Kitchen Inspiration ~ Gray Paint Color with Honey Oak Cabinets

With the holidays just around the corner and the likelihood of entertaining in our home during this joyous time, I have been kind of pressuring Mr. RL to help me spiffy up our kitchen a bit! 
The last remodel of our kitchen was done about 16 years ago, 2 1/2 years before we moved to 21 Rosemary Lane. Then in the past year we have had to replace the stove/oven, dishwasher and microwave. (Doesn't it figure they'd all go at the same time?) With the kitchen serving as the hub of our home for the past 13 years, it has really become dull, dated and just plain beat up!

We painted the kitchen at pale green back in the spring of 2006, and in 2012 Mr. Rosemary Lane added a bead board back splash. 

Mr. RL also put up an over-the-door shelf the fall of 2012.

Then last spring I purchased a hutch at ReStore for $40. It is slated to be painted as soon as I make the final decision on what I want to do with the rest of our kitchen. On a strict budget of course!

The one feature of the kitchen I never cared for is the skimpy looking desk in the room's largest corner. It really has been nothing more than a catch-all over the years, as well as a place to set the TV, collecting mail and other papers I didn't know where else to put. We really don't need a desk in the kitchen anyway since we already have a room in our home designated as the office.

So what to do. As much as I would love to paint the wood cabinets in a creamy white, that is one battle I do not want to have with Mr. RL. He loves the honey oak cabinets, and to be perfectly honest they are in great shape and are really made very beautifully. So the honey oak is here to stay.

I started to search the Internet for ideas to help me update our kitchen, you know give it a little drama and provide a touch of that wonderful farmhouse vibe. One of the ways I have come across to update the space, and tone down the yellow of the cabinets at the same time, is to paint the walls in a contrasting deep warm gray. Here are a few pics I've pinned to my Pinterest Board Kitchen Inspiration.




A few colors I am considering at this point are...

Anonymous by Sherwin Williams 
(also used in the first inspiration kitchen in the above photos.)

Desert Twilight by Benjamin Moore 

Coventry Gray from Benjamin Moore's Historical Collection

And while I really like the way the honey oak and dark gray work together, I do have that rather large wall space behind the hutch that if painted a solid gray may prove to be too contemporary for my taste. So with that being said what I'd like to do is to carry the bead board idea from the back splash onto the lower two thirds of the walls and continue it around the room. 

This gorgeous pic from the beautiful blog Town and Country Living illustrates the idea perfectly.

I love the way Jennifer paired the open shelving with the pretty bead board. I plan to remove that desk currently in the corner of the kitchen and something like the open shelving or even some country artwork would really liven up that dreary space.

Then at some point, as long as Mr. RL is on board, I would love to change the kitchen island up by adding a new wood feature to the island's exterior for visual interest, and paint it in my contrasting creamy white. (Pretty pendent lights and some new stools at the island's end would be nice too!)


Ahhh a girl can dream can't she???

Wishing you all a wonderful week!



  1. Thanks for this! It's been 18 years since our last kitchen update and we also have oak cabinets. I am so undecided in what direction to go in order to create a new look without spending mega bucks. I even pinned your "before" pics of your kitchen as I love how your dark countertop looks with the oak.

  2. I love your ideas. I have those honey colored cabinets too in maple and I painted my walls Chocolate, soI think a dark color is just the ticket.

    1. I too have light Maple cabinets. The problem is the counter is Karadon dark green with a blue undertone. Any advice for paint color would be great.

  3. I like your ideas! I have the same color cabinets and have been pestering my husband to help me paint them a creamy white. But I really love the idea of a deep gray on the wall to help tone down the yellow/orange wood tones. It might be the perfect solution. Good luck to you and I can't wait to see what you come up with. I also love the idea of you bringing around the bead board on to the wall.

