What Color Cabinets Go With Oak Floors?

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Both kitchen cabinets and the floor will make up the majority of the room’s style. As such, it is important to understand how to select the right color cabinets for oak floors. It is common for the cabinets, floors, and countertops to be coordinated at the same time. This is because solid wood floors can be expensive to install, so it is crucial to get them right. We have carefully researched what color cabinets will go with oak floors.

Because oak is generally a brighter wood species, it is best to coordinate your cabinet floors with oak’s natural temperature. However, you can also stain oak to appear very different. So, you can color your cabinets so that they agree or create contrast with the oak floors.

We’ll look at these ideal color combinations for cabinets with oak floors:

  • White or gray
  • Brown
  • Natural wood
  • Red, yellow, or pink
  • Blue or green

Because oak and other natural wood species are so flexible, many different colors can be coordinated for kitchen cabinets. Keep reading to learn if cabinets should be lighter than the floors, the variations in oak hardwood floors, and the most popular cabinet color for kitchens.

Kitchen with light colored cabinetry, oak wood floor. What Color Cabinets Go With Oak Floors

Is oak a dark wood?

Before selecting the color for your kitchen cabinets, it is important to understand the natural appearance of the oak wood species. Traditionally, the United States is known for primarily selling either red oak or white oak.

Red oak wood is known for having pink and reddish tones. Meanwhile, white oak can usually involve a range of beige, tan, and brown tones. But white oak also has a broad range of shades, anywhere between medium brown and near white.

White or Gray Cabinets

White large luxury modern kitchen with oak floor

White and gray are both neutrals, which do not actually have any color. This gives both of them a unique and valuable ability to blend with any true color. This includes the appearance of any natural wood, such as oak.

However, white and gray have very different temperatures. White is always a hot neutral, while gray is always cool. This is true no matter what shade of gray you use. Gray will maintain its colder temperature even in its brightest shades.

What is the most popular cabinet color for kitchens?

White is the most commonly used color for everything in a kitchen. It is especially popular for anything that occupies more room in the kitchen. This may include the cabinets, floors, and large appliances, such as the fridge and dishwasher.

That is because white is always a highly reflective neutral. This can make any area seem larger than it truly is, which is useful for smaller rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom. These rooms are also often styled to be brighter.

Kitchens can be busy and messy, so natural lighting and cheerful styles are popular. The reflective nature of white allows your kitchen to be more colorful without drawing any of the attention to itself.

Gray with oak

Gray is a cooler neutral that serves as a good alternative for black cabinets. Gray cabinets will have the same flexibility as other neutrals, but it isn’t as cold as black.

That is because black absorbs all colors and can appear to recede. Instead, gray can have brighter shades while remaining cool. This will create a bold contrast above your oak floors.

While gray is primarily used for modern interior designs, it can also be associated with wood. Many species of wood can have gray surfaces or undertones. This look is often used for a variety of rustic styles, such as country homes or farmhouses.

Brown Cabinets

Brown is a warm, nearly neutral, which is frequently associated with natural wood. That is because most wood species already have some level of brown on the surface or in their undertones. As such, brown will successfully pair with any kind of wood.

Additionally, brown has the same flexibility as other neutrals. Brown can appear to contain some properties of the color orange and has a warmth that will match the natural brightness in traditional red or white oak wood.

Therefore, brown cabinets can be used to create a smooth surface that helps bridge the grainy natural wood on the floor with other features in the kitchen.

Red, Yellow, or Pink Cabinets

Kitchen, Dark Hardwood Floors, Cabinets, Chandelier, Marble Granite Counters

These colors are usually considered too bold, but they are a proper fit for kitchens, which should feel more lively and airy. It is much easier to use louder colors like red by incorporating them into natural wood.

For example, mahogany and cherry wood are both wood species that naturally have red tones. This way, the colorful appearance will always feel organic instead of artificial.

Since red oak floors typically have red and pink tones already, these are ideal colors for the cabinets. And a soft yellow can be used for the cabinets if you are working with brighter white oak floors.

Any of these unusually bright colors can be softened by using the surrounding decor and appliances. For example, using the right countertops or backsplash can help balance out the room.

Blue or Green Cabinets

These choices are often paired with natural wood because blue and green are also both associated with nature. They can also look nice with either bright or dark shades.

Blue with Oak

However, blue is always much colder than green. Even brighter shades of blue will retain their cool temperature. This means that blue will agree with cooler white oak that has deeper browns. Or, blue can create contrast with brighter white oaks and pinkish-red oak.

Green with Oak

Green is warmer than blue, which means it will contrast with darker white oaks and agree with brighter tones. It will also be a better match with red oak because green is the complementary color of red.

That means green sits on the opposite side of red on a traditional color wheel, and this contrast will look intentional rather than messy. But green is also less flexible than blue. Interior designs are less likely to use green unless the specific aim is to imitate or emphasize nature. 

Can you have wood floors with wood cabinets?

Kitchen in new construction home with wooden floor and wooden cabinets

It is rarely ideal for matching any pair of things to be completely identical because it causes redundancy. This may seem especially true when you are working with natural wood because the interior design opportunities will become very limited.

However, it is still possible to use wood floors with wood cabinets. There are certain styles that actually welcome a lot of natural wood in the scene, such as cottages and other rustic designs. Either way, wood can be more flexible than it appears.

Oak wood has many colors, but you can also stain the wood floors or cabinets. This refers to a surface layer that can drastically change the color of the wood. Wood stain doesn’t only coat the surface of the wood, but it soaks deep into the fibers.

Stain can also contain other elements that will protect the wood. This opens up many possibilities, which can either emphasize or subdue the impact of having so much natural wood in the kitchen.

Are wood kitchen cabinets out of style?

Because wood is so versatile, it is common for wood kitchen cabinets to remain in style. They can be stained to appear either more or less natural. As such, it is the wood stains themselves that can change trends from one year to the next.

You can read the post How To Blend Stain On A Hardwood Floor to learn how to create a specific look.

Click here to find this weathered gray wood stain on Amazon.

Should cabinets be lighter or darker than floors?

Generally speaking, most rooms are designed so that the floors are darker than anything above them. This includes cabinets, which can often take up an overwhelming amount of space in the kitchen.

Therefore, it is common for cabinets to be lighter than the floors. This makes the room feel grounded, getting brighter as you design upwards to the ceiling.

However, you should always satisfy your own personal preferences when you style. Cabinets can potentially be either lighter or darker than the floors. Darker cabinets will make them pop when they sit on lighter floors.

It is usually best to keep neighboring fixtures and décor around two to three shades apart, whether they are lighter or darker. You can read the post Should Wood Floors Be Lighter Or Darker Than Cabinets? for further details.

In closing

Oak floors can sometimes be the cheapest hardwood flooring, but all hardwood floors are expensive. So, it is best to plan ahead before installing oak floors. This includes finding the ideal colors for your kitchen cabinets so that no restyling will be necessary afterward.

Different color cabinets have unique effects on oak floors, shifting focus and greatly changing the room’s overall style. It is important to understand how to work with the appearance and temperature of oak wood floors.

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