Design Dilemma: Are Honey Oak Cabinets So Bad?
Back in the 90s, honey oak cabinets were all the rage among builders and renovators looking to upgrade from the beige laminate cabinets of the 80s. The typical cabinets look something like this:
They’re not really so bad, but they were so ubiquitous in suburban homes and city condos throughout the 90s, that understandably, most people who have them are looking for some form of escape — either through paint or a complete replacement. But wait a moment. Salvation may not require a complete overhaul. To begin with, we’re seeing plenty of honey oak cabinets springing up these days in trend-conscious design magazines and blogs. It seems the tide may have changed. Check out these kitchens:
There’s no denying that the wood is absolutely gorgeous! The more modern rendition of honey oak loses the country paneling that is a part of so many older versions, maintaining very flat, simple lines. The idea is to remain minimal and let the beauty of the wood show without the need for unnecessary adornment.
So if you’re feeling inspired to keep your 90’s honey oak cabinets, you might consider a few tactics that allow you to update without paint:
- Add modern hardware. If your honey oak cabinets are outfitted with antiqued brass door pulls, consider switching them out to something sleeker and more modern. Simple brushed chrome bars may be in order.
- Lighten up your cabinets. Products exist which can lighten up the wood and remove yellow tones for a chic Scandinavian look. One example is “Wood Lye” made by Woca Oils. The look you’re going for might be something like this Swedish kitchen below:
- Remove a few doors or insert glass in panels for an open shelving look. Open shelving has made a big comeback. One simple way to bring your kitchen into the 21st century is simply to remove a few doors from a couple of upper cabinets to create open shelving or to create cut outs and use glass inserts, similar to the kitchen above.
- Look to other replacements. Some people start to feel weird about their cabinets when they would be much better served by changing a countertop, backsplash, an old floor, bad appliances or dated lighting. Honey oak cabinets are something of a blank slate. It’s what you choose to do with the rest of your kitchen which can really make the difference. You can’t throw a bucket of paint at every problem!
Images: Residencehousedesign.com; fieldstonecabinets.com; alnokitchens; architecture-view.com