Avoid Choosing These Outdated Wood Tones For Your Kitchen Cabinets

Home trends come and go; and while some come back in new and exciting ways, others remain outdated. That seems to be the case for deeply warm-toned oak cabinets, which were popular in the 1990s but have fallen out of favor as the decades went on. Many homeowners seek to create a kitchen that is warm and inviting, which was the original draw of golden- and honey oak-colored cabinets. And while the trend cycle is leaning more on the warm side currently, these cabinets are often too warm toned to work with contemporary tastes. Their intense undertones can make finding counters that pair well difficult. Paired with chunky paneled cabinet doors, they can look even more out of style.

White oak naturally has warm undertones, like beige and brown. So, it's the warm honey and golden stains on top of oak that can make for a piece of furniture's outdated yellow tones. With this in mind, you don't have to abandon oak in the kitchen altogether. In fact, oak is one of the best kitchen cabinet colors for creating a warm, inviting, and nature-inspired space. So, if you're searching for cabinet stains, avoid the overly warm honey and golden oak varieties. There are better ways to add the warmth you desire in your kitchen and keep the space looking more up to date and timeless.

Best and worst stains for oak cabinets

Cabinet colors that lean too warm are what often make them look outdated. In most cases, it's not the oak itself but the stain. Colors like Minwax's Wild Honey, Golden Orange, and Vintage Orange can exaggerate the natural warm undertones in oak, so it's best to avoid these stains with oak cabinets. Instead, you want to focus on bringing out oak's natural beauty and allowing the wood's natural warmth to truly shine. Transparent stain or wood oils that won't hide oak's true color are often the best ways to do this. Transparent finishes and oil also allow you to see the graining in the wood, which can add stunning texture and movement to your kitchen.

Staining is a great way to breathe new life into dated kitchen cabinets. But because white oak is already a light wood, staining it lighter can be tricky. Minwax's Weathered Oak, however, is a good option for staining the wood without darkening it too much. One light coat will give you a warm brown finish, which will still allow the natural undertones and graining to shine. Conversely, you can try darkening the wood with Golden Brown, which still has warm undertones but isn't overtly yellow. Staining is a good way to update kitchen cabinets on a budget. You can sand down your current cabinets and door fronts and add a stain or oil to show off the oak's natural beauty and nearly instantly transform your kitchen.

Ways to modernize oak

It's not only the color of yellow-toned oak cabinets that can make it look outdated. Sometimes, it's a combination with the style that can make the kitchen look like it's from a previous era. So, in addition to avoiding honey and golden stained oak cabinets, you can also find other ways to modernize this warm wood. Swapping out chunky outdated door fronts for sleek, flat-paneled or more minimalist door styles can modernize the look of oak. Another way to update wood cabinets without paint is by opting for glass-front doors. Glass adds another texture but can also break up the wood stain, which can easily become an overwhelming swarth of color.

Pairing white oak and warm-stained oak cabinets with white counters will brighten up the space. White counters with brown or golden veining like Calacatta Miraggio Gold has the best of both worlds. The bright, crisp white adds vibrancy that can draw attention away from unwanted warmth. But the veining in it has a little bit of warmth that complements the natural tones in oak cabinets. You can also modernize oak with the right backsplash. Choose colors that contrast the yellow and orange tones in oak, such as greens and blues, to help play down the overly warm undertones. A combination of modernizing cabinets and opting for a less yellow-orange stain will create a stunning oak kitchen.