Oak cabinets are a popular choice in kitchens because they are durable and long-lasting. Oakwood features an attractive and uniform grain that is neither too obvious nor too subtle, providing just the right amount of interest in a room to make it feel alluring without being overwhelming.
Oak is a naturally warm wood with various brown, yellow, and orange undertones. When used in kitchens, oak cabinets create a welcoming and cozy space that is perfect in a range of decor styles.
Choosing oak cabinets might be an easy choice, but finding flooring that goes with them may not feel like such a simple task. Here we cover the best floor colors that go with oak cabinets to help guide you toward the right flooring choice for your kitchen.
To understand which color flooring will work best with your oak cabinets, you will first need to define which shade of oak you have in your kitchen. Oakwood can be sourced from different types of oak trees, which will have a naturally different colored grain, and many oak cabinets are also finished with a stain that can alter the resulting shade of the oak.
Use this color guide to decipher which type of oak your cabinets are:
White oak has a dark, creamy colored finish with yellow and brown undertones. This is the palest shade of oak.
Medium oak is a warm, mid-brown color. It has orange and brown tones, with mild brown grain running through it.
Honey oak takes a more obvious orange color, which is achieved through the use of a popular honey-colored stain.
Red oak has naturally occurring red tones, which are sometimes emphasized by a red stain. This type of oak is usually medium to dark in terms of its shade.
Dark oak is the darkest type of oak cabinet you will typically find. It will have much more obvious deep brown grain running through it, with hints of pale brown also present.
Best Flooring Colors for Oak Cabinets
White shades of floors with oak cabinets will make for a simple yet sleek look. You could choose white-washed laminate flooring for a coastal look or high-shine white tiles for a more modern appeal. White floors can be a hassle to keep clean, but if you are happy to sweep and mop regularly, then this floor color will look pristine and glorious.
White provides a nice contrast against oak cabinets of any shade. Oakwood can come in a variety of shades depending on the type of oak tree they were sourced from and the color of the stain they are treated with. If you don’t feel comfortable choosing a ‘color’ to go with your oak cabinets, then white is a great option because it will work perfectly with absolutely any type of oak cabinet.
White floors with oak cabinets will work well in a small kitchen because the white will have the effect of making the floor look more extensive than it actually is. White reflects light, so paint your walls white as well for a fresh and airy feel.
When rooms are decorated in predominantly white, they look spacious and breezy, but white can also have the effect of making a space feel cold and clinical. By pairing oak cabinets with white flooring, you can be sure that this will not be the result in your kitchen, as oak cabinets have an intense warmth that will impact the white and also make it feel pleasant and inviting.
Beige is a very popular choice of floor color, and for a good reason. This is a neutral color that comes in an array of different shades, bringing a natural and earthy feel to a space.
Beige is a light color that can have the effect of brightening up a room, but it is much easier to keep clean compared with white flooring, which offers similar benefits.
A beige floor works nicely with oak cabinetry because they are alike in that they both have warm tones. Beige works as a good base in a kitchen, and it gives you the opportunity to use brighter or bolder colors in other parts of the room that would be easier to change.
Flooring is generally a large expense and a hassle to have fitted, so it isn’t a component of your home that you’ll want to change regularly.
Bearing this in mind, beige flooring and oak cabinets are a good long-term choice because they can work with many different colors, so if you want to change the style of your kitchen every few years, you can do so with less expensive and easier updates, for example by switching up the wall paint color or replacing the curtains and rugs.
If you want to go ahead with beige flooring, there are a multitude of options. Natural stone is a good choice because it offers durability and warmth that is unparalleled. Natural stone will typically need to be sealed every few years, so there is a maintenance element to consider, but in general, these are easy to keep clean and maintain.
To cut costs, you could choose a porcelain tile that replicates the look of stone or a vinyl floor covering in a stone look.
Due to the brown undertones in oak cabinets, brown flooring will go with them nicely. Many people worry about mixing and matching different wood finishes, but they can work together if they have similar tones but are a few shades lighter or darker than each other.
For example, if you have medium-dark oak cabinets with the brown grain running through them, you could coordinate this with a brown wood flooring that is intensely dark or a lighter brown wood flooring.
Brown flooring which does not have a wooden finish will work fabulously with oak cabinets, creating an earthy and natural base. Chocolate brown floor tiles in a glossy finish will look sleek and sophisticated, while matte brown vinyl will result in a more traditional style.
Some types of oak cabinets will have more of a yellow tone, while others can have red hues. Red flooring can work well with either of these, creating a palette that is autumnal and wholesome. For a bold and modern style, you could opt for striking red high-shine floor tiles, or for an organic feel, choose clay tiles in a red color such as terracotta.
Redwoods such as cherry or mahogany can work with oak cabinets, but this is a harder look to pull off. If you want to try this look, opt for dark redwood flooring with brown tones, and choose white oak cabinetry rather than red oak to avoid the two types of wood from competing with each other.
If you want to bring a modern style to your oak kitchen, then installing gray flooring is a simple way to achieve this. Gray floors of any kind will look cool and contemporary, so you have plenty of options in terms of the type of flooring surface.
Gray flooring will work best with oak cabinets when there is a good contrast. As oak cabinets typically tend to be a medium shade, choose either dark gray flooring or pale gray flooring to create a pleasing contrast.
Gray flooring can come in the form of tiles, laminate, stained hardwood, engineered wood, or vinyl, so if this is a color you are keen on, you will be able to find a flooring that suits your requirements and budget.
Dark gray flooring will work well in a large kitchen to help ground the space and make it feel cozier, whereas pale gray is a good option if you want to achieve a more easy-breezy style.
Remember that darker colored floors won’t show stains or scuff marks as easily and generally involve less maintenance to keep them looking nice, so this might be a consideration if you are very busy or have kids and pets.
Black floors can look harsh in some settings, but when laid in a kitchen with oak cabinets, they will look sophisticated and stylish.
The warm tones in the oak will balance out the intensity of black flooring and allow it to work in a variety of interior decor designs.
For a modern and industrial style, a black floor with oak cabinets can be used with a black marble countertop and a gray tile backsplash. Choose edgy hardware to promote the industrial theme in black or silver metal finishes.
For a sleek and elegant style, choose black quartz floor tiles with glints of silver or gold in them. This will help to create a more luxurious feel in the kitchen, which you can further encourage with a mirrored backsplash and metallic decor items.
Check out our article ‘ What Color Backsplash Goes with Oak Cabinets? ‘ to know to pair your oak cabinets and backsplash color palette.