How to Modernize Oak Kitchen Cabinets

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Many traditional homes feature original oak cabinets. Their earthy and warm tones and sophisticated appearance have elevated them to the top of the cabinet materials list, making them one of the most popular in recent decades. While oak has endured the test of time in interior design trends, it can be difficult to make an oak-heavy kitchen fit into a modern home.

So what are some ways to modernize oak cabinets? The possibilities for updating oak cabinets are limitless. A kitchen with oak cabinets can be updated by using cohesive home decor with a uniform aesthetic. You can choose to paint or stain your cabinets to update their appearance, or you can go all out with matching hardware, decor, and paint. However, the more colors and metal finishes you use, the more cluttered your kitchen may appear, so be careful.

The Best Ways to Modernize Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Oak kitchen cabinets are still extremely popular among home renovators. Not because they want to recreate the aesthetic of the 1980s, but because oak cabinets have so much promise. To design a modern kitchen with oak cabinets, start by looking for existing features you can still use. Although it's tempting to think that a modern kitchen has to be completely remodeled, many rooms already incorporate a variety of different features.

If you're a modern enthusiast looking to keep the traditional oak cabinet aesthetic without going overboard, we've got some recommendations for you. Here's how to combine contemporary kitchen trends with old oak cabinets in your home using easy and simple touches.

1. Update Hardware and Fixtures

Replacing dated hardware may make a room feel much more contemporary. After all, hardware and fixtures are the jewels of a kitchen. Warm metals such as bronze, brass, gold, and copper are ideal. They'll contrast well with the warmth of your wood cabinetry. Cold metals such as stainless steel, chrome, and brushed nickel are suitable, however, they may appear flat. When compared to the cabinet's wood tones, they usually don't look as rich or polished.

2. Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Taking the leap and painting your kitchen cabinets in a visually appealing shade is an alternative to retaining the beauty of wood. Cabinet paint colors that are ageless include cream, white, black, gray, or taupe. A fresh paint job preserves the integrity of the cabinet and gives it a completely new look without the expense of replacement.

After you've painted your oak cabinets, consider introducing additional hardware, a glass tile backsplash, and inexpensive laminate counters with modern stone-like patterns. These improvements are low-cost options for updating your kitchen.

3. Choose Neutral Colors

If you don't want to be limited by your color palette, feel free to experiment with different neutral colors. A neutral palette of muted shades of gray or tans can look great when matched with oak cabinets as long as the palette is kept light and airy. Additionally, because oak has a rich and earthy tone, decorate the kitchen with greenery and plants to highlight the wood's natural features.

Oak kitchen cabinets, regardless of design style, are a charming complement to any home. If you already have this durable wood in your room, try bringing it up a notch by generating a sense of contrast with your modern design. To find what works best for you and your kitchen, stick to light and bright hues or experiment with several neutrals.

4. Consider Open Shelving

Another technique in updating oak cabinets is to take out the upper cabinets and replace them with some elegant open shelving. Open shelving is a unique and innovative feature of the modern home design that may dramatically improve the appearance of your home.

Additionally, by removing the upper cabinets, you make a bolder statement with the base cabinets and island cabinets, naturally bringing the eye across the room and providing a sense of flow. This also avoids the wood from overpowering the space, which could make the room feel out of place in comparison to the rest of your modern home.

5. Set Up a Focal Point

Large expanses of oak cabinets might overshadow a modern kitchen design. Create an alternate focal point to reduce this. To detract attention from the cabinetry, use a statement range hood or dramatic tile backsplash. Plop down a decorative area rug or runner to offset the visual weight around the room for a more budget-friendly upgrade.

6. Decorate and Style

The neutral tone of wood furniture or cabinets allows you to introduce color into your kitchen. Decorate the area around the oak cabinetry with treasured pieces like colored glass vases or decorative plates. Spruce up your kitchen with dish towels, ceramic planters, or small appliances that match your style or chosen color scheme. Use fixtures that complement the architectural style or the overall aesthetic to add to the mood.

Incorporate modern geometric shapes as a backsplash, or use contemporary handles, worktops, and fixtures. To offset the weight of the heavier wood surfaces, keep clutter to a minimum and integrate artwork and household appliances in moderation.

Things to Consider When Renovating Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Oak kitchen cabinets are a terrific addition to any kitchen, whether you're doing a major home improvement project or simply replacing a few cabinet doors. Whatever paint color, stain, or size you pick, they create a warm and cozy ambiance. Luckily, there are some simple yet effective solutions to update the appearance of your old oak cabinets.

1. Color of Appliances

It's time to modernize your kitchen, and you've just invested in some lovely new kitchen cabinets to help you get started. Whether you want white or black appliances, you'll need to decide whether to contrast or blend them in while designing your kitchen. Now you must decide which kitchen appliances will go best with your new cabinets. We have some suggestions to assist you to accomplish your kitchen remodel and making your home look better than ever.

White Appliances

Only one cabinet style goes with white appliances. If you want to buy a white refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, or microwave, you'll need white kitchen cabinets in your home. White cabinets can now be combined with either stainless steel or black appliances, but white appliances should only be used with white cabinets.

If you try to combine white appliances with cabinet colors other than white, the aesthetic of your kitchen may become dated. However, if you choose the white on white style, the overall result will be a clean-looking kitchen that your family will surely appreciate your white cabinets.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel appliances and oak cabinets make a great pairing. If you're wondering if oak kitchen cabinets and stainless steel appliances go together, the answer is yes. Stainless steel appliances look fantastic with practically any cabinet color. While white appliances must be paired with white kitchen cabinets, white cabinets can also be paired with stainless steel.

This rule applies to all colors, including medium and dark. You can't go wrong with any color palette when you pair it with stainless steel appliances like a refrigerator, microwave, range, and dishwasher.

