A gray backsplash can be a gorgeous addition to any kitchen. However, pairing it with the right wall color is key to creating a cohesive and stylish space. With so many paint colors to choose from, deciding on a wall color to complement the gray backsplash can be tricky. Here is an in-depth guide on how to select the perfect wall color for your gray backsplash.
Complementary Color Schemes for a Gray Backsplash
Choosing a wall color that complements the gray backsplash is important in making the space visually appealing. Here are some recommended color schemes that work well with a gray backsplash:
Gray and White
A gray and white color scheme is a classic combination that looks clean and elegant. Pairing cool grays with crisp whites creates a timeless and sophisticated look. The white walls serve as a perfect backdrop for the gray backsplash, allowing it to truly pop. This color scheme works especially well in modern and transitional kitchens.
To prevent the space from feeling too sterile, add warmth through natural wood cabinetry and accents. For a bit more contrast, opt for a bright white like Chantilly Lace OC-65 by Benjamin Moore on the walls.
Gray and Blue
From pale sky blues to dramatic navy hues, blue is an easy color to integrate into kitchens with a gray backsplash. It brings a subtle vibrancy that feels energizing yet soothing.
Cool toned blues like Aegean Teal 2136-40 by Benjamin Moore or Smoke Blue 2062-60 by Sherwin-Williams pair nicely with gray. Warm grays with hints of beige and greige also complement light sky blue walls.
For a bold accent wall, navy blue adds striking visual contrast and makes the gray backsplash pop. Softer blue-grays create a more muted, elegant look.
Gray and Green
Earthy greens help ground and relax a gray kitchen. Pairing cool-toned grays with tranquil greens like sage and seafoss creates a refreshing yet soothing environment.
For more vibrancy, try fresher yellow-greens and lime hues. Pair these with warm grays for a pleasant, nature-inspired space. Avoid pairing green and red-toned grays, as this combination can feel unbalanced.
Gray and Yellow
A gray backsplash allows cheerful yellow walls to truly shine. Yellow brings warmth and energy into the kitchen. Soft buttery yellows work well with light grays. Deeper mustard and goldenrod yellows make bold accents against dark charcoal backsplashes.
Limit yellow to an accent wall, as an entire kitchen of gray and yellow may feel overwhelming. But used thoughtfully, yellow and gray make a lively, inviting combination.
Gray and Neutrals
Shades of beige, taupe, cream, and other neutrals effortlessly blend with gray backsplashes for a soothing, cozy effect. Pair light warm grays with soft sand or greige walls. Charcoal grays pop against warmer camel and khaki wall colors.
Layering neutral upon neutral allows textures, materials, and architectural details to take center stage. Keep the look interesting by mixing up paint finishes – try matte walls with high-gloss cabinetry.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wall Color
When selecting a wall color for your gray backsplash, keep these key factors in mind:
The Undertones of Your Gray Backsplash
Identify whether your backsplash tiles lean cool, warm, or neutral. Cool-toned grays with hints of blue complement different wall colors than warm, beige-influenced grays.
Hold a tile next to color swatches of potential wall colors. The undertones should complement rather than compete with each other.
Natural Lighting in the Space
The direction, amount, and quality of natural lighting affects how colors are perceived. North-facing rooms may warrant brighter, warmer hues. Soft southern light can handle cooler, more saturated shades.
Look at wall colors at different times of day to see how the lighting influences its appearance. Cloudy skies can make some colors look dull. Opt for lighter shades in low natural light.
The Cabinets and Countertops
Take into account your existing cabinetry and countertops. Contrasting wall color from cabinet color helps delineate the separate spaces. Monochromatic schemes also have graphic appeal.
Ensure the wall color complements rather than clashes with countertops as well. With neutral countertops like white marble or quartz, any wall color is possible.
Personal Color Preferences
While current trends can provide inspiration, ultimately choose a hue you’ll love long-term. A color that reflects your personality or aligns with your decorating style will never go out of fashion.
Feel empowered to go bold or muted, cool or warm – follow your instincts on a color that brings you joy. Trends come and go, but your wall color should make you smile each time you enter the kitchen.
