Thoughts On Dark Grey Kitchen Cabinets?

jimyyzAugust 13, 2010

Once again I am kind stuck in trying to make a decision and GWF readers are so great for providing feedback and guidance so I thought I would put this out there.

I'm in middle of renovating my kitchen. The new floor is in a taupe-grey stone and the walls are painted (BM Jute). It's working a little backwards, I know, but I really liked the Jute. For a countertop I've narrowed down a few choices and I'm leaning towards one of the dark grey-brown quartz. The off white are ok too but i think i prefer the darker ones.

Which leaves the cabinet color. Creamy white always look great, as does dark brown. But I was actually thinking a darker taupey grey. My concern is that I don't think I've ever seen grey cabinets. And while i like it now, 5 years from now it may be a real big mistake.

What do you guys think?

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This post is dear to my heart as I painted my cabinets a dark toast gray-brown last year and have been thrilled with them. Went with white marble counters and a taupe-y wall color similar to your Jute in value.

It will definitely work to do one of the darker grays and will be stunning. The most important thing I found was to get a swatch of the actual color and put that next to the stone and wall paint swatch and countertop swatch in natural light and in the incandescent lighting in the kitchen space and see the undertone -- does the color tip green, taupe, blue -- those muted colors are amazing once you get them right.

I took wallpaint, cab paint and a piece of tile to stoneyard with me so I was immediately able to rule out certain things and make a choice between others that were similar.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 4:12PM
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I think it would look great also-very peaceful. Trust your gut!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 4:15PM
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With the dark counters, I'd probably go with Seattle Mist as my first choice and Rodeo next. I think these paint choices show a little yellow to me though, but that could be skewed by being on the computer screen. They all match the floor and wall paint very well, but the counter grays seem bluer.

In any case, just because you have not seen a lot of gray being used or especially because you haven't seen it, I'd do it. If it is what appeals to you, then go ahead and enjoy it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 4:18PM
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It sounds great to me, but I really love grays. I think that if it all looks well put together, it will still look great in 5 years. I would just make sure the grays have the same background color, which it sounds like you're going for, but the cabinet door in the picture is bluer than the D least on my monitor. I think that's only there for an example? Of the paint chips, I like River Gorge, which has some contrast with both the floor and with the counter top. For me any of the lighter colors blend too much with the floor. The darker ones are more brown, which might be great with the counter if there is more brown in it than shows on my monitor.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 5:30PM
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I love gray, especially charcoal. I love the idea of charcoal cabinets with a crisp white or cream countertop. I think I'd prefer a contrasting countertop color to make the cabinetry and counters really pop.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 5:43PM
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I've seen gray cabinets and they look lovely. Your cabinet color is terrific. Your design sheet concerns me, however. It might just be the laptop (can't get at my good color monitor just now, and pictures don't transmit well even to calibrated screens), but I think the value (light/dark) of the cabinet and counter are too close. Also, that monochromatic a room can get dreary, especially on dull days. You'll have to be really careful with lighting. If I were you, I'd go with countertop A, or even a black, or else something really light, like E, to get more contrast. I'd also add a little color to the walls. You could mix in just a hint of some red or green to your Jute, for instance, just to give it a richer look. Don't do yellow. It'll look sickly with the gray, and blue in the gray will just make it drearier (though you could do a fresh blue instead of adding it to gray).

Basically, I like all your choices and think they go together, but I'm very concerned that the resulting room will be sad. And who wants a melancholy kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 6:05PM
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I have the BM Affinity colors fan deck right here. I found the Jute. It does go with the grays better in real life. It showed up as having too much yellow on my monitor.
I really like your cabinet color and I happen to have some very similar tile in a bathroom. I also have three quartz samples and one granite, all in grays. So here's a strong vote for A. I like the contrast and I think it does the best job of tying your elements together.

I have my own gray dilemma that I'll be posting about shortly...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 7:12PM
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I would tell you to do it because my favorite color is grey. I did a grey backsplash and floor. Countertop is green and grey. Paint is greyish green. (Cabinets are white.) I will never tire of all the grey because I love grey!

Good luck and make sure you post pics!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 8:06PM
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Considering that my cabinets are in the process of being painted a dark charcoal gray (BM Wrought Iron), I would be apt to encourage you to do likewise. Both black and white cabinets are found in many homes, that is why I could not do the same. As Chrome is the new nickel, gray is the new black.

