What Color Countertops Go With Oak Cabinets? Here Are the Best Ideas

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If you have honey oak cabinets and are thinking of a kitchen remodel, you might be trying to figure out which style and color of countertop will look best. Though there are some standard pointers an interior designer or contractor might give you, the solutions will vary depending on your personal style and the general look of your dream kitchen. The versatility of wood will make matching your countertops with oak cabinets relatively simple, but as always, there are a number of options. Whether you prefer white quartz countertops for a chic, farmhouse vibe or dark granite that's super modern, there's something for you. Let's get started with the basics.

Oak Cabinet Basics

Many homeowners like oak kitchen cabinets because of the mid-level tone and tough exterior that is not prone to scratches or dents. Even without paint, these wood cabinets will create the perfect focal point, and they'll hold up well to wear and tear. In fact, an oak cook space can be incredibly timeless and can complement any backsplash and tile combo.

Oak also ranges in colors, from warm and light neutrals to deeper browns, and can be impacted by the finish. But which countertop should you choose to match your cabinets? Here's our comprehensive guide.

Marble Countertops and Oak Cabinets

If you want a kitchen design that's both classic and modern, a marble countertop paired with oak cabinets will get the job done. FYI, the three most common types of marble used for countertops are Carrara, Calacatta, and statuary; all three options will add a sense of elegance and grandeur to any room. Thanks to the natural qualities of both oak and marble, they'll also work seamlessly together to bring the outside in.

When it comes to color choices, white marble may be the most popular hue. However, there are plenty of other beautiful shades to choose from, ranging from light pink and deep green marble to dramatic black. A white-veined marble countertop will help achieve a clean and crisp contrast against the natural wood and also make the kitchen feel more spacious and airy. It will particularly help brighten more honey-tinted kitchen cabinetry.

  • Carrara Marble​ - Named for the Italian region it originates in, Cararra marble typically has predominantly gray coloring, but certain varieties may feature a blue tint. The veins are primarily feathery with a light smoky hue.
  • Calacatta Marble​ - This marble variety tends to have a much crisper white color. the veins, however, are the showstoppers. They tend to be thicker than those in Cararra tile. And the veining colors can range from rich gold to brown to cream to inky gray.
  • Statuary Marble​ - This marble often serves as the base for marble statutes, as the name suggests. The base color is often bright, white while the veining pattern can be either deep gray or black.

Granite Countertops and Oak Cabinets

Granite is a popular choice for countertops, thanks to its durability and appealing aesthetic. Moreover, there are a variety of natural granite colors, from the gold and cream of Hawaii granite to the gray and silver tones of silver cloud granite. In fact, the numerous veining patterns means that there truly is something for everyone.

If you have dark oak cabinets, like the smoked European oak shown here, you could opt for either a darker or lighter countertop depending on your preferences. Looking for something brighter that might work with stainless steel appliances and a modern subway tile backsplash? A lighter option, such as a snowfall granite countertop with dark brown veining, will balance your kitchen, tying in the rich browns of your cabinets.

Either way, it's always ideal if the color of your oak cabinets can be found within the veining of the granite countertop you choose, so be sure to explore all of your options. Look out for Netuno Bordeaux granite, Titanium granite, Coffee Brown granite, Giallo Fiorito granite, and Ganache granite as well.

  • Hawaii Granit​e - Quarried from Brazil, this granite has a rich ivory background with small veins that vary in colors of gold, gray, and black.
  • Snowfall Granite​ - This natural granite is most often polished and also imported from Brazil. The base hue, which is a pristine white, can occasionally compare to marble. And it's filled with multiple colored specks of ebony, cream, and rich gray.

Laminate Countertops and Oak Cabinets

If you are considering laminate countertops, you have several options. They're often made to resemble other materials, so you can have a granite look-alike, for example, without the hefty price tag. You can also buy laminate with light flecks of brown or gray that create an eggshell or white hue from afar.

Faux marble laminate is also very popular and is quite striking when set against dark brown oak cabinets. You can even purchase laminate that resembles metal if you have dark oak cabinets and are seeking a contemporary feeling.

Once again, you'll need to consider the aesthetic of your space. If your cabinets are dark but you'd prefer a lighter room, opting for a light-colored laminate can help brighten the space. In contrast, if you want something dark and moody, you could choose a deep gray or black.

Concrete Countertops and Oak Cabinets

Concrete is naturally neutral, which means it's the perfect match for any color of oak cabinets. A concrete countertop will serve as a clean slate in the majority of spaces and work with any interior design style, adding a modern touch to rustic decor or really enhancing an industrial setup.

As a concrete countertop is poured rather than installed, it can be customized according to your tastes and will look completely bespoke. Choose from a thin option to let your oak countertops do the talking, or go extra thick for something a little more unique. You could even drop in natural stones to bring in the colors of your cabinetry — the possibilities are endless.

Engineered Stone Countertops and Oak Cabinets

Engineered stone, often referred to as quartz is an elegant and timeless match for oak cabinets. It looks similar to marble or granite but tends to have more durability and longevity. Engineered stone is a manmade material created with crushed gravel, polymer resin, and pigment that is designed to resemble natural rock.

But which option to go for? As with both marble and granite options, a lighter quartz countertop will create a sense of contrast and brighten up a room. You could also play around with patterned quartz to highlight the character and color of the natural oak cabinets. There are way more colors available to you with engineered stone. Go bright and cheery by choosing quartz with a speckled pattern that highlights the tones of your backsplash. Or be bold, and play around with color combinations.

Wood Countertops and Oak Cabinets

Matching an oak countertop with oak cabinets might seem a tad dated at first, but we're here to let you know this combo could create a sleek and contemporary vibe.

In fact, this look could work with a variety of wood types, from maple and white oak to American walnut and cherry. All are unique and full of character, making them a perfect choice for kitchens that need a lot of warmth.

Try a butcher block style; the thickness and sturdiness of the slabs combined with the rich character of wood make it both a practical and gorgeous countertop option.

  • Maple​ - This wood is most often used for butcher block because of its hardness. It's incredibly durable with a uniform grain.
  • White Oak​ - Known for its aesthetically-pleasing finish, white oak isn't the most durable wood option. But the medium-toned grain is statement-making.
  • American Walnut​ - This variety has the richest chocolate hue and dramatic black grain.
  • Cherry​ - Commonly sourced from Bazil, Cherry wood is one of the hardest options on the market. Once properly treated, the fine grain is nearly impossible to scratch or damage.

General Tips For Choosing Countertops

Still a little unsure on how to select your countertop for oak cabinets? Here are a few more tips.

1. Take note of other elements in the room.

Do you have dark floors, paint, or appliances? If you enjoy a richer look and your cabinets are a lighter oak, you might prefer a darker countertop. However, if you are going for a bright, fresh feeling in your kitchen and you have dark oak cabinets, you might choose a lighter-colored countertop for balance.

2. Consider paint.

If you're working with existing oak cabinetry that you can't replace, have you considered painting or staining it to give it new life? This could change the countertop that you decide to go for, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons.

3. Think about the practical elements.

While it's all well and good to choose a countertop based on aesthetics, you also need to consider the practical needs of your kitchen. For example, marble and natural stone can easily stain, so if you're an avid chef who likes to get messy, this might not be the best countertop option for you.

4. Don't forget about the budget.

We wish all countertops could be equal, but higher-priced options may have more benefits. Laminate and wooden countertops are on the cheaper end of the spectrum while engineered stone can be very pricy. Consider the budget before getting your heart set on a style.

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Emma Jane Palin is a multi-award-winning blogger and freelance writer with a penchant for design and interiors.

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