Gray kitchen cabinets are a timeless, classic choice that work well with many different kitchen designs and color schemes. When paired with the right backsplash, gray cabinets can look absolutely stunning. But with so many backsplash tile options out there, how do you choose what color will look best with your gray kitchen cabinets?
The key is finding a backsplash color that enhances the gray rather than clashing with it. You’ll want something that complements the cool undertones of the gray cabinets rather than fighting against them. The right backsplash color can make all the difference in creating a cohesive, stylish kitchen design.
Here is an overview of the best backsplash color options to pair with gray kitchen cabinets:
White Backsplash Tile
A white backsplash is a go-to choice that looks beautiful with gray kitchen cabinets. The crisp, clean white serves to brighten up and illuminate all-gray cabinetry. White backsplashes have a timeless look and versatility that allows them to work with contemporary, traditional, or even farmhouse kitchen styles.
White subway tile is a classic backsplash choice that provides a clean, simple look that doesn’t distract from gray cabinets. White marble or quartz backsplashes offer elegance and luxury. Matte white tiles have a more modern feel. Glossy white tiles add shine and reflectivity, brightening up the space.
A white backsplash allows gray cabinets to take center stage while still providing the perfect neutral background. Be sure your gray cabinets have some variation or contrast in tone to prevent an all-gray kitchen from looking too monochromatic. Warm grays pair better with crisp whites than cooler grays. For something extra special, consider white herringbone tiles or penny rounds.
Black Backsplash Tile
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a dramatic black backsplash can look stunning with gray cabinets. The bold contrast makes both colors pop and adds visual interest. Black is especially eye-catching against lighter shades of gray.
For contemporary or modern kitchens, sleek black subway tile, porcelain, or stone tiles create an upscale, polished look. Matte black finishes minimize glaring. Add some metal accents and modern hardware for an edgy industrial vibe. Black marbled or textured tiles provide depth.
With darker charcoal cabinets, combine black with gray tones in a geometric, linear mosaic backsplash pattern. Use black as an accent alongside metallic grays. Black and gray is sophisticated color pairing that works for transitional spaces.
Gray Tones Backsplash
Using varying shades of gray tiles is a seamless way to carry the color of the cabinets to the backsplash. Mixing gray tones and textures prevents the kitchen from looking flat and boring.
With light gray cabinets, try a backsplash in darker charcoal gray tiles to provide contrast. Charcoal gray marble hexagons or stacked slate tiles have rich depth. With medium gray cabinets, use light silvery grays for the backsplash. Try glass or metallic gray subway tiles.
With dark gray cabinets, lighten up the backsplash with soft dove gray or pale blue-gray tiles. Gray paired with creamy off-whites or beiges warms up the space. Using all gray tones allows you to add pops of color through accessories.
Wood provides natural warmth and texture that looks fantastic paired with gray cabinets. The combination feels both rustic and modern. Gray kitchen cabinets allow the beauty of the wood grain to shine.
Use reclaimed barnwood planks for a farmhouse chic style that complements gray. Try a parquet herringbone pattern of stained oak or walnut for geometric interest. Unfinished cedar backsplash boards have a rustic appeal. Use driftwood or aged wood for coastal vibes.
Darker woods like wenge and ebony make the deepest impressions against light gray cabinets. But all wood tones from light oak to dark walnut work well. Wood backsplash can also incorporate metal trim details for industrial edge.
Stainless Steel Backsplash
For contemporary kitchens, a stainless steel backsplash adds brilliant shine and reflections while picking up the cool undertones of gray cabinets. Stainless steel tiles come in an array of patterns and finishes that create visual depth and dimension.
Sleek metal backsplashes pair best with darker charcoal cabinets. But polished stainless steel also contrasts nicely with softer grays. Combine with a few chrome accents for minimalist style. Use large-format stainless tiles for modern appeal.
Clean-lined stainless steel backsplash tile allows gray cabinets to take the spotlight. It acts as an unobtrusive neutral backdrop that doesn’t compete for attention. Durable stainless steel also makes a great choice for active kitchens.
