Honey Oak Cabinets (Color Matching Guide)

Here, we share our honey oak cabinets design guide, including the best colors for matching with kitchen walls, backsplash, floors, granite, and warm & cool paint suggestions.
Kitchen with honey oak cabinets, tile flooring, island, tile flooring, range hood, stove, chairs, and yellow walls

During the 1970s and the early ’90s, oak wood kitchen cabinetry became the trademark of American-style kitchens. The distinct warmth from the golden hue of honey oak and its fine grain pattern made it one of the best cabinet materials available in the market.

Up to this day, it has continued to be a favorite in the kitchen design scene. Although some may find it outdated, honey oak cabinets can be a good addition to your home, especially when mixed with the right color palette.

Below, we give you our color-matching guide for honey oak cabinets. Discover tips on choosing the right flooring, backsplash, and paint to go with it so you can pull off the best look for your home. [toc]

What Color Is Honey Oak?

Kitchen with yellow honey hue oak cabinets, backsplash, countertop, flooring, hood, and glass door

Honey oak has a yellow-toned orange hue and strong wood grain patterns. Compared to red oak, which is much darker and has a brownish-red color, honey oak has a golden yellow shade that is close to the natural wood color.

Choosing The Right Colors To Match Honey Oak Cabinets

Spacious kitchen with amber cabinets, pillars, oven, and backsplash

The color wheel is a primary guide in mixing and matching different shades in creating a color scheme for interiors. To figure out which colors will work with different species of wood, knowing the basics of color theory would come in very handy. 

In general, interior design elements can be enhanced through blending or toned down through contrast. Before choosing colors, determine which visual attribute you want to stand out in the design.

As for honey oak cabinets, do you want to neutralize their color and camouflage it harmoniously in the space? Or do you want the opposite and enhance it as the focal point of your home?

Whether you choose to blend or contrast, it will require you to pay attention to the undertones in your wood to determine what countertop, paint, and flooring colors will work best with it. These two ways can be achieved through the color theory:

1. Blending: To achieve a harmonious color palette, combine colors with a similar undertone. Honey oak, for example, has a dominant warm undertone to it, and naturally warm hues like shades of red, yellow, and orange will help camouflage the yellowness and orange tone of the wood. 

2. Contrast: A contrasting palette incorporates complementary colors. Complementary colors are found opposite each other on the color wheel, like red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and violet.

Since honey oak is yellow-orange, cool colors like blue and violet can help tone down its warmth and soften its look. Combining complementary colors renders contrast in a space and gives it more depth and dimension.

Best Backsplash to Match Honey Cabinets

Kitchen with amber honey cupboards, granite speckled backsplash, range hood, and oven

Neutrals will always be the safest bet in choosing a backsplash color to pair with this kind of oak cabinet. However, there are other color options that you can try if you want something bolder.  Here are some of the best backsplash colors to pair with honey oak kitchen cabinets:

Brown: Shades of brown are a good backsplash color, especially if you aim for a monochromatic color scheme. By definition, a monochromatic scheme combines various shades of a single color into one space.

Choose brown one to two shades lighter or darker than these cabinets to bring out the warm undertones of honey oak wood. You can find several options for brown backsplashes in almost any material, including tiles, natural stone, and glass. 

White:  White is a versatile backsplash color paired with wood cabinets, including warm wood-grains. This is ideal if you want a clean, crisp look for your kitchen. 

Also, the best thing about pairing honey-hues with a white backsplash is that you can easily introduce any color of accessories, appliances, and furniture in the space. 

• Beige: If you find white too stark, you can opt for its creamy version, beige. Like golden shades, beige also has a warm undertone, producing a cohesive overall look. Compared to white. a beige backsplash can make your kitchen feel warm and welcoming.

• Gray: The subtle hue of gray is another perfect neutral that pairs beautifully as a backsplash with oak cabinets. A gray backsplash can help tie your overall color palette if stainless steel appliances are used.

