Mad About . . .

Mad about … Grey Kitchens

18th March 2013
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Our desire to paint everything grey shows no signs of abating and just this week I have received comments from people who are taking this wonderfully versatile shade into their kitchens. One reader said she had painted her wall units pale grey and her island in a darker shade, which sounds gorgeous. This isn’t hers but if it’s anything like this then I’m off to the paint shop at once.

from kitchensbybroadway.co.uk

from kitchensbybroadway.co.uk

I must confess I have been looking at my white kitchen with a speculative eye recently and wondering about painting it grey. The great thing about a kitchen is that you’re not just limited to painting the walls as you are in most other rooms. Here you can do the walls, or the cupboards, or some of the cupboards and some of the walls. And let’s not even get started on the number of shades (yes, yes there are many more than 50 for those of you sniggering at the back).

from wreckorated.blogspot.com

from wreckorated.blogspot.com

In the above image, the owners have painted the table grey and the lower part of the wall. Love that metallic cupboard too. A survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) found that grey is one of the strongest colour trends for kitchens and bathrooms for 2013.

from thekitchenroom.net

from thekitchenroom.net

The company found that 55 per cent of kitchens in their survey are currently using some form of grey, a dramatic escalation since 2010 when it was just nine per cent. So, if you’re still not sure, perhaps some of these designs, all of which use grey in different ways will inspire you.

from housetohome.co.uk

from housetohome.co.uk

This kitchen has soften the grey with a wooden worktop and incorporated a highly fashionable gloss finish as well. Or you can stick to classic white scheme and add a touch of drama with some really dark shelves, which will show off your kitchenware beautifully.

from jennyjohnstoninteriors.blogpsot.com

image by Jean-Marc Wullschleger

Here, the owners have used grey oak doors for their cabinets which creates a softer, less industrial but very contemporary look.

from interiormode.co.uk

from interiormode.co.uk

Finally, this kitchen mixes soft shades of grey with ultra modern cabinets.

from diy-kitchens.com

from diy-kitchens.com

So there you have it. Do you fancy one shade of grey in your kitchen?

If you liked this you might also like to look at

Mad About … Grey Paint




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  • Pippa 8th December 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Hi. I am building a beach house in France – rough finished panelled wood walls painted white, oak flooring (finished with osmo raw oil) but I’m stuck on what colour for the kitchen! welcome any advice

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 9th December 2016 at 11:45 am

      how about a dark grey charcoal which will be lovely with the wood and white?

  • Cara 27th October 2016 at 8:44 am

    Hi, I have a light grey gloss kitchen and cant decide what colour to paint the walls, the kitchen/diner is North East facing, the floor is a classic oak wood and the work surfaces white with grey speckles, we are having a glass splash back the kitchen in a dark grey, our hallway is in Dulux Polished Pebble, and it goes in to the open plan kitchen/diner so I need something that will flow well with this, any advice will be much appreciated, thank you!

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 1st November 2016 at 9:07 am

      Hi Cara, it can be very hard to tell when you don’t see the room but if you have Polished pebble in the hall I would be tempted to stick with that. The thing about Dulux is that you can buy the same shade in six different depths of colour so you know they will all go together. Why not go a shade or two lighter or darker from the hall in your kitchen? It will work with the wood and continue the flow. You could, of course, keep the same shade, it will look different in this room because of the light. I don’t see the need to complicate things with trying to find another shade of toning grey and polished pebble is a lovely colour. I hope this helps, best wishes XK

  • sam 27th February 2016 at 12:19 am

    Dear Kate,
    We have a small cottage kitchen, with a navy blue Aga and yellow cream tiles with a small navy blue motif and one facing wall white brick. It is a dark room with low beamed ceilings and a dark orange stone floor. We want to paint the kitchen cabinets which are dark oak – we wonder about either a clotted cream colour to tone with the wall tiles, or a grey-blue. I wonder if you have any thoughts about the grey-blue – I don’t want baby blue or a cold light grey – something with warmth and muted blue tones – not too dark – the room needs lightening up. I had a list of these Dulux colours, but will be unable to test them before the work starts – do you have any knowledge of any of these. A bit stressed and confused about choices – would you go safe with cream or risk blue-grey? Thank you! Sam
    Colour Tester – Misty Sky 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Quintessential Blue 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Jewelled Creek 5 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Winter Teal 4 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Pebble Drift 5 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Blue Charm 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Liberty Blue 6 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Winter Teal 6 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Pebble Drift 6 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Pebble Drift 4 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Coastal Grey 30ml 1 £1.00
    Colour Tester – Winter Teal 5

