Honey oak is a fairly common choice for kitchen cabinets, shelving, and furniture. To enhance the look and feel of your kitchen, try switching things up with a few coats of wall paint. And keep in mind, this approach isn't limited to cabinets — it will also work if you have honey oak trim or hardwood floors.
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The hard part is selecting the perfect paint color. This particular wood tone can make narrowing down the right shade a challenge, to say the least, especially if you want to downplay the warmth of the wood finish. Neutral wall colors can effortlessly cool down the finish.. And bonus: Neutral hues will blend in seamlessly with the rest of the decor, including the backsplash and countertops.
Explore the color wheel to find a complementary shade that will highlight or neutralize the orange/yellow undertones of honey oak cabinets.
Working with Honey Oak
Honey oak kitchen cabinets can be quite beautiful in a well-thought out design. Rather than replacing built-ins that are in good shape, turn to color to change the look and feel of your cook space. By coordinating your cabinetry with your color palette, you can highlight the warmth of the wood, resulting in a cohesive finish.
The beauty of honey oak cabinets and trim is that they generally work well with any decor style. With a little research and consideration, you'll be able to select a complementary paint color that will breathe new life into your space.
Colors for Honey Oak
Painting the walls, or adding fabrics for window treatments and chair cushions, in warm colors will blend with the cabinets for a cozy effect. Take time to explore the color wheel and gather paint swatches, then place different hues next to your honey oak cabinets to determine which shade you like the most.
Use a complementary color to neutralize the soft yellow and orange undertones of the wood. A harmonious color palette for oak cabinets ranges from soft greens to purples and oranges. Warm gray and cream shades can balance the intensity of honey oak wood. Soft browns and medium greens will bring out the yellow undertones of the cabinets, while bright blues will highlight the pale or subtle orange hues.
White or Black for Impact
Painting around honey oak kitchen cabinets can be a daunting task. But sticking to the basics and using a few interior design tricks can work wonders for these traditional fixtures. Shades of white with blue or gray undertones or muted charcoal and black colors can modernize the classic warmth of oak cabinetry. And there are a wide variety of colors to choose from within the white and black spectrums.
While a bright white wall paint will contrast with darker honey oak cabinets that lean orange, shades of gray or black will offset blonder finishes. Consider incorporating the contrasting hues through an accent wall, curtains, rug, or other pieces of home decor.
Paint Colors for Wood Trim
The same rules apply for wood trim, it all depends on the finish of the trim and your preference. For dark wood trim, it's recommended to keep the paint colors lighter. Working with darker colors, such as navy blue, emerald green, or a dark red can make your kitchen feel heavy and weighed down.
15 Paint Color Ideas to Go With Oak Wood
1. Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray
Gray is a wall color that's guaranteed to be soothing in any space, from living rooms to bedrooms to kitchens. In the case of a kitchen with honey oak cabinets, it's sure to tone them right down and act as a neutralizing agent that'll work well with any decor style.
2. Benjamin Moore Horizon
Some gray hues, like this shade from Benjamin Moore, have green undertones. For a kitchen that will beat the trends year after year, this color is a sure thing. Plus, it features cool tones that will bring down the yellow-orange finish of honey oak cabinets. We also think this hue would look clean and classic in a dining room.
3. Sherwin-Williams Comfort Gray
For a deeper gray that has some blue-green notes, consider this kitchen paint from Sherwin-Williams. Between the cool hints of blue, green, and gray, it's guaranteed to dial down the warmth of oak cabinets, trim, and flooring in a flash.
4. Farrow & Ball Skimming Stone
Greige, a combination of gray and beige, is a color trend that continues to go strong. It also happens to be an ideal hue to tone down oak woodwork. Reminiscent of bygone plaster, it'll add an ageless feel to any kitchen design.
5. Benjamin Moore Abalone
For a form of greige that has a bit of a purple undertone, look no further than this paint shade from Benjamin Moore. It appears as if it has a gray undertone as well, but you should know that gray can typically have three types of undertones: blue, green, and purple. This color will undoubtedly lower the temperature of warm cabinets and offer visual interest in any cook space.
6. Sherwin-Williams Mindful Gray
For a creamy shade of gray that's not too light and not too dark, look to this cult favorite from Sherwin-Williams. Cool and traditional, it's just the update your kitchen, and those warm cabinets, needs.
7. Benjamin Moore Soft Fern
If gray isn't really your thing, consider another cool shade to balance your honey oak cabinets: sage green. It's a popular color right now that nods to nature and feels oh-so-tranquil.
8. Farrow & Ball Pavilion Gray
This "cool mid gray," as it's described by Farrow & Ball, would be a welcome addition in any kitchen with honey oak cabinets. Feeling a touch modern, it would work well in a culinary design where you're aiming for more of a minimal effect.
9. Sherwin-Williams Sea Salt
If you're on the fence between blue, green, and gray, here's your compromise: "Sea Salt" from Sherwin-Williams. It's a beautiful shade that will decrease the warmth of your wood cabinetry. Plus, there's something about it that looks like sea glass, which is kinda cool.
Perhaps you're in the market for a bolder, darker shade? In that case, gravitate toward shades of navy blue. The rich color will cool down the honey oak cabinets, as well as add plenty of drama and depth to your cook space. Win-win.
11. Sherwin-Williams Rainwashed
For a near-pastel shade of green that feels like springtime, ponder this pretty hue from Sherwin-Williams. It will definitely cool down your cabinets and it's sure to be eye-pleasing in any kitchen.
12. Benjamin Moore Gallery Buff
Taupe is another choice to consider as you sift through cool colors to pair with your honey oak cabinets. While a bright white would make the wood finish stand out even more, taupe will tone it down.
13. Sherwin-Williams On the Rocks
Feeling like a lighter, slightly warmer shade of gray? Let us introduce you to this paint color — it's a timeless hue you probably won't tire of in a few years, and it will also detract from the golden undertone of your honey oak cabinets.
14. Benjamin Moore Silver Gray
For an extremely light blue, think about "Silver Gray" from Benjamin Moore. With a vibe that's as fresh and airy as the seaside, it's another color that will mitigate the finish of your cabinets.
15. Farrow & Ball Red Earth
Let's say that you actually like the warmth of your honey oak cabinets. For this, we'll recommend an orange-colored paint to dial it up even more. Farrow & Ball's "Red Earth" fits the bill and is it's on-trend as well.