• Green: Because honey oak has a warm yellow-orange undertone, any cool hue like blue, green, or purple will contrast well with it. Together, wood and any green element look naturally organic. In addition, a green backsplash can help update the look of your cabinetry.

• Muted shades of purple: Purple is the complementary color of yellow — the dominant undertone in honey oak wood. If you want a bold contrast for your kitchen, try pairing these cupboards with backsplashes in shades of purple like lavender, lilac, plum, sangria, or wine. The overall result is not only rich and luxurious but also very dramatic.

Flooring That Goes Well With Honey Shades

Kitchen with warm honey shade cabinets, center breakfast bar island, gold stone countertop, and pendants

When pairing honey oak with flooring, you can also apply the same design principles you use in choosing backsplashes and paint. Determine if you want to coordinate the color palette or create contrast throughout the space. 

Tips For Choosing Flooring With Oak Cabinetry

Kitchen with lighter honey cupboards, oven, backsplash, island, and white countertop

Here are some tips you can use to help you figure out the best flooring to go with your honey oak cabinets:

1. Laminate Flooring With Honey Oak Cabinets: Laminate flooring is one of the best materials to use in a kitchen setting because they are very durable and practical. They mimic the appearance of natural wood minus the impurities that come with solid wood species.

2. Coordinating Oak Floors: You can coordinate with wood laminates that have the same color and grain pattern, but to add a twist, choose a style that adds variation.

One option is to go with hand-scraped laminate oak flooring. This type has a unique realistic texture that gives laminate flooring an authentic wood-like look. The indentions and grains are more prominent to mimic natural wood floors. 

We pair honey oak with hand-scraped oak hardwood flooring, resulting in a rustic, rugged appeal with a modern flair.

You can opt for slightly lighter or darker laminated to pair with these shades, such as colonial-oak laminate or wheat-oak. Avoid dark colors like ebony, mahogany, or dark maple. 

Kitchen with oak cabinetry, plank floors, recessed lights

3. Medium to Dark Laminates: Medium to dark-colored laminates match honey oak cabinets perfectly. Medium to dark laminated like chestnut, pine, acacia, hickory, and Brazilian cherry will not overpower your cabinet color and appearance and will not overwhelm a space.

Additionally, these wood colors are easier to maintain and don’t show marks easily compared to lighter or darker alternatives. 

4. Hardwood Flooring With Oak Cabinets: If you want a luxurious traditional kitchen, pair these cupboards with natural hardwood flooring. Opt for stained wood and make sure that it is treated so that it can withstand moisture and spills in the kitchen. 

5. Contrasting Wood Colors: Aside from coordinating oak wood, you can also choose lighter colors to create a contrast. Contrast can be achieved by layering colors and textures throughout the space.

Since oak cabinets already have a luxurious color, light contrasting floors will add balance to your kitchen. Some light wood flooring colors that you can use for amber hues include light cherry, cypress, beech, maple, and whitewash pine.

Aside from light wood, medium-dark wood also pairs beautifully with the golden tone of this wood. 

Below are some of the best wood species that you can try to pair with oak cabinets: 

• Red oak: Red oak is perfect for an oak-themed kitchen; this has a medium brown color with a reddish wash.

• Brazilian cherry: This type of cherry hardwood has a dark reddish-brown color that changes to a medium tone over time.

• Maple: Maple is a wood species with a light, creamy color contrasting beautifully with this cabinetry. Maple has two types, hard and soft maple, and both have heartwoods that have a brown to reddish color.

Hard Maple is a light-toned wood with creamy white sapwood tinged with pinkish or pale reddish-brown undertones. Soft Maple is also a light-toned wood that varies from creamy white to greyish white and is accentuated with dark-colored flecks. 

• Birch: Birch is also a yellow-toned type of wood. This softer hardwood comes in various tones, from light to medium, but the most popular is yellow birch. If you’d like to create a contrast between your dark oak cabinets, you may want to get birch flooring.

6. Natural Stone Flooring with Honey Oak Cabinets: If the wood on wood does not fit your taste, another material you can try as flooring is natural stone.

