Help! Design a Kitchen Around Oak Cabinets

Kitchen Design Plan with Oak Cabinets

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Help! Design a Kitchen Around Oak Cabinets

One of the most challenging things in a kitchen can be designing around builder grade oak cabinets that were prevalent in the 90’s and 2000’s. Even now, some builders use standard orange oak cabinets in the kitchens and bathrooms because they are affordable.

So you find yourself wanting to update your kitchen, but you can’t afford new cabinets and you don’t know where to start. I’ve come up with concept board for you to get started with your kitchen redesign.

The keys here will be to incorporate the orange oak into your kitchen be either living with it or painting it. If you choose to paint, make sure you properly prep them by sanding, using wood filler and priming before painting. I recommend using the only white paint you will ever need in kitchens.

DESIGNING KITCHENS WITH OAK CABINETS

Now if you choose not to paint, we want to use warm white colors to update the space, but not compete with the orange. In doing so, we will avoid any stark white comparisons against the oak while keeping the space light & bright.

PAINT

I recommend painting everything Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, the trim, walls and ceiling. It’s a modern white paint color, but it is sightly warm so it will pair well with the warm orange oak cabinets.

TILE

For the backsplash tile, I’ve chosen a vanilla colored subway tile. It is 3″ x 6″ in a traditional pattern. You can have it installed in a fun direction for interest.

FLOORS

The next major element in a kitchen will be the flooring. Visually, it takes up the most space in the kitchen so we want to use a very neutral base that doesn’t look bad with the oak cabinets. For the kitchen flooring, I recommend a warm white marble look tile or a natural wide plank oak flooring in wood or water resistant laminate. Aim for 7″ wide planks for the biggest impact or 12″ x 24″ tile.

As always, make sure you purchase samples and bring them home to compare to the cabinets and countertop choices.

HARDWARE

Updating your kitchen hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to bring your kitchen into this century. I like to balance with warm tones of the floor and cabinets with a polished silver knob and pull.

I love a polished silver. Chrome is too cold, brushed nickel looks cheap. So, polished silver (nickel) is my first choice for updating hardware in the kitchen. You can apply the same to the faucet.

LIGHTING

One of the biggest design crimes committed by builders is to add small pendants over kitchen islands and peninsulas. Let’s correct that mistake by choosing large 12″- 14″ wide pendants when we update lighting.

This is a great place to mix metals if you like brass. If you prefer to keep it all the same, stick to polished nickel. Do measure you island or peninsula and choose your pendants based on that length. You can read about that formula here.

ACCESSORIES

The last but not least things to work into your oak cabinet kitchen update is to accessorize the space. A kitchen runner is a great start for accessorizing. I love this Turkish looking runner that is faded tan and red. It ties in nicely with the other elements of the room.

LINKS

Do you love the elements of this kitchen design? I’ve gathered the links for the exact products for your convenience (some may by affiliate links, when available at no cost to you!).

I hope this kitchen design concept around oak cabinets helps you update your kitchen with modern accessories that work with your cabinets instead of against them. Good luck in achieving your kitchen dreams and if you love this, share it!

I would love to see photos of your finished designs so that I can share them with my readers, so if you use this kitchen mood board for inspiration, please send me photos!

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Kitchen Design Plan with Oak Cabinets

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