top of page

Modern Kitchen With Oak Cabinets - A Visual Feast

I know some people would disagree with this, but I think the kitchen is the heart of every home. The choice of cabinets can significantly impact its overall aesthetic making it look awesome, modern, and fine — or instead like your grandma's house from the 18th century.

While oak cabinets may evoke images of traditional or dated kitchens, believe me, it's entirely possible to transform them into a modern and stylish focal point.

modern oak cabinets

Here, I will delve into many key topics that will help you create a modern kitchen with oak cabinets. From easy DIY updates to embracing the natural beauty of honey oak, I have you covered. Let's dive in!

Table of Contents:

How to Make Oak Kitchen Cabinets Look Modern

Updating the look of your oak cabinets to achieve a modern vibe doesn't have to be a daunting task. Here are some effective and straightforward tips to consider:

a. Choose the Right Color Palette: I would recommend opting for a modern color scheme that complements your oak cabinets. Consider light neutrals, such as white, gray, or taupe, for the walls and countertops to create a clean and contemporary backdrop.

b. Sleek Hardware: I love this one, minimal, cheap and can change everything. Outdated cabinet hardware with sleek and minimalistic handles or knobs can instantly modernize the look. Choose finishes like brushed nickel, matte black, or stainless steel for a sophisticated touch.

c. Refresh with Paint: If you prefer a bold statement or if your oak cabinets are in need of a complete transformation, consider painting them. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, contact a professional painter, it's not as expensive as you think. Crisp white, deep charcoal, or even navy can lend a modern edge while maintaining the warmth and character of natural oak.

6 Modern Kitchen Oak Cabinets

Believe it or not, even as a professional painter, I've been scratching my head trying to find the perfect paint color for the walls around my natural oak cabinets at home. And you know who I'm gonna blame for this challenge? Yup, my wife! Can't she make it easy for me? haha. I'm joking.

Choosing the right paint color for the walls around your natural oak cabinets can be quite challenging.

After chatting with a professional interior designer, I discovered that certain natural wood tones, especially on prominent features like cabinetry, can make a room feel excessively yellow or orange.

To strike a balance and avoid overwhelming warmth, you need to find a complementary color that wouldn't compete with the wood.

So, to make your life easier, I compiled a two-part list. One part consists of colors that work well, while the other includes colors to avoid. To my surprise, the latter category even provided specific shade suggestions.

1- Blue Oak Cabinets:

Modern kitchen with Blue Oak Cabinets

Blue oak cabinets are a modern take on the classic oak style. They add a pop of color and a sleekness that lend a modern touch to your kitchen while still retaining the warmth of oak. Blue oak cabinets are a statement piece that can be paired with neutral-colored walls and countertops.

2- Green Oak Cabinets:

Modern kitchen with Green Oak Cabinets

Green oak cabinets create a fresh, natural ambiance that is sure to energize your kitchen. This shade of oak is perfect if you're looking to have a unique kitchen with a pop of color that still blends well with most countertops and walls.

3- Gray Oak Cabinets:

Modern kitchen with Gray Oak Cabinets

Gray oak cabinets are sleek and sophisticated. They provide a modern and upscale look while still maintaining the natural beauty of oak. Gray oak cabinets pair well with metallic accents for a modern and industrial look.

4- Golden Oak Cabinets:

modern kitchen with golden oak cabinets

Golden oak cabinets add warmth to your kitchen, thanks to their rich amber tones. They go well with neutral-toned countertops and walls, creating a cozy atmosphere. Some homeowners also choose to match their golden oak cabinetry with equally warm or neutral-colored appliances for a seamless look.

5- Oak Wood Cabinets:

Modern kitchen with Oak Wood cabinets

Oak wood cabinets carry a natural, earthy design that brings warmth and character to a modern kitchen. Their natural wood grain patterns are often so beautiful that homeowners opt to leave them in their natural state without paint or stain.

6- Beige Oak Cabinets:

Modern kitchen with Beige Oak Cabinets

Beige oak cabinets are a great choice if you are looking for a more subtle color. They provide a light, natural look to your kitchen while still maintaining the warmth that oak is known for. Beige oak cabinet doors will complement any décor, from a minimalist modern design to a classic farmhouse-style kitchen.

