Coordinating Wood Floors with Wood Cabinets: How to Do It Right

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

coordinating wood floors with wood cabinets

If you’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel or getting new floors, the question has probably popped up – how do I make sure my cabinets and floor look good together?

If you’re putting down tile or vinyl floor, choosing is easy. But if you have wood cabinets and wood floors, not so much.

Luckily, we’re here to help. 

If you’re coordinating wood floors with wood cabinets, here’s how to do it the right way.

Key Takeaways

Here’s a quick breakdown if you’re in a rush:

  • Try to avoid matching floors and cabinets in the same colors.
  • You can use the same tone, but different shades.
  • Contrast colors for a dramatic effect.
  • Consider coordinating cherry and oak, hickory and dark stains, and walnut and maple.

What’s the Easiest way to Coordinate Wood Cabinets with Wood Floors?

The easiest way to coordinate wood cabinets with wood floors is to use woods within the same tone but pick a different shade. For example, if your cabinets have a red tone to them, choose a wood floor that is also red-toned, but that is much darker or lighter than the cabinets. Whatever you do, avoid matching the cabinets and floors exactly the same.

Pro Tip: As a designer, I see a lot of people feeling pressured to match wood tones exactly. But trust me, you don’t need to do this. In fact, variations in the wood can add depth and interest to your space. Play around with different shades within the same tone family for a more appealing and dynamic look.

How to Coordinate Your Wood Flooring with Your Wood Cabinets: General Rules to Follow

how to coordinate your wood flooring with wood cabinets
When coordinating your wood floors with your cabinets, you can follow a few basic rules to make sure you get it right. However, at the end of the day, some rules are meant to be broken, and the most important thing is that you like the way your kitchen looks.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out what direction to go, follow these guidelines.

The Golden Rule: Same Color Tone but a Different Shade

coordinate wood flooring and cabinets

The easiest way to coordinate your wood floors with your cabinets is to choose different shades of the same tone. (Note: this does not mean you have to select the same type of wood for each.)

Pro Tip: I’ve always found it helpful to bring home a few samples of different wood shades and tones. Try them out in your space at different times of day and in various light conditions. What may look good under the bright lights of a store might not look the same in the more subdued lighting of your home.

For example, if you have red oak floors, cherry cabinets would coordinate well. This is because both kinds of wood are warm and have similar undertones.

Let’s turn to hickory floors for the next example. 

These floors have a ton of color variation, which can make picking cabinets seem next to impossible. The safest bet is to choose a cabinet the same color as the darkest part of the hickory floor. An easy way to achieve this is by custom staining your cabinets.

What about cherry floors?

If you have cherry floors and love them, you can use cherry cabinets that are at least a couple of shades lighter or darker than your flooring. An alternative option would be a warm oak cabinet.

No matter the existing type of wood on your floors or cabinets, you can find something to coordinate.

Contrast the Colors

Even when coordinating tones, you should contrast the colors. Because having a kitchen that is all the same exact color can feel clunky and overwhelming. 

However, if you’re looking for a super dramatic contrast, you can break the rules a little.

For instance, you could do an ebony-stained cabinet with white oak floors or vice versa. As long as the finish of the floor and cabinet are similar (i.e., both are matte, satin, etc.), this can look very put together.

If you want a slight contrast, then you do need to worry about the tone. Simply stick to rule number one and choose different shades that have similar undertones.

Avoid Matching Your Cabinets to Your Floor

I’ve previously stated this, but it needs to be its own rule -one of the biggest mistakes is matching your cabinets to your floor. While it’s okay for these two to look similar, you don’t want them to be precisely the same.

Get Samples and Bring Them into Your Kitchen

Once you know what direction you’d like to go, get plenty of samples of the tones you like and bring them into your kitchen. (You can get flooring samples and cabinet samples at most home improvement stores or online.)

Leave those samples in your kitchen for at least a couple of days so you can see how they look in various lighting at different times of the day. 

You might like something online or in the store and then hate it when you bring it into your kitchen. This is why you should always get samples before making a final decision.