Green and Blue Backsplash Colors
While vibrant primary colors typically clash with gray, green and blue backsplash hues coordinate beautifully. Their cooler undertones mirror the gray while adding just enough color contrast. Sage greens, seafoam blues, and aqua tones look fresh yet soothing.
With light gray cabinets, try pale aqua glass tiles or a vibrant turquoise mosaic backsplash. Against dark charcoal cabinets, mint green glass subway tiles create cheerful contrast. Go for an overall beachy vibe with driftwood-gray cabinets paired with sea glass tiles.
Subway tiles in soft sage green are calming with cream-gray cabinets. Robin’s egg blue adds just a touch of sweetness. Use green and blue only as backsplash accents alongside plenty of crisp white. Gray and green is an adaptable color scheme that fits many styles.
Metallic and Stone Backsplashes
Metallic finishes and natural stone textures add eye-catching elegance to gray kitchen cabinets. The mineral flecks and linear veining found in stones complement the neutral palette. Meanwhile, the shine and reflectivity of metallics enhances the gray.
With warm gray cabinets, try backsplashes in honed marble, travertine, or limestone. Cooler gray cabinets pair well with granite, quartzite, and slate stone tiles. For metallics, mix silver, copper, and brass finishes for eclectic edge.
Some ideas include:
- Light beige travertine subway tile backsplash with braided metal trim
- Peacock slate stacked backsplash against dark gray cabinets
- White and silver marble mosaic tile backsplash
- Honed white quartz countertops and backsplash
- Copper penny tile accents on white subway tile backsplash
Metallic and stone backsplashes bring texture and luminosity that makes gray cabinets glow. They create a showcase backdrop that steals the focus.
Warm Wood Tones
Wood finishes with warm reddish-brown, caramel, and honey-gold tones create cozy contrast against gray cabinets. The wood brings warmth against the cool grays for vibrant style. Walnut and cherry have rich red-brown grains. Maple and oak have golden tan hues.
Try a reclaimed wood plank backsplash in various natural wood stains from driftwood gray to chestnut. Stacked wood boxes make fun horizontal patterns. Multi-width tongue and groove boards offer visual variety.
With light gray or greige cabinets, pair honey oak tones. Against darker gray cabinets, go for dramatic wenge and cherry wood colors. The combination of wood and gray is both rustic and refined. Add some black metal hardware for striking industrial edge.
Cream and Beige Neutrals
Off-white, cream, tan and beige backsplash tiles provide subtle contrast that prevents an all-gray kitchen from looking washed out. These warm neutrals enhance the gray cabinets with undertones of cream, brown and yellow.
Against light silvery grays try almond beige marble bricks. With blue-gray cabinets, pair creamy off-white subway tiles for brightness. Use sandy tan travertine plank tiles to warm up dark charcoal grays.
Creamy grays together create harmonious, calming kitchens. Add white grout to maintain brightness. Beige and cream backsplashes also allow colorful kitchen accessories to stand out against the neutral backdrop.
Avoid: Vibrant Reds, Yellows and Oranges
Steer clear of vibrant primary reds, oranges, and yellows for backsplashes paired with gray cabinets. These colors are extremely contrasting and tend to look mismatched or overwhelming with gray kitchen cabinets. They are too bold and fight for attention. However, muted rusty red bricks could work with warmer gray tones.
In general, cool neutral, earth tone, metallic, and green-blue backsplash shades tend to complement and enhance gray cabinets best. Match the depth of the gray – lighter backsplashes with pale grays and deeper, darker backsplashes with charcoal grays.
There are endless gorgeous combinations possible for backsplashes with gray cabinets. Consider the overall kitchen style you want to achieve. Look for colors and textures that accentuate the gray rather than compete with it. Tie in undertones from other elements like countertops and floors. Most importantly, choose a backsplash you love that makes you happy in your beautiful gray and colorful kitchen.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Backsplash Color for Grey Cabinets
Choosing the ideal backsplash to pair with your new gray kitchen cabinets may feel like a daunting decision. But having a game plan and design strategy will help narrow your options. Keep these key factors in mind as you select backsplash colors, materials, and styles:
Cohesion with Countertops
Look at how the backsplash color complements or contrasts with countertop materials. For example, white marble countertops would pair beautifully with gray cabinets and a matching white marble subway tile backsplash. Dark countertops may call for a lighter backsplash for balance. Try to achieve harmony with a cohesive color scheme.