Black Appliances

Black appliances go well with darker cabinet finishes. Because of the color's versatility, there are many other possibilities for black appliances. If you want a black and white motif in your kitchen, white cabinets and black appliances are a good option. Make sure that your refrigerator and other appliances don't clash with all of your black kitchen appliances.

2. Hardware Style

Replacing the old hardware with something more contemporary is the easiest technique to modernize your oak cabinet doors. If you have original knobs on your cabinets from the 1990s, they may be white plastic or ceramic with a floral motif. To establish consistency, your hardware should match the kitchen's overall aesthetic.

You should think about other kitchen fixtures like the faucet, lighting, fittings, and appliances when picking the style, shape, and color of the cabinet handles. Sleek and minimalist hardware styles are perfect for a modern kitchen. Cabinet handles that are tubular and sleek have a minimalistic appearance.

Traditional elaborate and carved handles, on the other hand, are ideal for classic design kitchens. In addition, simple bar pulls have grown increasingly popular, overtaking spherical knobs. The color of the hardware should complement the rest of the kitchen. As a result, black cabinet hardware blends in with a black ceiling fan and refrigerator.

3. Hardware Finish

Oak cabinets are a popular and timeless choice for kitchens. They’re usually made of real wood, are long-lasting, and provide great functionality. However, when matched with their original hardware, which ranges from pure white plastic to a gleaming gold finish, these cabinets can appear dated.

The question is, how do you select hardware colors that make your cabinets feel more modern? We have some recommendations that will complement your oak cabinets perfectly. If you are choosing oak cabinet hardware, you will want to consider the following colors and finishes:

  • Black: Black hardware is sharp and sophisticated, and it contrasts beautifully with golden oak cabinets. The dark color contrasts with what may appear to be outdated cabinets. Most countertops and upgraded appliances will look great with black hardware.
  • Nickel and silver: A softer contrast, such as silver or other comparable tones like brushed nickel, would practically work with any aesthetic. As a neutral finish, it won't have a warming effect on your cabinets. Minimize silver finishes that reflect or mirror when trying to balance out the yellow undertones. These finishes can easily pick up the color of the oak cabinets in the reflection, adding to the room's overall warmth.
  • Oil-rubbed bronze: The contrast between black and brown colors in oil-rubbed bronze hardware is excellent. This finish may appear black in some circumstances, but it will reflect a dark bronze shine in the light. A warmer finish will complement well with wood cabinetry in this case. Because the bronze is so subtle, it won't overwhelm the room with warmth. This hardware also appears to be luxurious and heavier, making it more appropriate for traditional home designs than modern or contemporary ones.

Why Stick to Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets?

Finding a way to integrate the natural grain of oak kitchen cabinets with a modern space is one of the obstacles to a home renovation. Kitchens with oak cabinets are typically seen in traditional, rustic, or farmhouse architecture. That doesn't rule out the possibility of it looking great against a modern backdrop. Here are some reasons why you should choose oak kitchen cabinets for your home.

1. Durability

A busy kitchen has cabinets that are constantly being opened and closed or bumped and dented. If you regularly cook, you'll need solid wood cabinets that can endure all of the activities that take place in the kitchen. Oak cabinets can withstand the messes and slams that occur with being in the kitchen. Plus, they're a good choice if you have a large family.

Oak cabinets are incredibly strong and long-lasting. Not only can they withstand rigorous use, but if one is chipped or broken, repairs are simple and can be done by sanding the damaged areas. You can be sure that oak cabinets will withstand the disturbances in the kitchen. Oak cabinets are also water-resistant and will not swell when exposed to moisture.

2. Environmentally Friendly

Particleboard or other environmentally harmful materials are commonly used in the manufacture of cabinets. In some situations, these materials may contain formaldehyde, which is harmful if inhaled.

Oak cabinets are more environmentally friendly because they are composed of solid wood. They won’t release dangerous chemicals into your home, making the air quality in your home better and safer to breathe. It's also a more environmentally friendly option, as oak can grow and is sustainably sourced.

3. Versatility

Oak wood cabinets are extremely durable and rarely go out of style. They are timeless and versatile even with completely painting cabinets or just refurbishing the outside. You may create a wide range of designs with oak cabinets while preserving their strength and longevity because the oak grain is effectively concealed.

Oak is a versatile wood that goes well with a wide range of colors and finishes. Cabinets with an oak finish can be stained with a darker color or painted in a variety of hues to achieve practically any aesthetic. Oak wood cabinets can be used to give a more classic style or a more modern design. The possibilities to design your kitchen with oak cabinets are infinite.

4. Elegance

Oak kitchen cabinets are completely comfortable disguised under stains, glazes, and even paint, despite the visible grain offering a natural charm. This type of wood, whether stained or painted, may modernize a kitchen while maintaining oak's durability.

Oak also goes well with a wide range of colors. If you want oak kitchen cabinets but not an entire room of them, you can mix them with oak cabinets painted white, gray, or custom color. Alternatively, keep the oak cabinets and incorporate the color into the walls or furnishings. Natural oak was paired with yellows, light mint green, and even crimson wall colors in certain kitchens, and the results will be spectacular.

High-Quality and Affordable Kitchen Cabinets at Zothex

Zothex is a family-owned business, we realize how valuable a kitchen can be. We can assist you in selecting the right type of kitchen cabinets for your home since we understand that they may serve as more than simply storage space. At Zothex, all of our cabinets are manufactured of sturdy materials. We can even design a cabinet that is absolutely unique to your kitchen.

Let us help you build your dream kitchen and contact us now at 916-925-1958.

Read More: How to Decorate Upper Kitchen Cabinets

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