What Flooring Goes with Oak Cabinets?

Floor Ideas for Kitchens and Bathrooms with Oak Cabinets

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 but want to modernize a bit? 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 floor that compliments any shade of oak.

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

Choosing a New Floor with Oak Cabinets

90s Oak Kitchen remodel cabinets and white subway tile
Grey plank tile gives a fresh new look to this medium-toned oak kitchen.

First, there’s a few things to consider 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.

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 or orangey oak tones such as “honey oak” stay away from warm tones. Balance the space with a cool-toned floor or a multi-toned floor with a hint of the cabinet color.

Honey-Oak-Cabinet-Door-Golden Oak Cabinets-Honey-Oak-Cabinets
Traditional Style Honey Oak or Golden Oak Cabinet Door
Medium-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.

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.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s take a look at some great flooring options!

Tile Floors with Oak Cabinets

One of the most popular flooring choices in homes in the 90s was tile. It still is popular and a great choice today for its durability and ease of maintenance. Tile comes in a variety of colors and sizes which makes it easy to find a style that fits your desired aesthetic.

A lovely contrast occurs when the floor is two to three shades darker or lighter than your cabinets. Light tile floors are a popular choice for rooms with medium to darker oak cabinets. This will help to contrast the two colors and make your kitchen brighter overall. Stick with neutrals like white, cream, or light gray. If you want more color in your space accent with bold colored kitchenware, art and accessories.

Update your flooring with oak cabinets-patterned light grey tiled floor with honey oak.
Light grey patterned tile with Honey Oak

You can also 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.

New dark tile floor with honey oak cabinet
Large charcoal colored tile gives Honey Oak cabinets a modern fresh look.

I love the look of a large format porcelain 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 to the without overwhelming the space.

St. Cecilia granite ties the honey oak and the dark flooring together.

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 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; they also pair well with most medium to dark oak cabinet colors.

light wood floor with dark brown oak cabinet
Light colored solid hardwood flooring pairs beautifully with modern slab-style dark oak cabinets.

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-stained hardwoods can give your kitchen a luxurious feeling; they also pair well with most lighter cabinet colors including honey oak cabinets or golden oak cabinets.

Wide plank dark oak wood floors with transitional style honey oak panel cabinet doors.
Dark brown wide plank oak floors with Honey Oak cabinets.

Engineered wood flooring is a more budget-friendly option that can still give you the look of hardwood. It’s also easier to install than solid hardwood floors and comes in a whole range of species, grades and finishes. It’s important to note that most wider plank wood flooring options will be an 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.

For a more rustic or country feel, consider using distressed a distressed wood or wood-look flooring; this type of flooring can also help to hide scratches and dings. You can find this look in vinyl planks as well as engineered wood.

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 various shades works beautifully when you tie in a little bit of the warmth of the cabinetry.

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.

Luxury Vinyl Tile with Oak Cabinets

Grey LVT tile with honey oak cabinets and grey subway tile
Light Grey Luxury Vinyl Tile (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.

LVT plank flooring with honey oak kitchen cabinets
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVT) with tones of grey and honey.
A quiet medium grey countertop gives creates a soft break between the wood look of the LVP and the honey oak 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.

RELATED: Tile Ideas and Inspiration to Update Your 90s-Era Home

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 of 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 black and white tile with Honey Oak
Patterned encaustic tile and honey oak for the win!

Need more help choosing the right floor to go with your 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!

Cheers
Carla

10 Responses

  1. Can you help me choose a vinyl flooring to go with a honey oak, flat cupboards?? Condo that goes out into the living room. Not sure what color is white oak from the Lowes Procor selection. I prefer lighter or medium colors than dark.THANK YOU

  2. What a wonderfully informative post, Carla. Thank you for making it easy to visualize the different options.

    1. Thank you so much, Leslie! There are so many ways to update homes form the 90s without demoing out the cabinetry.

  3. Carla, This is such an inspiring post. Many people feel overwhelmed by the idea of a complete remodel but you have illustrated beautifully how a new floor can completely refresh a space without the expense of replacing oak cabinetry.

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! I am happy that people are still embracing the warmer wood tones and if the cabinets are in good condition, it’s a win-win!

  4. What a great post and I love how you showed us all of the options you talked about! It is an issue I hear people struggling with often, you covered this topic so thoroughly, really well done Carla!

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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.

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