Best Wall Colors for Gray Backsplash
Now that we’ve covered the principles of choosing a wall color for your gray backsplash, here are some of the best shades to consider:
Soft Creamy White
A soft white like Creamy by Sherwin-Williams or Swiss Coffee by Behr lets the gray backsplash take center stage. It recedes to create a light, airy feel. The white also enhances the cool tones of the gray.
Light Warm Gray
For a cohesive monochromatic look, match the wall color to softer shades in your backsplash. A very light dove gray like Gray Clouds by Behr keep the palette sophisticated. Introduce contrast through bolder gray tiles.
Serene sky blue walls like Scattered Clouds by Sherwin-Williams or Daybreak by Behr create an uplifting, airy contrast to the gray backsplash. The effect is fresh and vibrant.
Deeper navy blue walls make a gorgeous dramatic accent that pops against cool grays. Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore or Gentleman’s Gray by Behr have just enough saturation without going overboard.
Earthy greens like Jojoba by Behr, Woodlawn Blue-Green by Sherwin-Williams, or Quiet Moments by Benjamin Moore give a gray backsplash warmth and balance. The muted green is energizing yet soothing.
For an instant brightness infusion, sunny yellow walls make gray backsplashes shine. Loose and cheery colors like Buttercup or Lemon Ice by Behr keep the effect light and subtle. Deeper mustard yellows can also pair nicely for more drama.
Slightly creamy off-whites like Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams or Navajo White by Behr add just a touch of warmth to balance out cool grays. The tone is soft yet lively.
Wall Color Ideas for Specific Gray Backsplash Tiles
The exact shade and finish of your gray backsplash tiles impacts the best coordinating wall color. Here are suggested paint colors for some popular gray backsplash materials:
Carrara Marble Backsplash
The distinctive veining and edging of Carrara marble backsplashes adds movement and visual interest. Pair with dynamic colors like:
- Night Watch by Behr – deep green with brown undertones
- Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore – classic navy blue
- Cyberspace by Sherwin-Williams – inky, eccentric blue
- Golden Straw by Behr – vibrant mustard yellow
Gray Glass Subway Tile
Reflective, iridescent glass subway tiles in cool grays suit elegant wall colors like:
- Gray Matters by Behr – sophisticated light gray
- Cityscape by Sherwin Williams – soft, hazy gray with green undertones
- Cinder by Benjamin Moore – understated, pearlescent warm gray
Gray Stone or Porcelain Tile
Natural gray stone and matte porcelain tiles promote organic texture. Complement with earthy, mineral-inspired colors:
- Gray Cashmere by Benjamin Moore – heathered, cozy gray
- Silverpointe by Sherwin Williams -restful green with gray tones
- Chelsea Gray by Benjamin Moore – cool, moody charcoal
Gray Penny Tiles
Vintage-inspired gray penny round tiles have a playful, old-world feel. Pair with sunny colors like:
- Sunwashed Apricot by Behr- peachy orange
- Big Smile Yellow by Behr – cheerful pastel yellow
- Jamaica Shutters by Sherwin Williams – crisp, bold green
Wall Paint Finishes for Gray Backsplash
Beyond just color, the paint finish impacts the look and feel of the wall. Consider these finish options:
A matte or flat finish minimizes wall reflection to keep the focus on the backsplash. The muted effect is cozy and informal. Matte finishes also disguise imperfect walls.
Offering soft glow without shine, eggshell finishes like Behr Premium Plus Ultra Eggshell have enough sheen to contrast against the backsplash while still feeling velvety.
With more luster than eggshell but less than gloss, satin finishes straddle casual and elegant beautifully. They allow light to gently graze the walls, illuminating colors.
High-gloss or semi-gloss finishes reflect light, adding dimension and sleek contrast to matte backsplash tiles. Use gloss finishes sparingly on accent walls or in contemporary spaces.
Incorporating Dark Colors with a Gray Backsplash
While light, neutral wall colors are common choices with gray backsplashes, you can make a dramatic statement by incorporating darker hues through:
Dark Lower Cabinets
Pair a gray backsplash with crisp white upper cabinets and deep charcoal or navy lower cabinets and island. This creates bold contrast and visual interest.
