When it comes to matching floor color to cabinets, there are a few key factors to consider. The goal is to create a cohesive and harmonious look in your kitchen or bathroom. With some planning and thoughtful color selection, you can achieve a stylish and put-together space.
Think About the Cabinets First
The cabinet color should be your starting point, since cabinets are larger fixtures that are more difficult to change out. Are your cabinets dark or light? Cool-toned or warm-toned? The undertones of the wood or stain on the cabinets will inform what flooring colors will work well. For example, cabinets with yellow, orange or red undertones call for flooring with similar warm undertones. Meanwhile, cabinets with blue, green or gray undertones pair better with cool-toned flooring.
Consider the Countertops
After picking cabinet colors, take into account what color your countertops will be. Countertops also play a big role in the overall look. Try to choose flooring colors that complement both the cabinets and countertops. For instance, if you have white cabinets and a gray-veined white quartz countertop, medium to dark gray flooring would tie the whole look together nicely.
Factor in the Room Size
The size and layout of the room should weigh into your floor color decision too. Darker floors tend to make a space feel smaller and cozier, while light floors open up the space. Small kitchens and bathrooms often benefit from light floor colors to create an airy, spacious feel. However, a large kitchen with high ceilings can handle a bold dark floor without feeling cramped.
Take Lighting into Account
Think about what the primary light source will be in the room. Is there ample natural light from windows, or will it rely more on overhead lighting? Floor color can interact with the lighting to create different effects. For rooms with lots of natural light, rich medium to dark floors enhance the cozy factor. With mostly overhead lighting, light floors help reflect and bounce light around.
Consider the Purpose of the Room
The functional purpose of the space also influences floor color selection. For example, cooking-focused kitchens often benefit from medium to dark anti-stain floors that help disguise spills and messes. Meanwhile, a kitchen meant for casual dining and entertaining may want a light floor that keeps the space feeling open and inviting.
Don’t Forget About Flow Between Rooms
Think about how your kitchen or bathroom connects and flows into adjoining spaces. Try to maintain some cohesion in floor colors between different rooms and areas. You generally want to avoid radically changing floors from one space to the next. Subtle variation is fine, but abrupt differences in flooring can look disjointed.
Match Flooring Material to Purpose
Consider the lifestyle needs and usage of the space. Opt for durable, easy-clean materials like tile, stone or resilient sheet goods in busy kitchens and baths. Cozier entertaining spaces and master bath retreats may warrant softer materials like hardwood, bamboo or cork plank floors.
Pull Inspiration from Decor
Think about the overall decor of the space. Look at your cabinet hardware, light fixtures, textiles and artwork. Seeing how your existing decor elements play off each other can provide hints for harmonious floor colors. For a traditional style, classic options like hardwoods often fit the bill. Contemporary spaces allow more creative freedom in bold colors and materials.
Consider Resale Value
If you may eventually sell your home, classic hardwood floors in oak or maple are your safest option and have the most widespread appeal. However, more unique floors like patterned tile or stained concrete can also entice buyers who appreciate non-traditional design.
