What New Flooring Goes with 1990s Oak Cabinets?

Floor Ideas for Kitchens and Bathrooms with Oak Cabinets

90s honey oak kitchen with oak floors
Oak upon oak. Is this a version of your home?

Are you still rocking that 90s look in your home with oak wood cabinets but want a new modern look? Changing your flooring is a great option. Oak brings a warmth and authenticity to a home that my clients are still craving. If your oak cabinets are in good condition, why not keep them? You can achieve an updated fresh look by choosing a new color flooring that compliments any shade of oak.

So, let’s dive into my favorite updated flooring ideas for kitchens and bathrooms with oak cabinets!


Gray flooring brings a fresh color scheme to this medium-toned oak kitchen with new plank ceramic tiles. Source

RELATED: 9 Modern Kitchen Design Ideas with Honey Oak Cabinets

Let’s start by considering a few things before choosing a new floor:

1. Style of Your Kitchen

Traditional style cabinets (think raised panel or cathedral arched panel), work well with flooring that has a more classic look. More modern style oak cabinets, (shaker or flat paneled doors), coordinate best with a cleaner, sleeker looking floor.

Traditional Oak Kitchen of the 1990s to early 2000s. – Source

RELATED: The 10 Best White Paint Colors That Go With Oak

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Modern Flat Panel Cabinetry of the 1990s

2. Wood Tone and Color

Second thing to consider is the color and tone of your cabinets. Oak is a naturally warm wood and can have with variations of brown, yellow, or orange tones.

  • Medium oak cabinets allow a bit more flexibility when it comes to choosing a coordinating floor color. Choose a light-colored floor to brighten up the space and create more contrast or choose a very dark-colored floor to create a cozy and intimate feeling.
  • If your oak cabinets lean more towards brown, you can go with cool-toned floor colors or warm-toned floor colors. Keep reading on to see what I mean.
  • If you have golden oak or orangey oak tones such as “honey oak” stay away from the exact matching golden or orange toned flooring with oak cabinets. Choose flooring to go with honey oak cabinets by balancing the space with a cool-toned floor or a multi-toned floor with a hint of the cabinet color.
Traditional Style Honey Oak or Golden Oak Cabinet Door
Traditional Style Medium Oak Cabinet Door with Brown Tones

3. Countertop and Backsplash Color

Often, the countertop is the signature piece of the kitchen and establishes the color palette from which to choose your flooring and other elements. If you have a busy or colorful countertop or backsplash, you’ll want to keep the flooring a bit “quieter.” You’ll also want to consider the color(s) in the countertop as a main source of inspiration to tie your oak cabinets together with the new floor.

charcoal grey tile floor, honey oak cabinets and simple white subway tile pull from the palette of beautiful piece of granite
The large charcoal grey tile floor, honey oak cabinets and simple white subway backsplash tile all pull from the palette of the beautiful granite countertop. This creates a harmonious color scheme that doesn’t overwhelm.

RELATED: The Best Subway Tile Ideas and Inspiration for 2023

4. Cabinet Sheen

The fourth thing to keep in mind is the finish of your cabinets. High gloss cabinet finishes work well with cleaner looks. Stay away from floors with a lot of texture as it will make the space feel too busy. Cabinets with a more flat or matte finish have more flooring options to coordinate.

We’ve gone over the basics, now let’s take a look at some great flooring options!

Pin this for easy reference:

pinterest pin best new flooring with honey oak
How to Choose Flooring to go with Honey Oak Cabinets

Tile Floors with Oak Cabinets

One of the most popular flooring choices in homes of the 90s was ceramic tile. Tile is always a good choice, not only because of its durability, but also ease of maintenance. Ceramic tile or porcelain tile comes in a variety of colors and sizes which makes it easy to find a style that fits your desired aesthetic.

Contrast with Lighter or Darker Shades

A lovely contrast can occur when your floor is two to three shades darker or lighter than your cabinets.

