Why White Oak Cabinets Are a Great Option for Modern Kitchens

Classically beautiful, oak could be the ideal choice for your updated kitchen cabinets. If you're concerned that it's off-trend, think again. Oak is far more versatile than you think — and the right species could help your kitchen span the divide between traditional and contemporary.

As you search for the perfect oak cabinets to complete your kitchen, don't forget to explore the possibility of white oak. A rising star in the world of interior design, white oak has a lot to offer. It delivers many of the practical benefits associated with oak in general, while also offering an aesthetic that is more than trendy enough to get oak skeptics on board.

Not a fan of oak? We're here to change your mind. Keep reading to discover the benefits of white oak kitchen cabinets. You'll also find practical solutions for incorporating them in your kitchen. 


Why Add White Oak to Your Kitchen?

When you think of oak cabinets, you probably picture the deep hues that dominated during the 1980s. Honey oak, in particular, was popular at this time — to the point that many of the era's top kitchens were drowning in it. Too bad, because it and other forms of oak have long held potential that was simply not realized. Sadly, instead of tweaking oak kitchen designs, homeowners of the early 2000s abandoned it altogether.

It's no secret that red oak has gone out of style, but oak in general doesn't need to remain marginalized in the world of interior design. With a few small changes, it could regain its previous kitchen dominance — but in a more versatile, visually-pleasing manner that will allow it to remain in style as trends shift once again. This shift can start with the clean, contemporary look of white oak.

The benefits of this increasingly popular alternative abound. Top advantages include:

White Oak Cabinet DoorDurable

Boasting a hardness score of 1360, white oak is more durable than many other types of hardwood. This makes it a top choice for heavily used kitchens, in which other types of cabinets might quickly suffer dents or dings. Cabinets constructed from white oak can retain a sophisticated look without suffering a loss of durability. 

Beautiful Grain Patterns

The grain patterns associated with oaks of the past were generally flat cut. A less expensive higher yielding cut, flat cut produces large cathedral grain patterns that most people associate with oak.

Today, quality furniture and cabinet makers are striving for a new style. Quarter sawn and rift cut milling changes the board look from cathedrals to straight grain. Quarter sawn also adds interesting flecks of cross ring growth to the look.

Trend-Oriented Color Schemes

The warm red tones of honey and red oak simply aren't in style these days. We're not sure if they'll eventually come back — but for now, this look is best left to vintage settings. Meanwhile, the wheat to green-brown tones of white oak provide a completely different canvas that is more in keeping with today's emphasis on neutrals. White oak's milder hues are also better suited to building in contrast via flooring, countertops and tile.


White oak can be used in a variety of contexts. Its fresh look is especially appealing in modern kitchens, where it can replace white-painted cabinets to add a little extra warmth.

Combine white oak cabinets with stand-out backsplash or a contrasting island to form an effortlessly trendy kitchen setting. Additionally, a variety of stains can be applied to give white oak kitchen cabinets a customized look. 


How to Incorporate White Oak In Your Kitchen

White oak cabinets in the kitchenThe inherent versatility of white oak means that it can easily be integrated within your dream kitchen aesthetic. Before you proceed, however, you'll need to make a few key decisions that could impact the look and feel of your kitchen as a whole:

Stick With North American White Oak

While several types of white oak are available, North American varieties are in highest demand. White oak from Appalachia is especially popular due to its consistency, strength, and durability. If you're on the hunt for a higher-end variety of white oak that will continue to remain beautiful after several years of heavy use, an initial investment in the exceptional oak from Appalachia will prove more than worthwhile.

Incorporate Contrasting Elements

As mentioned previously, much of today's oak-related reluctance stems from the excessive use of red oak in the kitchens of yesteryear. The understated look of white oak should avoid this problem, but it's also important to incorporate contrast to bring dimension to your kitchen.

A variety of details can accomplish this. Backsplash is a natural option due to its myriad of colors and patterns, but flooring, counters, and even hardware can also make a difference. White oak can also be incorporated in two-tone kitchens.


White Oak Cabinets by Plain & FancyTry White Oak Kitchen Cabinets from Plain & Fancy

As you look for new ways to add style to your kitchen, check out the hottest aesthetics from Plain & Fancy. Offering state-of-the-art, custom-built cabinetry, we're known for our attention to detail and our exceptional customer service. We can help you make the most of white oak, along with a variety of other attractive options.

If you're ready to get started, feel free to stop by one of our showrooms. You're also welcome to get in touch with us online. Reach out today for more information!

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