Popular Kitchen Cabinet And Wood Floor Color Combinations

popular kitchen cabinet

Need some more inspo? Here are some of the most popular kitchen cabinet and wood floor color combinations:

  • Oak Floors + Cherry Cabinets
  • Cherry Floors + Oak Cabinets
  • Oak Floors + Maple Cabinets
  • Cherry Floors + Maple Cabinets
  • Hickory Floors + Wood Cabinets Stained Dark 
  • Walnut Floors + Oak Cabinet
  • Walnut Floors + Maple Cabinets

I recommend looking through Houzz to view the pictures of wood floors with wood cabinets. As you’ll see, mixing woods can help to create a beautiful kitchen.

Should Your Cabinets be Lighter or Darker than Your Walls?

If you’re wondering if your cabinets should be lighter or darker than your walls, it all comes down to personal preference.

Pro Tip: Many people get worried about the maintenance of light wood floors, thinking they’ll show dirt quickly. But from my experience, I’ve actually found that the opposite is true. Lighter wood floors are better at hiding dirt than their darker counterparts. This can be really handy in high traffic areas, such as the kitchen.

No design rule says you need to paint your walls lighter than your cabinets. And if there were a rule like that, it’d be one worth breaking.

My favorite color scheme provides a little contrast. So, if I had dark cabinets, I’d paint my walls lighter and vice versa. You need to do whatever you like the best.

Should You Paint Wood Cabinets?

Right now, trends still favor white or colored cabinets. But trends come and go. Just because colored cabinets are popular doesn’t mean you need to whip out the paintbrush.

On the other hand, if you’re not a fan of your current wood cabinets, you can take advantage and paint them a fun color like white, gray, blue, black, or green. All over those colors will coordinate with wood floors.

The downside is that when this trend falls out of favor, you’ll need to refinish your cabinets once again. 

Bottom line: If you hate your wood kitchen cabinets, painting them is a great way to shake up the look and make you love them again. If you love the wood of your cabinets, forget trends and leave them be.  Trends constantly change, and you are in no way obligated to follow them.

What Color Wood Floor Shows the Least Amount of Dirt?

If you have kids or pets, you may be just as concerned with your flooring’s ability to mask dirt. Lighter wood floors, especially those with variation, will hide dirt much better than dark wood floors.

Dark wood flooring tends to show all dirt. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get them if you love them – just be aware that they might take a little more cleaning than medium to light-toned floors would.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of flooring goes best with wood cabinets?

Vinyl, tile, and linoleum go best with wood cabinets. However, if you want to use a wood floor, that can work too. Just make sure that the wood floor is the same tone as the cabinets but a contrasting shade.

Should wood floors be lighter or darker than cabinets?

It’s a good idea to make sure your wood floors are lighter or darker than cabinets, but the ultimate choice is yours. Both options provide a contrast that breaks up the floor from the cabinets. The worst thing you can do is make your cabinets and floor the same shade.

What color wood floors go with maple cabinets?

Maple cabinets are very versatile and look good with cherry, oak, and some walnut floors. The key is to contrast the colors. So, if your cabinets are very light, find a floor that’s at least a few shades darker.

What color floor never goes out of style?

Most real hardwood floors never go out of style. However, their stain color might. Different types of wood and stain colors go in and out of fashion every few years. If you want your floors to stay in style for a long time, avoid bold woods like hickory or pine and stay away from trends like staining your floor black or white.

What color floor for espresso cabinets?

Light oak and maple floors work very well with espresso cabinets. Another possible choice is hickory. I suggest bringing lots of flooring samples in before choosing so you can see what looks best in the lighting of your kitchen.

Final Thought: Do What YOU Like the Most

There are design rules for everything, but ultimately, you need to do what you like best. Unless you plan on moving soon or are flipping a house, the choices you make should be ones you are happy living with.

If you want to play it safe, pick a different shade of the same tone when coordinating wood floors with wood cabinets. If you want a bold look, go for high contrast, choosing a light floor and dark cabinet.

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.

Leave a Comment

16 + 15 =