Designing with Oak Cabinets

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After all these years, oak is still one of the most popular kitchen cabinet woods. Its bold, attractive grain and homey, honey colors make it a natural in country or style kitchens. Strong and durable, oak is a solid choice when building a kitchen that will last. But if you’re having trouble designing an oak kitchen that doesn’t look like a hunting lodge, we’ve got some tips to help get you out of the woods. 

Play With Textures

The grain of oak is very desirable. But when placed next to a slick white counter, glass-front cabinets, tile floor or decorative glass, the contrast in texture (and color) can make both pop. Even if your kitchen is heavy on oak cabinetry, a few smart choices in counters, backsplashes and flooring can open up the space and debulk your kitchen.

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Two-Tone Kitchens

These days, design isn’t all-or-nothing. So if you’re torn between two finishes, pick both. Mixed natural wood tones, grains and finishes pair well with white or painted cabinets to add a modern touch to a traditional bend. All-wood lowers and white uppers help elongate a room, which can feel boxed-in or heavy with too many dark upper wood cabinets. Contrasting hardware, counters and wall colors will help marry a two-tone look.

Can’t decide between woods? Why choose? The latest trends rebel against matchy-matchy designs and embrace mixed wood tones. Whether that manifests in mixed cabinet blocks or in wood floors or furniture of a different species — go for it! The contrast in wood tones will only enhance the beauty of each.

Lighten Up & Accessorize

Oak can trend dark, so keep the rest of the kitchen light. Light tiled floors or backsplashes, and of course light colored paints can contrast and enhance the oak patterning and make for a light and open space.

Painted Panels

Who says you can’t have a white kitchen in oak? Natural wood grain is lovely, but those who prefer a painted look will be happy to coat their cabinets in color or cream. Neutrals like white, grey, slate, cream or black look great on oak and will be timeless. Jewel tones are (of course) possible, too, and mixing and matching is definitely on-trend.

So when or if you tire of the natural look, don’ be afraid to remodel on a budget with a splash of paint! Paired with new hardware, a glass tile backsplash and new light fixtures, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to give your kitchen a second life without costing an arm and a leg.

Marsh Kitchen Design

Want to design your own kitchen in oak (or need some pointers for refreshing your look)? Marsh Kitchens designers can help you find the design that works best in your space.