What Color Hardware Goes With Oak Cabinets?

Oak cabinets are a common and classic occurrence in homes. They are usually real wood, durable, and all-around excellent cabinets in terms of function. However, these cabinets can also look outdated, especially when paired with their original hardware, ranging from solid white plastic to a shiny gold finish. But what color hardware is going to make your cabinets look modern? We’ve put together some hardware colors that will look fantastic with your oak cabinets.

When selecting hardware for your oak cabinets, these colors and finishes are going to have the best impact:

  • Black
  • Silver and Nickel
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze

We’re going to walk you through these color options, as well as other ways you can help your oak cabinets look more current. A simple hardware change can bring your oak cabinets up to date.

A bright modern kitchen interior with wooden cabinets, What Color Hardware Goes With Oak Cabinets?

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Hardware For Oak Cabinets

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Modern kitchen with hardwood cabinetry

Let’s start by understanding what color is oak wood cabinetry. Oak cabinets, also known as Honey Oak, are characterized by their gold or yellow undertones and distinct wood grain pattern. These cabinets were made popular in the 1980s through the 1990s and are known for being a strong and heavy material, which is why they are often updated as opposed to being replaced, as long as they are in good condition.


Large kitchen in luxury home

Black hardware is sleek and modern, and it also provides a much-needed contrast for golden oak cabinets. The dark shade distracts from what may look like outdated cabinetry. Black hardware will also complement most countertops and updated appliances.

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Silver And Nickel

Beautiful kitchen in a modern apartment with oak fitted cupboards and drawers and cream coloured granite work top

Silver, or other similar shades like brushed nickel, are a softer contrast that will suit almost all decor styles. This is a neutral finish that won’t bring more warmth to your cabinets most of the time. When trying to even out the yellow undertones, you may want to avoid silver finishes that mirror or reflect. These can easily take on the color of the cabinets in the reflection, only adding to the warmth in the room.

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Oil Rubbed Bronze

Oil rubbed bronze cabinet knob in a luxury home

Oil-rubbed bronze hardware is the perfect balance between black and brown. In some lighting, this may look black, but in the light, it will reflect a dark bronze shine. This is one of the times a warmer finish will work with oak cabinets. Since the bronze is subtle, it won’t muddy the look of the room with too much warmth.

This hardware also looks high-end and heavier, making it well suited for more traditional styled homes than modern or contemporary.

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How do I update my oak kitchen cabinets?

Despite most being around 30 years old, oak cabinetry is likely to still be in great condition if they’ve been cared for. That’s why, even though it can be a dated look, it’s worth it to attempt updating your oak cabinets before buying new ones. 


New home kitchen interior

The quickest way to update your oak cabinets is by changing out the old hardware for something more modern. If your cabinets are from the 1990s and have the original knobs, they may be either white plastic or white ceramic with a type of floral pattern.

This hardware will date your cabinets and should be removed if you’re looking for a more current style. You may also want to change out any gold or orange/brass hardware, as it brings out the yellow undertones in the oak and can be too much warmth.

Not only are there great color choices for hardware that will contrast the yellow undertones of your oak cabinets, but there are also tons of styles to choose from that will help to update them as well. Simple bar pulls are popular, as opposed to the old round knobs. You can also try more ornate handles and knobs in solid black for subtle elegance. 


Bright modern kitchen

One of the defining features of oak cabinets is the distinctive grain pattern in the wood. This reminds you that the cabinets are real, solid wood instead of something artificial. Staining your cabinets allows you to change the color of the wood without losing that important quality.

This is a harder project that requires sanding all of your cabinets first. However, the results will be gorgeous. You can choose to stain your cabinets darker, with a brown or even red undertone to make them look sleek and classy. Or you can sand them down and use a grey tinted stain for a more rustic look.


