10 Modern Kitchen Design Ideas with Honey Oak Cabinets

Your kitchen, it’s the heart of the home, where culinary creations and family gatherings unfold. If you find yourself stuck in the golden glow of wood cabinets, specifically honey oak cabinets, I’ve got you! In this blog post, we’re about to embark on a journey of my curated honey oak kitchen ideas to transform your kitchen into a modern design masterpiece.

Inspirational Design Schemes to Update a Honey Oak Kitchen

Say goodbye to the ’90s nostalgia and embrace the 21st century with nine inspirational design and color schemes that will make your honey oak cabinets “shine” like never before. Let’s turn those dated vibes into a fresh new look without doing a complete renovation.

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In this curated collection of interior design boards tailored specifically for kitchens adorned with honey oak cabinets, we’re set to redefine the aesthetic landscape of the tired 80s kitchen or 90s kitchen. Embrace the warmth of your honey oak while injecting a modern up-to-date vibe that transcends time. From cool colors to warm tones across the color wheel, each design scheme I created for you will make a big impact in your kitchen’s style.

These designs aren’t just about aesthetics; they’re about creating a space that radiates personality and charm.

RELATED: Best Paint Colors that go with Honey Oak Cabinets

Explore the harmony of contrasting color palettes, innovative textures, and modern accents, as we pour over a palette of possibilities that seamlessly marries the past with the present. Whether you lean towards neutral colors or a little bit of drama, these thoughtfully curated palettes of colors and finishes are here to spark your creativity and breathe new life into your culinary space.

1. The Honey Oak & Warm Palette

1. Pale Oak 2. Cabinet Pulls 3. Pendant 4. Arabescatus Oro Marble 5. Backsplash 6. Rug 7. Stool

Step into a kitchen that effortlessly blends your honey oak with warmth and style. The secret to this inviting aesthetic lies in the artful combination of finishes that create a warm and harmonious palette.

Picture sleek deep gray countertops that not only add a touch of luxury but also beautifully contrast with the honey oak, elevating the overall visual appeal. Light neutral walls in Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak (OC-20), serve as the perfect backdrop, allowing the cabinets to take center stage while creating a canvas for other elements to shine.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Pale Oak – HERE!

To infuse texture and a touch of the eclectic, consider woven grass light pendants that dangle gracefully above the countertops. Warm brass tones and matte black can be strategically incorporated in hardware and fixtures acting as the glue that ties the entire palette together. Don’t forget to throw in a cozy rug and cognac leather counter stools or chairs for that perfect blend of comfort and style.

2. The Honey Oak & Blues Palette

1. Classic Gray 2. Cabinet Pull 3. Pendant 4. Backsplash 5. Cambria Quartz, Whitehall 6. Stool 7. Rug

Timeless elegance meets modern trends when your honey oak kitchen cabinets are paired with the chic allure of blue! Blue, a color that’s currently stealing the spotlight in the design world, takes center stage as an accent in this sophisticated space. A backsplash adorned with blue-hued subway tile, creating a stunning visual focal point that complements the warm undertones of the honey oak. To amplify this aesthetic, incorporate the blues palette through a carefully curated rug and a stylish counter stool, seamlessly weaving touches of blue throughout the room.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Classic Gray – HERE!

Classic gray walls in Benjamin Moore’s (OC-23) provide a neutral backdrop, allowing the honey oak and blue to stand out. For a fresh and crisp touch, opt for Whitehall countertops by Cambria in pristine white to contrast with the backsplash color. To add a touch of drama and contrast, I chose black and chrome as the metal finishes, bringing a modern edge to the oak cabinetry.

3. The Honey Oak & Green Palette

1. Natural Cream 2. Cabinet Pull 3. Pendant 4. Backsplash 5. Sea Pearl, Quartzite 6. Stool 7. Rug

Imagine your kitchen where the soothing charm of a nature inspired color seamlessly blends with the timeless appeal of honey oak kitchen cabinets.

