Q&A: My Home Has Oak Everywhere: How Do I Blend That With a Remodel?

If your home was built in the 80s or 90s, then there’s a good chance it’s filled with warm-toned oak wood. There’s nothing wrong with oak cabinets, doors, or trim – in fact, it’s making a bit of a design comeback! However, honey oak kitchen cabinets, in particular, can make a kitchen feel dated and one-note.

A common question our designer Cristine often hears is, “I have oak everywhere in my house, and I don’t love it. How do I blend my remodel with the rest of my home?” Read on below for her thoughtful answer!

Blend Old and New Finishes
Oak is a common wood species in homes around the Midwest. Replacing all the oak in your home may not be practical or feasible, so you might need to blend a remodel with existing finishes. This can still be done cohesively; even if you don’t love your original oak, sometimes you have to live with things for a while. The good news? You can still create beautiful spaces with your original oak! Here are several different ways I would recommend approaching this design concern.

Keep an Open Mind
You never know; you may come to embrace the oak! Seeing your wood in a different color or stain could change your opinion. A grey stain (oak island, oak floors in link image) can add a modern touch, a dark stain can help to hide the grain, and a light/bleached stain can feel fresh and light (quarter-sawn oak with light “Pampas” stain in link). Keeping the grain consistent and changing the color can help up the unifying factor.

Another consideration is cutting it differently. Quartersawn or Rift cut oak is simply a different way of cutting the wood for a straighter grain which can give it a new look and nail the mission or craftsman style. By keeping the same wood species but changing the look of the grain, you can have a similar, unifying color with a different feel.

Paint or Mix Woodgrains
If you know you want to move away from oak, I typically recommend a painted cabinet (painted white cabinets with oak floors in the link). That way, you don’t see the grain and won’t introduce a new wood species to your oak-dominated home.

However, painted cabinets are more maintenance than stained cabinets. If you prefer stained cabinetry, a wood species whose grain doesn’t fight the existing oak would be my recommendation. Oak has a heavy, prominent grain, whereas a Maple (maple-stained cabinets with oak floors) or Alder typically has a gentle, subtle grain and more consistency in the coloration and doesn’t typically feel as heavy.

Ready to Remodel?
If you’re considering a remodel, our team would love to help! Contact us today or stop by our Apple Valley showroom to get started!

black cabinets with white countertops in kitchen makeover.
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