The Best Paint Colors That Go With Oak Cabinets

The Best Paint Colors That Go With Oak Cabinets

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Oak cabinets are available in various hues and styles to complement any kitchen layout. We know that you may think, "Oak cabinets are out of style." But, they were fashionable in the 1990s and the early 2000s.

However, a minor update such as a fresh paint coat can modernize your kitchen. Likewise, your oak cabinetry can seem contemporary and complement your unique style if you use the right paint colors for your walls.

The challenge is choosing the best paint colors that go with oak cabinets. Consider the sort of oak you're working with, as well as its undertones and grain pattern, when choosing paint colors. Here you can learn more about wood undertones.

Additionally, consider the size of your kitchen and how much natural light it gets. Darker, more dramatic paint colors are used in larger, lighter spaces without making them feel cramped or crowded.

Lighter colors work well in smaller, darker areas, but you can still use deep hues if you mix them with brighter accents like white kitchen appliances or backsplashes or use them sparingly.

Become a color palette and interior design pro by signing up for one of the online courses below:

The Most Common Oak Wood

1. Classic Oak

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The traditional mid-tone appearance is one of the most widely used oak wood styles. However, depending on the style of classic oak trim you choose, yellow undertones may also be an option.

This oak hue is a mid-tone brown with discernible gray patterns and a soft undertone of red or orange. Pick a light color to brighten the mid-tone colors or something more neutral to emphasize the intensity of the undertones when choosing paint colors for high-end oak cabinets.

2. Dark Oak

Image Credits: Kylie M Interiors

Another common wood color in contemporary homes is dark oak. We recommend neutrals or lighter paint colors to help balance the area when selecting paint colors for dark oak. Furthermore, dark oak often has warmer undertones, making cool hues like blue and green excellent alternatives for painting if you want to update the appearance of your house.

3. White Oak

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White oak has a mellow, washed-out appearance. This wood tone complements warmer neutrals and darker-hued paint colors, making it one of the preferred types of oak wood for a modern aesthetic. A moodier paint hue is used to balance out the space. Choose paints with red or brown undertones.

4. Red Oak

Image Credits: HGTV

Many homeowners adore the redwood look. Red oak is more powerful than traditional oak and has a rosier undertone that helps warm up the appearance of a room. Pair it with cool-toned paints or neutrals to highlight red oak's subtly red undertones.

How to Choose the Right Paint Color for Oak Wood

Image Credits: Decorated Life

The good news is that oak kitchen cabinets can be enhanced and complemented by a wide range of paint colors. However, it would be best to consider whether to neutralize or contrast your oak cabinets when considering which colors look best for your home style.

A warmer color like orange or a creamy white might look lovely in your home next to your oak trim, but it might not go with modern or contemporary styles. However, greyish paints with blue or violet undertones may look fantastic in a modern home, but they might not be ideal for a warm environment.

You can also visit your local hardware store and take color swatch samples to assist you in making the best paint choice. The name of the paint is printed on the small cards that hold these swatches.

Please bring a few swatches home, and hang them on the walls or other painted surfaces. This will assist you in imagining the final product once you've decided on a paint color for your house.

Should I Contrast or Neutralize Oak Cabinets?

1. When to Neutralize

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Neutralizing your oak trim and cabinets is a fantastic choice when creating a calm, cozy atmosphere. Most oak woods have a honey tint, with certain variations as mentioned above.

This entails painting the adjacent walls or spaces with colors that precisely match your oak cabinets' warm, honey tones if you wish to neutralize them. Neutralizing allows your honey oak to blend in with the rest of your home while also giving warmth to the space. In addition, neutralizing is a simple technique to conceal your oak cabinets and trim.

The best paints for NeutralizING Oak Cabinets

Select neutral and beige-colored paints with the undertones below to neutralize your oak cabinets:

2. When to Accent

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Accenting can assist in highlighting the cabinets' undertones. Choose a paint color on the other side of the color wheel if you want to emphasize your oak cabinets. For instance, purple is a fantastic contrast if your wood has more yellow tones.

However, using purple paint could be too daring for your standard walls, so it's best to use one with purple undertones, such as Sherwin Williams' Worldly Gray.

Most effective paints for contrasting oak cabinets

It is preferable to pick colors with undertones on the opposite side of the color wheel if you want to stand out and complement the appearance of your oak cabinets. For instance, paint with blue undertones would be more suitable if your oak is more orange in color. Here is a deep dive into color undertones.

It would be best to choose paint with green undertones if your oak is more of a darker red or brown color. Grey is a generally good neutral color to contrast your oak wood because it has undertones of:

  • Taupe
  • Violet
  • Green
  • Blue

The Best Paint Colors That Go With Oak Cabinets

1. Blue

Image Credits: Pinterest

Oakwood looks best when it is accented with blue. Blue paint can dramatically affect your room and is most appropriate for traditional and dark oak. The ideal colors are lighter blues and whites with blue undertones.

On the other hand, when used sparingly, navy and darker blue tones can appear lovely with dark oak. Additionally, we recommend combining a mid-tone blue with classic oak when using it in a design.

A good example is Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray, a light blue-green paint hue with a gray undertone. It gives any room a coastal feel and complements oak and other wood tones, including rich mahogany.

2. Green

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Dark oak, white oak, and classic oak wood work well with washed-out greens, muted olive tones, and neutrals with green undertones. To modernize your house, use this lovely earthy color to give vitality and promote a lush, outdoorsy vibe.

Although we advise homeowners to experiment with velvety jewel and evergreen tones, muted and subdued greens typically look the best.