I am also crazy for taupey cabinets and a trend is starting in that direction as well.

Go for it if you like the not worry about 5 yrs. from now.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Love the grays and taupey grays - particularly in cabinets. But I am also concerned about too much gray, at least from the samples on my monitor, might be too monotone even though you have different shades. I did a little search for gray cabinets & what was common in every kitchen was accents in either white (as in counters, BS or walls), warm wood (counters, chairs) or black. Check it out - I hope I do boxerpups proud (though I have no references)

Gray cabinets, white back splash, counter and sink.

Taupe/gray lowers, white uppers & back splash, black counters. Copper and terracotta accents. I love this kitchen...time to start over :)

The warm would counter/table looks amazing with the darker gray.

This is all gray, but accents in open shelves white and wood.

This is more a tan/gray but again lots of white.

I found it so helpful to rethink my assumptions. You love gray/taupe, you love jute - does everything have to be gray/taupe? Could the cabinets be jute and the walls be something whiter (or something else)? Where is your pallet coming from - was their a kitchen you saw that you loved - was it all gray taupes with amazing accents (open shelves with great stuff on them, other accents around the kitchen) that made it work. If not, what is it about other kitchen you like that attracts you, even those that are not gray? This exercise helped me hone in on where I liked contrast (between counter and cabinets) and where I liked continuity (between uppers and lowers.) Challenge yourself and if you come back to where you started all the better -- and more confident in your choices.

If you search on gray kitchen cabinets and look at images you can get more great photos. I was going to do gray accent cabinets with red birch main cabinets but went with gray counters instead and paint white accents. This is probably more than you wanted - I love gray these days. Keep us posted on your progress.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:39PM
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I love gray cabinets and really was really tossed when I was choosing between them and the walnut veneer I ended up going with. The only reason I didn't do it was because my new house is very open concept and would limit every other decorating decision I was making in terms of the floor plan. I do agree that if you do the cabinets in grey, I would almost say to stick with a warm white or a gray lightened to almost white on the walls and a white counter. Too much gray will end up taking away from the cabinets, imho. Good luck with your decision, I'm sure it's going to look great!!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 7:56AM
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Jimyyyz, I have a friend who hated her old kitchen and wanted to paint her wood cabinets gray, but her husband was appalled, so she painted the lowers a sort of dark putty gray and the uppers and walls the cream of her tile backsplash that previously was just a nothing relating to nothing. It looks fantastic. I wish I had pictures to show.

BTW, since they couldn't afford to remodel at the time, she painted her Formica counter, too, sort of casually choosing a gray similar to the lowers just to "hide" it, but was surprised to find the whole combo so attractive.

BTW, they're looking forward to remodeling for real and plan to again have the cream upper half and a counter that blends with the lowers because the calm flow of values shows off her collection of old flow blue china so well. (The china providing the contrast and detail instead of the counter.) The lowers are probably going to be a variation of the gray, or even wood, just for a little change but not because they don't really like the gray.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 8:28AM
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I heart gray. I really do. I am in the process of "tweeking" my paint in my kitchen family room because I am not fond of the way the gray leans towards the greens on the family room side...oh how i could go on...but my point is that while doing so much research about the perfect gray, I have found that in a nutshell gray is replacing the browns as the "new neutral". I am sure that if you go with a delicious gray cabinet, you will enjoy them so much. Also, big tip--if the gray you choose is not towards the lavender side (or gravender as I now call it), then think about yellow as an accent color. Yellow & Gray are two excellent companion colors. Can you tell that I have about 75 gray paint chips currently spread out on my kitchen table? And let's not talk about how many sample cans I have in there.

Here is a photo of Molly Sims apartment, I sent an email to the designer (yes, this is truly how obsessed I am with finding the right gray) and she told me that the wood work is painted Pratt & Lambert Woodwitch.

Sample of gray & yellow working together, from apartmenttherapy:

boxerpups must be on vacation. Sparklekitty, you are doing an excellent job filling in with all those photos!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 9:41AM
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I am linking below to someone who blogged about Martha Stewart's gray kitchen. The photos are straight from Martha's magazine, and if you click on the pics to make them larger, you'll be able to see the kitchen very well. She has custom gray cabinetry and vast expanses of marble counters everywhere. Clearly, it was very expensive.

