As more homeowners are choosing to install their hardwood floors in every room of the house including the kitchen, this creates some confusion about what to do with the cabinets. After all, if the cabinets are wood as well, is it better to match or to contrast the two wood tones in one room?
The Case against Matching
While it can be tempting to say I want maple cabinets; why not get maple floors as well? This can actually backfire in terms of your overall design. Wood has a lot of variation in it, even when you choose unfinished and unstained woods. Because your cabinet maker and your floor provider will be sourcing their wood from different areas, you can’t guarantee that your cabinets and flooring will actually “match”. One may be lighter or darker than the other, or it may include colors and undertones you didn’t expect. This means that you could end up with floors and cabinets that clash, rather than match perfectly.
If you want natural wood for your cabinets and your floors, consider contrasting your colors. Use a pale, clear maple on the cabinets and a dark mahogany on the floors. Mirror the floor color on the countertop to create a cohesive design. It can work the other way, too, using dark cabinets and light floors. If you really want to match species, consider staining one, such as using natural cherry cabinets with a dark burgundy stain on the floor.
Contrast with Material
If you really love the look of wood floors, but don’t want to contrast them with a different wood on the cabinets consider using a painted cabinet instead. White cabinets work well with nearly everything, particularly dark floors, while a cream colored cabinet could work beautifully with a red or white oak floor, as well as with a clear maple.
Avoid a Miss-Match
While it is tempting to try to match the woods in different places in your house, you may find this more difficult to do than you imagined. Unless you are able to luck into an exact match, play it safe and add some contrast to the kitchen.