The best flooring ideas for a kitchen with oak cabinets

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When designing a kitchen with oak cabinets, it’s important to choose a flooring option that complements the warm tones and natural beauty of the wood. As well as making sure you are picking the right tone of flooring for your cabinets, you need to make sure that they are suitable for a kitchen space, which is usually a high-traffic area.

Any kitchen makeover is a huge investment, so we all want to make sure we get it right the first time. Oak cabinetry is not as popular as it used to be, with modern kitchens with sleek designs becoming more popular with white tiles or grey floors becoming more widely used. As more homes are appearing on the market too, the space that you used to have in a kitchen is no longer there as the homes are getting smaller.

Oak cabinets do not need to be that which remind you of the 70’s with so simple planning and design, they can look just as modern as those glossy white ones you see in all the newly built homes.

Oak cabinets come in a range of colours too, if you are unsure which one to go with, here are some options:

  • Red oak cabinets
  • Honey oak kitchen cabinets
  • Light oak cabinets
  • White oak cabinets
  • Dark oak cabinets

How do I make my kitchen look modern with oak cabinets?

For homes with oak cabinets, it can feel a little dated but it doesn’t need to.

To make your kitchen look modern with oak cabinets, you can consider implementing the following design elements and techniques. All of which can be done with a little TLC and time.

  1. Update the Hardware: Replace outdated cabinet handles and pulls with sleek and contemporary options. Opt for metallic finishes like brushed nickel, stainless steel, or matte black to create a modern look. These are no longer as expensive as they used to be and you will find that they will make a big impact for something so small.
  2. Consider a Two-Tone Look: Pair your oak cabinets with another cabinet colour for a stylish and modern contrast. Paint the upper cabinets a lighter shade, such as white or light grey, while keeping the lower oak cabinets untouched. This two-tone approach can add visual interest and modernize the overall look.
  3. Change the Countertops: Choose modern countertops that complement the warmth of the oak cabinets. Quartz or granite countertops in light or neutral tones can provide a sleek and modern feel. Avoid overly busy patterns and opt for clean lines and smooth surfaces. If you have a tight budget, you can get laminate worktops that have the same effect but at a fraction of the cost.
  4. Update the Backsplash: Swap out an outdated backsplash with a modern and minimalist option. Consider subway tiles in a neutral colour or a patterned tile with contemporary designs. Glass tiles or a sleek stainless steel backsplash can also give a fresh and modern touch to the space.
  5. Upgrade Lighting: Proper lighting can enhance the modern ambience of your kitchen. Install recessed or track lighting to provide ample task lighting while maintaining a clean and minimalist look. Consider incorporating pendant lights above the island or dining area for added style. LED undercounter lights are becoming a popular option to add a visual impact too.
  6. Introduce Contemporary Accessories: Choose modern and clean-lined accessories to decorate your kitchen. Consider sleek appliances, a minimalist clock, stainless steel or matte black appliances, and modern bar stools or chairs. Keep surfaces clutter-free for a streamlined and modern appearance.
  7. Embrace Open Shelving: Remove some upper cabinet doors and opt for open shelves to showcase modern dishware and decorative items. This can create a contemporary and spacious feel, while also allowing you to showcase your personal style. Try not to overcrowd the shelves though, you want to give a bright airy look to the area.
  8. Paint the Walls: Choose a modern and complementary paint colour for the walls. Light, neutral tones such as grey, white, or beige can create a fresh and modern backdrop that brings out the beauty of the oak cabinets.

Remember, modernizing your kitchen with oak cabinets is all about creating a harmonious balance between the warmth of the wood and contemporary design elements. Take into account your personal style preferences and adapt these suggestions accordingly to achieve a modern look that aligns with your vision.

It is also a great time to give some of your appliances a refresh if you can too, for example, if you are changing the units you may consider some built-in appliances such as fridge freezers or dishwashers, don’t forget though, if you are having a new dishwasher installed, it is worth considering running a bosch dishwasher cleaner through it to make sure you clean the factory residue off.

If you are fortunate enough to have space to take an oak kitchen, here are some of the best flooring ideas for a kitchen with oak cabinets:

