Choosing the right paint color can bring a tired room back to life, and can make an outdated kitchen with honey oak cabinets look updated.
Honey oak cabinets were so popular in the 90s. If you had honey oak cabinets… you had arrived. But now, that orangey look is a bit outdated.
One way to really update your kitchen, even with those honey oak cabinets, is to paint it. But selecting the right paint color can make the difference between having a kitchen that looks like it is straight out of the 90s, and having one that looks modern.
So how do you choose the right paint color for your honey oak cabinets?
Well, you need to start by making sure you understand the nature of honey oak cabinets. So let’s talk a minute about that.
A note about color…
When choosing a wall paint color it is important to remember that honey oak cabinets bring more of a “color” to a kitchen than other wood cabinets.
And the color they bring is orange.
Your job in choosing a paint color is to pick one that downplays the orange, but also coordinates with it.
These paint picks, from Sherwin Williams, are a great place to start finding your perfect shade to pair with your honey oak cabinets.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you have any questions, please see my disclaimer page.
Here are 5 amazing paint colors to go with honey oak cabinets.
1. Steamed Milk (SW7554)
Steamed Milk, by Sherwin Williams, is one of my all time favorite paint colors. It goes with everything.
Steamed Milk has an LRV (light reflectance value) of 76. Sherwin Williams classifies it as a “light” color.
When you see Steamed Milk on your walls, it looks like a soft, creamy off-white. Since whites are really in style right now, this is a great color to pick!
Several years ago, I moved into a home that not only had honey oak kitchen cabinets, but also had honey oak moulding. I immediately painted the walls with Steamed Milk, and it was like a breath of fresh air. Here is a picture of the kitchen with Steamed Milk on the walls.
Steamed Milk, and other light creamy colors, are great choices to pair with honey oak cabinets if you want to moderate the tones in the wood. Since cream colored paints have similar undertones to wood, choosing a paint color like Steamed Milk creates a cohesive look.
Additionally, selecting a wall color with tones that are similar to the tones in the honey oak will serve to neutralize the orange. You end up with an overall warm look, instead of with lots of colors vying for your eye’s attention.
In case you’re interested, we updated this whole kitchen on a shoestring budget. Check out what we did and the after pics here.
2. Rainwashed (SW6211)
Rainwashed, by Sherwin Williams, is the perfect bluish green color to coordinate with your honey oak kitchen cabinets.
It has slight gray undertones in it that keep it from being too bright, but also has enough blue in it that it shows up as a true color on your walls.
This cool color will accent the warm tones in your honey oak cabinets and create a nice contrast to the rich orange hues.
In fact, a blue or blue green paint color is a complimentary color to the orange tone in honey oak cabinets, so each color works to accentuate the other color.
So a blue or blue green paint color won’t downplay the orange in the honey oak, but it will complement it nicely, giving your kitchen a well put together look.
Rainwashed has an LRV of 59. While it is categorized as “light” by Sherwin Williams, I would consider it to be a light-medium shade. Rainwashed has enough depth that it makes a statement in the room but doesn’t make the room feel smaller.
It is very similar to Sea Salt, one of Sherwin William’s all time most popular colors. Rainwashed is better with honey oak cabinets, though, because it has a little more blue in it than Sea Salt does, and accents the orange in the oak in a beautiful way.
Sea Salt is a gorgeous shade to pair with lighter, less orangy wood and darker wood tones though, so don’t count it out completely! Find out more about Sea Salt here.
Rainwashed is such a pretty shade that, not only did I use it in my kitchen, I also chose it as one of the best blues from Sherwin Williams.
You can check out more about Rainwashed here.
You know the feeling you get when you walk into someone’s home and the paint colors are just perfect?
Introducing Love Remodeled’s 2021 Paint Color Palettes!
No more having to guess which paint colors are in style, and what paint colors go together well, this colllection of paint palettes does all the work for you!
Check out these gorgeous color palettes from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and PPG with all the hottest colors for 2021.
PLUS, I’ll show you the best white and gray paint colors to make your home look amazing this year!
3. Mint Condition (SW6743)
If you’re looking for a green that has a little more pop, check out Sherwin William’s Mint Condition paint.
