How to Pick the Right Paint Color to Go with Your Honey Oak Trim and Cabinets

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 I often get calls from homeowners who are struggling to pick paint colors that go with honey oak trim. Here in Des Moines, many of the houses built in the 1980s and 1990s and even 2000s prominently feature glossy, lacquered, honey oak trim. The prospect of painting all of that wood trim, whether it’s your own time and labor or paying a professional, can be daunting. (Update: We just had the oak trim painted in our new house, and it cost a small fortune, but it was so worth it!)

But, maybe you don’t want to paint the honey oak trim or cabinets. Some of my clients actually prefer the look of natural wood. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Honey oak trim can be quite beautiful.

Tip #1: Honey Oak iS Orange

The most important thing to understand about honey oak is that it has a color, and that color is orange, probably yellow-orange. When you are selecting paint colors, furniture, and accessories or, more importantly, fixed elements like countertops and tile, it’s very important to keep asking yourself: “Does this look good with yellow-orange?”

Tip #2: Go Light and Creamy

Wayne Windham Architect Cassique Residence
Wayne Windham Architect

I recently met with a couple who were totally stumped as to what paint color they should choose. They had honey oak cabinets in their kitchen and honey oak trim throughout the entire home. I recommended that they paint the walls a creamy white or pale gold, which would be a drastic improvement from the stark builder’s white that they had been living with for eight years.

For their kitchen backsplash, I suggested two options of marble subway tile, both of which included some golden veining

Tip #3: Choose a Green-Gray

Landis Architects Washington DC Craftsman Home Oak Trim Paint Colors
Landis Architects

Other paint colors that would look beautiful with honey oak wood trim are warm grays with green or bronze undertones. In bathrooms and bedrooms, blue-greens can also look lovely.

Stay far away from any beiges with cool-pink undertones and grays with true blue or violet undertones.

If you have a hard time understanding the undertone of a light neutral, look at the darkest swatch on the strip. You can usually see the base color more clearly.

Porch Front Homes Colorado Honey Oak Trim Paint Colors
Porch Front Homes

Tip #4: Hire a Professional

Many people struggle to pick paint colors with wood trim. If you are challenged by color, know that you are not alone. Paint is often touted as a quick and easy solution for all of our decorating woes, but there is still significant time and money involved in painting even one room, let alone your entire home.

This is the best time to call a professional for a color consultation. A good designer can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bad decision making.

More Posts Like This

If you’d like to learn more about how I choose colors for my interior design clients, I’ve written an ebook with my best tips. These are the exact steps I use to reduce mistakes and do-overs when choosing paint colors for both interiors and exteriors.

How to Select Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim

Do you have honey oak trim or cabinets in your home? If so, how did you embrace it?

Do you live in the Des Moines area and need help making your home feel more like you? Get in touch to schedule a consultation.

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Jillian Lare is a Des Moines based interior designer. She blogs about her current projects, interior design tips and tricks, and her life in Iowa with her young son, husband, and lovable Labrador.

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