  4. Barbara,
    Beautiful source inspirational photos, dear friend!!!
    "Mr. Ed" wasn't ready for a "grey" shade for our Renewal Projects,
    but he did fall in love with Sherwin~Williams Sandbar.
    Depending on the time of day it shows grey or taupe, I L O V E it!!!
    It also blended well with the yellow backsplash tiles that were in perfect condition
    and therefore had to stay!
    Exciting things are about to take place at Rosemary Lane!!!
    I'll be watching for progress reports!!!

  5. I like the idea of a beadboard wall and island with your cupboards left alone. That last photo was great. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  6. Barbara, I think you will make your kitchen so pretty whatever you choose. I do love the dark gray with the oak. Oak is a very strong wood and needs a darker color to make it work. That was what I was told many years ago by a decorator friend. I do love the idea of putting the beadboard up as wainscotting too. I have no fears that you will make it all work and all beautiful..Happy Monday..Judy

  7. Barb, your cabinets really ARE gorgeous. love the style of them. I think the warm gray is a fabulous color which really works with the wood tone. LOVE that last inspiration pic. that island is amazing!!

  8. well I think your kitchen is lovely, but if YOU MUST re-do some of it (LOL!!) I think that gray paint would be an excellent choice and bring it up to trend. I love the way it looks!

  9. I like gray with the honey cabinets. Sheila

  10. Darn it- I just lost my whole comment...hate when that happens. Anyway- I said I love the grey--I have seen Desert Twilight in person and I will say that it has quite a "green cast" to it in certain lights.
    What fun to plan and dream. I wish I had painted the cabinets that we put in here, too, but MyHero talked me into natural hickory. I do like it-but is close in color to the floor, too, so it all kind of runs together. I like the idea of continuing the beadboard like you showed in the inspiration picture.
    Hope you have a great night- xo Diana

  11. Love the Anonymous Gray by SW...also love the color in the 2nd inspiration pic...I know what you mean about not fighting the battle...I have cherry cabinets and there is no way I will be able to paint them....they were a bit pricey at the time...but I think I have him convinced to change out the countertops...:)

  12. I love this post! My kitchen is only 8 years old and I picked every single detail including the shaker-style red birch frameless cabinets (the color is much like the hue of yours with a little different grain, but all in all very much like yours). I adored them so much at the time and paired them with pretty white and grey granite, but warm beige walls. Everything was Prairie Modern (very clean-lined but warm and natural). I even got all new furniture that year for this house, promising my husband it was "forever furniture" so we shoudl invest in quality pieces. The problem is that now if I could do it all over it would all be white and gray and slightly distressed. BUT I can't justify redoing it (far too soon and it would involve the entire house, which is open concept). So for now, now touch of gray for me--I did incorporate gray into my basement build out a few years back AND I will pin your post away for future inspiration!

  13. You have a wonderful kitchen! I love the gray color. I think that this is the best color for kitchen. It looks clean and fresh. Thanks a lot for these great ideas!

  14. Wow, great transformation! Although your before is nothing like our before! (ah, temporary rental homes and no money).
    LOVE it! Read more

  15.  You really did a beautiful job! I love how bright & fresh everything looks.you are amazing and very inspiring. thanks

  16. Nice Blog , This is what I exactly Looking for , Keep sharing more blog.

  17. Your kitchen looks wonderful! I know you are so proud of it! :)

  18. What colorpaiant is the

  19. Hello, I really love the deep gray in one of your inspirational photos you have posted on this site. Can you please advise what shade of grey this is as I would love to use this in my kitchen. It is he photo with the black chairs lined up with the island and the black appliances.


Thank you so much for leaving a comment. They truly do brighten my day.


All content provided on 21 Rosemary Lane blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

The owner of www.21rosemarylane.com will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at anytime with or without notice.

In addition products mentioned in some of my blog posts are done with the hope that i will render a good review on my blog. Products I review are ones that I have used personally and believe my readers will enjoy.
Copyright © 2014 21 Rosemary Lane. All rights reserved . Powered by Blogger.