Dark maple hw floors and cabinets...help please :)

yttocs3April 18, 2011

Hi everyone,

Just signed up but I've read a fair amount of posts here over the past several months. My wife and I are having a new house built so we've been busy trying to make all of the decisions that come along with that. I think I've finally got to the point where I'd like to get some suggestions/ideas/etc.

I'm going to have some more questions, but I'll start with our flooring/cabinet choices. We are planning on doing engineered maple wood floors that are very dark (I know, dust, but they are what my wife wants). We are doing an open concept so these floors will run through the kitchen, dining area, and living room. I'll look into how to post pics so I can show you a rough idea of how things are layed out.

We are planning on doing maple shaker style cabinets. We were planning to go dark stain on these as well, but I'm really not sure how this will look and what shade would look good. It will be hard to go darker then the floors so I'm thinking we should go slightly lighter, assuming trying to match the floors is not a good idea. Opinions on this? Does anyone have any pictures showing dark hardwood floors with dark cabinets?

We are planning to do white trim (baseboards, casing) and doors in our house. Due to the dark wood we also plan to do a lighter/brighter paint color. For counter tops we are thinking about using the Formica 180fx. Really looking for suggestions on all of this though...having a heck of a time visualizing everything together.

I'll see if I can swing buy the flooring store and take a picture of the flooring sample as well.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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with dark floors AND cabs-, I'd just be sure and have a lighter counter and backsplash-the contrast, higher up, would be nice and balance it out.There are a lot of whites
now with veining and texture...it doesn't have to be stark white.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:06PM
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You're right- matching the floors and cabs should be avoided. As long as they are in the same color family but are different shades, they will look great together!

Herbflavor is right- light everywhere else...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:09PM
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Thanks for the quick responses. To give a bit more information, we will have 9' ceilings and will be doing 42" uppers. Should we just leave the area above the cabinets open? My wife was wondering about boxing that area in, more of less flush with the cabinets. I guess this would be considered a sofit/bulkhead? Personally I'm not sure how this would look and I think we may be better off leaving it open. We can just put wax paper up there to catch the dust, etc.

The counter-top we were looking at is the 180fx Bluestorm...wondering if that will be too dark though considering the floor and cabinet color?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:21PM
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I'm going to do 42" uppers in my kitchen with the opening between the top of the cabs and the 9ft ceiling. I wanted to avoid the soffit look. IMHO, I think the bluestorm is too dark given all that you have in your kitchen already. What about something like antique mascarello?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Thanks Briana,

I think I'll be convincing my wife to leave it open above the uppers. I just can't visualize it looking good with any kind of sofit.
As for the Bluestorm, I've always worried it may be too dark. I wish we had somewhere we could go and see large examples of the 180fx. They have one countertop at our local Rona now done in the Bluestorm, but it would be nice to see the others. I see a lot of people on here have done the Antique Mascarello and it looks nice. Wife doesn't like it, but she's only seen the 12"x12" samples and the pics on Formica's site. May need to show her some on here as well.

We were hoping to do something a bit more interesting, which is why we are looking at the 180fx. We generally like things pretty clean and simple, but building a custom home I want to make sure it doesn't look too boring. Love good granite, but that is not in the budget at this time.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Your wife may have some instincts about why she wants to go with these choices-but the bluestorm is also very Intense.
I see some medium tones with dark running through..might be a good compromise..I'd still go light..but with formica and lower costs you can take a risk-always fun.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:47PM
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Hi Yttocs3,

I have some pictures of dark floors and dark cabs. Not
necessarily the exact floor and maple cab you are looking
for but a chance to see some ideas.
Take a note at the countertop colors.
And notice what some did with the ceiling. Soffits or
upper cabs. All interesting and maybe it can help you
with your own space.

This is not maple but notice the blue counter

This is an image I have of Blue storm.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:52PM
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Thanks a bunch boxerpups!

The sofit in the second picture you posted is basiaclly what my wife was describing. I'll definitely show her this pic and then she can decide if that is still something she is interested in doing. Our sink will be in the island so the sofit will be completely above the cabinets. I can see how this would probably look ok with wall colored paint as in your example.

