What Color Wood Floor Goes with Dark Cabinets?

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what color wood floor goes with dark cabinets

Dark kitchen cabinets are beautiful. They can feel modern, traditional, or rustic and are a great asset to your kitchen.

But since many types of flooring go with dark cabinets, choosing the right one can be tricky. While there are no set rules, you need to select a flooring material that complements your cabinet tone and that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Here’s what color wood floor goes with dark cabinets – the top options.

What’s the Best Color Floor for Dark Cabinets?

If you have dark cabinets, go lighter with your flooring. You can create a lot of contrast by using white oak or white pine. If you don’t like that much contrast, consider using a medium-toned wood floor like red oak or hickory and go one to two shades lighter than your cabinets.

Top Wood Flooring for Dark Cabinets

dark cabinets wood floor

White Wood

Whitewood goes with most dark cabinets, whether they’re stained or painted. But by using white wood flooring with dark cabinets, your room will have very high contrast. This look works best in modern, boho, and some traditional-styled kitchens.

The two main types of white woods are white oak and white pine. You can also choose a whitewashed flooring material.

White oak – White oak is a very popular hardwood. It’s reasonably affordable and stains very well. However, you can leave white oak in its natural finish with a top coat for a light floor. Natural white oak will have neutral or yellow undertones.

White pine – White pine flooring is light and sometimes has a yellowish undertone. Pine is knotty, so this flooring works great in rustic kitchens. For a light floor, you can leave white pine in its natural state and add a sealant.

Whitewashed flooring – If you want your floors to truly look white, staining or whitewashing is the way to go. When hardwoods are whitewashed, they become very light, usually with neutral undertones.

Medium or Natural Tones

If you don’t like the high contrast look, I’ve got some great news: you can use any wood floor that’s at least 1-2 shades lighter or darker than your kitchen cabinets. But you do need to match the undertones.

The biggest mistake to avoid is matching your floors to your cabinets. This will be clunky, and everything will blend.

So instead, try a medium or natural-toned floor. Here are some great options:

Red Oak – Red oak is a very durable and popular flooring option. It can range from light tan to medium brown with red undertones.

HickoryHickory flooring has beautiful variations. It can range from a warm honey color to a dark brown. 

Maple – Maple is a light flooring material often used in modern homes. It can range from almost white to golden brown. 

Ash – Ash is comparable to white oak. It ranges from a creamy white color up to a light greige. Ash is great for brightening up space but will be high contrast to your dark cabinets.


Wondering if you can mix dark brown cabinets with gray floors? Of course you can, but this looks best if the cabinets and gray floor have similar undertones.

So, for example, if your dark brown cabinets border on being black and give off cool undertones, you could use a true gray flooring. On the other hand, if your dark brown cabinets are warm, it’d be better to use a greige flooring material at least 2-3 shades lighter than your cabinets.

If your cabinets are black or dark blue, opt for cool gray wood flooring.


Bamboo is technically grass, not wood. Still, it’s harder than many hardwoods and makes an excellent flooring option.

Bamboo is naturally a light golden color that works perfectly with warm-hued dark cabinets. However, since bamboo accepts stains well, you can find it in virtually any color you’d like.

Do I Need to Match the Undertones Of My Cabinets and Floors?

dark cabinet wood floor in kitchen

Yes, it is essential to match the undertones of your cabinetry and flooring. Matching ensures that everything works well together and doesn’t clash.

And since flooring is an expensive investment, you want to get it right.

In natural wood, common undertones are red, yellow, or neutral. However, if your hardwoods are stained, they could also have blue, purple, or pink undertones. To determine the undertone, you need to compare it to other pieces of wood.

As a general rule, if you see yellow, orange, or red in your wood, it has warm undertones. If you see gray, it has cool undertones.

Picking the best wood floor color: Determine the undertone of your cabinets and look for flooring options with similar undertones. Then, bring in samples of the flooring choices you like and put them up to your cabinets for comparison.

Can You Mix Dark Flooring and Dark Cabinets?

If you love the look of dark wood, then yes, you can combine dark flooring and dark cabinets – just make sure your flooring is about two shades lighter than your cabinets.

If you get cabinets and flooring the same color, they will blend and won’t look good.

Do Light Floors Go with Dark Cabinets?

Light floors work very well with dark cabinets. They balance out dark cabinetry making the room look light airy rather than dark and heavy.

However, since light floors with dark cabinets are high contrast, this look isn’t for everyone. This style works best for modern, boho, and some traditional kitchens.

Do Countertops Need to Match the Floors and Cabinets?

Excellent room design is all about balance. You want both cool and warm colors in your design.

When choosing hardwoods and cabinets, though, the most important thing is that the two types of woods have similar undertones and complement each other. With your countertop, there aren’t as many rules.

Your counter should complement your flooring and cabinets, but it doesn’t have to match.

Need some general ideas? Put a white counter on your dark cabinets if you want a crisp and clean look. If you prefer a more rustic look, go for something a bit darker.

Which Color Wood Floors are Timeless?

Flooring is a huge investment, so it’s understandable to skip the trends and go for something classic.

But the truth is, most hardwood floors in their natural state are timeless. Here are some of the most popular options:

Frequently Asked Questions

What color wood floor goes with dark cherry cabinets?

Cherry cabinets have warm red undertones, so you need to look for similar undertones in a flooring. Top contenders include red oak, white oak, ash, and maple hardwood flooring.

What color wood floor goes with dark oak cabinets?

If you have dark oak cabinets, try a lighter oak on the floor – match the undertones but make sure your floors are several shades lighter than the cabinets. Oak usually has warm undertones, but if you’ve put a stain on the cabinets, it can change that.

What flooring goes with dark brown cabinets?

Consider pairing your dark brown cabinets with white oak, white pine, or ash floors for high contrast. For less of a contrast, choose a flooring material that’s about two shades lighter than your cabinets but is a similar wood tone.

What color floor goes with espresso cabinets?

Espresso cabinets are incredibly versatile. Some designers skip the “same undertone” rule for flooring and instead use an opposite undertone for high contrast. However, if you want to play it safe, choose gray hardwood. I also love white oak and ash for espresso cabinets.

How can I lighten my kitchen with dark cabinets?

If your dark cabinets are feeling a bit too heavy, there are a few things you can do. First, install a lighter floor – your space will feel brighter. Alternatively, paint your walls a lighter color, contrasting the dark cabinets, or paint your cabinets a different color.

Should wood floors be lighter or darker than kitchen cabinets?

There is no set rule – your floors can be lighter or darker than your kitchen cabinets. Especially if your cabinets are mid-tone. Good design is about creating balance, so if you have light cabinets, go with a darker floor. If you have darker cabinets, go with a lighter floor. If your cabinets are mid-toned, do whatever feels best.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering about the best color wood floor for dark cabinets, there are many choices. To play it safe, choose a wood flooring with the same undertones as your cabinetry. Just be sure to go at least 1-2 shades lighter.

Consider a light natural wood or a whitewashed product if you’re looking for high contrast. And if you want to go dark, make sure there is a noticeable difference between your cabinet and flooring color.

Photo of author


Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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