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th February 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Sam, I’m sorry to say that I think you will have to test these colours. Grey reacts very strongly to its surroundings and the light around it. In a north-facing room with a cold blue light, a blue grey will be colder so you will need to pick a warmer colour. In a south-facing room, a warm blue-grey may go a little more beige. If you want to play it safe, then a soft cream or chalky white is probably your best bet but there is a chance that in a year’s time when the work is all done that you will wish you had been a little braver. Mind you it’s only paint, you can redo it. Finally, if you really can’t test the colours, then know that grey will also react with what is around it so orange tiles will work to warm up a cold blue grey and, as I recall, the navy AGA is a warm navy so you should be ok. Pick two or three colours that you like the look of and test them. You should have a day or two to test as the painter will have to prepare the cupboards and undercoat them so you will have a couple of days to try out colours. It will be worth it. If you are spending money on decorating it would be a shame to end up with the wrong colour because you weren’t able to test them first. Let me know how you get on.

  • Sheila 9th October 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Kate, I’m amazed at your dedication to the blog and how great you are in offering advice…would you help a desperately indecisive couple here. At the moment, we have Downpipe on an island and base units and Dimpse on wall and tall units. I love the white worktop (had to go with laminate due to costs) especially against the Downpipe, but I know it will be a nightmare keeping it clean. Husband thinks Topform’s Barley Linen will be great alternative. Please help! What do you think?

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 11th October 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Dear Sheila, a tricky one this! If I have got the right place for the Topform Barley Linen then I think its wooden look will look good against the downpipe and dimpse that you already have. You don’t say what the floor is mind you and that may be too much wood (as it were). I think both should be the same in terms of stainproof and cleaning so I’m not sure that the keeping it clean is the real issue. I am also aware that if something is white and looks dirty you will clean it. If it doesn’t show the dirt one is tempted to think that it isn’t dirty, it doesn’t need a clean and so it doesn’t get one which means that conversely it is dirtier than the white one. Do you follow me! So, there are two options here – if you really want the white one, tell him the above and that it will actually be cleaner to have white. Alternatively, if he’s not budging then give in on the barley linen but make sure you get the other thing you really, really want in return. Of such stuff are marriages made. x

  • Kitty 3rd October 2015 at 2:18 pm

    We have just had a light grey Benchmarx kitchen in light grey. We can’t decide what colour to paint the walls. It’s a South West facing room, so very light and white feels a bit stark. We were thinking a very soft mauve/pale stone colour as that would pick up the flecks in our work surface, but worries about it looking too girly? Any ideas for wall colours? Our work tops are light grey with black, brown and grey flecks.


    • Kate Watson-Smyth 7th October 2015 at 9:39 am

      Cornforth White can have a pinky tone in a south-facing room. But you might want to look at Ammonite or Purbeck stone as well.

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  • Juliet Jones 8th February 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I am trying to pick a colour to paint my kitchen units and I wonder if you can help. Had decided on F & B’s lamp room grey but have put a couple of coats on one door and it looks quite bluey- almost duck egg blue. I am looking for something in more of a greige I think but certainly not with a blue tone. The kitchen is north west facing so I need something with warmth. I don’t want the units to be a wishy washy colour and would like a contrast with wall colour ( considering Colour Trend Salter stone but it’s also looking blueish!!!). Can you help me chose the colours. Thanks

    • Juliet Jones 8th February 2014 at 9:59 pm

      I said that my kitchen was north east facing but I meant to say North West.. It’s a large open plan kitchen/living/dining room. Thanks again.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 20th February 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Juliet, sorry for not replying sooner. I can’t decide if your room is north west or north east now? You originally put west, then you corrected to say that you had written east (you hadn’t) and meant west … ? I’m going with west, which is warmer. Now you don’t comment on the size of the room or the colour of the walls so it’s tricky to pick a colour. In terms of a warm grey – the old Farrow & Ball Downpipe is warm but very dark – almost black. I think it can look fantastic with white walls and lots of wood. It’s certainly not wishy washy. If that’s too dark then perhaps you need something like Elephant’s breath which is more of a taupe/greige colour as you mentioned. Or you can think about Dulux Heron or Pearl or warm pewter. You will need to to try them all but I hope that gives you a few ideas to think about, Kate