Green, symbolizing freshness and vitality, takes center stage in this design palette.

A captivating mosaic green backsplash breathes life into the space, complementing the honey oak cabinets effortlessly. To deepen the connection to nature, opt for a warm, light-colored countertop like a natural stone Sea Pearl quartzite that exudes an earthy serenity.

For the wall color we have Benjamin Moore’s Natural Cream (OC-14) creating a perfect backdrop that harmonizes with the honey oak and calming green hues.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Natural Cream – HERE!

Warm champagne bronze light fixtures and cabinet hardware introduce sophistication, and a modern look in warm brass. Complete the ensemble with a carefully chosen rug, becoming the thread that ties together the natural elements, warm hues, and the overall cozy ambiance. This fresh new kitchen palette goes beyond its practical purpose; it’s a tribute to the harmonious marriage of green aesthetics and thoughtful design.

RELATED: The Benjamin Moore Color of the Year, October Mist

4. The Honey Oak & Cool Palette

1. Repose Gray 2. Cabinet Pull 3. Cabinet Knob 4. Pendant 5. Backsplash 6. Caesarstone, Black Tempal 7. Rug 8. Stool

Elevate your kitchen aesthetic with the perfect fusion of honey oak cabinets and a cool palette of finishes. Picture warm wood tones embracing cool dark colors, while stainless steel appliances bring a sleek, professional edge. Add a touch of elegance with matte black metal cabinet hardware and light fixture finishes.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Repose Gray – HERE!

Caesarstone quartz countertops in the color Black Tempal, is a durable and luxurious choice that blends timeless charm with contemporary sophistication. This design scheme is the ultimate culinary confection – a kitchen that stands the test of time with a dash of trendsetting flair, and a great way to update your space.

5. The Honey Oak & Upward Palette

1. Upward 2. Simply White 3. Cabinet Pull 4. Pendant 5. Silestone, Miami Vena 6. Backsplash 7. Rug 8. Stool

Here’s a design scheme that’s as sweet as honey and as fresh as a breath of fresh air! Warm honey oak kitchen cabinets paired with the trending and oh-so chic Sherwin Williams Color of the Year, Upward (SW 6239). It’s a match made in design heaven! The honey oak provides a cozy and inviting backdrop, while the color Upward adds a modern twist that elevates the entire space. To balance the warmth of the honey oak, consider a crisp white backsplash that not only brightens the kitchen but also complements the cool undertones of Upward.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Upward – HERE!

Opt for white countertops to create a seamless and polished look. A warm toned leather stool or chair balances the space’s warm honey oak. Don’t forget a rug with tones of the blue and a creamy warmth to tie this palette all together. 


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Simply White – HERE!

To finish off this palette, I paired Benjamin Moore, Simply White (OC-117) that can be used as color inspiration for your backsplash, countertop, or even a complimentary wall color in the kitchen or adjoining space such as a living room or dining room

6. The Honey Oak & Warm The White Palette

1. White Dove 2. Pendant 3. Cabinet Pull 4. Backsplash 5. Cambria, Clovelly 6. Stool 7. Rug

When working with honey oak kitchen cabinets, it’s essential to strike a harmonious balance that brings out the warmth of the wood without overwhelming the space. Goodbye gold walls and black granite counters!

Enter the magic of a warm white palette.

RELATED: The 10 Best White Paint Colors that go with Oak

If you have honey oak hardwood flooring, a light colored rug (this one in stripes), is the best way to break it up and add interest. Champagne bronze (another name for a soft brushed brass finish) is a good choice for your lighting and cabinet hardware.


Get your (REAL PAINT) peel and stick paint sample of White Dove (and more) with the Warm Whites Bundle, HERE!

Warm light colors have the transformative power to elevate any room. The sleek warm white tile and the warm veining of Cambria’s Clovelly quartz counters seamlessly blends with the golden hues of your cabinets, creating a visual feast that’s as pleasing to the eye as a gourmet meal is to the palate!