Tones of the Gray
Consider the depth and undertones of your specific gray cabinet color. Light, silvery grays pair best with crisp white backsplashes. Soft dove grays look lovely with cream tiles. Deep charcoals call for bold black or sleek metal backsplashes. Match the tone intensity.
Personal Style Preferences
Do you tend to prefer clean and classic? Or bold and edgy? Take your own personal decorating style into account. If you love farmhouse style, reclaimed wood works. For modern edge, concrete tiles are an option.
In a small kitchen, stick to light and reflective backsplash colors to maximize brightness. Dark backsplashes can feel too heavy and overwhelming in a tiny space. In larger kitchens, you have more flexibility for dramatic colors like black or vibrant turquoise.
North-facing rooms with minimal sunlight require lighter backsplash materials like glass, marble, or white tiles to radiate light. South-facing sunny rooms can handle deeper hues for contrast like navy or slate stone. Adapt to lighting conditions.
For busy family kitchens, durable and stain-resistant tiles like ceramic, metal or slate are ideal. Glass backsplashes require more maintenance. For low-activity entertaining kitchens, choose elegant materials like marble.
Backsplash tile material costs vary widely, from $3 per square foot for basic ceramic to $50+ per square foot for premium stones. Know how much you can spend and find cost-effective materials you love.
By taking all these factors into consideration, you’ll be able to choose the perfect backsplash for your new gray kitchen cabinets. Selecting colors, textures and materials that work in harmony with your cabinetry, countertops, lighting and overall design style will result in a cohesive, beautiful kitchen you’ll adore.
Popular Backsplash Ideas for Gray Kitchen Cabinets
Now that you know what to consider when choosing a backsplash for gray kitchen cabinets, here are some of the most popular and gorgeous backsplash design ideas:
White Subway Tile
The quintessential and timeless backsplash pairing. White subway tile looks pristine against gray cabinets in any finish. Use varying sizes like 3×6, 4×12 or staggered to add interest.
Black and White Geometric
For contemporary edge, black and white geometric shapes create visual drama against gray. Try circles, diamonds, zigzags or elongated hexagon for depth.
Marble Hexagon Mosaic
Small marble hexagon tiles form mesmerizing mosaic patterns full of depth and texture. Use varying natural gray and white marble tones for luminous effect with gray cabinets.
Modern White Brick
Overlap different sized matte white bricks for a modern take on vintage elegance. No grout allows bricks to butt seamlessly.
Gray and White Herringbone
Alternating gray and white tiles in a timeless herringbone pattern adds beautiful dimension. Try glossy tiles on the bias or elongated shapes.
Wood Plank Panels
Reclaimed barnwood planks stained in natural hues from light oak to ebony provide backsplash warmth. Float over gray cabinets for rustic yet modern vibe.
Ombre Gray Subway Tile
Install gray subway tiles in graduating tones from light to dark gray for unique ombre effect. Add white grout lines to accentuate color shifts.
Stainless Steel Shapes
Overlapping circles, curves and strips in polished stainless steel impart eye-catching shine and shape against gray cabinets.
Bold Black Shapes
Make a geometric statement with graphic black and white tiles or black 3D tiles like concave dots and cones against gray for textural drama.
Blue Oceanside Glass
Long rectangular turquoise, blue and seafoam glass tiles laid vertically evoke mesmerizing ocean waves. Reflects light beautifully against gray kitchen cabinets.
Whatever backsplash design you choose, be sure it complements your gray kitchen cabinets rather than fights against them. The options are endless to create a space that’s cohesive, elegant and uniquely you. Have fun designing your dream kitchen!