Honey Oak Modern Kitchen with Oak Cabinets: Timeless Charm

Honey oak cabinets as one of my son's favorites, with their warm and golden hue, can effortlessly blend with a modern kitchen aesthetic. Below I will list some ideas to embrace their unique charm:

honey oak modern kitchen with oak cabinets

a. Contrast with Dark Accents: Complement the honey oak cabinets by incorporating sleek and dark accents such as white or dark gray countertops, stainless steel appliances, or matte black light fixtures. This contrast adds depth and modernizes the overall look.

b. Statement Backsplash: Choose a bold and eye-catching backsplash to draw attention away from the cabinets and toward a modern design element. Opt for mosaic tiles, geometric patterns, or even a metallic finish to create a focal point in your kitchen.

c. Open Shelving: Remove a few cabinet doors to incorporate open shelving. This will break up the bulk of the oak cabinets and allow you to showcase stylish and modern kitchenware or unique decorative pieces.

Inspiring Kitchen Ideas with Oak Cabinets

Oak cabinets have been a go-to for years because they're timeless and virtually indestructible, but that doesn't mean your kitchen has to be stuck in the past. I gave you a ton of ideas already, but here are some more inspirations:

Updating Oak Cabinets:

Consider these ideas to breathe new life into your space:

  • Refinishing: If your oak cabinets are in good condition, a simple refinishing can give them a modern look. Choose a lighter stain or a trendy paint color to create a fresh and updated appearance.

  • Hardware: Swapping out the old cabinet hardware for sleek and contemporary options can instantly update the look of your kitchen. Opt for brushed nickel or matte black handles to add a touch of sophistication.

  • Open Shelving: Replace a few upper cabinet doors with open shelving to showcase your favorite dishes and accessories. This not only adds visual interest but also creates an airy and open atmosphere.

Kitchen Designs with Oak Cabinets:

When designing your kitchen with oak cabinets, it's important to find a balance between showcasing the natural warmth of the wood and incorporating complementary elements as I already mentioned before, but here are some other ideas:

  • Contrasting Colors: Pair your oak cabinets with a contrasting color palette to create visual interest. Lighter shades, such as pale blue or soft gray, can help brighten up the space and highlight the oak's grain.

  • Modern Accessories: Bring a contemporary touch to your kitchen by incorporating modern accessories. Stainless steel appliances, sleek pendant lights, and minimalistic bar stools can create a stylish contrast against the traditional oak cabinets.

  • Natural Elements: Personally, I feel this one is the most important one. Incorporating natural elements into your kitchen design, go out and find something that add that personal touch that describes your personality, or tells something about your life story. In my case, I have some ferns in a couple of corners of the kitchen that used to be my mom's favorite plant. Another element you can consider adding is a stone backsplash, granite countertops, or a wooden farmhouse table to complement the warmth of your oak cabinets.

Kitchens with Dark Oak Cabinets

Dark oak cabinets... my most requested, and my least favorite ones... these guys can add drama and sophistication to your kitchen if that's what you are looking for. Here are some ideas:

  • Light and Bright: Offset the darkness of the cabinets by incorporating light-colored countertops, backsplashes, and flooring. This contrast will create a striking visual effect and prevent the space from feeling too heavy.

  • Bold Accents: Inject personality into your kitchen by incorporating bold accents. Consider vibrant wall colors, patterned tiles, or colorful kitchen accessories to create a lively and energetic atmosphere.

  • Open Concept: Dark oak cabinets can work exceptionally well in open concept kitchens. Pairing them with light-colored walls and ample natural light creates a beautiful contrast and prevents the space from feeling closed off.

9 Kitchen Paint Colors That Go With Oak Cabinets

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, honey oak is a common choice known for its yellow and orange undertones. However, if not styled properly, this color can give a room a dated look. To avoid this, you can either select a paint color that complements the honey oak or one that contrasts it. Here I'm gonna give you seven tips to help you choose the right color for your oak cabinets.

  • Warm colors: Embrace the yellows and oranges in oak cabinets by using warm colors. These hues complement the warm tones of the wood, creating a rich and cozy atmosphere.

  • Neutral, cool colors: If you prefer a lighter and more modern look, balance the warm tones of the oak cabinets with neutral and cool colors. These shades help create a sense of lightness in the space.

  • Colors to avoid: Stay away from pure red, yellow, or orange tones as they can intensify the warmth of the oak cabinets too much. Similarly, bright blues or greens may clash with the cabinets, rather than neutralizing them.

  • Natural light: Take advantage of natural light by using darker colors that can be complemented by ample sunlight. Consider contrasting oak cabinets with deep blues or rich, earthy greens.

  • Artificial light: Artificial lighting can enhance the yellow tones in oak cabinets and should generally be avoided, regardless of the chosen paint color.

