White will probably always be the perennial favourite when it comes to kitchen units. There’s something that’s hard to beat about the brightness it brings to any kitchen space. White always offers bags of versatility too. It’s easy to create any look you want to complement clean white kitchen units. But with contemporary kitchen design, white certainly now has a worthy rival. Grey is the new white in terms an appealing modern kitchen. So, it seems an opportune moment to look at what colours go with grey to create a fresh look.
Over the decades, various colours have vied with white as popular choices for the kitchen. In the 1970s, it was bold shades such as orange and green that became ‘de rigueur.’ These days, the colour palette for kitchens tends to be slightly more restrained. This is where grey comes in and why it has become such a big hit in the kitchen.
What colours go with grey? The alternative to white
So, if you are looking for a perfect alternative to white, you can’t really go far wrong with grey. Of course, one of the major plus-points of this hue is how versatile it is as a colour. Indeed, all the different tones that are available under the grey umbrella are an indication of why it has become such a popular choice. At one end of the scale of the grey family are the warmer shades. These will create a different feel to the blue-tinged greys which can be found at the other end of the spectrum.
If there is any rule to follow regarding choosing accent colours or a mixed palette for a grey kitchen, it is that you should pay heed to a tried and trusted colour theory. Essentially, this means that you should choose complementary colours that would be very close to the existing grey on a colour wheel. Alternatively, if you want contrast, you should opt for a shade at the opposite end of the scale.
Does dark grey work?
Dark grey kitchen cabinets look great when they are viewed online, but it can be hard to visualise how they will look in situ, with the specifics of your kitchen taken into consideration. Will they go with dark or light worktops? Should you consider a lighter floor to create a bright and airy room? There is so much to think about when choosing a new design for your kitchen restyle.
If you take a look at any pictures of kitchens that use a grey cabinet, you will notice that the vast majority of them are shown with wooden worktops. You may be wondering why this is exactly. Well, the answer is simple – because the lighter shades of pine and walnut perfectly offset the darker nature of the cabinets. So, when you are looking for colours to work well with grey units, remember to consider lighter tones.
Which colours go with grey: Energising or calming?
The general effect of contrasting colours are that they energise the kitchen space. Meanwhile, complementary colours will have a calming effect. Similarly, as a general rule, you will find that softer and paler shades of grey work particularly well in smaller spaces. In larger kitchens, bolder and contrasting colours can really lift the space and help ensure that the colour scheme doesn’t begin to look bland. Deep navy can be mixed with pale greys. On the other hand, a blast of pink can be really effective too.
Grey: The perfect choice to smarten up a small kitchen
Some people might wonder whether grey, particularly darker shades, might be a bit too much for a smaller kitchen, but it can be a highly effective choice. A darker shade of grey for the kitchen cabinets can be striking and eye-catching. Combined with a paler shade of grey helps to create a light and airy feel.
Another alternative is to take a less is more approach. Occasionally, using a grey – regardless of how smart it looks – for lower and wall units can be a step too far and a little too overpowering. However, opting for the likes of simple shelving in grey can create a laid back, casual look.
Grey kitchens: Bags of style, character and personality
You will find plenty of design inspiration from grey colours in the kitchen. You can opt for airy, light and soft combinations of colour. However, if it’s more your thing, you can plump for industrial and utilitarian shades too. Whether you want greys that really create a calming mood in the kitchen, or you want to pack a punch, you can cook up a storm with a grey kitchen.
On one hand, you have the lighter shades of grey that ooze sophistication and style, and give you bags of versatility to boot. On the other hand, there are the darker shades and charcoal tones that transform the kitchen into a dramatic space, making a bold and confident design statement.
Getting the balance right
Two different shades of grey (or any colour, for that matter) can work well for a subtle contrast. Any more than two colours and it can all be a bit too much. Another good look if you are considering a kitchen island is to choose a deeper shade of grey or a contrasting colour to the cabinets on the wall. This will help to make the island a real focal point in the space.
Generally speaking, having your base cabinets in a darker shade than the wall cupboards makes sense. Otherwise, the overall design can appear a bit top-heavy. A straightforward contrast of light and dark can be effective. As a rule of thumb, bold or heavy colours can make a room feel smaller. Therefore, balancing with neutral or lighter floors and walls can be a good way of counteracting this.
Natural timber adds a lovely warm touch to cooler greys. However, grey is wonderfully adaptable. Stainless steel is always a winning accompaniment and, unsurprisingly, this is a popular choice. Less common, but no less effective, try partnering grey with brass detailing. Not only that, but grey is also the ideal choice if you want to go for another on-trend design – the industrial look. From exposed brick to accessories with an urban-styling, grey holds the look together superbly.
