The floor doesn\’t need to match the oak cabinets to look beautiful.Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
When looking for the best wood floor to complement your oak cabinets, you must keep in mind that there are dozens of different looks oak cabinets can adopt. Some have high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin or matte finishes in a variety of shades. Others simply have a sealer without a finish in order to show off the natural wood color, but there are still more than 60 species of oak grown in the U.S., each with its own unique color and grain. Ultimately, there isn't one particular variety of wood that complements oak cabinets best, but there are certain qualities to look for in the wood floor you choose to install.
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Some owners select their kitchen flooring based on what seems to match their oak cabinets the closest. They fear an awkward appearance if they select a wood that highly contrasts the oak cabinets' finish. However, some level of contrast is desirable between the floor and the cabinets, and frequently, high contrast is also very appealing. An example of a pleasing combination is red oak cabinets and Brazilian teak hardwood floors.
Whether you choose a different variety of oak or another species, you should always select a hardwood when choosing a flooring material. Hardwood is stronger, heavier and more durable than softwood, so the choice between the two varieties is obvious when selecting a flooring material. Regardless of their more durable qualities, hardwood floors must still be maintained properly. Different species of hardwood appropriate for flooring, in addition to oak, include maple, mahogany, cherry, walnut and teak. Depending on the sealer and finish, any of these can complement oak cabinets beautifully.
No matter what species of oak cabinets you have in your kitchen, hand-scraped or distressed hardwood flooring is the best choice for homeowners with active children and dogs running through the house. Any small scrapes or scratches simply add to the character of the floor rather than marring its appearance. In addition, hand-scraped floors are very popular in rustic kitchens and are sure to add value to your home.
Bamboo is a popular flooring material to complement oak cabinets. While it's commonly referred to as "bamboo wood," the material is actually a grass that is denser and stronger than many hardwoods. The grain is very linear, and with more than 1,000 species of bamboo, there are hundreds of final appearances that bamboo can achieve to harmonize with oak cabinets.