  • Sample testing: Before committing to a paint color, order peel and stick samples. These samples allow you to see how the colors will look without leaving any permanent marks on your walls.

  • Light reflective value (LRV): Consider the light reflective value of the paint colors. Colors closer to 100% reflect maximum light and can help brighten up your oak cabinet kitchen. Conversely, black has a 0% LRV as it doesn't reflect any light.

Repose Gray for Oak Cabinets

I find that Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray is a soothing and light warm gray color that pairs nicely with oak cabinets. It offers a contrasting tone that prevents the yellow and orange hues from overwhelming the room. This adaptable and calming neutral shade also matches well with countertops that have gray veining, resulting in a pleasing aesthetic.

Rainwashed for Oak Cabinets

I recommend adding a light and airy blue-green color to your kitchen to give it a fresh look. This color beautifully pairs with oak cabinets and creates a captivating contrast to the warm yellow tones. It brings a serene and modern vibe to the space. Just imagine brewing coffee in this peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by the cozy charm of your wood cabinets.

Accessible Beige for Oak Cabinets

If you're looking to create a cozier atmosphere in your kitchen, I suggest considering Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige in combination with your oak cabinets. This warm beige shade, with a hint of gray, resembles natural clay and complements earthy colors beautifully. To enhance the natural beauty of your oak cabinets, you can incorporate accents in sage green or terracotta red.

Decorator's White for Oak Cabinets

I recommend considering Benjamin Moore Decorator's White for a perfectly balanced shade of white that is neither too cool nor warm. This versatile hue works well as a backdrop for both tranquil and vibrant spaces. Its reflective properties also enhance the beautiful golden honey tones of oak, adding to the overall appeal.

Kilim Beige for Oak Cabinets

To enhance the warmth of honey oak cabinets, I recommend Sherwin-Williams Kilim Beige. This shade, with its subtle pink undertones, brings out the depth of the wood and adds a welcoming and softer touch.

Spruce Best Home Cosmic Sapphire Blue for Oak Cabinets

After speaking with many interior decorating experts, I can highly recommend The Spruce Best Home Cosmic Sapphire for pairing vibrant blues with natural wood tones. This gorgeous shade, with its subtle charcoal undertone, provides a contemporary twist on traditional navy blue hues.

Silver Gray for Oak Cabinets

If you prefer to steer clear of the warmth associated with oak cabinets, try Benjamin Moore Silver Gray for a light and airy aesthetic. This mesmerizing blue-green gray pairs well with cool elements, such as white countertops, and can be warmed up with brass fixtures for added character.

Evergreen Fog for Oak Cabinets

I suggest Sherwin-Williams Evergreen Fog for achieving a vintage-inspired, moody look. This stunning green paint, with its hints of blue and green, complements oak cabinets flawlessly. Pair it with slate blue accents and marble countertops to enhance its nostalgic charm.

Farrow and Ball Down Pipe for Oak Cabinets

Show your dark side with Farrow and Ball Down Pipe, a decadent shade of charcoal. This rich gray works well with a variety of contrasting materials, especially those with light and bright finishes. Picture a dark charcoal wall paired with oak wood cabinets in a honey tone, finished with brushed brass hardware.

As someone who works updating oak cabinets almost every day, I can easily say that you can transform your kitchen into a modern, inviting, and stylish space while still honoring the charm of oak.


Are oak cabinets coming back in style in 2024?

Guess what? Wood is officially back as a top cabinetry trend of 2024. Homeowners are loving the natural finish and textured look but adding a modern twist to it.

What color kitchen goes with oak cabinets?

What color hardware looks best with oak cabinets?

What countertop looks best with honey oak cabinets?

What backsplash goes with oak cabinets?

What color walls go best with oak kitchen?

How do I make my oak cabinets look modern?

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

May 07

Друже, як круто, що ти створив таку класну й актуальну тематику, зараз дуже важливо спілкуватися й обговорювати новини. З тим урахуванням, що новини стали все більше і більше переважати в нашому житті, то потрібно і читати їх на якісному новинному порталі. Це надасть доступ до перевіреної та актуальної інформації, я, наприклад, користуюся таким інформаційним порталом. Завдяки йому, я з легкістю дізнаюся всі новини, особливо локальні, такі як новини Дніпра, що дає мені більш якісне розуміння того, що саме відбувається в місті, а так само в регіоні. Таким чином, завдяки якісному новинному порталу, я завжди перебуваю в інформаційному ресурсі, що зі свого боку дає мені змогу бути об'єктивнішим до сприйняття новин і подій.

bottom of page