Our Favorite Gray Paint Colors

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Despite “gray” (or “grey” if you’re in the UK) being a word used to describe something rather dull or undecided in modern vernacular, using gray paint is a fantastic way to breathe some subtle personality into your home. 

There is a reason that I, as a custom cabinetry designer and builder, have at least four favorite gray paint colors on deck at all times—each the perfect choice in its own way and for different reasons in different homes or spaces.

But let’s explore why, where, and how to make my favorite gray paint colors work for you.

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Is Gray A Good Color For Kitchen Cabinets?

Generally speaking, gray paint can be a beautiful option for kitchen cabinetry. But like most neutrals, gray paint can sway warm or cool in both its own composition and based on light sources and other surrounding influences like furniture or wood stain. Which means you’ll need to be at least partly through planning the rest of the room before finalizing your favorite gray paint so that your countertops, hardware, and decor can work seamlessly together with your painted cabinetry. But we’ll come back to coordinating your favorite gray paint with other colors and elements a little later on.

Another positive for using gray paint in the kitchen, at least light gray, is that it can easily mask many common kitchen mishaps or spills like flour. Not every smudge will show like it might with, say, black kitchen cabinets (which are another great idea but for totally different reasons).

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The perfect gray paint color for your kitchen cabinets will depend in part on the size and nature of your kitchen. If you’re going for a bit of drama with a dark gray for kitchen cabinets, it may work best if you have a larger kitchen. If you don’t have the space but still want that moodier kitchen, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of natural light or plans for brightening up the room with electric lighting or other bright features like white countertops and light-colored flooring.

A lighter gray paint can breathe life into a smaller kitchen and even create a sense of grandeur and elegance in a large kitchen or other substantial space. You can feel a bit of the luxury—even just through the picture—that this favorite gray paint brings to a custom double vanity master bathroom done recently.

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What Is The Best Gray Paint For Kitchen Cabinets?

The best gray paint for kitchen cabinets is going to be found by examining the factors we just mentioned. But I do have my favorite gray paints, all of which work well for the kitchen and other cabinets.

Blue Gray by Farrow and Ball

With its subtle mix of blue, green and black pigments, Blue Gray creates the most relaxed of rooms that feel as if they have always been there

With its subtle mix of blue, green and black pigments, Blue Gray creates the most relaxed of rooms that feel as if they have always been there. It is a cool, slightly weathered gray and can gently shift between blue and gray depending on the light and time of day.

Cement Gray by Benjamin Moore

A versatile, medium gray that can lean earthy or industrial depending on surroundings

A versatile, medium gray that can lean earthy or industrial depending on surroundings. A great choice for leaving options open with styling while still not settling for an absolute blank canvas.

Stormy Monday by Benjamin Moore

A deeper, moody gray that may be named after a storm, but inspires a sense of calm in the thrill.

A deeper, moody gray that may be named after a storm, but inspires a sense of calm in the thrill. It’s not just your average gray. It’s honestly such a favorite that I painted my own front door this shade.

Cobblestone Path by Benjamin Moore

Reminiscent of a stroll along a centuries-old stone path, this light mid-tone gray with a touch of blue is refined and elegant, yet relaxed

Reminiscent of a stroll along a centuries-old stone path, this light mid-tone gray with a touch of blue is refined and elegant, yet relaxed. This is a great color if you’re leaning towards blue kitchen cabinets but aren’t fully committed to a more vibrant hue.

What Is The Most Popular Color For A Kitchen?

The most popular color to paint a kitchen is undoubtedly white. And for good reason. It’s timeless and traditional, while still feeling modern. It’s bright, open, and cheery. White paint is the perfect backdrop to essentially any number of other elements in a kitchen like countertops, lighting fixtures, hardware, and basically any pop of color, whether painted, stained, or metallic.

But it doesn’t mean that because you like options, you have to stick with white paint for your kitchen. On the contrary—my favorite gray paints are all fantastic backdrops for “accessorizing” against.

What Colors Go With Gray Cabinets?

Much like white paint, gray cabinets can coordinate with many textures, colors, and materials with varied and beautiful results.

Narrowing down metals to match with my favorite gray paints is difficult because you’ll soon see that I’ve used nearly every one in different applications—whether it was a custom kitchen island, a bathroom vanity, or various built-ins for the family room, closet, or home office. Brass, nickel, and darker options all work well with gray paint.

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By reflecting the painted ceiling beams, this custom fireplace design looks 100% original to the home design. Which is exactly how custom cabinetry should look and feel.

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This built in cabinet for a home office sits right between the kitchen and laundry "room" hiding behind those white custom built ins. It's a great way to utilize every inch of a space.

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I also recommend complementing your favorite gray paint with natural textures and materials like lightly finished wood and brick to add richness and depth to any space. Think flooring, desktops, and fireplace surrounds here.

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Don't forget about adding a little contrast when drawing up your built in desk ideas. The solid wood desktop not only creates a wonderful work space, but makes the custom cabinetry even more special.

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As for colors of paint and other materials that go well with my favorite gray paint colors, it’s smart to put a sample of the gray you’ve chosen in the room, with proper lighting, and coordinate from there. You can push your gray to read more blue, brown, green, or truly gray with whatever you surround it. Most grays work beautifully with various blues, rusty reds, deep or sage greens, blush, and even mustard yellow. Or honestly, they can be left to speak for themselves in all their gray glory.

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What Should People Know Before Picking Their Paint Color?

You’ve got to consider what is happening with the rest of the room: flooring, walls, trim, hardware, lighting, and art will all play a part in how a room comes together. You have to ensure your paint color is cohesive with everything else as part of the overall game plan. You can’t just design a room and then drop in cabinets at the end—holistic design sense is key.

But in this case, it’s nice to know that because gray can settle in as a nice backdrop for many different aesthetics, any of my favorite gray paint colors can be used knowing they’ll last through almost any style shift coming in your home.

What Is Paint “Sheen” And How Does It Play Out In A Space

The sheen of paint is how shiny or dull it is. There is an entire spectrum (see below) ranging from completely matte to glossy, and everything between. I prefer a satin sheen because it’s the perfect balance of not too dull or too shiny. Shiny paint can appear plastic or fake, but something too matte won’t wear well over time against grease and oil.

Sheen Spectrum:

Matte

Dull

Eggshell

Satin

Semi-gloss

Gloss

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Despite “gray” (or “grey” if you’re in the UK) being a word used to describe something rather dull or undecided in modern vernacular, using gray paint is a fantastic way to breathe some subtle personality into your home
As a custom cabinetry designer and builder, there's a good reason to have at least four favorite gray paint colors on deck at all times—each is the perfect choice in its own way and space. Find out which of my favorite grays will work for you!

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