You can create a bright and airy space by choosing light colors for your floors. Light wood colors or tones of white, cream, or light gray are particularly well-suited for kitchens with medium to darker oak cabinets; these muted tones serve as a perfect backdrop for the richer wood tones of your cabinets. At the same time, these light colors also help to create an overall sense of balance and harmony among all the different elements of your kitchen.

Update your flooring with oak cabinets-patterned light grey tiled floor with honey oak.

Light Grey Patterned Tile with Honey Oak Cabinets

The warm golden tones of lighter oak cabinets provide a beautiful backdrop for highlighting other elements in the room. And one of the best ways to take advantage of that lightness is to pair it with a darker floor. Choosing a dark grey or charcoal tile or wood can create an eye-catching contrast that really makes your cabinets pop. Not only does this give your space a bold and sophisticated overall aesthetic, but it also gives your kitchen a dramatic edge! Consider pairing those oak cabinets with a darker floor. You’ll love the results!

Adding color to your space is as simple as using accents like brightly colored kitchenware, art, and accessories. This will add an extra dimension of interest and personality.

new dark tile floor with honey oak cabinet

Large format charcoal colored tile gives Honey Oak cabinets a modern fresh look.

Go for a dark tile floor to contrast with light or honey oak cabinets. This sleek option is favorite and really updates the space. Colors like dark grey, charcoal, and black are great choices to keep the room neutral.

I love the look of a large format porcelain tile or ceramic tile in a dark charcoal color and contrasting lighter grout to tie in with some of the popular and busy 90s granite colors. The tile will provide contrast and add interest without overwhelming the space. If you choose medium to dark gray floors, you’ll want to use wall colors in the lighter shades.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Paint Colors the FIRST TIME!

saint cecilia granite with charcoal black tile floor and honey oak

St. Cecilia granite ties the honey oak and the dark floor together. The darker shade provides contrast to the oak cabinetry and creates a harmonious color palette with the granite.

RELATED: Ideas to Update Your 90s Home

Patterned or Textured tile

Adding some visual interest to the floor can help to break up the expanse of oak cabinets. Choose a patterned or textured tile like a hexagon tile, herringbone tile, or chevron tile.

New flooring with oak cabinets. Large-black-hexagon-kitchen-floor-tiles

Charcoal Grey Hexagon Tile with Light or White Oak Cabinets | Source

Wood Flooring for Kitchens with Oak Cabinets

For a fresh look, choose a floor with varying wood tones that will pull out the color tones of your oak cabinets or contrast them completely.

Light-colored hardwoods can help to create a feeling of openness and airiness. In addition, they pair well with most medium to dark cabinets.

light wood floor with dark brown oak cabinet

Light wood floors pair beautifully with modern slab-style dark oak cabinets. Here, a light maple floor breaks of the monotony of one wood tone throughout.

To update any style space, I love the look of a wide plank wood floor. The wood floor often used in the 90s was a narrow plank, wider plank flooring will give your kitchen a fresh new look.

Dark colors will give your kitchen a luxurious feeling. In addition, they also pair well with most lighter cabinet colors including honey oak cabinets or golden oak cabinets.

dark brown wide plank flooring with oak cabinets

Dark brown wide plank oak floors with Honey Oak cabinets.

Engineered wood flooring is typically a more budget-friendly option over solid hardwood, however still giving you the look without the expense.

Engineered wood is easier to install over solid hardwood floors and comes in a whole range of species, grades and finishes. Lastly, it’s important to note that most wider plank wood flooring options will be engineered wood floor vs. solid hardwood floor.

One of my favorite ways to update a kitchen floor with oak cabinets is to choose a white oak with an updated finish that brings in some of the warm tones of the cabinets.

new engineered wood floor and honey oak cabinets

Wide plank engineered wood flooring with warm honey tones brings the space together.

Modern Farmhouse Flooring with Oak Cabinets

If you’re looking to add a touch of rustic charm or modern farmhouse style to your oak kitchen, consider using a distressed engineered wood or wood-look flooring.

