Gray cabinets are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their versatility and modern aesthetic. However, picking the right backsplash to go with gray cabinets can be a challenge. The backsplash makes up a significant portion of the kitchen backdrop and can really pull the whole look together if well-coordinated. In this article, we’ll explore the most popular and stylish backsplash options to pair with gray cabinets.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backsplash for Gray Cabinets
There are a few key factors to take into account when selecting a backsplash to complement your gray kitchen cabinets:
Consider colors that will contrast, complement or pick up undertones of your gray cabinets. Cool tones like white, blue and gray are classic choices that will allow your cabinets to stand out. Warm metallics, earth tones and beiges will complement and soften the look.
Simple subway tiles or running bond patterns are clean-lined choices for contemporary kitchens. Handmade or mosaic tiles add visual interest. Minimalist styles tend toward solid backsplash colors.
Glossy, reflective backsplashes like glass or polished stone will bounce light around and make the space feel open and airy. Matte finishes like marble, limestone or textured ceramic and porcelain tiles will provide subtle contrast to sleek, lacquered cabinets.
Natural stone like marble, travertine, granite and slate offer veins, whorls and organic variation. Ceramic and porcelain tiles provide color options. Metallic backsplashes bring shiny contrast. Glass, metal and reflective materials amp up glamour.
Tile and stone materials range dramatically in cost. Simple ceramic and porcelain tiles tend to be the most budget-friendly. Pricing goes up for stone, metallic and handmade tiles. Consider how large an area you need to cover when estimating cost.
With these factors and options in mind, let’s look at some excellent backsplash pairings for popular shades of gray kitchen cabinets.
Backsplashes for Light Gray Cabinets
Light gray cabinets keep a kitchen bright and airy feeling. Pair them with backsplashes in crisp whites, silver-grays, pale blues and subtle warm metallics. Here are some fantastic options:
White Subway Tile
Classic white 3” x 6” subway tiles arranged in a bricklaid pattern is one of the most versatile backsplash options for light gray cabinets. The clean white background allows the gray cabinets to take center stage while providing a streamlined, contemporary feel. White tiles with gray grout joints will add defined contrast.
Subway tiles come in ceramic and porcelain. Both offer a sleek, minimalist look. Ceramic tiles tend to be more budget-friendly. Porcelain is more impervious to moisture and staining. Use either material to achieve a timeless, elegant pairing with light gray cabinets.
The distinctive white background and elegant gray veining of Carrara marble make it an excellent match for light gray kitchen cabinets. It provides subtle contrast and brings movement and depth to the backsplash area.
Carrara is an Italian natural marble prized for its brightness and relatively affordable cost compared to other natural stone. It comes in polished and honed finishes, slab and tile formats. The polished finish offers a glossy, mirrored surface that reflects light beautifully in the kitchen. Honed Carrara has a soft matte texture.
Use large format Carrara marble slabs or rectangular tile for a seamless contemporary look. Or create visual interest with smaller mosaic tiles. Carrara marble backsplash and light gray cabinets is a pairing that will stand the test of time in both modern and traditional kitchen designs.
Chevron Pattern Tile
Add some drama to your light gray cabinets with a bold chevron patterned tile backsplash. The zigzag pattern makes a striking visual statement. For a contemporary edge, use glossy white tiles with gray grout. Or achieve a softer look with the chevron pattern in muted blue, dove gray or warm beige and cream tones.
The graphic impact of a chevron backsplash works best on a large expanse of wall space. Make sure to use tile that is uniform in size, color and finish for the cleanest design. The bold lines and geometric shape provide the perfect counterpoint to sleek, minimalist light gray cabinets.
Gray Glass Subway Tile
For a subtle take on matching backsplash and cabinets, consider gray glass subway tile. The transparent quality of the glass allows it to pick up accent colors from elsewhere in the kitchen. During the day it will reflect natural light. When illuminated at night, it shimmers and transforms.
Use light gray, frosted or iridescent glass tile and offset it with bright white grout lines for definition. Mix sizes for added interest. Pairing gray glass subway tile with light gray cabinets creates a sophisticated, glowing kitchen backdrop.
