Oak kitchen cabinets are a popular choice for many homeowners because of their natural beauty and durability. While they can look great in a traditional or country-style kitchen, some people may find them a bit too formal for a more modern look.
But How To Make Oak Kitchen Cabinets Look Modern? There are a few things you can do.
- 1 REASONS TO UPDATE OAK CABINETS WITHOUT REPLACING THEM
- 2 1. UPDATE LIGHT FIXTURES & HARDWARE
- 3 2. ADD GLASS TO FEATURE CABINETS DOORS
- 4 3. ADD A NEW BACKSPLASH
- 5 4. USE THE RIGHT HOME DECOR
- 6 5. PAINT…JUST A LITTLE
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
REASONS TO UPDATE OAK CABINETS WITHOUT REPLACING THEM
Oak cabinets are no longer in fashion, but many reasons to keep them.
They are most likely made of natural wood. They are likely to be a better quality cabinet than what you might end up with if your set is new.
It is also expensive to purchase new cabinets. A set of kitchen cabinets at Home Depot for as low as $10,000 can easily be costly.
Third, it is not easy to take out kitchen cabinets in good condition for no other reason than to update the style.
There are several things you can do to update your traditional oak cabinets.
1. UPDATE LIGHT FIXTURES & HARDWARE
In my previous blog post, I discussed hardware. Today, I want to expand on those ideas…
BLACK HARDWARE FOR WOOD CABINETS
The best choice for updating wooden cabinets is black. It looks great! As long as the hinges don’t show, black hinges can be a little harsh and make the cabinets look older than hidden hinges. Black hardware can look modern or farmhouse depending on your cabinets style and the surrounding decor.
Given the size of this cabinet door (below), I would like to see handles with a little more thickness and more petite curves.
The above photo shows how the updated countertop and backsplash of white subway tiles give new life to the pair oak cabinets.
Although the next kitchen is full of original features, the space feels pulled together by coordinated hardware and lighting fixtures. (I might even paint the island, though…just saying).
POLISHED NICKEL HARDWARE ON WOOD CABINETS
Nickel is second in hot to black, especially if it’s a modern look that coordinates well with stainless appliances.
ANTIQUE BRASS HARDWARE FOR WOOD CABINETS
Antique brass, which is a lovely finish for oak cabinets with low contrast, can be achieved. However, it’s not as easy to achieve unless you have mad style (think Studio McGee) and suitable cabinets (i.e., shaker style). This finish is also an excellent option for oak cabinets with original cabinet hardware.
OIL RUBBED BRONZE HARDWARE ON WOOD CABINETS
ORB is another stunning finish for oak wood cabinets, but it is often better with oak than maple or cherry (depending on which stain color). It is, however, the least modern of all the finishes.
I would update the lighting fixtures in this kitchen to make it more modern. Maybe even two. Then, I’d cap the middle one. I would also replace the backsplash with cream subway tiles.
GOLD OR BRASS HARDWARE FOR WOOD CABINETS
This is a trendy finish, but it’s not always a good fit for wood cabinets. Why? Because gold/brass tends to be a yellow-toned finish, some cabinets may not suit this yellow-gold look. While aged brass, also known as antique brass, is more popular than polished nickel or black, it can still be a good fit.
The hardware in the next photo is very low-key, and I like it. The cabinets serve as a backdrop for the beautiful, updated pendant lights, affordable laminate countertops, and faucets.
2. ADD GLASS TO FEATURE CABINETS DOORS
Glass can be added to critical doors to reduce the visual weight and increase the reflective value of your kitchen. This is especially useful if you have dark cabinets and a dark kitchen. You could also hire a cabinet company, but you might be amazed at the results with a bottle of wine and a saw. This is how I trim my toenails.
But seriously, would you like to learn how? My friend Tamara at Provident Home Design has a great tutorial on Confessions Of a Serial DIYer.
If you feel hard to set up the cabinet, read this article: How To Install Kitchen Cabinets?
3. ADD A NEW BACKSPLASH
No matter if you have an old backsplash or not, a new-looking backsplash can make your wood cabinets look fantastic!