Design Ideas for Specific Cabinet Colors
Not all grays are created equal. The exact shade and tone of your gray kitchen cabinets should inform your backsplash choice to create color coordination. Here are backsplash ideas for popular gray cabinet colors:
Soft Dove Gray Cabinets
- Creamy whites and beiges
- Light gray, silver and tan marbles
- Robin’s egg blue glass subway tile
- Rustic white washed wood planks
Warm Greige Cabinets
- Honey onyx marble mosaic
- White shiplap planks
- Walnut wood herringbone
- Almond subway tile
Light Silvery Gray Cabinets
- White marble countertops and backsplash
- Glossy white brick
- Stainless steel tiles
- Black mosaic linear tiles
Slate Blue-Gray Cabinets
- Sea glass tile in aqua tones
- Whitewashed cedar plank backsplash
- Gray slate stacked stone
- Dark wenge wood floating shelves
Charcoal Gray Cabinets
- Matte white subway tile
- Dramatic black quartzite stone
- Contrasting brass metal tiles
- Reclaimed barnwood in ebony
Weathered Wood Gray Cabinets
- Natural stone backsplash in travertine or limestone
- Recycled barnwood planks in gray tones
- Beach pebbles for organic texture
- Clay brick backsplash in muted terra cotta red
No matter what shade of gray your cabinets are painted or stained, balance out the depth and undertones with coordinating backsplash hues. The options are endless for creating a stunning and unique kitchen design.
Recommended Materials for Gray Kitchen Backsplashes
The material you choose for your kitchen backsplash also affects the overall look, durability and cost. Here are some top backsplash material recommendations for pairing with dreamy gray kitchen cabinets:
Tile allows for almost limitless color, texture and pattern options. Ceramic, porcelain and glass tile offer affordability. Natural stone tile provides unmatched elegance but at a higher price point.
Granite, marble, travertine, onyx, quartzite and slate are just some of the gorgeous stone options that pair beautifully with gray cabinets. Honed stone provides a matte effect while polished ups the shine factor.
Metallic backsplashes in stainless steel, copper, brass and other metals impart brilliant reflective shine. Great for modern and contemporary kitchen styles. Durable and easy to clean.
Reclaimed barnwood planks make a wonderfully warm rustic backsplash contrast. Use varying stains from light oak to ebony. Floating shelves maintain the wood look while minimizing moisture penetration.
Glass tile and decorative glass sheets come in every color and finish imaginable. Use glass for illuminating backsplash shine. Best for low-heat areas without direct cooking.
Concrete backsplash tiles provide cool modern edge. Great budget option as concrete is affordable, and artisan tiles can be made at home. Has industrial warehouse aesthetic.
Red bricks offer vintage flair, especially with gray cabinets. But also consider muted earth tones, multicolored blends, navy blues or soft whites depending on your style.
With any material, be sure it properly seals to the wall and is water-resistant, especially around sinks and stoves. While daunting with endless possibilities, choosing that perfect gray kitchen cabinet backsplash is incredibly rewarding. The right backsplash pulls the whole kitchen together into a harmonious statement space.
How Much Does a Kitchen Backsplash Cost?
Backsplash cost depends on the material, special shapes and detailing, labor involved in installation, and overall kitchen size. Here is an overview of typical price ranges:
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: $3-$20 per sq. ft.
Glass & Mosaic Tile: $15-$50 per sq. ft.
Natural Stone Tile: $40-$100 per sq. ft.
Stainless Steel: $25-$50 per sq. ft.
Reclaimed Wood: $20-$35 per sq. ft.
Laminates: $5-$10 per sq. ft.
A typical 30-40 sq. ft. backsplash runs $500-$1,200 for tile, $1,000-$4,000+ for stone. Factors like special cutting, complex patterns, accent tile stripes, and special grout detailing can increase costs. Pro installation adds $6-$10 per sq. ft.
There are ways to cut costs like self-installing peel-and-stick backsplash panels or bargain hunting for remnants. Focus splurging on eye-catching designs in key central areas over the stove or sink. Then use affordable tile or laminates for other zones.
Creating a cohesive, wow-factor backsplash that ties your