Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Wood-Tone Kitchens

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This in-depth guide showcases editors’ top picks for beautiful and functional wood-tone kitchens. Discover gorgeous kitchen inspiration with details on popular wood tones, cabinetry, countertops, backsplashes, appliances, and layout ideas for wood-tone kitchens.


Wood-tone kitchens are having a major moment right now. The warm, organic beauty of wood brings an inviting, cozy feel that works in almost any kitchen style from traditional to modern. Beyond just cabinets, creative uses of wood on ceilings, floors, islands and more can make this nature-inspired material the star of your kitchen design.

To assemble the ultimate wood-tone kitchen inspiration guide, we asked designers to share their recent favorite projects featuring gorgeous wood cabinetry, counters, backsplashes, and other elements. The stunning kitchens ahead cover a range of popular wood stains from light and airy painted white oak to dramatic dark walnut. Crisp painted cabinets get enhanced with warm wood accents. And don’t miss the creative mixing of wood tones within one kitchen for extra dimension.

Beyond the cabinetry, we share tips for selecting the perfect countertop and backsplash materials to complement your wood cabinets. Get ready for ideas you’ll want to re-create in your own kitchen redo or remodel! Keep reading for our top wood-tone kitchen inspiration.

Popular Wood Tones for Kitchen Cabinets

The shade of wood you choose for your kitchen cabinets sets the tone for your whole design. From light and bright painted woods to darker dramatic stains, here are some of the most popular wood tones used in kitchens today.

White Oak Cabinets

White oak has become a hugely popular choice for painted kitchen cabinets in recent years. The subtle grain and texture adds natural beauty while the white paint color keeps things fresh and light. Often paired with brass hardware and lighter countertops like white quartz, white oak creates a timeless look perfect for both traditional and contemporary kitchens.

White Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Image via Claudia Dondzillo

Light Wood Tones

For a barely-there wood look, the lightest wood tones like maple and birch work beautifully. When left unfinished or lightly stained, these pale woods keep the focus on your décor rather than the cabinetry. Pair with white, light gray or even bold navy blue cabinets for extra contrast.

Light Wood Kitchen

Image via Studio DVM

Medium Wood Stains

The most versatile choice, medium wood tones can feel modern, traditional or anywhere in between. Poplar, cherry and rustic alder are all commonly seen with this mid-range stain color. Accent with different colors and materials throughout the space to give these adaptable wood cabinets distinct style.

Medium Wood Kitchen

Image via Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Dark Wood Cabinetry

For dramatic distinction, go for rich darker-stained wood cabinetry. Walnut is a top choice, with its chocolatey color and distinctive grain. Mahogany, cherry, and oak cabinets also take darker stains beautifully. Use accents of brass or gold to warm up the deep wood color.

Dark Wood Kitchen Cabinets:strip_icc():format(webp)/contemporarycraftsman_christophermayer-5c4d0ee346e0fb0001721e29.jpg)

Image via Christopher Mayer

Mixing Wood Tones

One trendy idea is combining two different wood tones in one kitchen for extra depth and interest. Try a darker island with lighter perimeter cabinetry or vice versa. Using wood finishes in varying shades adds subtle contrast while still feeling cohesive.

Dark Wood Island

Image via Design by Kristin Wentzel

Floating wood shelves, window trim, ceiling beams and other accents in a different wood tone than the main cabinetry also helps highlight special details.

Mixed Wood Tones

Image via Elske de Zwarte

Wood On the Ceiling

Extending wood onto the ceiling via beams or full wood paneling amplifies the warmth wood brings to a kitchen. It instantly makes the space feel inviting and cozy.

Wood Beam Ceiling

Image via Design by Kristin Wentzel

Perfect Countertops for Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Your countertop choice can make or break the look of your wood cabinet kitchen. Here are some of the best countertop options to complement various wood tones.

White Quartz

A crisp white quartz countertop creates an eye-catching contrast to wood cabinetry in light, medium and dark finishes.

White Quartz Countertop

Image via Studio McGee

Wood Countertops

For a harmonious look, consider matching your cabinet stain color with real wood countertops. Butcherblock is trendy, bringing extra pattern and texture. Walnut, oak and teak are other woods used for countertops. Make sure it’s properly sealed.

Wood Countertop

Image via JX Interior Design

Marble or Quartzite

Elegant marble or quartzite countertops pair beautifully with both light and dark wood cabinets. Their gray, white and neutral tones complement wood so nicely. Just be sure to properly seal them before installing in a busy kitchen.

Marble Countertop

Image via Amy Morris Interior Design

Black Granite

For major contrast against lighter wood cabinetry, opt for polished black granite countertops. This striking combo feels bold yet elegant.