This style flooring comes in both vinyl planks and styles in engineered wood, making it easy to achieve the wide plank look that is so on-trend right now. Not only is this a popular look, but also the rustic nature hides dings and scratches better than a smooth or glossy floor.

I would not pair a wood look porcelain tile plank floor with oak cabinets. In my opinion, I don’t think they look realistic enough (with having grout lines), to be paired with a natural wood cabinet.

RELATED: How to Work with Your Honey Oak Kitchen and Trim

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring with Oak Cabinets

new lvp wood toned floor and honey oak cabinets

An LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) floor with warm color variations works beautifully when you tie in a little bit of the warmth of the cabinetry. In the same way, this multi-toned flooring can also be considered with Brazilian Cherry cabinets.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring with oak cabinets is an ideal choice as well. It has the appearance of real hardwood and offers an authentic, warm feel that many of my clients go for.

Luxury vinyl plank is easy to maintain and an excellent choice for busy families or homes with pets. It is a long-lasting floor that will stand the test of time. Laminate flooring offers similar looks with varying degrees of durability and moisture protection.

Luxury Vinyl Tile with Oak Cabinets

grey lvt tile with honey oak cabinets and grey subway tile

Light Grey Luxury Vinyl Tile with a natural stone patterned (LVT) and Honey Oak Kitchen Cabinets | Source

RELATED: Insider Tips on Luxury Vinyl Flooring

If you have oak cabinets in your bathroom, consider using LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) or LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank). Vinyl tile and plank flooring is a great waterproof option for bathrooms and comes in a wide variety of colors and styles. Don’t make the mistake of using laminate flooring thinking it is the same as vinyl tile or vinyl plank! They are two different products, and not all laminate flooring types are water-resistant.

lvt plank flooring with honey oak kitchen cabinets

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVT) with tones of grey and honey.

vinyl plank flooring with honey oak and grey paint

A quiet medium grey countertop creates a soft break between the wood look of the LVP and the honey oak cabinets. Alternatively, this color scheme could be used for gray cabinets!

Just like with natural wood flooring, you’ll want to pick a Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) that does one of two things:

  1. Contrast your oak cabinets in color or depth of tone. Go lighter, darker, or a completely different color such as grey for instance.
  2. Has a variegated look that ties in your oak cabinet color among its other wood tones.

Use a Color Wheel

Instead of the neutral colors I’ve shown throughout this post, perhaps you’d prefer a floor with a bit more going on. The best way to achieve a harmonious color palette with your oak is with complementary colors.

bright blue patterned tile floor with honey oak cabinets
The blue color in this flooring is opposite the warm orange and red tone in the color wheel.
color wheel

A complementary color scheme draws from two colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. The result is a high-contrast color combo that pops.

RELATED: Modern Countertop Colors for Honey Oak Kitchens

Were you a victim of this 80s and 90s flooring trend for your bathroom?

1990s oak bathroom with carpeting

Carpet in the bathroom (or kitchen) is just gross. Who wants to walk around on carpet that’s been exposed to all the things that happen in a bathroom? And what has soaked into this carpet pad? Replace it with luxury vinyl tile or a fun patterned encaustic tile.

patterned encaustic black and white tile with honey oak

I love how this patterned encaustic tile in shades of grey gives the honey oak cabinets a modern look.

Need more help choosing the right floor to go with oak cabinets? I have a perfect (and affordable) service for you – HERE!

There is a wide range of flooring options available to complement your oak cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. What are you waiting for? Give your home a facelift with new floors! Share your 90s home update journey questions and comments below!


Hi, I’m Carla


I’m glad you’re here! You are in the right place if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a remodeling or interior design project. Living with an outdated home and don’t know where to start? I’ve helped families like yours update their home and create spaces that reflect what’s important to them for over 25 years.

I’ve been honored to be featured in:

Real Homes

The Spruce

Apartment Therapy / Cubby

Twin Cities Luxury + Fashion

MSP Magazine

Minneapolis Star Tribune


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