, charcoal gray walls and matching cabinets make quite the impression, while the white countertops, apron sink, and window frame lighten the mood and provide a nice pop of contrast.
7. Gray and Black
If you really want to amp up the drama in your kitchen, follow the lead of Jean Stoffer and pair dark gray cabinetry with black walls. In this moody cook space — complete with a black wood plank ceiling — a glossy zellige tile backsplash reflects the limited amount of light and acts as the perfect backdrop for charcoal gray cabinets. The wood countertops and shelving add a hint of warmth, while brass accents incorporate the tiniest bit of sparkle.
8. Gray and Red
A daring hue like red probably isn't the first choice that comes to mind when selecting a palette for your culinary headquarters, but this small kitchen design spotted on Historiska Hem might make you reconsider the bold color. The light gray cabinets temper the vibrant candy apple red backsplash, ensuring that it won't overwhelm the cozy setup.
"Dark gray cabinets pair well with true red and persimmon orange accent colors as there is [a] balance to the intensity of colors," says Ramirez.
9. Gray and Brick
Whether you opt for light or dark gray kitchen cabinets, you simply can't go wrong with textured walls like brick or stone. In this kitchen design by Lauren Waldorf, cool gray cabinetry, loads of natural light, and bright white countertops all work together to ensure the brick-clad walls don't weigh down the space. Despite the heavy industrial material, the mood remains light and airy.
10. Gray and Beige
This delightful kitchen idea spotted on Alvhem is so warm and welcoming thanks in part to the cream-colored wallpaper, flaunting a delicate floral pattern opposite a bank of gray cabinets. The hardwood flooring injects additional warmth and reinforces the cozy vibe. Blush pink accents, like the chair upholstery and pendant light shade, complement the wallpaper design and provide a lovely pop of color.
11. Gray and Green
One look at this jaw-dropping kitchen by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design and it's clear that sage green and gray are pretty much a match made in heaven. Here the muted shade of gray is met with a verdant wall mural hand-painted by JHID's very own Mira Eng-Goetz. The green ferns gently make their way across each and every wall, pulling out the green undertones of the gray paint. A green range and matching stools complete the picturesque scene.
12. Gray and Taupe
This taupe and gray kitchen design belonging to Nora and Laura of Our Food Stories is a beautiful study in contrasts. The warmth of the taupe-colored walls tempers the cool gray cabinet color. Similarly, the rough texture of the plaster finish perfectly balances the refined subway tile backsplash, marble countertops, and cabinetry. While the mottled plaster wall finish adds a laidback, casual note to the space, the elements that are more polished convey a touch of modernity and sophistication.
Additional Factors to Consider
Before making a final decision on wall color, there are a few things to consider. The first of which is the size of your kitchen and the amount of light it receives, in particular natural light. If your cook space isn't very well lit, or if it's on the smaller size, you might want to stick to lighter accent colors.
Next up: Consider the overall mood or vibe that you're going for. Dark and moody? Vibrant and full of energy? Calm and peaceful? Depending on what you are hoping to achieve, you might want to avoid certain colors. And speaking of avoiding certain hues, you definitely want to make yourself aware of the undertones hiding in your gray paint. An easy way to determine this is to hold a white piece of paper next to your cabinet color and you should immediately be able to spot the undertones.
Last but certainly not least, what medium will work best in your space? Paint, wallpaper, tile? All of these options can be used to dress up your walls and complement your gray cabinetry. As for paint, don't forget to consider the finish. The more matte the paint color, the more prone it is to staining or showing wear and tear. Plaster finishes could be damaged by simply washing them. And while high-gloss paint will help reflect light throughout your space, it also has a tendency to make imperfections more noticeable. Satin or semi-gloss finishes are generally a nice option for a high-traffic area like the kitchen.
Wall Colors That Go With Gray Kitchen Cabinets
As you can see, the sky is the limit when selecting wall colors to go with your gray kitchen cabinets. In fact, there are so many shades of gray to choose from, that you can really get creative and design a unique scheme that reflects your personality. Just remember to factor in the undertones hiding in gray paint as well as the amount of light available in your kitchen. Whenever possible bring samples of paint, tile, or wallpaper into your space so you can get a better idea of how everything will look together.
Ready to get started? Here's a recap of some of the best wall colors to pair with gray cabinets:
- Navy blue
- Charcoal gray