Grey kitchen cabinets are having a major moment. Unlike stark white or dark, brooding wood tones, grey offers a versatile neutral palette that can shift from light and airy, to cozy and warm, to rich and elegant depending on the shade and undertone you choose. With so many grey paint options now available, picking the perfect one for your kitchen can be tricky. The key is first thinking through what look and feel you want your grey kitchen cabinets to have. Do you want an edgy urban vibe with sophisticated dark grey cabinets? Or does a soft, approachable grey appeal more to warm up a farmhouse kitchen? Considerations like natural light, cabinet style, your countertops and backsplash will also impact your perfect grey selection.
In this post, we’ll walk you through all the key factors to consider when choosing grey paint for your kitchen cabinets. We’ll overview popular grey cabinet paint colors with tips for shades that work in both bright and dim kitchens. You’ll also find pairings for countertops, floors and backsplashes that complement grey cabinets beautifully. Ready to pick the perfect grey for a kitchen revamp? Let’s get started!
Things to Consider When Choosing a Grey Paint Color
Determine Your Preferred Undertone
One of the most important considerations when selecting a grey paint color is determining what undertone you want it to have. Grey paints and stains can have purple, blue, green (cool undertones); yellow, red, brown (warm undertones) or be relatively neutral.
Cool-toned greys feel tranquil and relaxing – perfect for a cottage kitchen. Warm greys lend a cozy feel that’s ideal for Tuscan or farmhouse style kitchens. Neutral greys are incredibly versatile working with most color schemes from modern to traditional.
Some popular greys include Revere Pewter (warm), Gray Owl (neutral) and Classic Gray (cool). Testing swatches is key to see whether you prefer how warmer or cooler greys look in your specific kitchen.
Factor in the Amount of Natural Light
The quantity and quality of natural light your kitchen receives will impact how grey paint colors appear. North-facing rooms with little natural light make warm greys look dingy while light greys appear washed out.
South or east facing rooms awash in natural light can handle deeper charcoal greys. Soft greys are warmed up and cozy in abundant sunlight. For dark spaces, stick with light airy greys. Choose bolder greys for brightly lit kitchens.
Consider Your Cabinets’ Wood Tone
Grey paint reacts differently with varied wood cabinet colors beneath it. Warm greys complement the reddish tones of cherry or mahogany. Cool greys offset the yellow undertones of oak. For a seamless look, select greys with undertones similar to your cabinets’ natural wood color.
Maple and birch cabinets work well with greys across the spectrum from warm greys like Edgecomb Gray to cooler tones like Thunder.
Choose a Finish
Greys with green or blue undertones look more vibrant in satin and semi-gloss finishes. Eggshell mutes undertones slightly for a weathered driftwood look. Matte finish greys feel beachy and relaxed. Consider the amount of shine you want before deciding on a paint finish.
Semi-gloss greys are sleek and contemporary, playing well in modern kitchens. Satin, with soft sheen, has classic appeal. Matte greys have an earthy, organic feel perfect for rustic kitchens.
Coordinate with Counters and Backsplash
Your choice of countertops and backsplash should complement your grey cabinet color. Crisp white quartz pops against darker greys while marble-look quartz softens light airy greys. Granite counters in black, brown and grey are natural pairings.
For backsplash, consider white subway tile, marble, stone, brick or metallic tiles and patterns. Grey cabinets provide a great neutral backdrop for vibrant mosaic or handmade backsplash tile.
Sample Grey Paint Colors
There’s no better way to determine if a grey is the right choice than by painting samples. Paint a small section of cabinetry and view at different times of day. Grey can look much different in morning light versus evening.
Move samples to cabinets in different spots and against various counter and floor options. Be sure to view smalls swaths of multiple grey contenders before deciding.
Think About Adjacent Spaces
Take into account open floor plans when selecting your grey. If the kitchen flows into dining and living areas, consider how your grey cabinets will transition into those spaces’ colors and materials. Aim for cohesion.
Tie together open-concept rooms with wall colors and accents that complement grey kitchen cabinets. Neutrals like cream, beige and light woods create harmony.
Popular Grey Cabinet Paint Colors
These greys have yellow, brown or red undertones that provide a cozy feel. They give vintage charm to traditional kitchens and warmth to modern spaces.
Some top warm greys include:
- Revere Pewter – soft green-grey tone
- Edgecomb Gray – deep green undertones
- Peppercorn – earthy dark warm grey
- Chelsea Gray – light tan base
Greys with hints of blue, green or purple have an ice-cool feel. They keep contemporary kitchens sleek and provide contrast to oak cabinets.
Some popular cool greys are:
- Classic Gray – subtle purple undertone
- Harbor Haze – muted blue-green
- Thunder – stormy blue base
- Gray Screen – green hint
True Neutral Greys
No undertones means these greys go with anything. Their versatility makes them work in kitchens of every style.
Great neutral greys include:
- Gray Cashmere – soft pale grey
- Gray Owl – light but complex neutral
- Accessible Beige – greige balances grey and tan
Dark and Light Greys
Light greys open up smaller spaces and reflect light beautifully. Warm light greys provide an approachable feel.
Some stellar light greys are:
- Chelsea Gray – airy warm tone
- Pale Oak – great for oak cabinets
- Heathered Gray – hints of purple
Deep rich greys make a dramatic statement and feel urban and upscale. They pop against white countertops.
Some sophisticated dark greys to consider are:
- Tricorn Black – inky charcoal hue
- Iron Mountain – dark warm neutral
- Caviar – rich black-brown
Choosing Your Grey Paint Finish
Choosing a paint finish impacts a grey color’s look and feel. Here’s an overview of popular options:
- Matte – Applies evenly with no shine. Looks modern and feels warm and approachable.
- Eggshell – Soft velvety sheen. Durable with subtle shine.
- Satin – Smooth and silky with medium reflectiveness. Timeless appeal.
- Semi-gloss – Brilliant shine. Looks sleek, clean and contemporary.
Semi-gloss and glossy greys feel edgy and modern. Eggshell and satin offer classic good looks. Matte greys are relaxed and welcoming.
Prepping and Painting Your Cabinets
Achieving an impeccable grey finish requires diligent prep and priming. Sand cabinet boxes and doors lightly to rough up the surface and remove any gloss. Then thoroughly clean with TSP substitute to remove grease and grime.
After drying fully, apply high-bonding primer like Kilz or Zinsser and allow to dry completely. Then apply two coats of quality cabinet paint like Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane or Benjamin Moore Advance, sanding lightly between coats.
Use fine-bristle brushes and foam rollers for smooth application and minimal brush strokes. Allow each coat to fully cure for a durable finish.
Designing Your Grey Kitchen
When designing a kitchen around grey cabinets consider elements like:
- Countertops – White, black, grey, butcher block
- Backsplash – Subway tile, marble, metal, stone
- Wall color – Neutral, navy, light blue, sage green
- Hardware – Stainless, matte black, brass
- Lighting – Sleek pendants, vintage Edison bulbs
- Floors – White oak, grey wash, concrete
Aim for a cohesive look that ties all elements together into a harmonious grey kitchen design.
Grey kitchen cabinets make a gorgeous and versatile statement. Choosing the perfect grey means considering the space, style, cabinet color, counters, backsplash and lighting. Sample grey paints in your kitchen to see undertones, depth and finish options.
Popular greys range from soft and airy like Chelsea Gray to dramatic like Tricorn Black. Prepare cabinets properly and apply paint smoothly. Finally, pull together a cohesive look with counters, floors, walls and lighting that complement your grey cabinets’ undertones.