This brighter green shade is another cool color that will accent your cabinets instead of tempering the colors in the wood like a warm color will.
Mint Condition has an LRV of 73, meaning that it has just slightly more depth than Steamed Milk. It is a light, but still bright shade.
If you’re someone who likes a little bit of color on your walls, this shade will do the trick. It is bright enough to make a statement but also subdued enough to blend easily with multiple types of decor.
4. Charcoal Blue (SW2739)
Charcoal Blue, by Sherwin Williams, goes great with honey oak cabinets. In fact, any dark, almost navy blue will go great with your oak cabinets.
This blue, and all dark blues, are cool colors that will accent the cabinets. The blue will act to accentuate the orange in the honey oak cabinets, and vice versa.
Charcoal Blue has an LRV of 6. This is a DARK shade! If you have a kitchen with a TON of natural light or vaulted ceilings, this may be a good option for you. If your kitchen doesn’t have many windows, I would steer away from this shade.
This smokey dark blue color pairs so well with the orangey tone of the wood.
5. Balmy (SW6512)
Balmy is an amazing light blue!
Balmy has an LRV of 66, and is a light color. It has a little more depth than a powder blue, and almost feels like a SUPER light navy.
If you like the Charcoal Blue color, but don’t want to go with a color that dark, this Balmy is a great pick for you.
It is also one of Sherwin William’s top paint colors for beach homes and coastal style decor.
6. Accessible Beige (SW7036)
Sherwin William’s Accessible Beige is a beige paint color that has slight gray undertones.
Accessible Beige has an LRV of 58, which is considered “light.” This beige is Sherwin Williams best selling beige because it is versatile and goes well with many styles of decor.
Since Accessible Beige is a warm shade, it will blend with the cabinets more than a cool color will, softening the look of the wood tones and creating a more cohesive feel to the space.
This warm shade is a good coordinating color for honey oak cabinets. Since it is a neutral, it goes with most decor. Against white trim, it is dark enough to make a statement.
Check out this post for all the details on Accessible Beige!
7. Mindful Gray (SW7016)
Mindful Gray is a warm greige paint color. Greige paint colors are shades that are a mix of beige and gray. Mindful Gray leans more towards gray, making it a good shade to pair with oak cabinets if you want to accent the color of the wood.
While it is a warm shade with purple undertones, it has enough gray in it that it won’t blend with the cabinets.
Mindful Gray has an LRV of 48, which Sherwin Williams still classifies as “light.” Don’t be fooled though. Mindful Gray is not really a light color. It should be reserved for a room with lots of windows or high ceilings.
Greige paint colors are super in style right now. If you’re looking to make your honey oak cabinets look more modern, Mindful Gray, or another amazing greige paint color, should be on your shortlist.
Choosing the right paint color for honey oak cabinets makes all the difference.
Hopefully these paint colors will inspire you to paint your kitchen to really update the look.
Wondering how to pick the perfect paint color?
I have the best solution for you!
Samplize sells 9×14.75 stick-on paint rectangles in almost every paint color.
These eco-friendly, peel and stick rectangles are made from real paint, so they will show you exactly what the paint color will look like.
Simply place them on your walls next to your trim, furnishings or fixed elements, and easily see whether the paint colors work in your space and with your lighting. Then, peel the sheet right off your wall and reapply it somewhere else if you like!
Oh, and you will receive them tomorrow with $5 overnight shipping! But, if you enter your email, you’ll get $5 off your first order – which basically means that you will get free, overnight shipping!
Samplize sheets are truly the easiest (and fastest!) way to test a paint color in your home.
For some other paint colors that go with natural wood, check this post out!
Another easy way to update your honey oak cabinets is to change out the hardware.
Get rid of those gold pulls and knobs (which, in more modern styles, are actually back in fashion!) because they pull more orange into the kitchen when you have honey oak cabinets.
Instead, pick up some black or bronze knobs and pulls, as they help to neutralize the orange that your eye sees in the wood. Here are a Bronze Bar Pull and a Black Cup Pull to inspire you! I’ve personally used the Cosmas brand and they are a great quality product.
If you want to update your kitchen without replacing your honey oak cabinets, check this out!