I see more often then not, that if dark woods are used on the floor and cabinets, the cabinets are usually the darker item. The second last picture shows a very dark floor and I see they did very dark cabs (expresso?). This may be something we have to consider...and I think it looks very nice. We'll definitely be doing a lighter paint and backsplash, and we'll have to carefully consider our countertop choice. The bluestorm 180fx does have a lot of yellow in it as well, so it may still work, esepcially with some soft yellowish tiles for the backsplash.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:07PM
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There are different things you can do with soffits.
I will post what I mean below. Soffits are not too popular.
The trend is to take them out, open the ceiling and
have stacked cabs. Or at least open up the ceiling.
This can be a problem as the kitchen may need the soffit
to deal with wiring, plumbing etc..
The pictures below express what I mean better.

Some things to think about, since this is a new build.
Undercab lighting and extra outlets around your island.
The undercab creates task lighting in a dark space. I say
dark because with the cabinets and floors dark it can be
cave like. Adding some lighting under the cabs and inside
the cabs as accents can really brighten the space and show
off your kitchen to perfection.


Soffits made to look like cabinets

Ignore the white but notice the uppers were made into
cabs you could do this with a soffit.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 7:29PM
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Got to the flooring store today and took some pics of our flooring. Not the greatest pictures though mind you.


Not the greatest picture but I believe it is this: http://www.tarkettna.com/Default.aspx?tabid=99&sku=DTWNBM#

As you can see, it is very dark.

Tile for entrance and bathrooms:

Cork for Master bedroom (also dark):

Cork and tile:

So, what do you think? I forgot how dark this wood floor is. We've seen it installed in another house in town and it does look great. Those people basically did black cabinets though. Can we do lighter cabinets? Seeing the floor again I'm not sure you can go darker without going black. The other option of course is white cabinets, but we didn't really want to go that way. We could also change our flooring choice, but my wife really liked this one.

Any pictures out there of a really dark wood floor with slightly lighter cabinets?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:20PM
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That floor looks like ebony stained Maple - I LOVE it! I cannot see the undertones in it, but because it is maple I assume the undertone is yellow, not red. Therefore, whatever you do, do NOT go with a cabinet color with a red undertone - it will clash badly! Unfortunately this seems to be a problem for a LOT of people - they find a color they like on its own and it clashes with existing colors in the room.

Personally, with the exception Boxerpup's (1st set of pics) last few very modern pics, I think the dark floor / dark cabinet pics are terribly BORING. Mostly because the countertops also blend right in and there is no real contrast in the more traditional kitchen pics at all.

Notice that the last few ultra modern kitchens all have a few things in common that make the dark cabinets on a dark floor work:

1) LOTS of glass - both windows and glass-front upper cabinets - really brightens and opens up the space.

2) Light / contrasting countertops

3) Lots of stainless - also brightens the space.

My favorite of those pics is the one after the countertop closeup. It has dark floors, dark cabinets AND dark counters, but because there is SO MUCH glass and stainless, and the walls are white, it really works. This would only work if you have a lot of windows, though.

Personally, I'd go with natural maple cabinets. You said Shaker style, so I'm assuming you're going more traditional. Natural maple works in either a traditional or modern kitchen, and it would look awesome against that floor. I think your Bluestorm counters would look best on natural maple as well - they'll really pop. Your floors and counters will then carry the weight of the room and the natural maple cabinets will become a serene backdrop.

As for soffits - do NOT do it! YUCK! They look SO 1980's! They really make a kitchen look outdated. Unless you are going full-throttle Mid-Century Modern, they just DO NOT work! Every pic with soffits above traditional or shaker cabinets looks outdated. Personally I'd stack the cabinets to the ceiling with glass fronts at the top. But even just leaving the space open looks so much better than having soffits.

Looking at Boxerpup's 2nd set of pics, compare kitchen 5 to kitchen 6: kitchen 5 looks ridiculous - that crown moulding above the soffit makes it stand out - like a poorly thought-out remodel. There is a duct above the fridge, so that soffit was necessary, but the rest of the soffits just stand out like a sore thumb. I would have ripped them out and put panels matching the cabs above the fridge instead of drywall.

Photo 6 is a tray ceiling - NOT a soffit - and that works - the cabs go all the way up to the lower ceiling around the perimeter except above the sink where the valance is dropped.

BTW: your entry tile looks great with the dark maple and cork floors. That color would look good (as a counter) on really dark cabinets, but I still like the idea of natural maple cabs with the Bluestorm counters.

