Whenever you update an area in your home, you have to ask yourself whether it complements your existing décor. This is especially true when it comes to renovating your kitchen cabinets. The best flooring for hickory cabinets creates a cohesive look without being overstated or monochromatic.

What Do Hickory Cabinets Look Like?

Hickory is a popular wood for cabinets because of its strength and durability. Although it has a neutral tone, hickory is not boring. The wood has a distinctive grain, which provides visual interest.

Because of its informal nature, hickory is often used in rustic kitchens. However, it is versatile enough to work well in modern, minimalist, traditional and eclectic homes.

When pairing hickory cabinets with flooring, you should take into account the finish on the cabinets. Hickory is typically left natural. The lighter tones range from beige to gold. The darker areas can have orange, red or chocolate notes.

Sometimes, hickory cabinets are coated with a pale finish that is similar to a whitewash. This minimizes the dramatic variations in tone and provides a neutral backdrop for many flooring styles.

Identifying Warm or Cool Tones

Identifying whether your hickory cabinets contain warm or cool tones can guide you toward the right flooring selection. Warm tones are sunny and vibrant. They have an overall gold, yellow, orange, pink or red vibe. Cool hues have less of a honey or pink undertone. If your hickory cabinets are a cool shade, you might describe them as white or grayish.

Flooring With Warm Hues

Choosing flooring in warm tones will bring a cheery, sunny atmosphere to your kitchen. This is especially true if your hickory cabinets contain strong yellow, peach, pink or orange notes. However, you should avoid choosing flooring that matches your cabinets exactly. Too much of the same color will overpower your kitchen. If your flooring leans toward the warm side, make sure that it is either lighter or darker than the cabinets to break up the monotony.

Flooring With Cool Hues

Cool-toned flooring is usually a safe choice with hickory cabinets. If the cabinets are warm, the complimentary color of the flooring will provide the perfect contrast to balance it out. If the cabinets are cool, you’ll create a neutral palette that can be tweaked with accents and accessories.

Should Your Hickory Cabinets Match Your Floors?

While some interior decorators will tell you that your cabinets and floors should not match exactly, many people choose a uniform palette for their kitchen. You can match the finish of your cabinetry and floors as long as the rest of your décor breaks it up. A warm honey tone across the floors and cabinets can make your kitchen glow without dominating the space if your walls and furniture remain simple and neutral. White countertops and dining furniture with stainless steel appliances would complete this look.

If you can’t help but try to match your cabinets and flooring, you’ll be hard pressed to do so with hickory. The wood grain offers plenty of variation. It may have spots that are quite light and patterns that are very dark.

One piece of advice is to isolate one hue from the cabinetry and find flooring to match. If your cabinets are generally light with chestnut streaks running through them, you could go with chestnut flooring to draw out the design. On the other hand, you could select flooring that corresponds with the lighter beige tones.

Tone on Tone

Instead of matching the exact tones of your flooring and cabinets, consider a tone-on-tone look. This incorporates varying colors from the same family. However, the finishes can be markedly darker or lighter than one another. Depending on the undertones in your cabinets, you can go with a cream, yellow, orange, red or chocolate tone-on-tone aesthetic.

It doesn’t matter whether your floor is darker or lighter than your cabinets, though. Just try not to make it the same shade. You can also vary the type of material in the same color to break up a monochromatic environment with plenty of texture.

Add Some Drama

The more monochrome your kitchen is, the less dramatic the effect will be. Creating contrast will draw the eye to distinct areas and add interest. For example, you can punch up the prominence of the knots in the wood by choosing flooring with similar dark qualities.

You can also add drama by using shadowy colors for your flooring and accents. Consider installing a dark brown floor and black countertops. Alternatively, you can choose deep gray for your floors. This is an excellent way to generate a modern or cozy atmosphere in an otherwise rustic or informal kitchen.

Remember that you don’t have to stick with brown, white or gray for your flooring. Blue and violet hues contrast well with yellow-tinged hickory. Red or terra-cotta ceramic adds spice.

Consider the Pattern

Unless it has been painted, hickory wood generally has an obvious pattern. You don’t want the configuration of the wood to contrast with your floor. Therefore, you may want to select a flooring option with minimal patterning.

That doesn’t mean that you should install floors with a completely flat hue. In fact, monochrome flooring is difficult to come by unless you’re looking at vinyl or tile. Plus, totally flat color on the floors can be more eye-catching than the interesting design of the cabinets.

Look for flooring with a pattern that’s slightly more subtle than the grain on your cabinets. If your cabinets have minimal patterning, you can showcase a more dramatic texture on your floors. One way to do this is to create a monochromatic mosaic design using tiles. This will create a neutral backdrop for your cabinets without being bland.

What if Your Flooring Isn’t Wood?

Don’t assume that you have to stick with wood flooring if you have hickory cabinets. Vinyl, bamboo, tile and concrete are valid options for kitchen flooring.

No matter what material you choose, keep the warm/cool question in mind. Even white tile features a temperature variance. If you go with white flooring, hold it up to a piece of paper. If the flooring looks yellower than the paper, it is warm. If it looks grayer, it’s cool.

Marble and concrete look great with hickory cabinets because they highlight the neutral tones in the wood. Marble adds a sense of luxury to hickory cabinets, moderating the cottage vibe. Concrete ranges from rustic to modern, and it’s an edgy, unexpected way to underscore the cool colors in the cabinets.

When pairing hickory cabinets with flooring, you don’t want your kitchen to match so well that it looks flat. Still, you have a wide range of options, from tone-on-tone to high contrast. The best flooring stands up to your aesthetics and lifestyle and makes your home look and feel great.