11 Modern Kitchens With Oak Cabinets

Oak cabinets were all the rage for their durability and affordability, and though they’re not the go-to choice these days, they haven’t completely lost their charm.

11 Modern Kitchens With Oak Cabinets - 11 Modern Kitchens With Oak Cabinets

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With creativity, these timeless classics can find a new life in a modern kitchen setting. So, don’t write them off just yet—there’s still plenty of room for oak in a contemporary home!

Looking for some ideas? Check out these 11 modern kitchens that beautifully showcase how oak cabinets enhance various designs.

1. Keep A Neutral Color Palette

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Close-up view of the kitchen interior with cabinet, having open shelves, wooden drawers of different sizes, white worktop and walls. Concept of modern house design.

To easily modernize your kitchen, start with a neutral color scheme. Light bases like white walls or light countertops make decorating easier and blend well with any cabinet stain.

Opt for a dark brown stain on oak cabinets for a cosmopolitan look, or choose light neutrals for a brighter, more spacious feel, especially in smaller or naturally lit areas. This approach keeps things flexible and stylish.

2. Stain Or Paint The Cabinets

A handyman paints a fresh coat of varnish on the surface of a base kitchen cabinet with a medium sized brush. Home renovation or finishing works.

Another way to modernize oak is by staining or painting it in either dark or light-neutral colors.

Simple updates like painting the cabinets and replacing the handles can instantly refresh its style, making them blend seamlessly with various aesthetics.

Read: What Color Floor Goes With Oak Cabinets?

3. Choose A Sleek Design

Kitchen with oak cabinetry

Bulky and arched oak cabinets are no longer in style. Sleek, flat, and straight lines are more fashionable these days, and they seem to be gaining traction among many design circles. 

If you want to transform your kitchen but are not willing to let go of oak, at least choose cabinets that have a subtle and flat form, ones that look almost like they’re part of the wall. 

The straight lines will make the space more polished, and it will be more visually appealing as it makes the kitchen look wider. 

4. Utilize Light Fixtures

Kitchen with oak wood cabinetry and granite counter

Lean into the rustic appeal of oak and utilize warm lighting around your kitchen area. Adding under cabinet lighting and sleek light fixtures will make your space more elegant, as well as dramatically modernize it. 

These lights improve the ambiance and make the kitchen more inviting, especially at night. So, if you can, look for eye-catching, geometric fixtures to add a modern touch while maintaining a warm feel.

5. Introduce Natural Elements

Kitchen area with the room corner, table and panoramic window. Wooden lining in the niche of cabinet and on pedestal. White interior with black chairs and ovens. Concrete flooring.

Just because you’re trying to modernize your kitchen space using oak cabinets doesn’t mean the kitchen should be devoid of anything related to nature.

Natural elements like rattan baskets, wooden boxes, and indoor plants complement a modern farmhouse-style kitchen, which offers a softer, more toned-down alternative to a cosmopolitan kitchen space.

This is ideal if you want to add more character to your kitchen space and make it cozier. Oak cabinets already have that warmth, especially if you coat them in a light wood stain. 

6. Mix With Other Wood

red wood kitchen white kitchen bench modern interior decoration

Mixing different wood tones can better emphasize the different qualities of other elements in the kitchen. For example, maple floating shelves will add dimension to the space when placed next to oak cabinets.

The textures will add character and uniqueness to the room, so make sure you strategically place knotted wood in various areas of the kitchen.

Of course, you still need to make sure that their stains will make your interior visually cohesive. 

7. Lean Into The Wooden Texture

Kitchen in luxury home with cherry wood cabinetry

Your kitchen can still look modern with rustic oak cabinets by adding sleek countertops, geometric light fixtures, brass knobs, and nickel or chrome hardware.

If you already have a neutral-colored base with the backsplash, walls, and countertops, the wooden texture of oak cabinets will give the kitchen a unique visual contrast.

Of course, the cabinets should still be sleek, and the color should at least be a muted brown so it won’t look lost amidst your modern interior. 

8. Build An Open-Cabinet Concept

Scandinavian white kitchen, minimalistic interior design

Open-cabinet concepts are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they are also more functional and space-saving—the qualities that truly make a modern kitchen interior.

This is ideal if you don’t have a lot of space to work with, and even the swing of a cabinet door can cramp up the space.

The open-cabinet concept can make your interior feel airier, but you need to pay close attention to your organizational method: you wouldn’t want it to be messy when it’s open for everyone to see. 

9. Match With Dark Countertops

Concrete wall kitchen corner with a wooden floor and dark purple countertops.

Nothing screams “cosmopolitan” better than dark-colored countertops. These dark, neutral colors can blend into almost any kitchen interior.

You can highlight their sleek look with some smart lighting or give your space a farmhouse vibe with a few country-style decorations like burlap curtains, vintage ceramics, and rattan baskets.

However, if you prefer a cleaner, more minimalist look, just keep things simple with essential appliances in grey or black.

Read: What Color Island Goes With Oak Cabinets?

10. Choose contrasting Colors

Modern minimalistic kitchen with classic wooden fittings, carpet and panoramic window, dark gray architecture interior design

Contrasting colors can instantly modernize a kitchen space, but make sure you have a neutral base to work with. This will make choosing colors easier, and you’ll have a cohesive look that won’t make the eyes hurt. 

Dark-stained oak wood will pair beautifully with black appliances and fixtures; the colors will not look mismatched or lost in one another. 

The light neutral base ties up the play of colors neatly, allowing for a more aesthetically versatile interior.

11. Incorporate Earthy Colors

A square shaped green kitchen with cream colored cabinets in a new construction home with granite countertops and lots of cabinets and storage space with an island a sink

Earthy colors will naturally fit in with oak wood, but you can still have a modern appeal by incorporating geometric shapes and straight lines in the interior. 

The earthy colors will soften the interior and make it look more refreshing, and they can still look modern if you strategically incorporate sleek lines on the most dominant parts of your kitchen space. 

Final Thoughts

Modernizing classic and vintage pieces requires ingenuity and innovativeness, but this process can be easier if you have a solid vision of what you want your kitchen to look like. 

Make sure the interior fits your preferences and lifestyle. Above all, it should be functional and elevate your daily routines—which is what modernizing really is all about. 

11 Modern Kitchens With Oak Cabinets
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