Also, you say you are doing white trim and doors - that looks really bad right next to dark cabinets, so if the trim will run into the kitchen it will never look right. Take this into account. It's really hard to say without a layout (open layout means trim will have no place to end before kitchen begins - a problem I'm currently trying to solve). Also, since you are building new you can add lots of windows, but that alone will cost a lot of extra money if it is not already in your budget.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:00AM
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I'd worry that the kitchen floor will have areas of wear that will need redoing sooner than the rest of your main level, but you will be stuck redoing everything because spot fixing is not a viable option. We have an open floor plan and if we had to redo the kitchen floor in a few years, it would be a major ordeal because it would drag our living room, dining room, and possibly den floors into the project.

I strongly suggest you consider a different floor in the kitchen. With an open plan it helps define the room to have the floor in a different material and would buy you more time before redoing all the hardwood. If your choice was a clear stain, you could get away with spot treating, but doing that would be a big change to your plan, so it is probably easier to just change the kitchen floor.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:23AM
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Floor durability - I actually agree with dianalo. Stained floors (even solid wood) WILL need refinishing. We stained the antique Fir floors in our hallway and they needed touching up within a year because of the dogs. Maple is harder than Fir, but you said ENGINEERED floors - those cannot be refinished!

We added on and the new kitchen / family room is all one space / floor. The new kitchen is actually the old den (was L-shaped, now straight), and we deliberately ripped out (will be reusing in old galley / new pantry) the old oak floors so that we could have one continuous floor in the kitchen / family room. Having two different floors really threw the whole kitchen layout off. Also, it would have looked really weird. I really don't like different floors in one open space. That being said, we deliberately left the new (light) Sassafras NATURAL (just Tung Oil, no stain) because it will get too much use.

The only way to achieve a dark wood floor and NO stain is to go with natural Walnut (or a really expensive dark exotic).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:48AM
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Now some images of ebony floors with lighter cabs....
I wish I had more but this is a wonderfully new
and creative way to go. I say go for it!
Hope these help with ideas.

I know, I know.. NO white but notice how pretty these
floors look with the natural kitchen chairs. I am
thinking cabs that color could work.

This is not what you are thinking but I wanted you to
see how pretty a lighter wood floor could look with
dark cabs. If you switch this ( dark floors lighter
cabs in your space it could look even BETTER.

Okay the floor is concrete stained but this is a
visual to think about.

Pretend the white is light alder, hickory, beech or maple.

Gray is an option

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 8:36AM
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Pretty choices on the flooring, but that is very dark. Hopefully your wife realizes that this choice will mean someone has to clean them often. As for refinishing, we looked at engineered floors and the thicker ones can be refinished (I think once) as long as you get the thicker ones. I would not go thinner on engineered floors as a need for refinishing would mean replacing. HTH. Great choices on the tile. When I mentioned Antique Mascarello, I was thinking that the color scheme of the tile you subsequently selected could be very pretty with wood cabs.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 8:55AM
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Wow, I am surprised at my reaction. I did not think I would like dark floors and dark cabs. -- Saw the pictures and think they look very nice. Next pictures of light cabs with dark floors and this is just my personal opinion but I prefer the dark/dark.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 10:57AM
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I agree. When I first read the OP I was thinking
I will show him by posting pics that maybe he needs some
contrast and then.... I was WOWed by my own pics. The
dark on dark is really pretty and I think would look
stunning with his choices of floors.
Glad to know I am not the only one who likes the Dark
on Dark look. And here I am a white kitchen girl.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Boxerpup, I am always someone that says "contrast". My one mistake in my last kit was cabs matched the floor, they were light and I didn't like it. Thus my initial reaction of "oh no, it won't look good". You share so many pictures with posters and it such a big help!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 6:30PM
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Thanks guys...makes us feel better about continuing with the dark/dark plan. We'll meet with our cabinet maker and see what he thinks.

I definitely want to look into some of the other 180fx laminates, like the antique mascarello.

I know counter-top will affect this choice, but any recommendations on paint colors to look at, assuming we are still doing dark/dark? Our current house is a yellow color, and I see this still seems to be relatively popular. I know something near white would probably look good, but I'd like to have some color. It is a very large area since it is all open to the living and dining area (see my other thread for layout pics of the house) so maybe we'll have to do a feature wall a different color.
If yellow is a suggestion, is there a particular one you would recommend. I believe the place we will be buying paint from primarily sells Benjamin Moore.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 7:23PM
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With dark chocolate almost black floors, I love a soft
pale almost soft pale blue like this...

Light Blue by Farrow and Ball paints

Seafoam by Benjamin Moore

Smoke by BM

Apple by Glidden

But if yellow is the way you want to go, you might pull
a yellow from the color of your granite.