Benjamin Moore's Salamander paint certainly makes a statement in a kitchen, bedroom, or workplace. It's a very sad, dark green that improves the appearance of honey oak. So if you decide to paint those oak cabinets, it makes a gorgeous cabinet color and looks fantastic on walls! Here, you will find the best paint for kitchen cabinets for a fresh, shiny look.

3. Gray

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Oak wood can go well with both warm and cool grays. Cool grays are preferred for dark oak and red oak designs because they aid in balancing your color scheme. When picking cool gray paint, look for anything with a blue or purple undertone.

Warm grays that feature brown or red undertones work best with classic and white oak by making the kitchen appear cozier. A good example of a warm gray is Sherwin Williams' Repose Gray.

Next, try lightening it by 50% if you want a similar tone but a little lighter. Finally, try Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray, the next deeper shade on the color card, if you want greater saturation.

Warm bronze undertones in Agreeable Gray are a fantastic place to start if you want to match your honey oak with gray walls. Skyline Steel by Sherwin-Williams is also a good option. It is a warm light gray with more green undertones than Agreeable Gray and less green than Useful Gray.

So how much is a gallon of Sherwin Williams paint? Because it is my preferred paint choice.

4. Beige

Image Credits: Designing Idea

Beige is the ideal neutral for any oak wood type because it enables you to create a gentle backdrop for your oak cabinets. However, you might have to select a warmer or cooler beige tone depending on the type of wood you select.

Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan is a good example of a warm neutral beige paint color. Another gorgeous creamy beige that looks well with honey oak cabinets is Sherwin Williams Oyster Bar.

Benjamin Moore's Pale Oak is another wonderful soft taupe paint hue with a faint purple undertone. It pairs incredibly well with more orange-toned honey oak cabinets because of its undertone. Due to its warm beige color, it blends and masks some of the orange undertones in the oak cabinets.

5. Warm White

Image Credits: Decorated Life

The undertone of most natural oak is yellow. However, light oak cabinets provide a subtle contrast and a laid-back, casual ambiance when paired with soft colors like off-white, taupe, beige, or cream.

Benjamin Moore White Dove paint is a warm, almost greige-like white that gives walls warmth and complements orange-toned wood beautifully. It will appear white in areas with lots of natural light, but the slightly warmer, greige undertones will be more noticeable in darker spaces.

6. Teal

Image Credits: Megane 2

Combining your honey oak kitchen cabinets with a vivid shade of turquoise will give your room a lively, eclectic style that makes you grin every time you see it. Paint the walls, trim, and ceiling of your small galley kitchen the same color to give the impression that it is larger.

Benjamin Moore Pleasant Valley paint is a cold blue with hints of a warm green. It's a lovely transitional shade that complements warm wood tones beautifully. While no paint color will make your woodwork look less like stained wood, it will give it a softer, more harmonious appearance.

7. Pale Yellow

Image Credits: Pinterest

Dirty Martini by Sherwin Williams is more neutral than a genuine yellow since it is a gorgeous pale yellow with a drop of green and a drop of gray. Another option is Sherwin Williams' Polar Bear, a very pale yellow shade with a hint of gray. However, it's barely deeper than the Benjamin Moore White Dove on the walls.

8. Black

Image Credits: Pinterest

When selecting a color to go with wood cabinets, neutrals like black are a good choice. Use this color scheme in spaces that receive a lot of natural light so that it doesn't feel too dark or enclosed. In addition, here are 5 other ways to make your kitchen look larger.

9. Chocolate Brown

Image Credits: Pinterest

The natural wood grain of oak pairs wonderfully with earth tones like chocolate brown. The dark brown wall color accentuates the dark wood grain in the oak cabinets giving a spectacular and distinctive appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. What are the Paint Colors that Complement Honey Oak Wood Cabinets?

Some of the greatest paint colors for honey oak cabinets are those that embrace rather than strive to counterbalance the warm tones of the cabinets.

If you're trying to hide the orange undertone in your cabinets, you should look over to the opposite side of the color wheel and pick a paint shade with either a blue or a purple undertone.

2. How are Honey Oak cabinets Toned Down?

Image Credits: Designing Idea

Choose a color that contrasts from the opposite side of the color wheel. It will soften the orange cabinets if neutrals aren't your thing and you want to hide the orange-yellow tones in the honey oak.

Do you know why blonde hair-dyed women use blue or purple shampoo? The hair's brassy, orange, or yellow tones are less prominent thanks to the blue/purple. The same idea is at play here.

I do not advise painting your walls purple at this time. Purple is not and will never be a hue that looks good outside of a girl's room. However, you can utilize a purple-undertoned paint color.

You can soften the overall appearance of your cabinets, trim, or floors by utilizing hues opposite orange or yellow on the color wheel. I believe that blue-green paint colors blend best with oak, especially in kitchens where the cabinets have a lot of orange detail.

3. How Can I Determine the Undertone of My Wood?

Image Credits: Elite Hardwood Flooring

An undertone is the hint of color that comes from the raw wood. So, how do you determine which one yours has then? Some, like red oak, have it in the name, while for others, you might need to perform the squint test.

Compare it to some paint samples to see which one it most resembles. For example, the color of white oaks is light yellow. Birch and pine both have a somewhat pinkish undertone. Darker hues like mahogany and walnut will have undertones of red and orange.

4. Is Honey Oak Coming Back in Style?

Image Credits: Bob Vila

Regrettably, it is not. Honey oak had its heyday, and likely won't be making a comeback very soon, like many other items from the 1980s and 1990s. But that doesn't imply your house has to be trapped in the same era for all time just because honey oak is no longer the standard.

You can do things to update your home as stated above, regardless of whether your trim, cabinetry, or flooring is that lovely orange-yellow color.

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About the author

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.