Color schemes for kitchens with hickory cabinets

There are several warm, neutral and cool color schemes for kitchens which will go well with popular and durable hickory cabinets.

Hickory wood is indigenous to the United States and is popular because of how strong it is. The strength of this wood means that it can easily withstand being used daily, and this makes it a popular wood to use for kitchen cabinets.

In addition to durability, hickory wood also has a very noticeable grain pattern and comes in a variety of different colors, which means that it can be used to create a distinct look within a kitchen.

By examining the exact undertones and grain of your hickory kitchen cabinets, you will be able to find several different paint and flooring options to develop a suitable color scheme for the look and feel that you want to create in your kitchen.

About hickory kitchen cabinets

When it comes to the manufacturing of wooden kitchen cabinets, there are many different color, grain and density options to choose from.

Hickory has long been and continues to be one of the most popular choices for wooden kitchen cabinets. Hickory is part of the walnut family and is mostly grown in the eastern part of the United States.

The hickory trees can reach up to 120 feet when they are fully mature, but when they are cut down into planks, the color of the wood can range from a very light, almost white color to a deep red brown.

The use of hickory wood for kitchen cabinets is very popular because of the durability of this wood, its availability within the United States and the fact that it creates such a rustic and warm feeling within the kitchen design.

Hickory is a strong hardwood and is popular to use for items that need to withstand daily use. This is also the reason that the use of this wood in tools and other necessities can be traced back to early Native American populations.

Besides its use in kitchen cabinets, hickory wood can also be used to manufacture tool handles, hockey sticks, chairs, wagon wheels, ladders and flooring, because it is such a durable wood that can last over time, even when it is used daily.

The benefits of hickory kitchen cabinets

The combination of strength and flexibility that can be found in hickory wood, makes it a very durable wood to use for your kitchen cabinets.

The hardness and density of this wood ensures that it will be able to withstand daily wear and tear, which is always a good thing in the kitchen, where cuts, scrapes and bumps are a regular occurrence.

In addition to the durability of the wood, the look that hickory cabinets can add to a kitchen can be very appealing to homeowners and decorators.

Hickory cabinets have a very distinct grain pattern, which can make for a striking look when the pattern spreads all over your kitchen cabinets.

Although hickory is a very strong wood choice for your kitchen cabinets, it is also a rather costly choice, and this means that you should take extra care when cleaning these cabinets.

This means that you should not be using any harsh detergents or scrubbers, to ensure that the cabinets last you for as long as possible.

Depending on the stain or varnish you choose, the color of your hickory kitchen cabinets can be fairly customizable – from light yellow beige to deep brown color and everything in between.

A knotty hickory, with darker knotted grain features, can also add interest to your kitchen cabinets. Given all of the benefits of having hickory cabinets in your kitchen, it is no wonder that this type of wood is so popular.

Whether you would like to update your existing hickory kitchen or want to design a new kitchen around hickory cabinets, there are a few color schemes that will work well with these cabinets.

Before you can begin to establish a color scheme for any given space, it is always good to decide on the overall look and feel you want to achieve in the space.

Once this has been established, you can use paint on various surfaces or even different types of flooring to establish the color palette for the room.

From there, it will be easier to add other design elements that fall into and enhance this already established color scheme.

Color schemes for kitchens with hickory cabinets

General rules for color schemes that go with hickory cabinets

When you are designing a space around a specific element, which in this instance would be your hickory kitchen cabinets, it is always best to study this element first and then decide on the general look and feel that you want to create in the room, and then go from there.

Hickory cabinets can vary in tone and color from one plank to the next, so it is best to start out by examining your hickory cabinets to find the dominant undertone and color of your cabinets.

Looking at the darkest parts of the grain and knots in your hickory wood can help you to determine the general undertone of the wood. This color tends to lean in either the yellow, red or brown direction.

  • If the undertone of your wood is more yellow or orange, it would be best to stay away from warm red colors.

  • If the undertone is reddish, then red accents will pick up this color in the wood and accentuate it.

  • If the undertone is a more neutral brown, then warm, neutral and cool color schemes will work well within the space.

Paint colors that go with hickory cabinets

Cabinets made from hickory wood usually have a lighter and a darker color for you to play with when you are choosing paint colors.

The naturally earthy tones of the wood can help to create a soft and warm mood within your kitchen, and this mood can be accentuated by using further light, warm paint colors in the same room.

These colors include rusty red colors and warm browns, like Glidden’s Rusty Red and Warm Spice Brown.

If you gravitate towards more neutral tones, beige colors and cream colors can help to bring a lighter feel into the kitchen and tone down some of the sometimes too busy wood grain in your kitchen cabinets.

This toned-down color palette will also allow the other pops of color in elements of your kitchen to shine.

If warmer tones do not fit into your design plans, you can always choose a cooler toned paint, like a smoky blue or an earthy green, which will contrast with the darker parts of the wood grain and help you to create a bolder design.

Dark paint colors like a navy blue or grayish blue can also be used to create a modern look next to the more traditional hickory cabinets.

These darker paint colors should also have the added benefit of making the pattern of the wood grain and knots in your hickory cabinets really stand out.

Floor colors for kitchens with hickory cabinets

Choosing the right flooring can be a great way to complement your hickory cabinets, and even add some color to the kitchen.

In order to tie together the flooring and the cabinetry, it is always a good idea to match the color of your hardwood flooring to the darkest color in the knots of your cabinets.

The design principles of coordination and contrast are also applicable when it comes to flooring.

Choosing an undertone in your flooring which matches with the undertone of your cabinets can create a coordinated and harmonious look, like using gray floors with whitewashed hickory cabinets.

However, using the opposite undertones can create contrast that will make your cabinets pop.

Mimicking the same tones of your cabinets in your flooring, whether it be wood-look vinyl or in an earthy stone, can be a great way to create a very neutral color scheme as the base of your kitchen.

This way, you can add almost any other design details and paint to the kitchen without fear of the design becoming cluttered or overwhelming.

When it comes to finding floors, whether it be tile, vinyl or hardwood floors, that work well with hickory cabinets, it is best to keep the design simple and sleek.

Patterned flooring can easily clash with the patterned grain in the cabinets, and this can make your kitchen feel too busy even when there is nothing in it yet.


The durability and unique grain patterns which can be found in hickory kitchen cabinets makes these types of cabinets an obvious choice to many homeowners.

Finding a color scheme to go with this popular style of cabinet does not need to be complicated.

Paint used on floors or other parts of the kitchen and flooring is a good way to establish and reinforce the exact design aesthetic that you are going for in your kitchen.

Whether you would like to build on the warm tones in the hickory wood by adding further warmth to the space, contrast the warmth and richness of the wood with a cooler color palette or simply create a neutral backdrop for other elements in your kitchen, there is more than enough color schemes that will work with your cabinets.