Yep, a quick trip to the paint store and just an hour with a brush in hand, and the kitchen has transformed!
Let's remind ourselves of the original color, Stonington Gray, by Benjamin Moore. It's the color throughout the rest of our main living space, so I wanted the kitchen to feel cohesive with the other rooms. But the light color was such a contrast to the dark tile, and it felt like the tile was just this thick stripe running through the kitchen's equator.
I wanted a new color that made the tile feel like it belonged-- where it could blend in a little more, and be less of a visual distraction. The gunmetal gray is exactly the same color as the tiles, just a shade or two lighter. We went with a matte finish, so the shiny tiles are able to contrast in their own way without being too showy.
I cannot overstate how pleased I am with the change. It's amazing how the smallest and simplest tweaks have the most dramatic impact. Now if only I could say the same for the refrigerator surround... I realized today I caulked all the seams with non-paintable caulk (AHHH!), so the primer isn't adhering to anything with caulk on it. I'm going to try and scrape it away. But more than likely, I'll end up having to disassemble the whole thing and rebuild it with new wood and different caulk. Womp womp.