I do think you have to be careful that your kitchen doesn't end up dreary. Do you have a good amount of natural light? What about in the winter, are you in a northern climate? In the photos I've linked, Martha chose white marble for contrast and I assume to lighten things up a bit. I also like very much the pic that Beekeeperswife posted above from Apartmenttherapy, with the yellows and whites for contrast. If you'll notice the Molly Sims pic has an enormous chandelier plus floor lamps plus wall sconces. It's a small room for all those lights, so all that gray must have called for a lot of supplemental lighting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Happymundane Blog about Martha Stewart's Gray Kitchen

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 12:38PM
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I have started to let gray go for more colour but I still like to work it in to my rooms. It won't be in my kitchen but I clipped the attached images from a magazine because I thought this monochromatic gray kitchen was really beautiful without being fussy and a little unusual.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 12:52PM
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wow. you are all amazing. thanks so much for the feedback, suggestions and for the reassurance.

unfortunately, it is really hard to see the colors accurately on computer monitors. jute is actually a great color. it might show yellow on the monitor but it's almost the perfect neutral putty. the floor is showing a little more red then in real life too.

and the comments about grey being too dreary is a very good point and something i'll try to watch out for.

some of you thought the cabinet door was a little blue vs the paint swatch greys and i agree. i didn't adjust it very well in photoshop. it should be closer to the color chips.

rococogurl, which color did you paint your cabinets?

I think i agree with plllog and rhome, that the lighter greys are too close in value to the floor. see the first sample below.

the second one seems to work the best, in terms of contrast bewteen floor, countertop and cabinets.

I'm not sure of the white countertop. it looks beautiful in sparklekitty's pics with the dark wood floor but as you can see in the third sample it seems to fight with my tile.

thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 1:26PM
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THe counter choice looks way darker than anything in the first post. Which is more accurate? I prefer the softer one shown up above to the starker one down below.

You shouldn't have white counters if prefer the dark, but I don't think the white would be bad with the floor, since they're not going to be next to each other. They'll get different lighting, etc. that will separate them, in how they appear, even more. It would be an easy way to avoid the dreary look you might be fearing, because of the crispness and light it would add.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 3:23PM
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I love the gray cabinets! Either the last two that you posted. I agree with Rhome that a lighter countertop would look great with it.
Here is a photo of northern cliffs cabinets that blueglassblues used to show you the color tone.If you scroll down to almost the last post you'll see her before and after pictures.The legs of the island are painted dragon's breath form BM. It is on the next strip from the one you posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: blueglassblues photos

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 7:44AM
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rhome410, yes i did darken the countertop, and yes i prefer the original. i changed because several posters recommended the darker version for higher contrast. It seems a little harsh too me but if i knew what i was doing i wouldn't be posting. lol.

thank you for the pictures positano. another beautiful kitchen makeover. i really do like white counters... they do look fresh and clean but i just didn't think they would work well with my floor tile. but if they were to look like sparklekitty's or bluegrassblues' i'd be very, very happy.

can someone just come and make the decisions for me?? : D

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 1:39PM
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Sure! I like the middle design sheet best of the three from yesterday. It has the best balance of lights and darks (I'm still on the sucky laptop, so am not commenting on hue).

Gray itself isn't dreary--but it's the color of shadows and doesn't provide any punch on dreary days. That's why red and blue undertones pop it up so much. True gray is actually just light black or dark white, just as true white and true black are just the lightest and darkest ends of the gray continuum. They're all one tone. If you shine a white light on true black you'll only see white because the black reflects the whole spectrum. White is the whole spectrum. Black=white and gray is in between.

With a putty to black palette, you could do some wonderful effects with colored indirect lighting. They have some amazing LEDs you might want to check out...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 1:59PM
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What seems most "off" to me about your latest sample board with the white countertops is the coolness of the white and gray in what looks like carrera marble with the warmth of your floor. Additionally, your cabinet door color in your latest set of pictures (not original post) appear to have a warmer almost taupe tone to them (rather than the cool gray tones of the original cabinet). If you like these warmer colors, how would you feel about a white countertop with warmer accents?