This creates a whole new vibe in a unique, vibrant, and modern room. Although natural stone cannot offer the same warmth wood floors have, they bring texture and variety to a space dominated by honey oak cabinets.

Some natural stone flooring options for honey oak are marble, slate, granite, travertine, and terracotta. Opt for warm undertones to coordinate and blend well with the natural color of the cabinetry finish.  

What Granite Color Goes With Honey Tones

Kitchen with curved island, countertop, wood board floor, honey toned cabinets, windows, and ceiling lights

In choosing the best color of granite to match your honey oak cabinets, you can use the natural markings in the stone as a guide. Granite, by definition, is a form of hard igneous rock that is made up of quartz, feldspar, and mica.

Because of its minerals, it often has multicolored striations, veins, flecks, and grains. These give granite and non-uniform color, which makes it match a wide variety of wood species and finishing materials.

Aside from the base color of the granite, you can use the features of the stone and its natural markings and undertones to match perfectly with honey oak.

Regarding granite colors that go well with honey oak cabinets, neutrals are at the top of the list. Cool neutrals like white, gray, and ivory granite compliment the warmth of the cupboards.

Whereas coffee brown and titanium granite help highlight the darker tones in the wood. Warm tones like warm beige also perfectly match honey oak because they have the same color temperature. 

Since warm-colored wood pairs best with warm-toned granite, cool-colored granite will clash with honey oak cabinets. As a result, matching the warm woods with blue, pink, red, or purple is not recommended. 

Below are examples of granite colors that go with honey oak cabinets:

White Granite: White is generally the most versatile color because it can easily match other colors. White granite pairs beautifully with most wood species, including honey oak cabinets. It makes a viable option because it helps balance the warmth of golden tones in oak wood. 

Snowfall granite is an example of white granite that goes well with honey shades. This type of granite is characterized by its white base with gray undertones and splashes of caramel. 

Gray Granite: Gray is the most popular color of granite. Regarding color trends, the color gray is considered the best new neutral because of its design flexibility.

Although it has a cool tone, gray goes well with both cool and warm colors — including honey oak. When paired, it puts an updated twist on a classic and is well used for contemporary and transitional decor.

Gray granite and honey oak cabinets look best with accent colors like navy blue, yellow, gold, rose, and purple.

Ivory Granite: Ivory granite is slightly darker than white granite. It is off-white or light cream in color and has a warmer undertone because of golden variations. In addition to gold undertones, some ivory granite has shades of pink and blue. The natural warmth of its hue pairs beautifully with honey oak cabinets. 

Warm Beige Granite: Warm beige granite almost has the same color as honey oak cabinets, making it a harder color to pull off. Beige granite has different variations; some have an ivory base with a slight tinge of brown or pink.

Other beige granite had a light brown, camel, or caramel color. The warm overtones in beige granite are one of the best colors to complement honey cabinets, especially if you aim for a monochromatic look.

Tan or Brown Granite: Earth tones, like brown or tan, are also a perfect match for honey. Most brown granite slabs have black and dark brown flecks evenly distributed in the stone. These variations offer a contrast with a golden honey color. You can use this color pairing if you aim for a more traditional look for your home.

An example of brown granite that pairs well is Coffee Brown Granite. This granite features a chocolate brown base with fine flecks of black, warm gray, and coffee-colored minerals. 

Another option is Giallo Fiorito Granite, a type of granite with a warm palette of cream, tan, and earthy peach tones with a medium composite pattern. It creates a consistent color palette throughout the space when paired with toasty wooden shades. 

Black Granite: Black is another neutral that can be paired with honey. Together, they can bring depth, dimension, and a strong contrast to a space. 

For a stark contrast, pair this cabinetry with Titanium Granite. Titanium granite is a unique black granite with a caramel gold sheen and gray swirls.

The warm accent colors in this dark-based exotic granite complement the golden tone of honey oak cabinets. Together, they make a very unique and eye-catching pair.

