Top 11 paint colors for kitchens with golden oak cabinets

There are a few paint colors for kitchens that could potentially clash with your golden oak cabinets, but the right colors will liven up your kitchen.

Kitchens with golden oak cabinets can look a bit old-fashioned but pairing these cabinets with modern hardware and accessories can help you to create a modern design aesthetic, which will still have the durability of the wooden cabinets.

The golden tone of these cabinets come from the yellow and, sometimes even orange, undertones that natural oak wood can have. However, it is possible to modernize this color through smart design and styling choices.

Paint can also help you to create a certain look and feel within your kitchen, and there are several different colors which you can choose from.

There are a few colors that could potentially clash with your golden oak cabinets, but the right colors will liven up your space and create just enough contrast to make your cabinets stand out or be coordinated with the colors of your cabinets to create a pleasing overall design.

Why Golden oak cabinets are popular

Golden oak cabinets have been popular inserts in kitchens since the 80s. Golden oak has a more yellow tint to it than honey oak, which is a more natural wood color. This yellow tint can add a lot of color into a room.

Many people feel as if golden oak, or even just oak cabinets in general have become very outdated.

In reality, a fresh coat of paint, updated appliances or even an updated façade on oak cabinets can bring this style of cabinetry into the modern era.

The durability and versatility of solid wood cabinets makes this material far superior to other cabinets like laminate and melamine.

This is also the reason that many homeowners want to add oak cabinets to their homes, or just do not want to get rid of the existing oak cabinets.

Luckily, there are several ways to update existing or new golden oak cabinets to ensure that this choice of wood will not make your space feel dated and old-fashioned.

Ways to update spaces with golden oak cabinets

When it comes to a kitchen looking dated, the golden oak cabinets are not always the problem.

Oftentimes, the elements surrounding the golden oak cabinets can make the space feel like it is stuck in the past and there are several ways to ensure that this is not the case within your kitchen.

Firstly, if you would prefer to draw as little attention as possible to your golden oak cabinets, it is always a good idea to create a focal point with other design elements in the room, which should pull the eye away from the cabinets and help them to focus on more modern features of the kitchen.

Here, a striking backsplash, with a modern look like white subway tile, could be the perfect element to make your kitchen seem updated and fresh.

Secondly, you can use the oak cabinetry as a neutral backdrop for more exciting accessories. Wood tones, even when they are slightly yellow or orange, tend to look very neutral when they are juxtaposed with more exciting colors and textures.

Adding different accessories like vases, pillows and artwork in a variety of different colors and textures can help you to push your golden oak cabinets to the background and add some of your own personality back into the space.

Then thirdly, updating the hardware of your golden oak cabinets can also help you to make the whole space feel more modern and inviting.

Contemporary hardware choices like matte black or polished metal against the wood finish will help to add a sense of modernity and sophistication to the space.

These hardware choices can also be coordinated with other elements in the kitchen, like modern stainless-steel appliances or black light fixtures and industrial shelves.

With these elements, you can create a pulled-together look, which will place the hardware and accessories, not the cabinets as the main design feature.

Top 9 paint colors for kitchens with golden oak cabinets

The best way to either harmonize with the color of your cabinets and calm down the yellow tones or create contrast and visual interest in your design, is by using different paint colors.

Blue and green colors

Adding blue and green colors to a kitchen with golden oak cabinets can really help to make the wood tones in the cabinets stand out.

However, it is important that a little contrast can help the wood to come to life, but too much contrast can cause the paint to clash with the colors of the cabinets.

Pairing honey oak cabinets with green shades works particularly well, as green brings out the yellow tones in the wood and helps to bring a more natural element to the interior of the home.

The following blue and green colors toe the line of contrast perfectly:

1. Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore is a blue color with a lot of strong green and gray undertones to it. This is a soft color which creates some contrast but not too much.

2. Rain Washed by Behr creates a very soft look when it is placed next to honey oak cabinets, as the gray undertones calm down the color palette considerably.

3. Hazy Skies by Behr is a soft green which will work well with golden oak cabinets.

4. Cheerful Green by Farrow and Ball is specifically designed to complement natural wood tones. This color adds an up-beat cheerfulness to any room.

These cooler colors can help to neutralize orange colors in your honey oak cabinets, but still provide some contrast for added visual interest.

Greige colors

Greige colors are colors which are made up of a combination of gray and beige undertones and can be a great way to add neutral colors to your space, but still keep the overall design more modern.

The beige tones in these colors should harmonize with the undertones in your golden oak cabinets and create a softer overall look.

Colors that fall into this category include:

5. Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, which has a warmer undertone, with green hues. This means that Revere Pewter stands out from the more golden color of the cabinets but does not create too much contrast and this creates a very natural effect.

6. Popular Gray by Sherwin Williams has a soft purple undertone. This makes the color a bit more interesting than just a regular cool-toned gray and ensures that this color will blend well with the warmer tones in the wood.

7. Kilim Beige by Sherwin Williams is a classic beige look if you want to add a warmer color to your room.

8. Collingwood by Benjamin Moore is a very central tone of greige which will contrast nicely with natural wood tones.

9. Conservative Gray by Sherwin Williams is a good gray option, as it has some green tones to it, which should work well with the yellow tones in some golden oak cabinets.

These beige and gray or even greige colors can help you to create a neutral backdrop to your design and coordinate with your golden oak cabinets to create a seamless and relaxed color scheme.

Colors to stay away from

Although wood can be a very neutral color to work with, the yellow undertones in golden oak cabinets can cause some colors to clash or even fall flat when they are placed right next to the golden wood colors.

Using the following colors can make your kitchen feel quite dull when paired with golden oak cabinets and it might be better to stay away from them:

10. Big Chill by Sherwin Williams can look very flat and boring when placed next to golden oak cabinets, because of its gray tones.

11. Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore also has green undertone, but in this case the green when placed next to golden oak cabinets, can make the beige color look dirty and muddy.

It would be best to avoid these colors, or use them in a different room, as they will work against the natural color of the golden oak cabinets, which can create a dull and disjointed feeling within your space.


Golden oak cabinets have varying yellow and orange tones throughout, which is exactly what made this choice of cabinet material popular in the 80s but can age your kitchen in the twenty-first century.

Golden oak cabinets are a very durable choice, even if they can seem a little outdated.

There are several ways to renew and refresh the look of golden oak cabinets, including: different focal points, exciting accessories and bold hardware choices. Your choice of paint is also important if you want to update your golden oak kitchen.

There are several paint colors for kitchens which will just not help you when updating your golden oak cabinets, but blue and green tones can help you to contrast the warmer tones in the golden oak cabinets and gray and beige tones can create a soothing neutral design.

This way, you can add a modern twist and make your golden oak cabinets feel fresh and new.