Dark Accent Wall
Paint one wall in a bold shade like black, navy or emerald green to serve as a moody focal point, with lighter gray or white walls elsewhere.
An on-trend dark ceiling immediately draws the eye up and makes the space feel intimate. Deep blue or charcoal gray work well with a gray backsplash.
Dark Trim and Doors
For some definition, use almost-black trim and doors – just avoid matching pure black, as this can look harsh. Shades like Black Tar or Black Beauty by Benjamin Moore add just enough drama.
How Lighting Affects Gray Backsplash Wall Colors
Proper lighting is key to illuminating both the gorgeous backsplash and the wall color. Consider lighting that enhances their tones.
Warm lighting minimizes the cool undertones of grays. Incandescent bulbs and brushed brass fixtures impart an intimate glow. They bring out beige and cream in warm grays.
Cool LED lighting emphasizes icy blue and green tones in gray backsplashes. Go for chrome or nickel lights and high-CRI (color rendering index) daylight bulbs to achieve this effect.
Focused Task Lighting
Use mini-pendants, under cabinet lighting and sconces to create a focal glow on the backsplash itself. This showcases the tile colors, sheen and textures.
Ambient and Natural Light
Proper overhead lighting bounces light off walls evenly. Combine with ample natural light to illuminate wall color accurately. North-facing skylights prevent overly blue-tinged light.
Dimmers enable adjusting fixture brightness and color temperature to find the most flattering levels to both the backsplash and walls. Brighter light highlights wall colors, while dim light enhances backsplashes.
Do’s and Don’ts When Pairing Wall Color with Gray Backsplash
Follow these guidelines when selecting a wall color for your gray backsplash:
DO choose an undertone that complements the gray.
Cool grays suit cool paints. Warm grays pair best with warmer neutrals.
DO consider the cabinetry color.
Contrasting or matching the wall color to the cabinets impacts the look.
DO look at the options in the actual space.
Colors look different on swatches than on full walls. Test out samples painted on posterboard before fully committing.
DON’T go too matchy-matchy.
Having some color contrast between the backsplash, walls, and cabinets creates visual interest.
DON’T overlook the power of white.
Crisp white walls allow the backsplash to take center stage.
DON’T overlook the power of black.
Deep charcoal or black accents create drama against light gray backsplashes.
DON’T pick a color without checking it at all times of day.
Note how natural lighting shifts the look of wall colors.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wall Color and Gray Backsplash
Here are answers to some common questions about pairing wall colors with gray backsplashes:
Should wall color match or contrast backsplash color?
There’s no universally perfect option. Contrast adds visual interest. Complementing hues create flow. Balance both contrast and cohesion based on your personal preference.
How do I make a small kitchen with gray backsplash feel bigger?
Use light, cool paint colors like soft whites and sky blues. Monochromatic palettes also expand smaller kitchens. Matte paint finishes minimize busyness. Maximize natural lighting as well.
Can I have a gray backsplash and colored cabinets?
Absolutely! Pair medium gray backsplashes with rich cabinet colors like navy, emerald green, or even black for contemporary flair. For lighter grays, even vibrant paint colors can work well.
What if I don’t like gray walls with my gray backsplash?
No problem! Feel empowered to choose any accent wall color that delights you. Go for warmer paint colors or bold contrasts like yellow, green, or navy. Follow your own design intuition.
Should ceiling color match wall color with a gray backsplash?
Matching the ceiling and walls visually expands the space. Different ceiling color defines this surface distinctly, which some prefer. Either approach can work beautifully.
How do I decorate walls with a decorative gray backsplash?
Opt for simple, uncluttered walls to allow ornate backsplash tilework to take prominence. Limit wall decor to strategically placed statement pieces. Let the gorgeous backsplash be the focal point.
Pairing the perfect wall color with your gray backsplash comes down to thoughtfully considering the gray’s undertones, surrounding elements like cabinetry and lighting, and the overall ambiance you wish to create. While popular wall colors include whites, blues, greens and neutrals, don’t shy away from making a bold color statement. Combining your gray backsplash tiles with a wall color you’re truly excited about results in a warm, welcoming kitchen that you’ll love spending time in for years to come.