Grey kitchen units can transform a kitchen design, adding character, individuality and a timeless elegance.In the past, there may have been more of an all-or-nothing approach to colour in the kitchen remember lime green and orange in the 1970s.
Today’s palette is more restrained, with grey kitchens proving a major hit. Tone is important too, even within the grey family warmer greys create a different feel from blue-based shades of slate, for example.
When choosing an accent colour or a mixed palette for your grey kitchen, you can’t go wrong by following colour theory. ‘Either select complementary colours, which are next to each other on a colour wheel, or contrasting shades from opposite sides of the wheel,’ says David Mottershead, MD at Little Greene.
‘Contrasting colours are energising, while complementary colours are calming.’ Soft, pale greys tend to work well in smaller kitchens, but larger spaces may need some sections of bolder colour to prevent the scheme looking bland and wishy-washy.
For subtle contrast, two different shades of the same calm colour tend to work better on cabinetry than three or four, which can look like a mistake. An island painted in a deeper or contrasting colour to that of the wall cabinets will make it a focal point in your grey kitchen Base cabinets in darker shades than wall cupboards help the design and prevent it looking top heavy. For stronger contrast, think light and dark, or two bold greys of the same ‘weight’ and balance. Too much heavy colour can make a room feel smaller, so you may want to balance things with a neutral floor and walls.
Elements of natural timber will add warmth to cooler grey kitchens, and equally a grey-white natural stone floor can cool down a fiery palette. As in nature, earthy browns, greys and sand colours blend harmoniously. Cool greys look good with stainless steel, and brightly coloured accents, such as small appliances, splashbacks and barstools, will help lift the mood.
Using various layers of grey shades to pick out individual elements of the room creates a cohesive feel in this kitchen. The walls and island are painted a dark, slate grey, the cabinetry is a softer shade, and darker flecks in the marble of the worksurface and splashback prove an effortless transition between light and dark. Keeping the rest of the scheme light keeps the room feeling airy despite the abundance of dark grey.
In this attractive scheme by German kitchen manufacturer Nolte, shifts in shade or contrasting block colour helps break up plain runs of units and highlights different zones within the open-plan space. The exposed brickwork adds texture and a rugged industrial edge.
Grey and white kitchen
Traditional panelling adds instant character to a dining area and can be painted to complement kitchen cabinets. When covering large expanses, always consider how the finish will look in both daylight and under electric lighting. Purple is the perfect partner for this pale shade of grey, with the wooden accents injecting warmth and richness. Panelling by Richard Baker Furniture.
Richard Baker Furniture
Perfect for modern and industrial schemes, the burnished beauty of Venetian polished plaster lends a cool urban feel, paired with the sleek handleless units in a complementing grey wash. Not only striking, polished plaster is a practical addition when used as a splashback ? although wipeable and can withstand light splashes, it’s worth protecting it with a panel of toughened glass behind a hob. Splashback by by Richard Cotgrove of Surfina, shown in the Urbo kitchen in Driftwood and Bronze by Roundhouse.
Here, grey tones graduate to white through different levels of the room, creating a seamless space with a soothing flow. The darkest shade of grey begins with the wood flooring ? a practical colour for a busy kitchen. The lower run of cabinetry is picked out in a lighter tone, with the larder and crockery painted a gleaming white. The polished knobs and cup handles add some sparkle to the space.
Smallbone of Devizes
This modern kitchen features massive picture windows to maximise light, meaning the room can take the dark shades of grey used on the walls, floor and cabinetry. In a room with less natural light, adding a lighter element like a pale stone floor, or a white ceiling would bounce more light around and stop the grey decor feeling overwhelming. But in a space like this, you can feel more confident about going for an all-dark scheme.
In a smaller space, some might worry that grey will prove an oppressive choice, especially darker shades, but this well-ordered kitchen
shows that doesn?t have to be the case. Using the same dark shade on
the lengthways run of cabinetry, sink area, upstand, kickplate, stool
and lighting is a cohesive, eye-catching choice, and the pale shade of
grey used throughout the rest of the scheme keeps the look airy.
The dark grey walls help the kitchen area in this grand Recency house appear more cosier and more cosetted, while the 3m marble-clad island is the perfect solution for such an imposing space. Hardwearing wooden parquet flooring lends warmth.
Bespoke kitchen by Artichoke.
Grey’s elegance and design flexibility renders it timeless. Use either
as a feature colour or to complement another finish ? wood grains look
especially dramatic against a smoky grey tone. Shown here is the Proline
kitchen by Pronorm in Slate Grey matt lacquered laminate with Elm laminate.
Modular grey kitchen
Provided you have enough light, grey will never look drab. This smokey scheme looks effortless, elegant and very easy to live with. Accessorise with a few pops of colour to add accents of interest.
The palest of greys makes the perfect foil to an all white space, adding a hint of interest and softening an otherwise uniform scheme.
Mix sleek mid-grey contemporary kitchen units with industrial accessories to give it a bit more urban personality.
Worried grey can be too down? A high-gloss island finish lifts grey glamorous, allowing it to sparkle and shine.
A minky shade of grey gives a slightly warmer edge to classic Shaker-style cabinetry.