If you are surrounded by honey oak in your home, you are in the right place for design help!
Honey oak: a nostalgic throwback to years gone by, often bringing to mind images of dried floral arrangements, brass & etched glass chandeliers and perhaps a lovely dusty rose or hunter green wallpaper. But, my friends, it doesn’t have to go down like that. As they say, you become your friends and we are going to give that solid oak a new crowd to hang with. We are going to upgrade, polish and enhance - things are going to be rosy again. But not dusty-rosy.
Why Work With The Oak? 3 Reasons
There are some great things about oak in a home and though, yes, it can be painted over or replaced with MDF trim or a new white kitchen, there are a lot of reasons to leave it be and work with it!
1. Oak is a rock solid wood – it’s durable and practically bullet proof.
2. It’s warm – those warm tones are earthy and look great in a lot of spaces.
3. Oak is also ripe with wood grain that really stands out, even when painted, so it has a very natural, patterned look that never looks manufactured or ultra-modern.
Even if the only reason it’s staying put is because you don’t have the time, money or desire to replace it right now, it absolutely can look great in your home by surrounding it with a great wall color and surrounding it with things that are more in your taste – things like furniture, art, lighting, new hardware or updated counters will all help give a new look to the space and put all thoughts of ‘outdated oak’ right out of mind.
It absolutely can look fresh and updated - you can do this!
Here are the two main directions to transform your honey oak trim, doors, or cabinets with wall color
1. Neutralize by ‘framing’ it with a complimentary color
Oak can be neutralized a bit by using colors around it that are on the opposite side of the color wheel. So, for orange oaks, this means something with a purple or green tone. Does it have to be a loud, obvious purple or green? Nope! There are undertones to a lot of soft, neutral colors like warm greys and creams. Yes, the oak is going to stand out: it’s going to sit among a contrasting color like a piece of art sits in a mat and frame. That’s okay – let’s be honest, it exists, it is there and you can’t make it disappear, but you can trick the eye into feeling like what is there is a little less “loud oak” and a little more “neutral warm wood”. Think of a gorgeous redhead wearing a soft lavender top – beautiful. Redhead wearing a harsh yellow shirt? Not so flattering.
Here are 5 great paint colors to compliment honey oak!
2. Blend and camouflage
If you surround the warm oak with another warm color, it’s going to blend in and look purposeful. A soft, warm neutral paint with orange or yellow undertones can make a space look harmonious and help the oak fade in a little. I would go with a natural, earthy color here, not anything too harsh. The look of warm oak is very natural and can sit very nicely with colors pulled from nature. Be careful not to choose anything too bland here as you do want your space to have some energy to it and avoid harsh black-greys as they generally just don’t work well.
Here are 5 amazing paint colors to blend and camouflage honey oak!
Free Printables! Cheat Sheet & Paint Finder Tool
I've created a free printable cheat sheet to help you choose the right paint to go with your honey oak and a printable paint finder tool! Please save them, print them off and take them to the store with you when choosing paint samples for your space! They are both available for free, instant download in my Design Resource Library.