Adding cabinets of a different color is a great way to compliment your current wood cabinets. Have a two toned kitchen is called a “tuxedo” kitchen – and they are highly desirable. According to Zillow, homes with tuxedo kitchens can sell for as much as $6000 more than comparable homes.
Check out how I added gorgeous white cabinets on a wall in my kitchen, as an accent to my oak cabinets.
Other Resources to Help You Paint Your Kitchen
Before you start, make sure you choose the right paint sheen for your kitchen. You need one that is both durable and scrubbable, since kitchen walls tend to need wiped up a lot more than other walls in your house.
Final Thoughts on Wall Paint Colors that Go With Honey Oak Cabinets
Choosing the right paint color to go with your honey oak cabinets is important in updating your kitchen, but it is most important to choose a color that you love!
Check out this list for even more kitchen paint colors!
I hope this list inspires you! And remember to check out the painting resources to help you as you go.
Want more paint color ideas? Check out the best colors for wood trim!
Wall Colors for Honey Oak Cabinets
Have a question or want to show off your project? I try to answer all comments within 7-10 days, but for a much faster response, join my new Facebook page here!
As for honey oak, the colors side by side would be Red, orange, and yellow. Complementary colors are any two colors that are directly opposite each other. The color that is directly across from orange on the color wheel is blue. These two colors are complementary.
There's two main ways to transform your honey oak trim, doors, or cabinets simply by painting the walls: Using a harmonious color palette (similar colors or colors with a similar undertone) that will work alongside and help fade or camouflage the orange or yellow wood tones.
Agreeable Gray has warm bronzey undertones that complement the yellow orange in the oak. If you must pair your honey oak with gray walls, Agreeable Gray is a good place to start.
There are no strict rules as to whether painted kitchen cabinets should be lighter or darker than the walls, essentially it comes down to personal preference and the look you're trying to achieve.
NATURAL WOOD KITCHEN CABINETS
As far as natural wood cabinet colors go, light and medium oak will still be trending in 2022 … whether it's your full kitchen or just your kitchen island. Either way looks beautiful! And you can't go wrong with beautiful stained (or painted) dark kitchen cabinets.
What is this? Wood cabinets are continuing to come back into style. No, not your honey oak cabinets from 1980's and 90's – they are most definitely not coming back.
Honey Oak Cabinets
A staple in kitchens of the 1980s and '90s, these golden-toned wood cabinets have fallen out of favor as white and gray cabinets have risen in popularity. If you don't like your light-stained cabinets, but they're in good shape, consider refinishing or painting what's there.
If you have Oak or Honey toned wood cabinets and want to refresh your kitchen, consider painting the walls in today's neutrals, such as soft blue-grays, greens and neutral beiges. You might want to rethink your kitchen colors when you see these combos!
Relaxed Khaki by Sherwin Williams. If you are looking for a neutral paint color that goes with golden oak trim then this is the color for you. This color actually makes the trim look better and it goes with both warm and cool colors making it the perfect all over paint color.
The answer is – no! The oak trim and oak flooring finish (the golden color known in the industry as “honey”) will never come back in style. Today, there are many beautiful versions of stained oak on the market that allow it to appear more contemporary and aesthetically pleasing.
And another big reason that I love Revere Pewter is because it works with most all other colors. Such a perfect color! So yes, Diane, I think Revere Pewter works well with oak cabinets.
Balboa Mist is a great neutral gray paint color with a touch of warmth which makes it a great partner to honey oak. It is considered a greige paint color which means it is a gray color that leans heavily towards beige.
When it comes to kitchens, white, gray, blue, red, yellow, and green really shine. Each of these shades can do something different for the room, but they all help create a warm and welcoming space. Warmer colors such as red are believed to stimulate the appetite and are an excellent option for kitchens.
Kitchen walls and cabinets don't need to be the same color, but that certainly doesn't mean they can't. In fact, it can create an alluring, uniform look! Kitchen cabinets naturally draw the eye with the amount of space they cover.
Should Countertops Be Lighter Or Darker Than Cabinets? Although there isn't technically a set-in-stone answer, lighter countertops with darker cabinets seem to be the best design choice. Generally, white or light-colored counters give a kitchen/space a modern feel.