The Best Flooring Colors for Oak Cabinets in 2023

Oak cabinets offer a timeless, elegant look in any kitchen. But pairing them with the right flooring color is key to creating a cohesive and stylish space. The natural warmth and texture of oak cabinets allows them to work with a diverse range of flooring colors and materials. In 2023, the best flooring options for oak cabinets continue to include beautiful hardwoods, durable porcelain tile, cozy cork, and more.

When selecting flooring for oak cabinets, consider factors like the oak finish, room lighting, overall style goals, and foot traffic patterns. Lighter oaks look best with bolder floors in darker wood tones and colors. While darker oak finishes can handle lighter flooring colors without appearing washed out. Always view flooring samples alongside cabinetry before finalizing your kitchen design.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Flooring for Oak Cabinets

Oak Cabinet Color and Stain

The depth of stain and general lightness or darkness of your oak cabinets should guide your flooring selection. For instance, light natural oak cabinets with minimal stain can pair nicely with a wide range of wood floor colors from light to dark. However, darker oak stains limit your options somewhat.

Darker espresso or brown oak will look best with lighter floors that provide contrast. Or opt for darker floors that match closely but aren’t identical. Going too light or dark with floors can make dark oak cabinets feel out of balance. Always test samples first.

Amount of Natural Light in the Room

The natural lighting in your kitchen impacts how flooring colors will look alongside oak cabinets. Well-lit spaces can handle darker floors without appearing heavy or gloomy. But in darker kitchens, stick to lighter floors. Dark floors in dark spaces make oak cabinets feel faded and dull.

what color flooring goes with oak cabinets

Assess the room at different times of day. North-facing rooms tend to be darker. South-facing kitchens get more consistent light. Adjust your flooring color choice according to your specific lighting conditions for the best outcome.

Overall Style Goals

Your target style and aesthetic should guide your flooring selection for oak cabinets. For traditional kitchens, medium tone hardwoods with reddish hues work well. Cool tones like gray and white oak floors keep things contemporary. Rich wood grains take on a more formal look. While painted, whitewashed, or light floors lend a cottage charm.

Think about cabinet hardware and fixtures too. Wrought iron handles suit darker floors, while brass pairs better with lighter colors. Ultimately, choose flooring that enhances your desired feeling and fits your decor.

Foot Traffic

Kitchens see heavy foot traffic daily, so flooring durability is crucial. Hardwoods like oak and hickory withstand impact well. Budget-friendly laminate and vinyl mimic wood with more resilience. And tile resists scratches, stains, and wear from pets or kids.

For high-traffic kitchens, steer away from softer woods like pine that dent easily. Materials like cork and bamboo aren’t as durable either. Focus on floors that can withstand your lifestyle with continued beauty alongside oak cabinets.

Best Floor Colors for Dark Oak Cabinets

Light Hardwoods

Light-colored hardwood floors beautifully contrast darker oak cabinets. Maple with its pale yellow undertones is a popular choice. Other options like birch, ash, and hickory also introduce lightness. A blonde oak floor warms up the space without competing with darker cabinetry.

Distressed and whitewashed hardwoods pair attractively too. A reclaimed oak floor with natural variation provides appealing texture. Just avoid floors that are equally as dark as the cabinets–go significantly lighter instead.

Vinyl and Laminate

For a more budget-friendly option, consider laminate or luxury vinyl plank flooring. Quality vinyl and laminate mimic the look of natural wood extremely well. And their lighter oak, maple, and birch color options beautifully complement darker oak cabinets.

With improved printing technologies, vinyl and laminate floors have convincing wood grains and textures. Just ensure your flooring choice has texture variation so it doesn’t look overly uniform or fake next to real wood cabinetry.


Natural stone and ceramic tile floors ground dark oak cabinets beautifully. Limestone, travertine, and marble offer light, neutral backgrounds that don’t fight with dark cabinetry. Or choose tile with subtle grey veining for added interest.

For contemporary kitchens, large format porcelain tile in cool tones like alabaster and cashmere work excellently. The sleek, minimalist look contrasts the traditional oak. Just avoid busy tile patterns, which compete visually.

Best Floor Colors for Medium Oak Cabinets

Medium to Dark Hardwoods

Since medium oak cabinets sit in the middle of the color spectrum, you can take flooring in a couple directions. Maintaining a similar depth of color with medium to dark hardwoods like hickory, Brazilian cherry, and walnut results in a cohesive look.

Opt for wood flooring in a tone that’s just slightly lighter or darker than the base cabinet color. This close match in shade prevents the floors from clashing with or overpowering medium oak stain.

Luxury Vinyl Plank

Luxury vinyl plank flooring offers artistic wood visuals with waterproof durability and comfort underfoot. For medium oak cabinets, vinyl planks in darker browns, warm greys, and lighter beiges coordinate seamlessly.

Match the undertones of your oak finish to find complementing vinyl colors. Cool greys pair well with gray undertones, while beiges match cabinets with golden undertones. Consider adding texture for realism and dimension.

Dark Tile

Bold, darker tile colors help ground medium oak cabinets nicely. Try on-trend bold patterns and shapes like hexagons or Moroccan fish scale tiles. Or stick with classics like rich brown marble or travertine.

For modern kitchens, choose darker porcelain with little veining or patterns. Allow the stark tile colors to contrast the busier oak grain. Keep grout lines minimal for a sleek, contemporary vibe.

Best Floor Colors for Light Oak Cabinets

Medium and Dark Hardwoods

Light oak cabinets crave bolder, deeper floor colors to create an inviting, balanced space. Rich hardwoods in espresso, chestnut, and mahogany hues add coziness and sophistication.

Distressed hardwoods also pair attractively by introducing darker variation. For a modern twist, use extra wide-plank floors to contrast narrow white oak cabinets.

Vinyl Plank in Neutrals

Luxury vinyl plank flooring in oak or gray wood patterns beautifully complements light oak cabinets while offering waterproof durability. The neutral tones enrich the space without overwhelming the light cabinet color.

Matte finish vinyl planks match the subtle sheen of oak cabinets for a cohesive look. Consider plank sizes that mimic real hardwood dimensions for added realism.

Dark Tile

Honed marble, slate, or travertine tile in dark greys and blackprovide an elegant contrast to light oak. Large format porcelain tile also anchors light cabinets stylishly with minimal grout lines.

Choose tiles with subtle veining and patterns to complement white oak’s linear grain. Dark tile floors ground and stabilize light oak while feeling modern and fresh.

Tips for Selecting Flooring to Match Oak Cabinets

When finalizing your kitchen flooring alongside oak cabinets, keep these tips in mind:

  • Consider how cabinet and flooring finishes interact – matte floors suit textured oak while glossy materials pair better with smooth cabinet faces.
  • Bring cabinet samples when shopping for floors to test pairings.
  • Consult your kitchen designer for expert advice on coordinated colors and materials.
  • Don’t overlook countertops and backsplashes – these surfaces also impact the overall flooring choice.

Oak cabinetry offers flexibility to install virtually any style of flooring when done thoughtfully. Just ensure your flooring color and material aligns with the oak finish, lighting, and intended aesthetic. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to think outside the box for unique but cohesive combinations.

In 2023, warm-toned hardwoods, neutral porcelain tiles, and resilient vinyl planks continue to top the list of best flooring options for oak cabinets. Light oaks pair attractively with richer wood floors in espresso and chestnut hues. While darker oak cabinets come to life with lighter-colored hardwoods like maple and hickory. No matter your oak finish, choose flooring in a closely matching or boldly contrasting tone for optimal cohesion and style.

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