New Penny by Valspar

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 8:33PM
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My sister has dark floor in her kitchen and if you like your floor clean having a dark floor will drive you BONKERS! Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 10:21PM
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boxerpups -> Any pics of kitchens that use a combination of dark bottoms and white uppers, along with a dark floor? My wife is starting to worry that dark floors and all darker cabs may be too dark, so we want some back-up ideas. I know, I know...we said no white before...funny how things change. She even mentioned she'd consider all white cabs and just a dark island. So far she still wants to try and work with the really dark floor, although we may go look at a shade lighter as well, at which point we could then do all cabs the color of our current floor choice.
The one thing my wife mentioned is that she doesn't want the kitchen to look "country". I guess this comes from the fact that a lot of country kitchens do tend to be white.

Thanks again.

cflaherty -> This has come up many times, and she insists she will become the swiffer queen.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:02PM
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Hi again!

Today we grabbed the other hardwood sample that I liked and I've got some comparison pictures for you to look at. While I agree with my wife that the really dark floor looks great, I'm still concerned about how to work around it and also what it will look like a few years down the road.
I think the other floor still looks great and is light enough that my wife could still have dark cabs if she wants...say a similar color to the dark flooring.

Also let me know what you guys think about white trim with these floor choices.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 6:53PM
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Well... based on just looks alone, I love the darker one. That's not to say I don't really like the other one. If you hadn't shown it to me next to the darker floor; I'd say it looked great! And it still looks great; just (to me) not AS much as the dark floor. This is a looks only observation; not functinality.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 7:15PM
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Yeah, we like the darker one, just not sure how to build around it. And of course there are the maintenance issues...the dark one is just going to be that much harder to keep clean and I think it will show marks more.

I think we'll keep them both open as possibilities until we talk to our cabinet maker.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:42PM
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I totally understand what you're going through. We stained our red oak floors a very dark colour and couldn't decide what type of dark cabinet to do (same darkness? lighter? darker?) We decided to match our cabinets to the darkest part of the hardwood which is the grain...the rest of the hardwood is lighter. You can see more pics on my blog but there are some below.

Here's a good view of the floors:

And the cabinets:

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 9:23PM
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Thanks for the pics redrose. Very nice!

Question for you: Are the cabinets the same color as the trim, the ceiling, or how does that all come together?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:09PM
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No problem! Yes the cabinets, ceilings and trim are all the same colour but different finishes. I believe the ceilngs are flat, trim is eggshell and cabs are about 40% gloss I think.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 10:29PM
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Opinion on dark bottoms with white uppers? Not the greatest, but I started trying to draw our current kitchen idea in Google SketchUp. Was lazy and just made the cabs colored boxes. It is to scale though.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:19PM
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I put an engineered hand scraped maple floor in a great room. One of your samples looks like it. It might blend well with darker cabinets because of its finish(some lighter and darker colors running throughout). I have different pieces of wood furniture in the room and it blends well with them.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:58PM
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Hi there!

We are also doing dark engineered hardwood flooring in maple. It is called grapa maple and to offset the darkness, we are going with a cream colored granite that has flecks of black, yellow, green, and brown (black appliances). It is going to look really sharp with the cabinets, which are pulled from the lighter color in the dark flooring. I have included a link to a site that has what our flooring will look like, but do not yet have the backsplash or granite example to post. Hope I could help : )
Good Luck Building!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 9:15AM
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Thanks for the post, skmueller.
So you are doing dark cabinets, but not as dark as the floor? I was thinking this might work in our case as well. Our flooring is verging on black, but there is dark brown tones in there and I thought we may be able to do our cabs that color. Do you have a picture that is similar to what you plan to do? I've been trying to find some good pictures showing a very dark wood floor with cabinets that are slightly lighter than the floor...not finding many. To go darker then our floor we'd basically have to do black, which is why we were thinking of doing white uppers.
Personally, I'd like to do a very dark stain on all the cabs. Nothing against white paint, but it bothers me a bit that we'd be covering up the grain of the maple cabinets. If possible I think I'd still like to do all dark cabs with light paint, backsplash, and countertops.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 11:21AM
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We are doing expresso cabinets with tile in the kitchen and dark flooring through out the house. Our doors and trim are wood and stained the same color as well.. i love it.. We are not done picking paiint yet. The house is open and has tons of windows. The living room is all window almost as well as the kitchen has lots of natural sun lite. i was scared but i think it looks great. Will send pics when it is ready

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:03AM
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