Are Wood Kitchen Cabinets Coming Back in Style?

Kitchen trends change frequently, especially with the rise of social media. However, that doesn’t mean you need to find contractors and renovate the kitchen with every new trend.

But if you really need a kitchen makeover, it’s wise to see what’s trending for the sake of resell value. 

What’s trending now, you ask? Wood kitchen cabinets are. They’re back in style. Wood is timeless. Raw wood grain is beautiful and classic.

You can polish it, stain it, coat it, or paint it. You can even distress it. While the style and color of wood cabinets popular this year may not be the same as they were in the past, wood is quickly becoming the choice of material for many homeowners.

We’ll dive into the current trends in kitchen renovation. We’ll talk about colors, finishes, and other options that change the look of wood cabinets. Read on to find out if wood cabinets are the right fit for you and your kitchen.

What Are the Current Kitchen Trends?

People are into bold and dramatic kitchens right now. The kitchen is the hub of the household more now than ever, thanks to the pandemic and lockdown period. It makes sense since we were all spending so much more time in our kitchens.

Kitchen islands are getting larger. Cabinets extend all the way from the floor to the ceiling. Backsplashes are more eye-catching, and materials, as well as colors, are being mixed. 

What Are the Current Kitchen Cabinet Trends?

One of the hottest trends in kitchen cabinets right now is natural woods. People want light-colored, natural wood that’s unstained- wood with a linear grain. Warm, light wood such as oak is favored the most. Oak used to be popular a couple of decades ago, and now it’s making a comeback.

Another trend that’s hit the kitchen is color blocking. It became popular in the last decade or so, and has continued to trend upward. In your kitchen, you can color block the cabinets by selecting one color for the top cabinets and another color for the bottom. You can also choose one color for the island cabinets and another for the wall cabinets. 

Here are the top three trends specific to wood kitchen cabinets:

1. Open Shelving

Open shelving is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than having banks of cabinets lining the walls, there are open shelves. Typically, the shelving is reserved only for the upper cabinets.

The trend is toward having open shelves on the top and cabinets with doors on the bottom. 

Shelves are often made of thick pieces of wood. The wood might match the cabinets on the bottom or not. You can also color block between the shelves and cabinets.

2. Matte Finishes

Glossy cabinets are outdated. Natural wood with a matte finish is what consumers are looking for now. Even if a stain or paint color is added, you still want a matte finish. Kitchens are in that have a more rustic industrial look to them. 

3. Raw Wood Grain

So, we mentioned above, you could stain or paint your wood cabinets. That’s ok if you’re wise about your color choices and how you finish them off.

Raw wood grain is gaining in popularity right now, however. People aren’t looking for knotty wood with gnarly spots. But they are looking for linear grains. Covering the grain with paint may not be the best choice.

To Stain Or Not To Stain?

Wood exists in different variations and colors. However, one thing people like about wood is how you can stain it to look a certain way. So, should you stain your wood kitchen cabinets?

Stain doesn’t cover up the look of the wood. Some stains are darker than others or thicker than others, but you should still see the wood grain through the stain you put on it.

If you prefer less of a raw look and something that appears more finished, choose an attractive stain and customize your cabinets the way you want.

Raw wood is the most popular today. Choose a stain that’s light if you want to stay on-trend. Also, don’t go with a glossy stain or finish it with a clear glossy coat. Matte finish is popular now, too. 

Stain helps protect the wood. Raw wood with no finish is at risk of food stains or other types of soiling. Even if you don’t want a tinted stain, a clear matte coat is good for keeping the wood clean.

To Paint Or Not To Paint?

Painting wood cabinets is much different from staining them. There are some trends right now for painting cabinets. Blue painted wood cabinets are largely popular for kitchens. Other colors people still like are white and gray. There’s also a slight rise in green as a paint color for kitchen cabinets. 

Painted cabinets don’t look as much as wood cabinets. That’s the problem with painting them now. People want to see the wood grain. Painted cabinets don’t allow for that. 

Another problem with painted cabinets is they’re difficult to touch up once there’s wear and tear. It’s because the paint is laying on the wood instead of seeping into it. 

