Practical considerations: Comparing tile, hardwood, and laminate for honey oak cabinets

Choosing the floor color to go with honey oak cabinets can be daunting, but there are two general approaches to follow when choosing flooring to go with your honey oak cabinetry.

Honey oak cabinets are sturdy and durable. Some homes have them from when they were trendy in the 90s, and some homes have new versions of these cabinets.

Whether they are new or old, honey oak cabinets have a distinct orange-yellow beige color that will need to be taken into account when choosing the design and elements that will go into the same space.

Flooring covers a large surface area in the space and thus, it is very important to choose flooring that will work well with your honey oak cabinets.

Whether you choose hardwood, laminate or tile floor – the texture, tone and color of these floors can be used to either complement or contrast with your honey oak cabinets, depending on the look and feel that you want to create in your kitchen.

The popularity of honey oak cabinets

Honey oak cabinetry was a very popular feature in many homes and kitchens in the 90s.

Although this style can be seen as a bit outdated in the twenty-first century, many designers argue that this style of cabinetry is making a comeback and many homeowners still love their honey oak cabinets.

The popularity of honey oak cabinetry back then and now, is largely due to the fact that cabinets made from oak wood are sturdy and will last within a home for years.

The subtle grain of the oak gives a soft and natural feeling to a room but is detailed enough to easily hide scratches and dents that may occur over time.

The resurgence of honey oak cabinetry has brought with it a more modern approach to the design of the cabinets.

This way, the durability and neutrality of solid wood cabinetry is paired with a sleek design, which will not make your home feel dated.

The use of honey oak cabinets can add a soft, natural and authentic feel to your home, which explains why this trend is starting to make a comeback.

Best floor color for honey oak cabinets

Whether you have honey oak cabinets left over from the 90s in your house or you are planning to add modern oak cabinetry to your new house, choosing floor colors to go with this unique oak color can be daunting.

Honey oak wood can vary slightly in its color from one house to the next, but this type of wood usually has strong orange and yellow undertones. This gives the wood a warm, golden look.

The stains and varnishes applied to your cabinets can also have an effect on the exact tone and darkness of the color of your cabinets, which you will need to take into account when you choose which flooring to add to the space.

There are two general approaches to follow when you are choosing flooring to go with your honey oak cabinetry.

You can either decide to choose colors that are similar to the tone and darkness of your cabinetry to make everything in the space go together or flow nicely.

Alternatively, you can choose to contrast with the tone and darkness of your honey oak cabinets to create visual interest and striking designs within your space.

Once you have decided whether you would prefer to coordinate or contrast your floors to your cabinets, you will also need to consider the specific type of flooring that would work best in your house.

The most popular types of flooring to pair with wooden cabinets, like honey oak, is usually hardwood flooring, laminate flooring or tiles.

Hardwood flooring for honey oak cabinets

Hardwood flooring gives a timeless and classic look to any space. However, in the kitchen, an engineered hardwood might be better than a traditional hardwood, as it will withstand spills and messes better over time.

Using hardwood flooring with your oak cabinets will always work together, as the natural feel and textures of the wood will usually work well together within a space and create a harmonious effect.

It is however important to consider the darkness and tone of your cabinets and choose a hardwood finish that will either match or starkly contrast with this color, to create your desired effect.

Lighter wood colors to use for your traditional or engineered hardwood floors include cherry and maple wood.

Maple has a cream color, with light beige undertones. Cherry will lighten over time as it is exposed to sun, which gives it a very natural look and feel.

If you would prefer a darker wood color option, birch or walnut wood would be good options. Walnut has very cool undertones, which can work well when paired with other cool tones in the space.

Birch wood is available in many different tones, and yellow birch can look very similar in tone to honey oak if you are looking to match your flooring to your cabinets.

Gray or whitewashed wood floors can also be a good neutral color to pair with honey oak cabinets.

This is a design that is not too bold and allows the other elements in your kitchen to stand out, and pop against the neutral background.

Laminate flooring for honey oak cabinets

Laminate flooring is a good choice for kitchens, as it is durable and easy to clean.

Moreover, laminate flooring comes in a wide variety of finishes and colors, so it is important to keep the color of your cabinets as well as your appliances, countertops, other large design elements and the floor colors of connecting rooms in mind when choosing your laminate flooring.

For a very harmonious look, some people choose a laminate flooring that looks like honey oak wood.

It can be helpful to choose a laminate that has a slightly different element, like a hand-scraped, white-washed or slightly lighter or darker oak than your cabinets to ensure that the room does not feel too monotonous.

This oak-on-oak look can create the perfect neutral beige backdrop for you to build the design of the rest of your kitchen around.

For other types of wood laminate, the same principles as with real hardwood floors would apply. You could either pick a lighter wood finish or a darker finish to complement or contrast your honey oak cabinets.

If you want to move away from a wood-on-wood look but keep the natural feel, a stone-look laminate, like, terra cotta, marble or slate will be a good option.

Stone-look laminate keeps the natural and calming feeling of the oak cabinets but can be used as a design feature on its own – instead of just blending in with your cabinets.

Tile floors for honey oak cabinets

Tile flooring remains a popular choice in kitchens, as tiles can withstand the high traffic and cleanup which happens regularly within this space.

Also, tile can be used to create unique designs which cannot always be executed in hardwood or laminate floors.

Ceramic tiles come in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures and it is popular to select a natural stone looking ceramic tile to compliment honey oak cabinets, but tiles also offer the opportunity to go for a bolder design in your flooring.

Lighter white or cream colors can work well with honey oak cabinets, as this will blend well with the brown, yellow look of the wood.

Gray tiles can also be an effective choice for a more modern aesthetic, as it will contrast with the warmer tones in the wood for an ashier, sharper, cleaner look.

Blue, green and brown tones also work well with honey oak cabinets, as these colors will help to create a natural and relaxed feeling in the space and accentuate the natural grain in the wood.


The golden yellow and orange tones of honey oak cabinets are a prominent feature in many kitchens.

These cabinets are often remnants of bygone design trends or simply chosen because of their robust nature and the warm feeling which natural wood textures bring into a space.

If you are searching for the perfect floors to go with your beloved or not so beloved honey oak cabinets, there are two main design philosophies to start from.

You must first decide whether you want your floors to flow with your cabinets and melt into the background, in which case you will choose flooring with the same tone and darkness.

On the other hand, you could want your flooring to contrast with your cabinets, in which case you will choose flooring with the opposite tone and darkness to your flooring.

Once you have your design philosophy picked out, you can narrow down the type of flooring you would prefer in your space, and from there it is as simple as choosing the exact shade and finish that you feel will work well in your space.

Following these approaches to matching your flooring with your honey oak cabinets can help you to create the exact look and feel that you desire from your kitchen.