Natural Stone Mosaic
Mosaic patterns are an artistic choice for backsplashes. Cover a wall behind light gray cabinets with a mosaic made from naturally tumbled stones like limestone, travertine or marble. Go all white or mix in soft natural beiges, taupes and grays.
The organic shapes and variation of the small mosaic pieces create texture and movement. Use mosaic sparingly as an accent or feature wall so it doesn’t overwhelm. Combining light gray cabinets with a neutral toned mosaic backsplash results in a one-of-a-kind artisanal look.
Backsplash for Medium Gray Cabinets
Medium or mid-tone gray cabinets have a versatility that works with both warm and cool backsplash materials. Here are some striking options:
Gray and White Patterned Tile
Pair medium gray kitchen cabinets with a backsplash that combines gray and white tile in eye-catching patterns like chevron, star, geometric or moroccan. This two-tone tile effect picks up the tones in the cabinets while adding definition and visual impact.
Use glossy tile for contemporary flair or muted matte finishes for a more subtle effect. Offset with either white or gray grout. The choices available in patterned gray and white ceramic, porcelain or even glass tile are nearly endless. Make a medium gray kitchen cabinet backsplash a true focal point.
Black and White Geometric
For bold dramatic contrast, use graphic black and white tile or stone as a backsplash with medium gray cabinets. The strong lines and shapes create a modern vibe. Stick with simple patterns like grids, diamonds, dots or combinations.
Pair with high gloss white cabinets for a sleek contemporary look. Or use black slate or marble stone tile for natural texture. Large format geometric tiles can be a budget-friendly way to create a custom designer backsplash. Keep other elements simple to allow the black and white pattern to take center stage.
Combine the industrial edge of metal backsplash tile with medium gray cabinets for an ultra-modern kitchen. Use a single metal like stainless steel, copper or tin tile to pick up undertones from fixtures and appliances. Or create a patchwork effect mixing metal tiles like:
- Aged copper
- Stainless steel
- Galvanized tin
- Antiqued brass
- Weathered zinc
Installing a multi-metal backsplash tile design provides plenty of options to tie in and highlight the gray cabinet color. Take care to minimize seams and keep the layout simple and clean-lined for best effect.
Subway Tile Colors
Customize your subway tile backsplash to match or contrast your medium gray cabinets. Go for white tile with dark gray grout lines to accentuate the cabinet color. Warm up the look with beige, tan or cream tiles. Contrast and add pop with glossy black or bold blue.
Use colored subway tiles sparingly as an accent band paired with mostly white tiles. Or cover the entire backsplash area to make it a prominent design feature. Subway tiles come in an endless array of ceramic and porcelain options at various price points to suit any kitchen and budget.
Natural Stone Slabs
For a luxe feel, use bookmatched slabs of beautiful natural stone like quartzite, soapstone or sandstone for the backsplash behind medium gray cabinets. Minimal seams and organic patterning create a high-end custom look. Let the unique mineral qualities of the stone shine.
Soft white quartzite has ethereal gray veining that complements gray cabinets beautifully. Sandstone offers earthy saffron, peach and rust tones. Richly hued soapstone provides dramatic contrast. Use large format stone slabs sparingly to maximize this luxurious effect.
Backsplash for Dark Gray Cabinets
Deep charcoal or blackened gray cabinets call for backsplashes with color and visual weight to balance out the dark tones. Try these striking ideas:
Oversized White Subway Tile
One of the most popular and classic backsplashes for dark gray kitchen cabinets is oversized white subway tile. The clean, bright white tiles contrast strongly with the cabinet color and keep the space feeling open and airy even with dark cabinets.
Use a bricklaid pattern and boldly sized 4” x 8” or 6” x 12” subway tiles instead of the usual 3” x 6” for bolder impact. Crisp white grout lines will further accentuate each tile. Pairing high gloss white ceramic or porcelain subway tile with darker gray cabinets creates a striking, retro-chic style.
Blue and White Moroccan Tile
For a brilliant dash of color, use vibrant Moroccan-style blue and white tile as a backsplash with charcoal gray cabinets. The eye-catching pattern and cool tones of the blue ceramic, porcelain or glass tile provide the perfect counterpoint to the dark cabinetry.
