I find the direction that this trend is going is really interesting. In the 90s when gray first came in, there were many cold-gray 12 x 12 tiles in kitchens and bathrooms paired with a lot of shiny white cabinets.
However, I'm not finding a lot of gray cabinets (not here in Vancouver anyway). Now that gray is coming back around again, it’s going on cabinets too.
Via Verdigris Vie
For the most part, now that we are using complex grays, the look is more warm and luminous. Now, if you have white appliances, you don’t need to worry as much about choosing a white that might clash.
This first set of cabinets (above) looks distressed. As the cabinet makers at the CMG Conference said last year — for many years now clients wanted "perfection"in all their cabinetry. Now though, they can’t get enough worm holes and distress marks on cabinets including furniture.
The lower cabinets in this kitchen (above) are Farrow & Ball’s No. 40 Mouse’s Back.
If you are thinking of installing a Carrara marble countertop in your kitchen (see above) and are worried about the marble staining, keep it in the bathrooms.
Or, you could always do what I heard (a long time ago) that Meg Ryan (or maybe it was Gwyneth Paltrow) did. She took a can of tomatoes and evenly stained all her counters with it.
I have no idea what that would look like or if it really works, but I thought it was a super creative way to get the staining process over with!
In Europe they have been using Carrara marble forever and they don’t care about staining.
I think maybe that's because it relates to the properties of crushed velvet. Velvet fabric looks terrible before it has an all-over crushed look to it. You lay down on your sofa with your head on the arm and your head mark is there. If you rest a plate of food on the seat cushion for even a second, suddenly you have a ring mark permanently etched into the fabric.
But wait a while and the whole sofa gets evenly "crushed" so all of those obvious marks go away.
Image via Cote de Texas
This kitchen (above) on Joni’s blog at Cote de Texas has definitely made the rounds as being a favourite in blogland. The colour of these cabinets is BM Fieldstone 1558.
What I found fascinating about this (because I just looked it up) was that I posted about this exact shade of blue in February last year when I was in Houston to see a client.
She wanted the "real French Blue" colour for her powder room cabinet, so, when we were in one of the many beautiful home decor stores there, I brought my fan deck right into the shop and found the muted blue that appeared on so many of the french antiques and it was this same Fieldstone 1558.
I love this rustic stone floor (above) even though it is greener than the blue/gray of the island that's all finished in Carrara marble.
How about black kitchens?
I recently received an email from a reader who said I hadn’t mentioned them on my blog at all. I like the black lowers in the above kitchen because they don’t fill the entire space and they contrast beautifully with the whites and grays. But in general, I have black in the same category as brown. Too dark and trendy for the average kitchen. And you need a lot of light, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen in House Beautiful (below). See the skylights?
Black and brown are fabulous grounding colours in any space. Prior to the brown trend of the 2000s, common decorating advice was that "every room needs a touch of black to ground the space."
Brown does the same thing, but it’s when it's the colour of the sofa, the kitchen cabinets, the walls, the floors, etc, etc —it starts to read super trendy.
Let's face it, a gray kitchen is trendy too, but if you are just now painting your cabinets gray, they will be good for at least the next 10 years before the next trendy neutral arrives on the scene.
How do you know if you should follow the trend and paint your cabinets gray? Here are four ways to decide:
1. If you plan on selling your house inside of 10 years, many prospective homeowners will love your gray cabinets because they will still be hot.
Image via The Granite Gurus
2. If you loved gray before it became a trend colour (and you're not planning to sell your house) you’ll still love it when your kitchen is 20 years old. Go ahead and then do it!
3. If you have white appliances, a soft shade of gray will contrast nicely instead of looking like you’ve tried to match the appliances (impossible) and failed.
4. DO NOT slap just any gray on your kitchen cabinets if everything else in your kitchen still tells a story of another era. The best advice I give every day to my clients is to be careful of mixing something too new and trendy with‘existing, not changing, dated elements.
Yesterday and today all in one space is not a look that will make you happy when you walk in the door.
A good example of combining this look appropriately is the third kitchen in the photos above. You can tell by the rounded tops on the upper doors that this was most likely an oak kitchen before it was painted. And even though this could look like "yesterday and today" I think the new paint job works because of the choices they made for the floor and the countertop.
Better to get some professional advice first to make sure that the finishes and colours you are injecting into your kitchen or house will give you the look and feel that you want.
You can combine old and new but it needs to be done correctly. Trust me, if it bothers you now, it’ll bother you even more when you're done because it still won’t look right.
If you would like your kitchen to fill you with happiness every time you walk in the door, become a client. Online or In-person.
To get your exterior colours right, download my How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence webinar and get my go-to list of colours.
To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!
And, if you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert.
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