Fifty Shades of Gray…Kitchens that is…

For over twenty years, Clay Cox, the owner of Kitchens By Clay in Naples, has seen just about everything in kitchen design: new colors, unique textures, and exciting design ideas that elevate a simple, practical kitchen space and transform it into anything but just practical.


This year, the shades of gray have taken over–and we do mean in kitchen design. “This year I have seen a popularity of gray tones come to the forefront of kitchen design” shares Cox, “even recently I heard that gray was the new beige.” He continues, “A client of mine, who is an exceptional interior designer, and who has collaborated with me many times now in both kitchen, bath and built-in designs, has created some of the most beautiful homes in Southwest Florida. I also believe she is years ahead of herself in design trends. She has been using gray tones in her kitchens design for years–and this is where I first saw gray being used in place of the predictable and standard beige.”


The color gray in a home design lends itself to a warm, comfortable living space hue–and also welcomes with a sensation of tranquility and peace. As a soft palette, it exudes elegance and a timeless backdrop in which to build design around in a room. Cox shares, “I have realized that gray can be used in many more ways than I ever thought possible. I quickly learned that gray, a basic color, can lighten up a home even though the color is…gray.” He expands, “As a kitchen designer, I hope you will forgive me as only commenting on kitchen design. Picture this: you have chosen a shade of gray paint for your cabinetry. The color is soft and luxurious. It  has a sexy feel to it and you have fallen in love with it. Cabinet color is just one of the very many decisions you will need to make to create a kitchen which goes beyond ‘just a practical space to cook’ and allows you to create a sexy kitchen design.”


The funny thing about gray is–it isn’t necessarily just gray. Is there a hint of green in it, blue…perhaps a hue of blue is coming through? “Now you have just discovered one of the most wonderful and mysterious things about the color gray” comments Cox. As a truly multi-faceted color, with so many shades, a accent color can be chosen to highlight its shy undercurrents and fir your design ambitions. “That is beauty of designing with gray!’ exclaims Cox, “It will give you a soft neutral backdrop and create a balance, so that the ‘pop’ of color that you select reflecting your style will look fantastic! Try orange with gray! I know, you may think this is a strange unlikely combo, but try it! It works like peas in a pod.”


One can compliment a room with shades of gray in the floor and backsplash tiles. There are so many shades of gray to select from in design, that one could go into a paint store and study the color spectrum which offers virtually hundreds of hues of gray. There is a gray in every color! Designer Cox gets excited and exclaims, “Now think of stainless appliances! They are a natural fit.” Also try Carrera marble counter tops, with gorgeous streaks of gray and beige feathered together in splendid surfaces.


Gray is also a perfect contrast to timeless and classic beige. Weathered furniture is a natural and casual fit with gray and beige—a fresh coastal look can easy be achieved with a whitewashed table, weathered chairs, and silver-gray candlesticks. Reclaimed wood is a perfect kitchen table surface, which goes hand-in-hand with friendly gray.


With gray as a base color, no matter the hue, your appliances, cabinets, fixtures, hardware, tile and countertops–and even your kitchen table–will partner perfectly with any bold accent color. So, go ahead and substitute that boring beige for gorgeous gray and watch your your kitchen and home come to life with new color. Ah, the power of color. And who ever said gray was drab? Gray is today. Think silver, platinum, dove gray, charchol, gunmetal, icy gray or frost. It’s beautiful, timeless and classic…and it matches just about anything. Gray–the new beige!