Although the word cherry evokes a mental image of a bright red hue, cherrywood cabinets can come in several different variations, depending on the type of wood and the finish chosen. The heartwood turns a medium brownish red as it darkens over time, and the sapwood appears as a pale yellow color, according to The Wood Database. Finding flooring that goes with cherry cabinets depends largely on the depth of color in the wood cabinets as well as your own personal flooring preferences.
General Floor Choice Advice
It's usually best to choose a contrasting floor color, especially if you're going with hardwood flooring, instead of trying to match the cherry wood color. Too much of one color makes the room look overwhelming. Mixing wood is a difficult decision; err on the side of lighter versus darker when dealing with cabinets, and stay within the same color family, just several shades lighter.
Another option is to go with a different type of flooring, such as stone or vinyl. This option eliminates the worry about finding a wood tone that works with the cherry cabinets. Consider the flooring durability and maintenance requirements as well as your personal preferences when choosing a flooring type.
Natural Cherry Stained Cabinets
Natural cherry stained cabinets have a hint of red, but the predominant tone is light brown. While you can use a similar stained hardwood floor color with cherry cabinets, in a small kitchen the effect would close the room in. Go with either a lighter or darker stain for hardwood floors, or choose a light colored vinyl, linoleum or tile floor, which creates a contrast with the cabinetry. Pick colors that are warm in tone to match the natural warm tones of this wood.
Medium Cherry Stained Cabinets
Although they have a much warmer red tone, medium cherry stained cabinets are still considered brown in color. A light maple hardwood floor with this type of cabinetry would provide a dramatic contrast that won't close in the room. Darker wood floors can still be used if the room is large and open and the stain of the wood is brown in tone. Matching this darker wood with the same color of floor would make the room feel much smaller.
Dark Cherry Stained Cabinets
Typically very red, dark cherry cabinets look much like mahogany wood cabinets. This is a very dramatic color, and flooring choices are more limited. Once again, choosing a light maple floor provides a contrast that is still in keeping with the warm tones of the wood. Lighter colors, such as hickory floors with cherry cabinets, should be used for flooring with this type of cabinetry to avoid overwhelming the room. For a rich look, a cream marble floor would be ideal with this color of cabinetry.
Neutral Flooring Options
To allow the cabinetry to be the main focus of the kitchen, neutral colored flooring is the best option. Warm tones such as ivory or a light beige will set off the natural coloration of the cabinets and allow them to be the focal point. You can get these light tones in a variety of flooring materials. Tile is a popular option for the kitchen and holds up well against moisture. You can also choose a vinyl or linoleum option in several light tones.