Black Granite Countertop

Image via Carrie Waller Design

Backsplash Ideas for Wood Kitchens

Don’t overlook the importance of the backsplash when designing your dream wood kitchen. Here are some backsplash materials that work beautifully with wood cabinets.

White Subway Tile

Classic white subway tile creates a clean, neutral backdrop for rich wood cabinetry. The high contrast makes both elements pop.

White Subway Tile Backsplash

Image via Home and Design Co

Same-Tone Wood

Matching wood-look tile or reclaimed wood planks to your cabinet color for a seamless effect. Wooden backsplashes complement wood cabinets beautifully.

Wood Backsplash

Image by Studio 212 Interiors

Brick or Stone

Rustic materials like brick, stacked stone, or tile that mimics these textures add great contrast and dimension against wood cabinets. Keep grout neutral for a subtle look.

Brick Backsplash

Image via J Design Group

Mixed Materials

Using a mix of backsplash materials and patterns adds eclectic flair. Try combining tile, reclaimed wood, metal, marble and more for lots of texture.

Mixed Backsplash

Image via Clive Christian

Appliance and Hardware Considerations

Don’t forget about appliances and hardware when designing your perfect wood-tone kitchen. Follow these guidelines to make sure all the finishes work in harmony.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Timeless, neutral stainless steel looks fantastic against wood cabinetry of all shades. For a matchy-matchy look, opt for stainless with nickel or chrome hardware.

Stainless Appliances

Image via Dwellings Studio

Vintage-Style Appliances

Big, colorful appliances like a blue Smeg refrigerator or retro range add serious style. Play up their quirkiness with brass hardware.

Retro Appliances

Image via Chantal Guayette

Matte Black Hardware

For a chic monochromatic look, pair inky black cabinet hardware with matching black stainless appliances. This is brilliant against dramatic dark wood.

Black Hardware

Image via Details Design + Architecture

Nickel or Brass Hardware

Warm metal hardware in finishes like brushed nickel, antique brass or unlacquered brass injects industrial edge and shine against woodsy cabinets.

Brass Hardware

Image via Andrew Flesher

Layout and Storage Ideas for Wood Kitchens

Beyond surfaces and finishes, the layout and storage components you choose can make all the difference in creating a functional wood kitchen. Follow these ideas as you plan your layout.

Island Seating

Including an island with seating is one of the best ways to enhance a kitchen’s function and flow. Great for gatherings or casual meals, an island provides flexible space away from the main work triangle.

Island With Seating

Image via Homepolish

Open Shelving

Floating wood or metal shelves inject airy, modern appeal contrasted with wood cabinetry below. Open shelves work especially well showcasing colorful dish collections.

Floating Shelves

Image via Mjölk

Glass Cabinet Doors

Glass-front upper cabinets maintain the light, airy vibe. Try wood frames or mullions for a touch of texture combined with see-through practicality.

Glass Cabinet Doors

Image via Amy Morris Interior Design

Butcher Block Cart

A movable butcher block island on casters adds flexible prep space and storage anywhere you need it. Try matching the butcher block wood to your cabinets.

Butcher Block Cart

Image via Christiane Linnell Interiors

Showcasing Wood Elements Throughout the Home

Using wood tones in adjacent spaces creates a harmonious feeling throughout the home. Here are ways to carry wood finishes into nearby rooms.

Wood Beam Ceiling Details

Extending wood beam ceilings from the kitchen into the living or dining room helps these spaces feel cohesive.

Wood Beam Ceiling

Image: Anthony Masterson Photography

Matching Built-Ins

Built-in cabinetry and shelving using the same wood and finish as the kitchen cabinets links spaces in a natural looking way.

Matching Built-Ins

Image: Stacy Zarin Goldberg for Sotheby’s International Realty

Repeat Wood Flooring

Carrying over the same wood flooring used in the kitchen into surrounding rooms makes spaces feel connected.

Matching Wood Floors

Image: domino

Wood Accent Wall

Try using reclaimed wood planks to create a stunning wood accent wall in the dining room or living room. Tie it together with wood kitchen cabinets.

Wood Accent Wall

Image: Bria Hammel Interiors

Inspiring Wood Tone Kitchen Examples

For more visual inspiration, check out these stunning real kitchen designs featuring beautiful uses of wood cabinetry, floors, ceilings and more.

Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen

Dark wood island base cabinets paired with lighter toned perimeter cabinets create pleasing contrast in this rustic kitchen. Butcher block counters and wood beam ceiling enhance the cozy vibe.

Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen

Image via Design Manifest, Kate Martin

Contemporary Walnut Kitchen

The distinctive figuring of rich walnut cabinetry makes a dramatic style statement in this sleek modern kitchen. Walnut built-ins in the nearby dining room extend the wood element