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Is grey still popular for kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets are one of the most visible and functional elements in any kitchen. The color and style of cabinets can dramatically impact the overall look and feel of the space. Grey kitchen cabinets have been hugely popular over the past decade, but some wonder if this trendy neutral is here to stay or on its way out.

The Rise of Grey Kitchen Cabinets

Grey kitchen cabinets surged in popularity in the 2010s. After years of domination by oak and other wood tones, grey provided a sleek and modern look. The neutral color works well in both contemporary and traditional kitchens, and pairs nicely with many other colors.

There are several factors that contributed to grey kitchen cabinets becoming so popular:

  • A move toward modern and transitional kitchen designs, which often utilize grey.
  • The increasing popularity of stainless steel appliances, which coordinate well with grey cabinets.
  • Minimalism and cleaner simplicity over very ornate kitchen designs.
  • Grey as a versatile neutral backdrop that doesn’t compete with other colors.

Grey cabinets were initially often glossy and slick. But over time, more matte and washed finishes became popular for a softer look.

The Appeal of Grey Kitchen Cabinets

So why did grey kitchen cabinets appeal to so many homeowners over the past 10-15 years? There are several key reasons:

  • Versatile neutral color – Grey can act as a blank canvas and is easy to match with countertops, floors, appliances and accent colors.
  • Sleek and modern – Grey cabinets give a streamlined, contemporary look popular in newer builds and remodels.
  • Light and airy – Lighter grey cabinets help small kitchens feel more open and spacious.
  • Softened traditional – Greys with undertones like blue, green or brown can give a softer update to traditional kitchens.
  • Cool and cozy – Warmer greys work well in cozy cottage kitchens.
  • Spa-like feel – Medium to lighter greys can give a tranquil, spa-like ambiance.

Additionally, improvements in paint technology allowed DIY’ers to easily update their cabinets with grey without the cost of brand new cabinets. The color was simply appealing to diverse styles and budgets.

Is Grey Still Popular for Kitchen Cabinets?

Now over a decade from the huge surge in popularity, grey kitchen cabinets are not going away anytime soon. However, some new trends are emerging and threatening grey’s domination.

Here are some signs that grey kitchen cabinets are still popular:

  • They remain a top color option from major cabinet brands like KraftMaid, Hampton Bay and IKEA.
  • Online searches for “grey kitchen cabinets” remain consistently high year over year.
  • Grey kitchens are still commonly featured in home magazines and HGTV shows.
  • Interior designers continue to recommend grey as a versatile neutral for kitchen cabinets.
  • Many major paint companies name various shades of grey as their “color of the year.”

However, some indicators show greys may not remain at peak popularity forever:

  • Other neutrals like white, navy, black, and brown increased in popularity for cabinets.
  • Paint companies forecasting greens like Sage Green and earthy hues gaining popularity in the 2020s.
  • Some homeowners may remodel grey cabinets from 10-15 years ago to update to a new look.
  • Trends moving slightly away from ultra-sleek modern to more textured designs.

While still dominating kitchen cabinet colors, greys may become slightly less common over the next 5-10 years. But they are in no danger of going away completely.

Most Popular Shades of Grey for Kitchen Cabinets

Grey encompasses a wide range of shades from nearly white to nearly black. Some popular grey paint colors for today’s kitchen cabinets include:

Grey Paint Color Undertones
Fog Blue-green
Mineral Blue-grey
Silver Grey Cool-toned
Charcoal Dark, nearly black
Saltbox Green-grey
Battleship Grey Blue-grey
Graphite Dark, blue-grey

The most popular greys have subtle blue, green, or brown undertones. Pure greys can look a bit clinical. Warm, earthy or slightly rustic grey shades are on trend. Many designers recommend avoiding greys with purple, red or yellow undertones.

Should You Choose Grey Kitchen Cabinets?

When planning a kitchen design or remodel, should you opt for grey cabinets? Here are some pros and cons of using this popular neutral:


  • Versatile and pairs well with many styles.
  • A safe, on-trend color unlikely to look dated quickly.
  • Lighter shades make small kitchens feel more open.
  • Greens and blues add subtle personality without overpowering.
  • Easy to match with existing floors, countertops and backsplashes.


  • Not as lively as warmer neutrals like browns and tans.
  • Darker shades can make small kitchens feel closed in.
  • Too much grey can look monotonous if overused in an entire home.
  • The current ubiquity and trendiness of grey may seem stale to some.

Grey is recommended for most kitchen designs, but may not be the best option for very small, traditional or farmhouse kitchens. The shade of grey should be carefully chosen based on the overall style you want to achieve.

Grey Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Here are some popular kitchen designs using grey cabinetry in different shades and finishes:

Light Grey Kitchen Cabinets

A light grey like Foggy Morning or London Fog can give a breezy, coastal or modern feel. Pair with white countertops and accent colors like navy blue.

Dark Grey Kitchen Cabinets

Charcoal and darker blue-greys like Graphite or Pebble Grey lend a dramatic, sophisticated look. Contrast with brass hardware and white marble.

Two-Tone Kitchen Cabinets

Using grey on top cabinets but white on bottom cabinets (or vice versa) gives dimension. You can also pair grey with wood cabinets for an eclectic look.

Green-Grey Kitchen Cabinets

Sage green-greys work well in arts & crafts or traditional kitchens. Pair with brick backsplash and butcher block countertops.

Washed Grey Kitchen Cabinets

Driftwood or weathered greys have an organic, relaxed feel. Contrast with black metal hardware and navy island.

Pairing Countertops and Floors with Grey Cabinets

One benefit of grey kitchen cabinets is they coordinate well with many countertop and flooring options:


  • White marble or quartz
  • Black granite or soapstone
  • Butcher block
  • Stainless steel
  • Caesarstone
  • Concrete


  • White tile
  • Grey wood-look tile
  • Grey stained hardwood
  • Dark hardwood
  • Stone or porcelain tile
  • Cork

For walls, white, light greys, navy blue, sage green, and brick are popular backsplash colors with grey cabinets.

How to Make Grey Cabinets Pop

To keep grey kitchen cabinets looking stylish and avoid a monotonous look, incorporate these elements:

  • Add visual interest with glass cabinet doors.
  • Choose contrasting hardware like brass for darker greys or black for lighter greys.
  • Incorporate decorative molding or trim details.
  • Blend grey with white or wood cabinets for contrast.
  • Use grey on island but white on perimeter cabinets.
  • Add pops of color with appliances, light fixtures or barstools.
  • Layer greys, like lighter lowers with darker uppers.
  • Incorporate materials like marble, metal and stone.


Grey kitchen cabinets remain highly popular for their versatility and modern appeal. But minor trends come and go. Currently soft, warm greys with subtle contrasting textures are most on point. While greys are likely to remain in demand, homeowners should choose shades that reflect their overall preferred style over following temporary fads.

Greys work well for many kitchen designs. But they aren’t suited for every home. Ultimately the color should coordinate with the architecture, floor plan, natural light and overall ambiance you want to achieve. Carefully selecting the right grey tone and finish can result in a timeless, beautiful kitchen.