If you want black granite but prefer a more subdued pattern. One option you can try is Black Pearl Granite. This type of granite has a black base with a semi-solid color tone with speckles of blacks, shades of gray, silvers, golds,  browns, and sometimes green.

What Paint Color Goes With Honey Cabinetry

Farmhouse kitchen with cabinets made from oak, and tile brick-style backsplash

When choosing paint colors that go with honey oak cabinets, the same design principles involving color theory apply. As we have mentioned, before selecting the rest of your color palette, you need to decide first whether you want to blend your kitchen cabinets with the rest of your color palette or if you want to accentuate them.

In turn, these cabinets can become a focal point of your kitchen space. Here are some of the best paint colors to coordinate with oak kitchen cabinets: 

Warm Paint Colors To Blend With Honey

Kitchen with warm colors, agate countertop, red backsplash, and wooden cabinet

If you want to blend honey oak cabinets with the rest of the space, use warm colors and neutrals with warm undertones.

Some of the best paint colors to pair with honey-shades are those that embrace this wood’s warm tones rather than fight it. These colors include beige, cream, brown, and greige.

Traditional american kitchen with warm beige wall paint, stainless steel appliances, and vase with flowers on the island

• Warm neutrals: Warm neutrals like beige and cream are some of the best paint colors to pair with honey oak cabinets because they can produce a brighter look for your kitchen.

Beige shares the same color temperature as honey-hues; you can easily blend your cabinets with the rest of the room.

Cream, on the other hand,  is a warm shade of white with “butterscotch” undertones.  When paired with honey-toned cabinetry, cream-colored walls help create a room that is naturally warm and inviting.

Alabaster paintSherwin Williams Alabaster (SW7008)

• Alabaster: Alabaster is a very light off-white that has a hint of shading to it. It’s almost similar to cream color but doesn’t have strong yellow undertones that might clash with golden honey oak cabinets. Use this paint color for your walls to lighten up your space.

Modern kitchen with gray paint, oak wood cabinets, and stools at the island

• Gray: Gray has a subtle color that will not blend in with yellow tones but also won’t highlight your cabinets. Warm grays work better than cool grays because the latter results in an ashy look when placed alongside warm amber shades.

Greige: Greige is considered to be the new neutral. It combines a subtle gray base with a solid beige undertone. Because it has a combination of both warm and cool undertones, you can use greige paint colors if you want to create a well-balanced overall look for a space with these cupboards.

Cool Paint Colors To Tone Down Honey Hues

Kitchen with green walls, oak grain cabinets, track lights and laminate

If you want to downplay the yellow-orange undertone of honey oak wood and tone it down a bit, then you need to look across to the other side of the color wheel and choose a complementary paint color. These include cool hues such as blue,  green, or neutrals with slightly purple undertones.

Chantilly lace paintBenjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (OC 65)

• Cool neutrals: Shades of white and gray with cool undertones of green, purple and blue also help downplay the natural color of honey oak cabinets. These colors will soften the design and help make the space lighter and airier. 

Spacious kitchen with lime green paired with oak raise panel cabinets

• Green: Green paint is one of the best shades you can use to tone down the warmth of yellow-toned woods like honey oak. In general, pairing green with any type of wood looks very natural and organic.

Both light and dark shades of green can be used as paint colors to match golden hued cabinetry and each one renders a different visual effect. 

Light shades of green like sage and mint green will produce a refreshing vibe, while dark shades of green such as olive will produce a more luxurious and dramatic feel. But if you want something in between, you can opt for muted green as they can give these cupboards a more updated look.

Serene sky paintBehr Serene Sky (540C-2)

• Blue: Shades of blue paint contrast well with amber shaded cabinets without being too overwhelming. Regardless of the intensity –whether it may be a light powdery blue hue, a muted bluish-gray, or rich navy blue, this paint color can tone down honey oak cabinets and give them a more updated look.

See more related content in our article about the best kitchen paint colors with oak cabinets on this page.

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