The racy novel aside, gray is often dismissed as drab and lifeless. Tell that to an elephant, however, and you’re bound to get stomped. Designers of kitchen cabinets would also disagree, though they’re less likely to start a stampede (no guarantees).
At long last, it appears that gray is getting its day, as more and more savvy homeowners are seeing the benefits of this underrated color for their cabinets. Far from being cast aside for its perceived dreariness, it is finally being embraced for its versatility, complexity and boundless potential.
In order to use gray to best advantage for your kitchen cabinets, you need to carefully consider what it does, how it does it, and how it can best complement your kitchen’s décor.
To that end, here are a few points to consider.
Embrace the Light or Explore the Dark Side
When incorporating gray in kitchen cabinets, the natural inclination is to choose your favorite tone and just go with it. But it’s also important to consider the amount of space you’re working with, especially if your kitchen is on the “cosy” side.
Dark gray kitchen cabinets in a setting that has limited space and natural light will make things worse rather than better, as deep hues tend to absorb light. In this case it’s best to use a lighter shade of gray for kitchen cabinets as the light will bounce off it and noticeably brighten the surroundings.
Warm Up or Cool Down
If colors had a sex, gray might be a man: Seemingly straightforward but very complex (really). While not apparent on the surface, gray can include undertones of blue, red and yellow, and appears warmer or cooler depending on which hue is dominant.
A red undertone makes it similar to taupe, while blue gives it more of a steely shade. In order to see this for yourself, you can place different shades of gray side by side on the wall and the distinctions will be readily apparent. You can then choose the tone that will work best on your kitchen cabinets and fit nicely with your overall design scheme.
Stain it or Paint it
Once you’ve sorted out tones and undertones and selected the appropriate one, you have to decide how to apply it. Painting gives kitchen cabinets a sharp, seamless appearance, while staining offers texturing that really showcases the wood beneath. Again, you will need to balance your own tastes with the alternative that is more effective for your particular kitchen cabinets and the room as a whole.
Another benefit of this color’s versatility is that because it’s a natural hue, gray kitchen cabinets will work nicely with an array of countertop colors. It could be something bright and snazzy or sleek and monochromatic with slate or stainless steel. Natural stone also fits beautifully as it often contains gray flecks.
Mixing, Matching and Making it Work
Many designers today are combining two colors for kitchen cabinets to achieve a dynamic look. Being a neutral shade, gray is like Switzerland: It makes no enemies and plays well with others. As a result, you can pair it with virtually any color or hue and not go wrong. It even melds nicely with wood tones on kitchen cabinets to further broaden your options. So have fun with it! Experiment with using two similar shades, then try contrasting colors and see what speaks to you.