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What color goes best with gray for a kitchen?

What color goes best with gray for a kitchen?

When designing a kitchen, choosing the right color palette is crucial to creating a cohesive and stylish space. Gray has become an increasingly popular neutral shade for kitchens in recent years. However, gray can be a tricky color to decorate with, as the wrong hue paired with gray walls or cabinets can make a space feel cold and drab. The key is finding colors that complement gray without clashing. So what color goes best with gray in a kitchen?

Warm neutral tones

Pairing gray with warm neutral tones is one easy way to keep a gray kitchen from feeling sterile. Soft beiges, light taupes, warm whites and pale yellows help add warmth and brightness. These muted tones allow the gray to take center stage while adding subtle contrast and visual interest.

For example, light beige walls would offset medium gray cabinets nicely. Or consider pale yellow open shelving against a backdrop of cool gray subway tiles. Warm oak or walnut floors would also add nice contrast next to a gray island. Sticking with a neutral color scheme creates a clean and classic look.

Vibrant accent colors

While keeping everything neutral may seem safe, don’t be afraid to add pops of color to liven up a gray kitchen. Vibrant reds, sunny yellows, emerald greens and sky blues can all pair beautifully with gray. Just be sure to use them sparingly as accents. Too much color alongside gray can be overwhelming.

Some stylish ways to incorporate accent colors include:

  • Bold red appliances or kitchenware
  • Cheery yellow bar stools
  • Deep blue or green subway tiles above a gray backsplash
  • Colorful patterned rugs

Accent walls in hues like tomato red, mustard yellow or navy blue are another option. Just keep the remaining walls, cabinetry and counters neutral. The color will really pop against the gray.

Metallic sheens

Metallic finishes like nickel, brass and bronze pair gorgeously with gray and add a dash of glamour. Try mixing these metals in kitchen hardware and fixtures against gray cabinets or an island. Or install metal tile backsplashes or range hoods as an accent. Copper and gold are warm metals that counterbalance cooler grays. While silver and nickel have a similar crisp, modern feel to gray.

Crisp white

You really can’t go wrong pairing gray with classic white in a kitchen. White has a clean, brightening effect that prevents gray from feeling heavy or somber. Consider white cabinets or walls with gray quartz countertops and backsplash tile. Or inverse it with gray cabinets and white marble counters.

Crisp white also shows off gray finishes like grout lines between subway tiles. For a beachy vibe, paint upper cabinets a soft gray blue and keep lowers bright white. Add in some white open shelving filled with white dishes and accessories.

Earthy wood tones

Natural wood finishes make an attractive complement to gray’s modern appeal. Light oak, whitewashed oak, maple, birch and ash all contain warm brown and tan tones that enrich a gray color scheme. Use wood on cabinetry, live-edge tabletops, open shelving or butcher block islands.

Wood ceiling beams, trim and floors would also introduce warmth. Try combining a gray stacked stone backsplash with wooden surfaces for an organic feel. Just stick to light or medium woods so the space doesn’t get too dark and heavy.

Serene blue-grays

Since gray is inherently cool-toned, pairing it with other blue-based colors creates a serene and relaxing vibe. Go for light powdery blues, airy aquas or muted sage greens. These colors have just a hint of gray in their natural undertones.

Try a soft blue like ocean mist for kitchen walls with a gray marble waterfall peninsula. Or sage green cabinets with gray salt and pepper countertops and a matching tiled backsplash. Keeping everything in the same tonal family results in a soothing, blended look.

Muted black

Although black and gray may seem too similar, using black in small doses gives gray depth and contrast. Black kitchen island bases, hardware or light fixtures make a striking statement against light gray cabinets or walls. Glossy black subway tiles also pair well with matte gray grout.

Charcoal cabinets provide a bolder alternative to standard gray. Just be sure to balance them with plenty of white quartz counters, buffet tops and open shelving so the space doesn’t get too dark. Black stained wood furnishings and shelving would also complement a gray palette nicely.

Key Factors When Choosing Colors for a Gray Kitchen

When mixing and matching shades for your gray kitchen, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Undertones: Choose colors whose undertones complement gray. Cool blues, greens and grays work well with gray’s innate coolness, as do warm neutrals like taupes that add subtle vibrancy.
  • Brightness: Lighter tints prevent a gray kitchen from feeling flat or gloomy. But you can incorporate small doses of bold, saturated accent colors too.
  • Finish: Mix up matte and glossy surfaces and metals. Contrast adds visual interest. Try glossy cabinets with a matte gray backsplash and polished metal fixtures.
  • Texture: Layer in materials like wood, marble, stone and metallics for depth. Keep countertops and backsplashes crisp and smooth to contrast with these tactile elements.
  • Balance: Use color in moderation next to large gray surfaces. Too many competing colors overwhelm the space.

Examples of Colors That Go Well with Gray

Here is a quick reference table of specific colors that pair beautifully with gray in kitchen designs:

Warm Neutrals Vibrant Accents Nature-Inspired Crisp Contrast
Beige Red Oak White
Cream Yellow Walnut Black
Khaki Emerald Green Whitewashed Wood Navy Blue
Taupe Royal Blue Stone
Light Tan Orange Marble
Dusty Rose


When working with gray in a kitchen design, the colors you pair it with make all the difference in creating a stylish, inviting space. Warm neutrals, crisp whites, natural woods and a few vibrant accents are all great options that allow gray to take center stage while adding subtle interest. Just remember to strike the right balance between contrast and harmony based on undertones, textures and finishes. With the right color combinations, gray can be the perfect sophisticated yet livable backdrop for any kitchen.