Calacatta Gold Marble

Luce Di Luna Quartzite

Alternatively, I love the combination of crisp white (like carrera marble) with cool dark gray (charcoal or lighter as well) like the picture of the island that positano posted. I think if you keep both the cabinets and the countertops in similarly cool (or warm) tones, it will fight less with your flooring.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 1:10PM
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laura mcleod

Love grey! Really, really do, it is a definite obsession for me. I think it can be warm and serene as long as everything is carefully considered. I would echo what is in the Martha Stewart article that texture is key to making a grey kitchen seem warm (and not sterile). Fabric or natural grass roman shades, baskets, handmade pottery bowls, etc. I think the room can still be sleek and minimalist, but make sure there is some life in some of the elements. Enjoy! I will enjoy your grey kitchen vicariously...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 1:43PM
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I'm a big fan of grey. My bathroom is predominately grey. Floor is a grey porcelain slate look in 18x18", wall paint is a light grey color (Seattle Rain I think?), and wall tile is a 1x3 inch ceramic mosaic in 3 shades of grey with light grey grout. The cabinet is a cherry laminate so I didn't go grey with the cabinet, but I love the feel of the bathroom with all that grey and polished chrome hardware. As I always say, it's pretty masculine, but I love masculine design. We have a glass block window in the shower that lets in a lot of natural light and that helps.

For the kitchen, the floor is an interesting cross between grey and brown. We had decided on Silestone Gedatsu for the counter, then picked out the floor tile. Then I started to second guess the Gedatsu and looked at some greyer Silestone samples (Grey Expo, Unsui and Kensho). The Grey Expo just was not right at all. The Kensho was tooooo blue and the Unsui just felt too not right with the floor. Actually, the Unsui matches the floor pretty closely. I guess that was the problem, it was too much of the same color in the room and we didn't think we'd like so much of it on the counter, although I do think Unsui is a great color. So, we went with the Gedatsu! It's dark. Chocolatey brown. I hope it's not too dark. I really liked it the best out of everything we looked at. It's being installed on Thursday.

I hope you do your grey kitchen :) And check out the Unsui Silestone! It's a really cool color.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 3:12PM
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as for your color choices, i think i like your second combo better. but this is given my monitor settings, of course :) do you have anyone whose style you like that you can ask? so hard to see colors online...

and ohh! so fun to see a picture of my former interior designer's kitchen as inspiration here! :)

i was also thinking about darker grey bottom cabs and white/light gray tops...but after seeing one of the pictures on this thread, i don't think i like the effect. wow, seeing things in real life is really helpful! i've picked dark grey (caesarstone raven) tops and want to avoid totally white cabs (my general style taste is more colorful and global), but haven't seen many good grey kitchens done with other than the white/marble kind of look. hrm.

(ok, sorry for rambling aloud :D)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:04PM
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Love both, I wish I could vote on which combination.
I think you can't go wrong with either.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 6:53PM
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once again, the feedback is very helpful and greatly appreciated.

pricklypearcactus, yes i adjusted color of the cabinet. in the first pic it was more of a blue-grey. i changed to a warm taupey-grey. the blue grey, while also very nice, fights with my warm taupey grey floor tile.

And that was the same problem i was having with the white countertops. They looks awesome but everything i was seeing had a cool grey hue. Your pictures illustrate the difference very well. The second picture would probably work much better with my taupey-grey floor.

i'm definitely going to go look at the Luce Di Luna Quartzite.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:22PM
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The 2nd combo of last 3 is a better choice than the others.
Luce di luna could be very good.
Calacatta d'oro (the name is something like that) marble or other kinds that had a hint of beige/taupe in it with gray could work if you love the marble look.
I think you are on the right track.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:44PM
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We're still figuring out our layout, but I too am leaning towards the grey cabinets. Current thought process is dark grey cabinets with zodiaq bianco carrara countertops, with pale green backsplash.

By the way sparklekitty -- that first picture is gorgeous!!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:34AM
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Two years and still love my gray cabinets.

Soapstone counters and white tile backsplash 4x4's, if anyone's playing along on the home game.

I have a lot of color in my kitchen and am not a matchy-matchy person though.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 2:50PM
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Jimyys, I also like grey cabinets and am trying to decide what I want have in my new kitchen, I want to ask you what company & type of wood are you going with or are you painting on existing cabinets? thank you.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Saw this post (linked below) and thought of this thread.

Here is a link to rococogurl's city kitchen:

Here is a link that might be useful: Two gray kitchens

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 7:21PM
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Here's a pretty grey kitchen that caught my eye in a real estate blog:

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 8:01PM
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