The Once-Dated Cabinet Finish That's Making A Big Comeback In Kitchens

You might remember the days when natural wood cabinets reigned supreme, but their lacquered finishes feel more like a time capsule dedicated to the '70s through the late '90s rather than a modern aesthetic you'd want to feature in your home. While the high-gloss look is still "out," natural wood seems to be making a comeback in a big way, and your kitchen might be just the place to indulge in this renewed trend. By implementing materials like oak, walnut, or cherry into your hardwood cabinets, you can transform your cooking space into a homey, inviting destination that still feels sleek and relevant.

The painted cabinet finish that seems to overwhelm the home-design sector is still a great option for anyone wanting a pop of color in their kitchen, but opting for natural woods can also bring in dimension and brightness without requiring you to stick to a certain theme. Woods like oak and walnut can match a variety of aesthetics, and their toasty appeal makes people want to spend time in the room these materials fill. Think relaxing cabin retreats and farmhouse-style spaces that both entice and comfort.

Natural wood cabinets make the kitchen more homey

The key to incorporating natural woods into the kitchen is to find the right shade for your room. With this re-emerging trend, the preference seems to be on walnut shades or oak that can balance well with a variety of countertop materials and different appliance finishes. If you plan to build or renovate all of your cabinetry to switch over to wood, choose a neutral shade that will work with any design theme so you can change fixtures down the line if you so please.

White oak is a great option if you prefer a slightly lighter shade, but these can be less eco-friendly than some wood species. In this case, you could always consider painting existing cabinets or installing the more sustainable alder or pine with veneer paints that will alter the finish without requiring hard-to-source wood. You can also use a natural wood stain on cabinets that feel dated to achieve the shades that have made natural wood become so coveted once again (minus the glossy finish). Matte wood will provide the luxurious aesthetic you want without dating your kitchen.

Try pops of natural wood

Suppose you don't want to fully commit to a full natural-wood renovation on all your cabinets. In that case, there are also ways to bring in these materials without investing in a total overhaul. By adding natural-wood pieces throughout your kitchen, you can still attain the mellow atmosphere walnut, oak, and other woods bring. Adding shelves throughout the room in natural wood will introduce just enough of a cozy feel without taking over your existing designs, while a large natural-wood dining table and chair set will bring a more dramatic flair without requiring renovations. You can even replace a kitchen island with a vintage wood table to save money if you don't already have one installed, which will introduce the wood element and save space!

If you really want to make the wood in your kitchen pop and you're looking to build it out or fix it up anyway, black countertops and stainless steel appliances are great options for the space. These materials and colors will create a timeless design that can be easily altered should you want to introduce painted cabinets back into the space or add more natural wood instead.