Create a colorful focal point with hand-painted and glazed zellige tiles in traditional Islamic geometric patterns. Or piece together broken shards of surplus tile to form a unique mosaic backsplash. A blue and white Moroccan tile backsplash and dark gray cabinet kitchen will be full of exotic personality.
Gray Brick Tile
Lean into the moody drama of dark gray kitchen cabinets by using matte finish gray brick-shaped ceramic or porcelain tile for the backsplash. The gray brick ties directly into the cabinet color in a bold, monochromatic way.
Use varying shades and layout patterns to create subtle interest. Pair with black grout lines and hardware for an industrial edge. The matte finish and 3D shape of brick tile add tangible texture. Take care to minimize messy grout lines by opting for porcelain tile or using a grout release product during installation.
Natural Stone Ledger Panels
Make a design statement with a full backsplash of large-format natural stone ledger panels framed with thin grout lines. Materials like black granite, gray soapstone or white Carrara marble provide gorgeous contrast and texture against the dark cabinetry.
Natural granite, with its glittering flecks and whorls, makes a luxurious pairing with darker cabinets. For a rustic yet contemporary look, use unfinished bluestone or limestone ledgers. The substantial size and weight of the stone ledger panels give this backsplash option lasting substance and artisanal appeal.
Mirrored Glass Tile
Reflect light to maximum effect and create the illusion of space with mirrored glass tile backing dark gray cabinets. Use glossy silver, chrome or opaque gray mirrored glass in contemporary grid, bricklaid or offset patterns.
Mirrored glass tile provides gorgeous reflective contrast to darker kitchen cabinets. During the day it fills the space with natural light. At night it casts a moody, ethereal glow. Minimal grout lines preserve the mirror-like effect. Handled with care during installation and cleaning, mirrored backsplash tile can be a striking match for deep charcoal cabinets.
FAQs About Backsplashes for Gray Kitchen Cabinets
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about choosing the perfect backsplash for your new or remodeled gray kitchen cabinets:
What color backsplash goes best with gray cabinets?
It depends on the shade of gray, but some top choices are white, light or dark gray, blue and black. Crisp white backsplashes pair beautifully with gray for a contemporary look. Warm metallics, grays and earth tones provide attractive contrast. Cool colors like blue and black add dramatic pop.
What kind of backsplash is best with gray cabinets?
It’s about personal taste, but popular choices include subway tile, marble and natural stone, patterned ceramic or porcelain tile, brick and mirrored tile. Subway tile is classic and clean-lined. Natural materials add organic texture. Patterns make a statement. Mirrored tile reflects light.
Should you match the backsplash to gray cabinets?
It’s not mandatory, but using a backsplash color that complements or matches your gray cabinets will create a cohesive, blended look. Gray glass or ceramic subway tiles are a subtle match. Go for high contrast with white subway or patterned tiles. Accent colors in materials like natural stone can pick up gray cabinet undertones beautifully.
What color grout looks best with gray subway tile backsplash?
White and light gray grout provide definition and clean contrast with gray subway tiles. Dark gray or black grout matches and recedes for a more seamless look. Crisp bright white grout amplifies the subway tile grid pattern. Go for a mid-tone grout in beige or taupe to blend the tiles and grout together subtly.
Should you use the same granite on countertops and backsplash?
Using the same granite for both countertops and backsplash simplifies your design and makes for fewer seams and color variations. For more contrast, pair complementary stones like white granite counters with a gray slate backsplash. Using different stones also allows you to prioritize durability for countertops and looks for the backsplash.
The possibilities are nearly endless when choosing a backsplash to pair with gray kitchen cabinets. From classic white subway tile to dramatic patterned stone, the backsplash can provide subtle elegance or make a bold design statement. Carefully consider the factors of color, texture, pattern, material, and budget when selecting tiles or slabs.
I hope these recommended pairings of fabulous backsplash materials with light, medium and dark gray cabinet finishes offer inspiration as you envision the perfect backsplash for your new or remodeled kitchen. A thoughtfully coordinated backsplash and gray cabinets will create a kitchen you’ll love for years to come.