  1. Hardwood Flooring: If you are considering hardwood floors in your kitchen, look at the complementary shade to the oak cabinets. Choose a species of wood that complements the oak, such as hickory or maple. This creates a cohesive look and brings out the natural warmth of the space. Hardwood flooring is great as a long-lasting choice, as long as you look after it properly. This is my personal favourite and it is clear to see why it is a popular choice. Although a little more expensive than the other options, it is longer lasting.
  2. Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring offers a wide range of options that mimic the look of real wood and is cheaper than the hardwood option. Select a laminate flooring with warm undertones that will enhance the appeal of the oak cabinets. If this is the choice you go for, look for a durable and water-resistant option specifically designed for kitchens. The market for laminate flooring has increased over the years, so you should be able to find something that suits your room in a colour that appeals.
  3. Tile Flooring: Porcelain tile or ceramic tile can be an excellent choice for a kitchen with oak cabinets. Opt for earthy tones like warm beige or tan that pair well with the oak, there are lots of different shades out there. There is a great range of tiles out there now and it is well worth considering a patterned or textured tile to add visual interest to the space.
  4. Stone Flooring: Natural stone, such as slate or travertine, can add elegance and texture to a kitchen with oak cabinets. These materials provide a durable and timeless flooring option that can create a sophisticated and rustic aesthetic. Consider selecting stones with warm undertones that complement the oak cabinets. Keep in mind that natural stone requires ongoing maintenance, such as sealing, to protect it from stains and moisture. I love things such as slate flooring, the natural material is a good option for those with high-traffic areas and maybe and door to the outside straight into the kitchen if you have muddy feet. Stone floors are not cheap but a worthy investment.
  5. Vinyl Flooring: Vinyl is a versatile and budget-friendly flooring option that comes in various designs and styles. Choose vinyl flooring that resembles wood or natural stone to create a beautiful contrast with the oak cabinets. There are a variety of vinyl floorings on the market these days too, from buying it off the roll to a luxury vinyl tile, each one is slightly different to the next in quality and price. I have always found that it seems to be you get what you pay for when it comes to flooring
  6. Cork Flooring: Cork is an eco-friendly flooring option that provides a warm and comfortable feel underfoot. The natural colour variations and texture of the cork can complement the oak cabinets while adding a unique touch to the kitchen design.

Remember, the flooring you choose should not only complement your oak cabinets but also meet your specific requirements for durability, maintenance, and budget. Take samples of different flooring materials and place them next to your cabinets to see how they blend and enhance the space. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from flooring professionals or interior designers to ensure that your flooring choice will create a cohesive and visually pleasing kitchen environment.

Once you have made your decision on the flooring you go for, I would highly recommend if you are not comfortable laying the floor, leave it to the professional. The last thing you want to do is invest time and money in the flooring and it does not last the time it should. Many flooring stores would be able to recommend a fitter, with most having their own contractors, however, if you are not sure, check out places like Check a Trader or get a recommendation from family and friends.

Before you start thinking of which type of flooring you are going to pick, you may need to consider the usage of the area first and the maintenance that comes with it. Many floors are low maintenance, however, it may not give you the desired look you are after.

When selecting flooring for a kitchen, there are several important factors to consider. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Durability: The kitchen is a high-traffic area prone to spills, dropped items, and heavy foot traffic. Therefore, choose a flooring material that is durable and can withstand daily wear and tear. Look for options that are resistant to scratches, stains, and water damage. It doesn’t take much for things to be dropped on the floor in the kitchen, especially when you cook like I do, so making sure it will stand the test is key.
  2. Maintenance: Consider how much time and effort you are willing to invest in the maintenance of your kitchen flooring. Some materials require regular sealing or special cleaning products, while others are low-maintenance and easy to clean. Assess your lifestyle and choose a flooring material that suits your maintenance preferences. You may find that you are able to outsource some of this work if you do not want to carry it out yourself, but this will be at an additional cost.
  3. Water Resistance: Kitchens are prone to spills, leaks, and moisture in general. It’s essential to select a flooring option that is water-resistant or waterproof, especially if you want to avoid potential damage from standing water or excessive moisture.
  4. Style and Design: The flooring you choose should complement the overall style and design of your kitchen. Consider the colour scheme, cabinetry, countertops, and other elements in the space. Decide if you want your flooring to be a subtle backdrop or a standout feature that adds visual interest to the kitchen.
  5. Comfort: Since kitchens are often high-traffic areas where you may spend long periods standing, consider the comfort of the flooring. Materials like cork or rubber offer a softer and more supportive surface compared to harder materials like tile or hardwood.
  6. Budget: Determine your budget and explore flooring options that fit within your financial constraints. Remember to consider not just the initial cost, but also long-term maintenance and potential replacement costs.

By considering these factors, you can choose a kitchen flooring option that is not only visually appealing but also practical and functional for your lifestyle. I think that sometimes we are easily led by the fact that something is sold as suitable for kitchen or bathroom use for example, when there is so much more to consider.

Deciding the type of flooring is just part of the decision-making process, with a few more options still to be resolved.

Firstly, you need to think of the colouring of the flooring you will go for. All of this will be driven by the space and units you are using. For example, if you choose to go with dark oak cabinets in a smaller kitchen, you will want to keep to a light floor and simple to give the feeling of space. If you go with white oak cabinets or light oak cabinets and have a large space, you may find darker flooring will work better for you.

A key thing to consider is whether you want to go with a plan flooring or something with a bit of pattern. I am always a little scared of being bold and sticking to a natural look however there are now so many different flooring options out there to pick from, they can change the room to suit your style with minimal effort.

The options for tiles are wider than that of the wood options, and as you can imagine, they come in a wide range of sizes or different colours, it is great to have a great choice to pick from, especially with a small kitchen but sometimes it can become a little overwhelming.

If you are going for dark cabinets and worktops, you may find that white flooring and white walls give you the right contracts and a modern look.

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