Cabinets are often crafted from hardwood, which adds richness and warmth to a kitchen. One of the most commonly used woods is oak, which lends an upscale touch to cabinet design. Complementing oak with the right color choices brings out the underlying tones in the wood to enhance the look of the room.
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Use neutral colors to show the details of the cabinets. Neutral colors such as light browns and shades of white call attention to the cabinetry. Paint kitchen walls a clean white to make soft brown oak cabinets stand out. Use light wood flooring, brown leather cushions on kitchen chairs and soft beige curtains on the walls. Keep backsplashes in a plain white tile. Buy kitchen appliances such as stoves and refrigerators with white tops. Use woven wicker baskets in shades of brown to add to the natural theme in the room and play off the shades in the oak cabinets.
Get Your Dark On
Pair the cabinets with darker shades. Oak is usually a shade of lighter brown. Dark colors provide dramatic contrast to the oak cabinetry. Paint the walls a shade of forest green. Place navy cushions on all chairs and if you want window coverings, choose curtains in a fabric that features both colors against a neutral background. Add wall tiles to the backsplash in one or several of the dark colors you've used to add cohesion to the space and use lamps with brightly colored shades that harmonize with the oak cabinets. Look for other ways to add color to the room as well. A mural against one wall with scenes that are appropriate to the kitchen makes the cabinets stand out even more. For a more subtle artistic touch, paint a stencil around the room. Consider using a white stencil against a dark background as a creative twist.
Work With Pastels
Bring in pale shades. Many oak cabinets have mellow tones in the wood that call to mind light colors. Make a connection to these shadings by using pale and pastel colors with them. Paint the kitchen light blue. Place a sunny yellow rug on the floor and lemony colored curtains on the windows. Use furniture crafted from pine to complement the lighter hints in the oak. For a spring color theme, install tile countertops with raised painted inset designs in shades of pink and mint with a backsplash of light glass tiles.