Choosing Paint Colors that Go Well with Medium Oak and Honey Oak
Have you followed along on our ongoing 90s-era series? Then you know that of all the hallmarks of a 90s-style home, oak trim is one of the most common. So, how do you deal with it? You can certainly rip out any traces of oak and start fresh. But sometimes it’s better to work with what you have. We recommend looking for ways to enhance the beauty of oak and those 90s elements first. Paint is your best initial solution.
Wall paint can have a massive impact on a space and the cost is quite affordable. What paint colors go well with So, we’re dishing today on the best paint colors with oak trim, oak cabinets, oak flooring, (and how to use them). After all, you want a home that feels like a contemporary haven. And as long as you’re striking the right balance with your color selections, we guarantee you can live with that overwhelming oak. In fact, you may just come to love it.
Tip #1: Keep the Wall Color Cool
While oak, in general, can feel outdated, honey oak in particular tends to feel rooted in the 90s. Consider updating your wall color before you make any other changes. You’d be surprised what a difference it can make! Oak is warm through and through (think yellow and orange tones). So when selecting your wall color, you want to avoid using pink or purple undertones whenever possible. Instead, stick to cooler colors overall.
Of course, if you’re drawn to warmer hues in general, it isn’t a no-go. You can still go cooler while staying a little on the warm side. Think of grey, for instance. One of the most asked questions we get is “can I use grey paint with oak trim?” Well, there are endless shades of grey paint on the market. But no matter which one you choose, most are inherently “cool.” This is because grey colors have undertones of green, violet, or blue. BUT, there are some grey shades with a brown undertone that tend to be warmer.
So, to evoke the warmth you crave, simply go for a beige or grey paint color with brown undertones. Steer clear of beiges or greys with cool pink or blue undertones. This way, it will be the perfect balance for an oak-filled home. To get you started, grab our free guide on How to Choose Paint Colors with Confidence. It’ll give you all the steps you need to select the right shade for your oak-filled space.
A medium charcoal grey paint color with honey oak trim and floor is the perfect contrast as it sets the stage to bring out the warmth of the oak in a vibrant and purposeful way. / Source
Traditional fireplace in two shades of sage green with oak wood floors give this space a modern upgrade. Source
A soft and muted blue paint color paired with a charcoal grey paint color adds visual interest and cools off the orange tones in the oak floors. / Source
Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Think you can’t go for ultra-contemporary paint colors just because you need to “brighten up” your oak-filled home? Think again! Dark and saturated colors work like a charm with oak trim. And as long as they’re on the cool side, they give your home a direct splash of modern design. Just remember to avoid traditionally 90s-era paint colors that feel too earthy like burgundy, sage, and beige. Opt instead for blacks, greys, blues, and greens. They’ll give each room a dose of personality and pizzazz.
This charcoal paint color with honey oak floor feels ultra-contemporary, yet the cooler tones work perfectly in contrast to the yellow/orange tones of the floor. / Source
A deep navy (Farrow and Ball Inchyra Blue) feels fresh and anchors this breakfast nook visually. The cool tones in the paint color balance out the creamy white and honey oak nicely. / Source
Benjamin Moore Backwoods is the perfect saturated green to use with oak. As long as it’s balanced out with white/bright walls and a few key oak elements peeking through, it will feel modern, yet classic and earthy. / Source
A fresh and saturated navy blue paint color with oak floors and an oak desk in this bedroom works wonders. The blue adds a much-needed visual depth to the space. / Source
Tip #3: Always Contrast
When choosing the best kitchen paint colors to go with honey oak cabinets, contrast is essential. You can opt to go dark with a navy or black or to brighten up your oak with a crisp or creamy white or grey. Just make sure you choose a paint color that stands apart from that warmer wood. This will help to enhance its best features. The contrast makes a room feel balanced and visually interesting.
Creamy white walls with oak kitchen cabinets gives this 90s kitchen an instant upgrade with a coat of contrasting paint. / Source
Oak cabinets with a light grey wall color, charcoal grey tile, and updated hardware and fixtures feels fresh and contemporary. / Source
Keeping the original oak trim, this living room still feels contemporary thanks to a coat of creamy white paint on the walls and cabinetry. / Source
Bright white walls and honey oak floors in this breakfast nook creates a welcome contrast. / Source
Our Go-To Paint Colors
Got the inspiration you need to overhaul that 90s-era home? Ready to tackle it yourself, but not quite sure where to start? Go ahead and pin the image below. It’s our simple no-fuss roundup of our must have colors to complement even the warmest of oaks.
For more 90s-era home transformations, check out How to Work with Honey Oak Trim.
And, don’t forget to UNLOCK YOUR OWN DESIGN STYLE, with our fun and FREE QUIZ!
By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Carla Bast Design