      • Juliet Jones 24th February 2014 at 5:36 pm

        Thanks for your reply Kate. Sorry about the confusion- I can confirm definitively that the room is facing North West. I had tried elephants breath but it was coming out very pale on the units, though it was lovely and rich on the wall. The down pipe was just too dark and I wasn’t brave enough to go for it. So I have gone for F & B Dove Tale on the kitchen units and Oxford Stone on the walls. The Dove Tale has a purple ish tinge to it when I tried it on the walls but it is very subtle on the kitchen units and looks nice and warm. The painter has just started today and we have the whole house to do so he won’t be getting to the kitchen for a while. I am so excited to see it all taking shape. Thanks again for your reply.

  • joanne prenter 26th January 2014 at 8:46 am

    I just bought a beautiful wallpaper as a feature wall in my bedroom, sliver grey animal print by roberto cavalli. And painted the rest of my walls steel grey, but it doesn’t match. What soft grey paint would you recommend pls, if you know the paper I said help me pls

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 26th January 2014 at 10:16 am

      Hi Joanne, the wallpaper sounds lovely! It’s very hard for me to tell you which paint to buy without seeing the room. Did you try a few testers before you painted a whole wall? Or did you take a sample of the paper to the shop when you were choosing? Even if you did those things, it can still be wrong as the human eye can detect about 500 shades of grey and you need to find one with the same tonal base as the wallpaper – ie yellow or purple. I don’t know where you are so not sure what paint to suggest. Farrow & Ball do one called Cornforth White, which is a soft grey. Benjamin Moore has Sea Haze or Dulux have several greys and number them one to six from pale to dark which can be a really good way of deciding how bold you feel. Alternatively, instead of trying to match the grey, why don’t you contrast with it? I don’t know if you share your bedroom, but blush pink is fabulous with grey. If that won’t work what about lavender? A pale version is gorgeous and French boudour-ish in a bedroom while a darker shade – even going to Aubergine can look great.

  • Jude 13th August 2013 at 11:31 am

    Our new (to be revealed this week!) kitchen diner is a symphony of greys including Cornforth White walls, Strong White ceiling, Downpipe cupboards and Railings island. We LOVE it!!

  • [email protected] 18th March 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Little Greene French Grey Dark & French Grey Mid waiting to go on my walls as soon as they are plastered.. Will look fab with my high gloss white units

  • Nnena 18th March 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I started with a downpipe grey wall to hide a deeply hideous dark grey kitchen unit and loved it so much I painted the rest of the kitchen too. It’s so cosy and sophisticated. Especially at night. I’ve even added a grey kitchen sofa and painted a friends kitchen and adjoining living room grey too. If really highlights original features like fireplaces or Georgian windows and draws the eye out to lush garden areas in the summer.

    • Colin newton 12th January 2015 at 9:40 pm

      Your kitchen sounds lovely and is exactly the colour scheme we were thinking of paining our new kitchen. would there be any chance you could share some pictures? thanks….

      • Kate Watson-Smyth 13th January 2015 at 11:58 am

        Hi Colin, these are some not terribly good pictures of my kitchen with the shelves in downpipe here and here are some of all of my house, including the kitchen, before it was painted grey. Neither of them are completely correct as it currently has the open shelves in downpipe and the walls in wimborne white but you get the idea.

  • debra finn 18th March 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Loving all of these *quicklypostsallimagestoPinterest*

  • Raphael 18th March 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Love these kitchens, my kitchen is also darker grey units and a lighter grey on the walls. Although I think I have gone overboard on grey in my house! It’s all your fault Kate, my obsession started after reading your first post on grey paint a while ago! x

  • Fiona 18th March 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Yes! Love grey – painting one wall and the shelves in our kitchen Cornforth White (light grey) & the door a darker grey. BIG grey fan.

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