Oak cabinets can differ in color, but irrelevant of their exact tone, they can be identified as a warm shade. This means that when it comes to choosing a backsplash, you will first want to decide if you want a backsplash that will contrast your cabinets and create a striking look or a backsplash which will blend in with your cabinets and create a sleek and seamless look.
Here we’ll look at a variety of backsplash colors that go well with oak cabinets
In This Article
What Color Are Oak Cabinets?
Before figuring out which color backsplash you want to put with your oak kitchen cabinets, you first need to understand which color your oak cabinets are. There are dozens of varieties of oak trees, but the two which are most commonly used in cabinet making are red oak and white oak.
White oak has a yellow to brown tone, while red oak has a slightly pink hue. The color of your oak cabinets will not only be affected by the type of oak tree they were made from but also the part of the tree. The color of oak tends to be paler the closer you get to the center of the trunk. As well as this, oak will change color as it ages.
If you have bought a house with old oak kitchen cabinets, then these may have developed to a rich amber shade over the years. You should also be aware that even if you purchase solid oak cabinets, they don’t necessarily need to be the natural color of oak.
This is because most cabinets will be stained during manufacturing to give them a different color or tone. You can even buy wooden kitchen cabinets which are not made of oak, but they can be stained with an oak coating that gives the appearance of oak.
Some popular oak stains include dark oak, natural oak, weathered oak, golden oak, honey oak, antique oak, light oak, medium oak, pickled oak, and red oak. From these stains, we can see that there can be a huge variety in color between different oak kitchen cabinets. Before you can decide upon a backsplash color that complements or contrasts your cabinets, you should narrow down the shade of your oak cabinets.
Typically oak will have tones of gold, orange, red, or brown. This means that oak is a predominantly warm shade which will make a kitchen feel homely and charming. Oak has been a longstanding popular choice of kitchen cabinets because it is a strong hardwood that is durable and can withstand heavy use for many years. It also brings a feeling of warmth to a kitchen, which for many families, is considered the heart of the home.
Best Color Backsplash for Oak Cabinets
A contrasting backsplash can be a feature in the kitchen, which adds interest and visual appeal. If the rest of your kitchen, as well as your kitchen cabinets, are a warm or neutral color, then a contrasting backsplash in a cool shade can help to balance out the energy and add a fresh vibe.
A backsplash that contrasts the cabinets will also bring a modern look to the kitchen. If you are trying to spruce up an old oak kitchen, then choosing a dark or vibrant cool color for the backsplash can really help to draw attention away from the cabinets and bring the focus to other parts of the room.
The best way to contrast oak cabinets is with a backsplash in a cool color. This can include blue, green, black, or cool shades of gray.
If you are going for a more traditional look in your kitchen, then a backsplash that blends in with your oak cabinets will be a better choice. A backsplash in similar tones to the cabinets will make for good continuity within the space and will give the kitchen an overall flawless look. This is also a good choice of backsplash if you want to showcase your oak cabinets.
A contrasting backsplash will draw the focus away from the cabinets themselves, while a backsplash that blends into the background will allow the oak cabinets to take center stage. The best colors to use to achieve a blending backsplash are colors that have similar tones to the oak cabinets. This will include beige, warm shades of off-white, brown, and orange.
Contrasting Backsplash Colors for Oak Cabinets
If you have oak cabinets with rich honey or amber tones, then blue is the perfect contrasting color for a backsplash because it is the opposite color to orange on a color wheel. This means that blue and orange tones bounce well off each other and create a contrast that is appealing to the eye.
For subtle contrast, choose a backsplash tile in a steel blue color, or for a more vibrant contrast, be bold with an azure blue backsplash. If you are trying to tone down the orange shades in your oak cabinets, then avoid blue because this contrast will only make the oak cabinets more vivid.
Green is a cool color that, when used along with oak cabinets, can make for a really refreshing atmosphere.
The tones in oak cabinets work perfectly with green as these colors are often side by side in nature. A pale or fresh green backsplash will create an invigorating mood, while a dark green backsplash with oak cabinets can look more traditional and country cottage style.
If you want to bring a modern feel to a kitchen with oak cabinets, then a gray backsplash is absolutely the way to go. Choose a cool shade of gray in a light shade for a casual vibe or a deep gray for a more dramatic, intense feel.
Gray is a good color choice for a backsplash if you want to tone down the rich tones in oak cabinets and make them look more subdued. Gray is a particularly nice backsplash color for brown shades of oak because it makes for a subtle, neutral contrast.
A black backsplash instantly brings an elegant and sophisticated look to a kitchen. Black is a neutral color, and so it works easily with any color of oak cabinets but will create the biggest contrast next to pale or golden shades of oak. If your oak has a dark brown hue, then a black backsplash could be too heavy and make for a depressing feel in the kitchen.
If you are concerned about a black backsplash making a kitchen feel too dark, be sure to choose a glossy finish such as marble or glass tiles because these will reflect light rather than absorb it and help to create a brighter feel in the room.
Blending Backsplash Colors for Oak Cabinets
Beige is a neutral color that has a lot in common with shades of oak cabinets. In fact, in some instances, oak cabinets themselves could be described as a beige color in the case of light oak and white oak. For this reason, beige is a good color choice for a backsplash if you want the cabinets to blend in.
For a stylish look, choose a shade of beige, which is at least one shade lighter or darker than your oak cabinets to avoid making the space look flat and undefined. Nice choices for beige backsplashes include natural stone tiles or beige mosaics.
Warm shades of off-white will create a classic look in an oak kitchen that is neutral and easy on the eye. For kitchens that have brown oak cabinets, an off-white backsplash will make for a contrast that is attractive without being too bold or overwhelming. Choose warm shades of off-white to match the warmth given off by oak cabinets and ensure a feeling of continuity.
Orange may seem like a bold color choice in a kitchen, but it is actually a color that can work really well to create a tonal and layered look in a room with oak cabinets. This is because many shades of oak will have distinct orange hues running through them. For a modern feel, choose a vibrant carrot shade of orange in glossy subway tiles, or to achieve a more traditional look, find a tile backsplash in a neutral orange shade, such as terracotta stone.
If your oak cabinets are heavily orange, then be sure to choose an orange backsplash in a darker or lighter shade to avoid a flat look.
Whether your oak cabinets are pale and yellow-tinted or dark and orange-tinted, you can be sure that a brown backsplash will work beautifully. This is a rich and warm color that will make a kitchen feel inviting and cozy.
If your cabinets are a brown color, then choose a lighter shade of brown for your backsplash, such as tan to add definition, or for lighter oak cabinets, opt for rich chocolate brown marble splashback tiles for a silky, elegant look in the kitchen. A brown backsplash with oak cabinets will always look timeless and classic.