How to Mix Wood Cabinets & Wood Flooring

Wood is a beautiful, durable choice for flooring and cabinets. Because it is a natural material, using different wood species in the same design setting rarely has an unpleasant outcome. In a Sept. 13, 2009 article for the Billings Gazette, designers from across the country recommend using different species of wood to provide contrast and definition in living spaces.

Kitchen with wood cabinets

Be sure to visit several flooring companies and cabinetmakers to see their wood choices and find the species, stains and finishes that appeal to you.

Use wood samples from flooring and cabinet shops to blend wood colors at home. Leave them in the room where you'll place your cabinets and floors for several days, and observe different color combinations under natural and artificial light. Be aware that wood can change color as it ages, so speak to your cabinetmaker or flooring installer about how your wood may change over time.

Fall in love with one color of wood as an element of your design scheme. For example, choose deep mahogany cabinets and find a complementary or contrasting wood flooring to match.

Choose contrasting tones, such as dark cherry or walnut, for cabinets and a honey oak for floors to add drama to your room.

Select wood colors that blend easily, such as maple for floors and white oak for cabinets, to give your room a more uniform appearance and allow your accent pieces to stand out.

Use wood tones to add warmth or coolness. Lighter shades have a cool, Scandinavian feel and add light to living spaces. Darker colors add warmth and intimacy to a room.

Use similar design styles to create a cohesive look between different types of wood in your floor and cabinets. For example, use hand-scraped dark oak flooring to bring out the knotty accents of rustic pine cabinets.

Consider mixing wood species on the floor and in the cabinet design. For example, use dark walnut to accent Mission-style oak cabinets and as an inlay in an adjoining ash floor.

Lay a satiny-smooth cherry flooring on the diagonal to complement a contemporary maple cabinet design.

Create patterns by adding a stencil to your hardwood floor to match your cabinet design, as recommended by the American Hardwood Information Center. Use a flowing ivy-patterned border to complement Colonial style cabinets, or a checkerboard pattern in the center of your floor to highlight cabinets with a country look.