11 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Oak Kitchen: Tips And Ideas For A Successful Project


Oak is also a popular material for design-conscious homeowners, who want to add that sophisticated, old-world feel to their kitchens. With its neutral colouring, knotty grain and neutral smell, it is a popular choice among DIY-ers, who are eager to get started.  It’s no wonder then that oak is fast becoming one of the most popular wood finishes for modern kitchens. 

As you plan for your new oak kitchen project, you may be wondering: how should I go about making the most of this handsome space? And how can I make the most of my time and resources? 

There are plenty of challenges and opportunities in working with oak. Some people love it, while others find it challenging to work with. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your new oak kitchen, from subtle details that will highlight its natural beauty, to bolder design elements that will give your space a fresh update.

Let’s take a look at some of these tips and suggestions for a successful project.

Why choose oak for your kitchen?

Oak is a natural wood that has a rich history behind it. It is a beautiful and elegant hardwood, with a warm-toned, reddish-brown colour and natural grain. It has real character and charm, making it a popular choice for modern kitchens.  The wood itself is also naturally resistant to fungi and decay, making it a great choice for kitchen countertops, where it can last 5-10 years.

Handy tips and ideas for making the most of your oak kitchen

1. Choose the right oak 

There are two main types of oak: American white oak and European red oak. You’ll find that the lighter the colour of the wood, the more the grain patterns will show through, making it a perfect choice for appliances and drawers.

For cabinets and drawers, look for a light to medium colour. For accents, you can go darker to achieve a more pronounced grain pattern, or you can use a darker stain on the sink and/or appliances to keep them from showing through.

As for shelves, your choice of oak will depend on your kitchen’s décor and layout. Keep in mind that the darker the colour, the harder it will be to match with other appliances and the more the wood grain patterns will come through.

2. Add a little colour to go with the grain

If your oak cabinets are the star of the show, you can still give them a boost by adding some colour to the grain.

For instance, to complement a dark oak finish, you can add some white to the grain on your cabinets. You can also add some of the same colours to your island or other open shelves.

You can also try different shades of red or orange on your cabinets to add a pop of colour to the kitchen.

3. Use a darker shade for cabinet doors and drawers

One of the best ways to add depth and texture to your oak cabinets is by using darker oak shades for your doors and drawers. You can also do this to your island drawers to add some dimension to the wall.

This will help tie the design of your kitchen together, especially if your cabinets are neutral white or light oak shades. You can also use the same colour for your accessories for a seamless look.

4. Mix things up with lighter wood panels

If your cabinets are neutral white or light oak, you can add depth by using lighter oak shades on the panelling.

This can be on your walls or your ceiling, which is perfect if you have an open layout.

Light oak panels can also be used as shelves to add some height to the space.

5. Keep it simple with whitewashed walls

If you want the simplicity of wood but don’t want to sacrifice a neutral colour scheme, you can go with a simple solution: whitewashed walls. This can work especially well with a dark oak kitchen, as it will help to balance the design with a lighter colour.

Whitewashing can also be combined with other finishes, like a dark stain on your cabinets or appliances, to tie everything together.

6. For a stylish statement, go for flooring

A classic wood floor is an excellent choice for a modern kitchen. It does well with all the natural light that is present, so you can use it for your flooring.

American white oak is a classic choice for this, as it is naturally resistant to water and bacteria, making it an excellent kitchen floor material. 

You can also use it for your wall-mounted shelves, creating a seamless look across the room.

7. You can also try using a different coordinate with your cabinets

Choose your oak cabinets in coordination with your appliances and hardware. If you have stainless steel appliances, choose a stainless steel/wood combination. If you have a bright yellow kitchen, you might want to go with light oak or medium-dark coloured cabinet. Also, if you want a richer, darker finish, you can stain your cabinets to match the rest of your kitchen.  

When you coordinate with your cabinets, not only do you create a more seamless look but you also ensure that the wood finish complements your appliances. This helps to create a unified, modern aesthetic in the kitchen.

8. Add a bold accent

Choose a bold accent to bring out the natural beauty of your oak kitchen and provide a focal point. A bold accent can be both a decorative element and an accent colour. For example, a bold orange spice rack can add warmth to the kitchen and complement the oak cabinets.  If the kitchen wall you have selected is neutral, a bold accent can add warmth to the space. The warm, bold accent brings a little life to the space without overwhelming it. 

9. Play up the grain and colour

The same kitchen theme and grain in different colours can be a great match, but you may want to use a different wood finish if the original was a different colour. For example, if your kitchen is a light beige/taupe/white colour palette, you might want to choose a medium-dark wood finish or a dark wood finish to better match the components.  You can also choose a different accent colour to match the hardware. For example, a grey/blue/turquoise theme might be best matched with a turquoise accent.

10. Install lighting to bring out the beauty

Lighting can be one of the most important factors in bringing out the beauty in your wood cabinets or any other wood product. This is because lighting can illuminate the grain and colour of the wood, as well as accentuate the unique pattern and texture. It can also be used to bring out the beauty of your hardware and other decorative elements.  

Choose lighting that complements your oak cabinets and kitchen theme. For example, you can go with a softer, more subtle light if your kitchen is a neutral colour palette.  In addition to lighting, consider installing under cabinet lighting or installing a sensor light for further illumination. This can be a great way to bring out the beauty of your kitchen cabinets.

11. Add tattered elements for style

If you are looking for a more rustic, classic feel in your kitchen, a distressed finish on some of the cabinets would work wonders. In a kitchen that seems to be going for a modern, industrial edge, a more traditional, hand-scraped finish on the cabinets can work beautifully.

Final Words: Wrapping Up

With the constant influx of new homebuyers and an increase in the demand for natural wood finishes, oak is certainly one to watch. It is an aged wood, making it relatively stable and strong, making it a great option for kitchens. It has a warm, natural look that’s perfect for modern kitchens and will easily complement any style of home.  As you can see, oak is a versatile material with endless design possibilities. Plus, it is incredibly durable, making it a great choice for both residential and commercial projects. 

If you want to make the most of this natural wood finish, you’ll want to explore your options. colour for your countertops if you have a large island, as this will help to break up the monotony of the white cabinets.