Is gray the new white?

Browse kitchens on Pinterest and white cabinets dominate for a clean, elegant look. However, as you keep scrolling, you’ll begin to notice another color that has been slowly emerging. It’s a color that adds some flavor without being too bold. It’s a color that looked clean and tidy without being too boring. That color is gray.

One way to show that gray is currently growing into a big trend is to read blogs and articles from interior design companies and professionals. Many companies and professionals, such as HGTV,  have showcased gray kitchens in the last year and their insights have a big influence on consumers looking to remodel.

“Wondering what color to paint your cabinets? The kitchen industry’s leading manufacturers say that while white cabinets continue to be tops, gray is the shade they’re betting on to break white’s top spot.” – HGTV

Although it’s great to see what trends big brands are showcasing, trends are overall difficult to prove. You can look up “any kind of trend 2017” and there will be someone out there backing it up. Therefore, we’re going to dive into the lifestyle of the upcoming consumer market to form a prediction about why gray may be becoming the next biggest trend. It’s believed that the future of today’s consumers look for two key things: minimalism and sustainability.


First, minimalism.

Minimalism is the idea of owning less and you’ll be happier. This lifestyle trend is huge among the upcoming generation that is about the dictate the market. According to Forbes, this trend is not a fad, but is here to stay. Mostly because this trend ties in with the values of the younger generation: living simple and small, living sustainable, and being financially secure. Retail experts are also noticing that millennials are spending less on material items, and more on things that give them an experience..

Minimalism is popular because it ties into the lifestyle that so many millennials chase: experience more, own less. Travel, food, or social events – that is where their money is going.  Research from Eventbrite has found that millenials are more likely to spend their money on experiences rather than material items.  In fact, 72% of the millennials surveyed shared that they plan to spend even more on experiences in the next year. A quick scroll through Pinterest or Instagram inspirational quotes will show you many photos that millennials are exposed to are inspired by. Quotes like these ones:


Since millennials are more about lifestyle and less about materialism, millennials may be more attracted to kitchens that fit that minimalist lifestyle when they begin to buy and remodel homes (and their ideas will be inspired through social media where we already see gray beginning to boom).

So what does a minimalist kitchen look like? Typically, you’ll find neutral colors, shaker or European-style cabinet doors, and very little placed on the counter tops. Pops of color usually come from plants, creating a more natural feel. It may sound boring, but it’s the little details that do the talking.

Having a natural, earthy environment in the home brings us to our next point:

Second, sustainability.

The arriving generation of consumers are not only more minimalist compared to the older generations, but they are also more environmentally conscious. Together, minimalism and environmental awareness go together hand-in-hand.

Owning less stuff = contributing less to landfill.

Many reports, including one by A.T. Kearney, have found that consumers are beginning to become more concerned about putting their money towards businesses that give back rather putting their money towards the actual product itself.

“Millennials’ demand for sustainable products, not just socially responsible companies, represents an important shift in consumer priorities. For example, when asked specifically about purchasing an automobile, the Baby Boomers we surveyed most frequently said they would prefer to buy a car that is ‘made in America’ (a social priority). In contrast, Millennials most often said they want a car that ‘uses little to no fuel and is good for the environment’—that is, a product that is inherently sustainable.” – Daniel Mahler, A.T. Kearney

The sustainability efforts brought by millennials also explains why plants are so common in the minimalist kitchen. It’s more natural and less material.

So how does gray fit into all of this?

Well, if you quickly search minimalist kitchens on Google or Pinterest, you will find a sea of neutral tones, including whites and grays. Some could argue that white and gray are the colors for minimalism.

Cool. So millennials have this lifestyle dream of living with less, but what about the rest of the population who are not as extreme as these minimalist kitchen examples? People have kids, life gets messy, and counters become cluttered.

This when gray becomes a better fit than white.

White makes a kitchen look clean, elegant, and sophisticated. Gray makes a kitchen look clean, elegant, and sophisticated without having that sterile, hospital feeling. Gray looks clean but also has that relaxing touch where you won’t be afraid to walk inside without making something dirty the moment you touch it.


Gray cabinets can give the same elegant feel as white when done right. And better yet, gray can be done in just as many ways as white.

Here are some examples of how gray is incorporated into the kitchen:

  • Contrasting gray and white (another trend that beginning to spring) brings that clean yet comfortable touch to the kitchen without making the kitchen look too busy. For the contrast look, you’ll most likely find gray cabinets on the bottom half of the kitchen or on the island.

  • For those metallic lovers out there, gray allows all types of metallic to pop. Gold, copper, silver, you name it!

  • Marble is so hot right now, it’s on EVERYTHING – kitchen decor, office supplies, jewelry, electronics, and yes, even clothing and nails. No color matches marble more than gray. Type in, “marble choose item here” and you’ll most likely find it trending on Pinterest.

  • Love the look of natural wood? A mix of gray can modernize that stunning, natural finish.

  • Get creative with gray. Little details can go a long ways.

  • Use gray to show off the texture and grain of the wood pieces in your kitchen, adding a slightly rustic touch.

  • Gray can also pop out those funky pattern that you adore.

  • And for those who just want a comfortable, homely kitchen, gray paints a beautiful picture for that too.

What else can gray do?

Explore Pinterest and Instagram for a bit and ask yourself…

Is gray becoming the new white?

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