7. The Honey Oak & Earth Tone Palette

1. Accessible Beige 2. Backsplash 3. Cambria, Ridgegate 4. Pendant 5. Stool 6. Rug 7. Cabinet Pull

Embrace the natural beauty of honey oak by diving headfirst into the world of earth tones. Rich brown accents, soothing touches of blues or greens, and a warm terracotta create a harmonious color palette with your cabinets.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Accessible Beige – HERE!

Earthy hues not only cozy up the space but also create a sense of timeless elegance and traditional design. It’s like giving your kitchen a warm hug every time you step in. 

8. The Honey Oak & Cool Palette

1. Cracked Pepper 2. Chantilly Lace 3. Pendant 4. Backsplash 5. Dekton, Kelya 6. Stool 7. Cabinet Knob 8. Rug

Updating a kitchen with honey oak cabinets presents a unique opportunity to infuse drama and character into the space. When considering a color scheme, Behr’s Color of the Year, Cracked Pepper (PPU18-01), emerges as an excellent choice to complement the orange tone of honey oak.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Cracked Pepper – HERE!


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Chantilly Lace – HERE!

The deep, charcoal-gray hue of Cracked Pepper provides a sophisticated and modern contrast to the warm undertones of honey oak, creating a visually striking result. This versatile color (it’s actually a neutral) not only adds a contemporary touch but also allows the honey oak wood trim to stand out elegantly. Soft grays and matte black accents make perfect sense for lighting and backsplash tile. I love this concrete pendant to bring in texture and interest.

RELATED: Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, 7069: Paint Color Review

9. The Honey Oak & Blue Nova Palette

1. Blue Nova 2. Cabinet Knob 3. Cambria, Whitehall 4. Backsplash 5. Stool 6. Rug 7. Pendant

Choosing the perfect kitchen paint color is a crucial decision, especially when working with honey oak. Blue Nova (825), selected as Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, is one to consider to enhance the warmth of your honey oak kitchen cabinetry.


Get your peel & stick (real paint) sample of Blue Nova – HERE!

This dynamic pairing creates a balanced and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen, offering a refreshing departure from the red and brown color schemes of 30 years ago. To elevate the design, pair brushed nickel metal finishes in lighting and hardware with a rug in multiple shades of blue. These carefully chosen accent colors will add depth and dimension to the space. 

RELATED: Color Reveal: Pantone’s 2020 Classic Blue

10. The Honey Oak & October Mist Palette

1. October Mist 2. Cabinet Pull 3.Pendant 4. Steel Gray Granite – Leathered 5.Backsplash 6.Rug 7. Stool

RELATED: October Mist, The Benjamin Moore Color of the Year

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

From the warm embrace of earthy tones to the contemporary allure of this years popular contrasting colors, each palette brings a unique personality to the heart of your home. These honey oak kitchen ideas have demonstrated that your tired 80s and 90s kitchens are a canvas for endless possibilities!

So, there you have it!  I’ve unveiled ten inspirational design schemes, each a testament to the versatility and timeless appeal of honey oak.

I hope you can now see that you can breathe new life to your outdated kitchen in new ways. Now, the question remains: Which is your favorite? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below on which one you think is the best choice choice for your dream kitchen.

For more 90s-era home updates and inspiration, click HERE.


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.

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4 Responses

  1. This post was amazing and so very appreciated. I am inheriting my in laws beautiful farm house that unfortunately has all honey oak cabinets and trim. It’s beautiful hardwood that I would never paint in a million years but I certainly don’t love the honey color of the oak. I’ve searched the web for any inspiration photos of honey oak modernized and this is the first one that I’ve found helpful. THANK YOU!

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica, I am so glad this post was helpful! Be looking for similar posts in the near future!

  2. My brother suggested I might like this blog He was totally right This post actually made my day You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info Thanks

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