Subway tile with soft gray or white grout is the most timeless and popular choice. This tile looks great when paired with a black, gray, or neutral countertop.
Travertine is another beautiful natural stone used in many cherries, maple, and oak cabinetry finishes. The polished nickel hardware is an excellent complement to the warm tones of the wood, while black would have created more contrast.
The above photo shows how hardware, modern countertops, and a new backsplash of subway tiles make wood cabinets look more prosperous, more vibrant, and less heavy.
4. USE THE RIGHT HOME DECOR
A consistent color scheme and unified decor can make a kitchen or bathroom look updated. A room can look more cluttered if it has too many metal finishes and colors.
BLACK, WHITE & GRAY HOME DECOR
Wood cabinets can be updated with neutrals or simple, classic colors. Instead of contrasting the wood with a color like blue or green, they can be neutrals. They keep things simple but still add visual interest.
KITCHENS COPPER-COLOURED HOME DECOR
Copper can be a great complement to oak cabinets, thanks to its rich and earthy metal finish. Copper can be used to make small decorative items or canisters. It can also help simplify and unify your cabinets.
GREENERY IN KITCHENS
Wood cabinets don’t like too many colors. However, adding greenery to the room is a great way to bring life without being overwhelming.
Although I may add some decorative flair to the next kitchen, the bones are there, and the photo illustrates how even a tiny bit of green can add LIFE (this home was being staged, so it was simple).
I believe CLEARING the CLUTTER is an excellent way to modernize wood cabinets. Reduce clutter and let the products do all the work. Wood cabinets, especially oak, have a wood grain that can add visual interest to your space.
While simplicity is delicate for home staging, I would suggest a few things that would be respectful of the owners’ need for clarity while still adding a decorative touch.
- Place simple and repetitive decor pieces in the upper glass cabinets (i.e., coordinating bowls/vases/stacks plates).
- Take the knife holders out of your hands if they aren’t in use.
- Add a few plants to add some energy and color to complement the warm tones! A small number of plants, even one, would make a big difference in your blender’s performance.
- Use a better utensil holder that includes stainless utensils
- add a decorative soap dispenser
Although the backsplash’s diamond design isn’t too modern, the next photo shows that the cabinets still have great bones and can be stained in any color you choose. This space would be much less appealing if the countertops were cluttered. The addition of greenery makes the room more connected and complements the maple cabinets.
The following could be considered if the property owner wanted to go further.
- Add a warm, creamy white subway tile. The countertop and flooring would look too stark if they were white. To define the tile layout, I would use a light beige-ish grout.
- Replace the pendant lights with clear glass ones that are slightly larger and more modern. I would probably reduce it to three lamps and cap one.
- Upholstered stools can soften the wood and add texture and softness.
5. PAINT…JUST A LITTLE
Okay, I admit it. This idea doesn’t require you to paint all of your cabinets. It’s just a few of them. And it’s just too great not to share.
You can update your kitchen by painting a few areas and giving the oak something to match.
There are many kitchen layouts, and it can be challenging to decide which one to paint or which to leave the solid wood. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.
- Paint only the upper cabinets
- Paint only the lower cabinets
- If you have a pantry cabinet in your kitchen, paint it with the uppers or lowers.
- Paint the island
If you have a unique range hood or area for your desk, painted cabinets.
How can you make honey oak kitchen cabinets look smaller?
Pick a Contrasting Color! You can tone down the orange tones of maple or honey oak woodwork by choosing a different color from the color wheel.
How can you make wooden cabinets look brand new?
Clean your cabinets by dipping a clean towel in warm water, then wiping off all surfaces. Use a soft, clean cloth to dry your cabinets. To bring out the beauty and shine of your kitchen cabinets, apply a wax-free and silicone-free wood polish.
Can honey oak cabinets be whitewashed?
Whitewash wood stains can be easily applied and are readily available. Some wood types like pine are more suited for whitewashing, while cabinets made from oak can be whitewashed using a process called picking.
Finally, with a few simple touches to make oak kitchen cabinets look more modern, you can transform this classic wood into a stunning look that will bring style and character to your home. Be creative and enjoy the new face of your kitchen! Hope you find this article by Peelsnyc is useful.