Grey kitchens: The devil is in the detail
Grey is definitely the shade of the moment when it comes to kitchen colours. This is why grey kitchen sales have gone through the roof recently. Grey units have the power to suit all design schemes. Whether it’s a modern rustic look you are going for with the perennial favourite of Shaker-style cabinets, or the ultra-modern utilitarian look, grey has it all.
Smart and stylish at all times, it’s the versatility that grey offers that makes it such a popular choice for the kitchen right now.
Dramatic matt greys are always going to make an instant impact. Matched with clean chrome and steel handles and accessories, a superb modern aesthetic is created. Paler shades of grey create a chic and cosy feel. If you want to create a more dramatic space, choose shades of graphite and charcoals.
Wall-to-all grey can be extremely effective, However, if you paint walls with paler shades, a restful ambience will be created. Using bolder colours to provide contrast can also be absolutely stunning too. Having base kitchen units in darker tones than the wall cabinets can prevent the overall design from becoming too overbearing. Finishing touches can be provided by adding brass or copper handles to add warmth. Meanwhile, if you want to keep things cool then steel and chrome are the ideal choices.
Pastels, matched paint shades and other colours
The world really is your oyster if you have grey as your main colour in the kitchen. Pastel colours are back in vogue once more and whether it be orange, peach or green you plump for, the perfect backdrop for all is grey.
A look that can work well, especially in galley kitchens, is to match the shade of grey of the kitchen cabinets to the paint colour of the walls. It won’t work in every scenario, but it is an effective way of creating the illusion of space.
As previously mentioned, and it might not be for the faint-hearted, but one of the best colour accompaniments for grey is pink. There’s just something particularly appealing about the blend of cool greys with the warmth of pink. It’s an irresistible combination.
Another great complement to grey is a vibrant green. Think forest green and add a touch of real-life with herbs and plants to complete a truly natural look.
Ways to add warmth to grey kitchens
Grey has a reputation – slightly unfairly, perhaps – for being a cool, clinical and cold colour. However, whether you subscribe to the view or not, there’s no way you can argue that one of the best ways to add warmth is to blend the grey with wood. Either wooden worktops or flooring can look stunning when matched with grey.
Little pops of colour always work well. Consider a yellow splashback or stools to inject just the right amount of sunshine into a grey kitchen.
And you can always be safe in the knowledge that if all else fails and you simply can’t decide which colour to put with the grey, you can always simply go with white on the walls. It’s simple but it’s always effective.
What colours go with grey? Take your pick
All in all, when it comes to deciding which colours go with grey, you really have got an embarrassment of riches to pick from. From a contrasting colour splashback adding a vibrant hit of colour to adding warmth and cosiness to a grey design with the addition of wood, there really are a multitude of options in front of you. What’s more, it’s always good to know that whatever mood, style and ambience that takes your fancy, grey really is a perfect foundation for them all.
If you want to be bold and daring, choose shades that offer a complete contrast to the base of grey. This can create a striking and eye-catching look. Alternatively, if you are less daring and subtlety is more your thing, complementary shades that blend with the original shade of grey.
Choose your style to match with grey
A great way to make a bold statement in your kitchen is to combine light grey kitchen units with a darker, or even black, worktop made from granite. Add additional features such lighting fixtures made from darker tones and include handles on your kitchen doors to match the colours of your work surfaces.
This can be done to create a minimalistic yet stylish look. Combined with sleek, innovative kitchen technology to further add to this style in your grey kitchen.
Different textures and effects can be created in all manner of ways. Whether you want contrasting or complementing colour is probably the biggest design decision that faces you. However, there are so many ways you can add colour. First, consider mixing up the lower units and wall units, colour-wise. The flooring, walls, handles and other accessories are all ways you can add colour to your grey kitchen.
Small plants and foliage can perfectly complement your grey kitchen design and add a fresh feeling to the room. Ideal if you have wooden worktops and kitchen surfaces, plants and herbs create a natural, yet warm look. You can also add a spice rack to bring a unique element to your kitchen and these can be used alongside your freshly grown herbs when it comes to cooking your favourite dishes in your new grey kitchen.
Furthermore, there are few (if any) colours that don’t work with greys. Pastels, bright vibrant colours, white and pink – they can all be brilliant with a base of grey. It really is all down to the mood you would like to create.
Here at Kitchen Warehouse, we have some great grey kitchen design ideas to choose from. Take a look at matt handleless kitchens in light grey and dust grey. For an ultra-modern look, the handleless grey high gloss kitchen units are a fantastic choice. And, for a timeless classic, luxury shaker styles are also available in grey. If you want to discuss your kitchen requirements in more detail, just get in touch with the team. We are always on hand to answer any questions you might have.