Modern kitchen with large island, stainless steel appliances, dark cabinets, tile floor, granite counters, bar stools, tiled backsplash in showcase condition

For a complete color change, paint is certainly the way to go. Most consider white the perfect color to update oak cabinets, but you have endless options. Black will hide oak cabinets completely. Or you can keep some of your oak cabinets by only painting the bottom cabinets white or another color and leaving the top cabinets natural.

How much does it cost to replace cabinet hardware?

Replacing the hardware on your cabinets is the easiest and least expensive way to update your kitchen. Although cabinet hardware does vary in price based on the material and style of handles, knobs, and hinges, you can expect to spend less than $100 but can keep it as low as $50 depending on the size of your kitchen.

A standard kitchen needs roughly 20 handles or knobs for both doors and drawers. Looking at more modern hardware, black handles would be a popular choice. You can get a pack of 30 for less than a dollar a handle, including the bolts to attach the handles.

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To match this hardware, you can get a 20 pack of hinges; this would work for 10 cabinets, for just over a dollar apiece. So you can update this hardware for around $50 depending on the number of cabinets and drawers your kitchen has.

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Can you refinish cabinet hardware?

Close-up of a kitchen cabinet door knob in wood

Although factory-finished hardware will be more durable than painted hardware, it is possible to refinish hardware and simple. The one thing to keep in mind is that if the hardware is being used frequently or in areas of the home with water exposure, like the bathroom or cabinets around the kitchen sink, purchasing new hardware will prevent premature scrapes and peeling of paint. To get the smoothest finish, spray paint is going to be your best bet. 

Step 1: Sand And Clean

Sanding your hardware first is going to provide the best surface for the paint to adhere to. Not only will sanding the pieces get rid of any rough edges or chipped paint, but it will also create a slightly textured surface perfect for a new coat of paint.

Once you have sanded the hardware, make sure to scrub the piece completely clean to remove any loose paint, dust, and particles that will hinder a smooth finish.

Step 2: Prime

Since handles and hinges tend to get a good bit of use, using a primer is going to be the first step in ensuring a long-lasting finish. Choose a primer that is made for the material you are painting. So when refinishing metal hardware, use a primer created to aid in helping the paint stick to metals.

When applying the primer, and any other spray paint, keep the coats thin and light. It’s better to do multiple thin layers for coverage than trying to do one coat and ending up with paint drips.

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Step 3: Paint And Seal

Whether you are looking for flat black or a brass finish, spray paint comes in almost any finish you could want. Again, it’s important to keep the coats thin and allow them to dry in between passes. Once you’ve got the desired finish on your hardware, seal the paint job with a protective barrier as your final step in creating a long-lasting result.

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Do cabinet hinges need to match knobs?

Most likely, yes, your cabinet knobs and hinges will need to match. The only time this wouldn’t be necessary is if your hinges will not be exposed. However, most cabinet layouts will have hinge visibility, so having matching finishes on hinges and knobs is going to provide the most cohesive look.

In Closing

It’s easy to label oak cabinets as outdated, and out of style; however, a simple hardware change can make all the difference in styling these classic cabinets.

Looking for more ways to take advantage of your oak cabinets? Check out these posts:

What Color Backsplash Goes With Oak Cabinets?

How To Restore Oak Cabinets [5 Steps]


What color hardware looks good on brown cabinets?

Silver, brass, and black are all great choices for hardware on brown cabinets. Alternatively, you can mix and match metals for a more eclectic look.

What color goes well with brown cabinets?

When pairing colors with brown cabinets, there are many options. Neutral colors such as white, beige, cream, taupe, and gray are classic choices that will help keep the space light and airy. To make this look more bold, you may want to add accent colors such as navy blue, emerald green, or deep red.

What color should kitchen cabinet handles be?

Kitchen cabinet handles can be any color that complements the kitchen’s overall design. Popular colors include silver, stainless steel, black, white, and bronze.

What color knobs look best on wood cabinets?

Style and color matter when it comes to wood cabinets. Some popular choices are brass, chrome, pewter, and black knobs.

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