Oak cabinets were used in numerous kitchen remodels at the end of the 20th century. This sturdy hardwood resulted in cabinets that are still in good shape but beginning to appear dated when paired with older countertops. To update the kitchen without tearing out the still functional cabinets, granite countertops can be introduced. The color of the granite should be influenced by both the color of the oak itself and the appliances in the room.
Clear oak cabinets have a warm color with darker brown veins and knots showing in the wood. To avoid making the kitchen become one tone overall or too dark, look for light colored counters that contain both gray and a subtle amount of warm brown. The gray will offset the oak while the hint of brown ties the two together. Stone colors to choose from include New Caledonia, Giallo Vyara, Gold and Silver, Kinawa and Bianco Sardo. If the appliances in the room are black or dark in color, go a little more dramatic with the stone and select Colonial Dream or Taupe Gold.
Not all oak cabinets are dark or warm in color. White oak is a light, cooler toned wood that works well with dark colored stones. Depending on the color of the floor and the appliances, you might choose a dark green stone with gold undertones, such as Coast Green, Costa Smerelda or Laurentian Green. These stones work well with floors similar in color to the cabinets and white appliances. For kitchens with darker floors and black appliances, look at Dakota Mahogany, Sapphire Blue/Brown and Baltic Brown to balance the lighter toned cabinets. All of these stones have lights and darks that can be used to contrast the oak.
Praline oak is a rich, golden toned wood darker in color than clear oak. Complement the gold color while lightening the kitchen with a cream or yellow granite. These stones will work well with dark or light appliances because most contain both black and white flecks with the cream and gold. Consider stones such as Giallo Ornamentale, Delicatus, Santa Cecilia, Golden Meadow, Ivory Gold and Kashmire Gold. Avoid stones that get too dark or orange in tone, such as Madurai Gold; they will only turn the color of the cabinets to an orange hue. Instead, ensure that the granite slab you select has plenty of white and cream tones to balance.
Dark Stained Oak
Oak cabinets can also be given a heavy stain that accentuates the natural wood grain. These cabinets are so dark that pairing them with a lighter toned granite without making the contrast too great is difficult. Instead, embrace the dark tones in the wood with an equally dark but dramatic granite. Avoid flat colored stones like Absolute Black and instead look at Black Galaxy, Black Beauty, Magma, Nordic Black, Golden Noir, Juparana Moka and Stormy Night. These dark stones all have a rich, warm brown and gold component to them which will balance and enhance the dark looking oak.