Paint colors are also more tied to personal preference. If you’re painting cabinets in a home you know you’ll remain in, that’s not a big issue. If you feel you may sell the home at some point, stained or raw wood cabinets are the way to go.

Are There Benefits to Having Wood Cabinets?

Wood cabinets add value to any home. If wood kitchen cabinetry is an option for you, make it your choice. Here’s why.

  • Wood is durable – Woods like oak, hickory, and walnut are all strong and durable. They will last longer than most other materials. 
  • Wood is attractive – Wood looks appealing. It adds warmth to a home. It never completely goes out of style, either. Since wood can be painted or stained, there’s always something you can do to make it look more up-to-date.
  • Wood is customizable – Wood cabinets are easier to install than other types. They’re also easier to customize. You can make the same type of wood look entirely different with varied sanding, staining, or paint colors. 
  • Wood comes in the most variation – There are more different wood types than there are any other cabinet materials. Keep in mind that this also means there is a wide range of prices associated with wood cabinetry.

What Types of Wood Are in Style Now?

Oak is coming back in style in a big way right now. Red oak isn’t as popular for the way it looks like white oak. However, red oak is less expensive, which gives it a popularity boost. 

Other woods that are popular now and have been in the past include:

  • Cherry
  • Hickory
  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Walnut
  • Rift Oak
  • Clear Alder

Oak has one of the most linear grains of all wood types. That’s what consumers are looking for right now. 

What If I Have Old Wood Kitchen Cabinets?

With wood kitchen cabinets making a comeback, you may be wondering if that means the old wood cabinets in your kitchen are automatically back in style. The answer to this question will show you why wood cabinets are good options.

Even in a complete kitchen renovation, you don’t need to change out wood cabinets. Won’t that look weird, you wonder? No, not if you apply some cosmetic changes to them. Essentially, all they need is a facelift. 

Remember when we said wood cabinets are customizable? You can strip them, sand them, stain them, or paint them to make them look completely brand new.

So, if you have old oak kitchen cabinets, and you’re updating your kitchen, give them a fresh look while keeping the timeless material.

Should Kitchen Cabinets Have Hardware?

This question comes down to preference. But we recommend that kitchen cabinets have the hardware, namely handles. Here’s why.

When there are no handles to pull open a cabinet door or drawer, our fingers and hands come into contact with the wood cabinetry.

That means food, dirt, and oils get left all over the wood. It’s not sanitary, and it causes wear on the cabinetry. Handles don’t eliminate all contact, but they do reduce it.

How Do I Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware?

First, you must decide between knobs or pulls. As a general rule, you should choose pulls for larger doors. But some knobs are large enough to work for big doors. 

Next, decide if you like curved pulls or square. You can choose from several shapes for knobs. There are no rules for what’s best here, but you can consider other shapes and textures around your kitchen to help you.

Consistency within the type of lines seen throughout your kitchen helps the look flow better.

The finish you choose should complement other finishes in the room. Look at your appliances and the light fixtures. The faucet should be taken into consideration. The cabinet hardware doesn’t have to match exactly, but it should to some level.

Think of the hardware as accessories for your cabinets. The pieces should look like they belong in the room. They should enhance the kitchen’s decor, not spoil it.

What Kitchen Cabinet Layout Should I Choose?

If you’re starting from scratch, and you can choose the layout of your wood cabinets, there are a few different options to think about.

For instance, if you want to maximize your storage space, look at putting in floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. You can mix up the layout within the banks of cabinets starting at the floor and filling up the entire wall to the ceiling. 

You may also do a mixed layout. Mix and match shelving with cabinets and drawers. You can do a wall of floor-to-ceiling on one side and open shelving on another. Mixed cabinetry is a big trend right now, so many options will work.

Final Thoughts

Wood kitchen cabinets are making a comeback right now.

Homeowners are looking for that natural wood look. Colors are lighter and there’s a trend toward linear wood grain.

If you already have wood cabinets in your kitchen, spruce them up with a new matte finish that shows off the natural wood grain.

Just like that, you’ll have the kitchen everyone else is looking for.

Looking for more home improvement material? -Here are some more helpful reads that you might like.

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Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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