Selecting Floor Colors Based on Cabinet Style
Here are some tried-and-true pairings of cabinet style and floor color:
- Light to medium hardwoods like maple, birch or hickory
- Gray wood-look tile or vinyl plank
- Dramatic dark floors like black timber bamboo or walnut hardwood
- Crisp white tile flooring
Espresso or Dark Brown Cabinets
- Rich hardwoods like Brazilian cherry, acacia or rustic hickory
- Sleek darker tile like charcoal slate or dark emperador marble
- Natural stone like travertine or tumbled limestone
- Distressed or washed medium hardwoods for contrast
Gray Shaker Cabinets
- White oak or ash hardwoods with gray undertones
- Bold black stained oak planks
- Classic white subway tile
- Subtle gray speckled quartzite tile
Antique White Cabinets
- Weathered reclaimed hardwoods
- Natural stone like Saltillo tile or travertine
- Classic black and white checkerboard tile
- Warm cork floors
Tips for Matching Wood Cabinetry
With wood cabinets, match flooring and cabinetry tones while allowing enough contrast between the two. Going too matchy-matchy can look flat and boring. Here are some wood floor options that complement popular cabinetry shades:
|Cabinet Color||Complementary Floor Colors|
|Golden Oak||Maple, Chestnut, Bamboo|
|Medium Oak||Birch, Walnut, Hickory|
|Dark Walnut||Cherry, Brazilian Chestnut, Hickory|
|Espresso||Maple, Ash, Hickory|
Tips for Pairing Painted Cabinets
Painted cabinetry allows even more creative freedom in floor pairings. With neutral cabinet colors like white, black, or gray, you can select flooring across the color spectrum. Here are examples of eye-catching floors with popular painted cabinet colors:
|Cabinet Color||Creative Floor Pairings|
|White||Black timber bamboo, navy slate tile, pale oak, colorful patterned tile|
|Black||White oak, bleached pine, checkerboard tile, turquoise glass tile|
|Gray||Whitewashed oak, warm hickory, mosaic glass tile, polished concrete|
|Navy||Golden oak, rustic pine, multicolor slate tile, stained concrete|
|Green||Walnut, brick flooring, bold patterned tile, white oak|
Tips for Matching Tile and Stone Cabinetry
With tile and stone countertops, continue the materials onto the flooring for a seamless look. Or provide contrast with flooring in different textures and patterns.
- Tile countertop – Match with same or complementary tile on the floors
- Quartzite countertop – Pair with hardwood, concrete, or porcelain tile floors
- Marble countertop – Combine with limestone or travertine tile floors
- Granite countertop – Match with porcelain, ceramic or glass tile floors
- Concrete countertop – Complement with stained concrete, wood or polished concrete floors
Tips for Open Concept Kitchens
With open concept kitchens that blend into living areas, create visual flow by extending floor materials throughout the space. Some options include:
- Hardwood plank flooring
- Concrete slab flooring
- Tile flooring using large format tiles
- Vinyl plank flooring
Minimize obvious transitions between rooms by selecting flooring materials and colors that complement each other. Define spaces using area rugs, boundaries between tile patterns, or threshold strips.
Don’t Forget the Backsplash
While matching floors to cabinets is the main focus, also consider how your backsplash color will fit into the overall scheme. The backsplash serves as an accent element and should tie in to the cabinets, countertops and floors. For example, pick out a secondary color from patterned tile flooring and use it in the backsplash design.
How Lighting Affects Color Perception
See flooring samples in the actual space before finalizing colors. Lighting conditions can alter color perception. Floors that look gorgeous in the store may seem too dark or light once installed. Check samples at different times of day and with various lighting scenarios.
Test Floor Color Combinations
It’s smart to test floor color combinations before taking the full plunge on installing a new floor. Some ways to experiment:
- Purchase large flooring samples or remnants to place in the space
- Check out photos of different color combinations online
- Use interior design apps to upload room photos and experiment with virtual floors
- Buy peel-and-stick floor tiles to arrange mock-ups
Trying out samples can reveal whether a floor color suits the room just how you imagined.
Hire a Design Professional
If struggling to settle on flooring colors, consider hiring a kitchen or bathroom designer. Experienced design pros can help you find a palette that fits your cabinets, countertops, decor and overall aesthetic. Their guidance takes the guesswork out of getting those finishes perfectly coordinated.
Matching flooring color to cabinets creates a pulled-together, harmonious look in your kitchen or bath. Take cues from your cabinet finish, counter surfaces, lighting and overall decor style when selecting materials. Be sure to view flooring samples in the space before installing. Test different color combinations to find one that complements your cabinetry while giving the room your desired atmosphere. With a thoughtful, well-integrated approach, you can achieve a custom look that stylishly flows from floors to cabinetry.