Inspiration help - Espresso Cabinets with dark wood floors

auroraborelisJuly 6, 2012

I'm planning on putting in dark stained work cabinets, perhaps even going as far as being "almost" black, and I'm wondering if anyone has any inspiration photos showing this with dark wood floors?


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Laura - we've been pondering the same thing, but I've been having a tough time finding photos of it. We're also thinking along the lines of staining our red oak with a chocolaty-walnut stain and going slightly lighter with the cabinets (and can't really find photos of that either)

I'm curious to find out what granite or other countertop you are leaning toward. We keep loving dark (mostly black) granite. Everything that we seem to love is dark.

Anyway, I hope you get some photos posted here because I'm really curious too.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 6:32PM
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Here are a few...

From [Kitchen plans](

This seems to be a dark floor, with a rug...

From Kitchen plans

Not espresso, but rustic with lots of darker wood

From Kitchen plans

Hope others have more pictures, for you :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:07PM
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Have you looked at Houzz website?

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:28AM
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I have searched houzz, though I've still had a difficult time coming across inspiration pictures.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:53AM
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The "anti OTK" look is an extremely difficult look to pull off. Unless you have some change in color tone or value between the floor and the cabinets, they fade into one another and create a cave. A LOT of extra artificial lighting will also be needed to make it feel cozy instead of dark and depressing.

Dark floors as a whole are great with light furnishings---IF you can really and truly stand the extra maintenance that goes with them. They show every bit of dirt and dust and animal hair, and even footprints where you walk across the floor barefoot. I always recommend that floors be medium tone if you want easier care. You can take that medium tone to just the light side of dark and use blackish cabinets with it and it can work, but again, you'll need extra lighting.

Also, dark horizontal surfaces visually expand a room as they move the eye around, while dark vertical surfaces close it in. "Dark" is also a relative term. A medium tone can become dark when contrasted with pure white, etc.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:16PM
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I know it isn't the most popular of designs, however I know it is possible to pull it off.

My kitchen is open to the rest of my house, and I really like it to blend in, for the cabinets to to blend in with the rest of the furniture and for there to be no changes in flooring (in fact, I'm just not a fan of changing flooring from one room to another, our whole house will be wood, other than the mudroom and bathrooms.

I will also have very few upper cabinets and a lot of windows and natural light so I'm not worried about it being "dark".

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 2:26PM
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You probably get night where you live.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Yes, of course, there will be plenty of lighting as well!

I have seen a few kitchens where this style has worked, and actually I have a similar set up in my current small kitchen I'm just looking for further inspiration to help with design ideas.

The floors will be a medium-dark stain and the cabinets much darker with white counters, a light colored backsplash, and no upper cabinets on the longest wall (kitchen is 19"x14") so even at night there will be lots of "light" space.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 3:30PM
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lavender_lass - that first picture you posted is really close, and it really helps. Our floors will likely be a bit lighter and the cabinets a bit darker to create more of a contrast, but it looks great there! :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 3:33PM
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    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 3:54PM
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So I'm just now realizing that the term "OTK" refers to a very specific kitchen, up until now I thought it was referring to what each individual thought of as their ideal kitchen!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:17PM
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Laura- I'm glad you like the first picture. I was actually looking for this one, but couldn't find it, until now. This was someone else's inspiration picture and it's one of my favorite dark wood kitchens. The countertops are just beautiful, with the wood!

Whether you choose lighter floor (which I like better for the contrast) or darker floor (to go with your other rooms) I think this is a very nice look :)

From Kitchen plans

From [Kitchen plans](
    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:22PM
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Thanks Lavender!

The cabinets in the first photo are along the lines of what we are considering, though 100% we are keeping the wood floors as well. We like the seamless feeling of having the same type of flooring throughout the house.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 1:44AM
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Not trying to talk you out of your wood floors...but a tile or limestone floor is nice, too. Maybe play around with a few ideas (just to see what it would look like) before absolutely making up your mind.

What are you choosing for your dining room furniture...and living room? Dark floors are nice, but they show up a lot of dirt and pet hair. Same thing with really light floors...but both can be beautiful :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Our floors won't be black, but a nice deep brown, similar to the second photo I posted above and a bit lighter than the first photo you posted. We have been living with the same color for 3 years in our current home and we really love them. Three years after getting our floors refinished/stained from their original oak colour we still comment on how much we love the color! They also go well with the general style we want for our home.

I've had tile in my kitchen before, and it just isn't for us. We have also gone to more open houses in our area than I can count, and many have seen many well done examples of tile, but it just doesn't fit into our image of our home. As I mentioned, there won't even be tile in our entrance way, as we prefer a seamless look of one type of flooring throughout the house, broken up with area rugs instead of wall to wall carpet.

Since you asked our dining room table is nearly black, and eventually I would like to get some light coloured chairs to go with it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Laura - I'd love to see the color of your floors in the rest of your house. Do you have white or red oak? We have 1950's red oak floors with what appears to be their original finish (we are only the 2nd owners of the house and the original owners kept things beautifully - not to say the floors don't need refinished, but they are in remarkably good shape considering that the finish on them is probably 60 years old). We will be redoing the downstairs (and weaving in new red oak for the kitchen when our remodel gets started).

We definitely want to go darker and we wish to minimize the redness of our red oak flooring, so we've been considering a walnut stain or possibly a 3/4 walnut and 1/4 onyx stain...I've heard people say that the onyx tends toward coolness and we tend toward warmer colors. What you are describing with your current flooring sounds like what we are looking for.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 1:45PM
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andreak100 - we seem to be the only ones on here who like this look! :)

I'm not sure what kind of oak are floors are, but refinishing them turned out lovely! In fact, for our new custom build I'm considering the same stain and same wood (maybe a wider plank) which would keep costs down in comparison to some of the more expensive woods we tend to like!

I'll try to take some photos of my own kitchen and get them up here for you! :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Laura - I'm just going to say that we are trailblazers and that we are slightly ahead of our time! haha Once we get our kitchens done, everyone else will marvel at our willingness to boldly go where others have feared. Or something like that! Actually, they may recoil in horror....what in the heck were they thinking???

We're still struggling to work out our color scheme...I'm good with going to a lighter granite or quartzite to make the dark floor and cabinets work but my DH isn't on board...he's still all about a dark granite (which I admit I love as well, but not sure if I love it enough to lighten the other components).

Regardless, go with what's in your heart and will make you happy. You and your family are the ones that will live with the doesn't have to suit someone else's taste. Unless, of course, you are planning on reselling the house quickly, and then it makes sense to try to appeal more to the masses.

Remember that it's always easier to pull the trigger when there are others who can show you what it might look like, but then it winds up that everybody tends down the same path.

When I was making the decision to go with induction over gas for the cooktop, I had not discovered GW yet. And NONE of my friends or family have was a frightening choice to make because it isn't cheap and probably not easily changed once it was in place. Still, I went forward with the purchase. I've since discovered many people waxing poetic about the joys of induction. :) I have the feeling that as things go along, I'll find others somewhere who have similar feelings and tastes for darker wood.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Trailblazers with the anti-OTK kitchen :) ha. Love it.

Regarding your colour scheme I think it is important with dark floors and darker cabinets to have something that will lighten it up, and that is likely a lighter colour counter and backsplash, otherwise it may begin to be a bit too dark. Personally I'm thinking of using a white granite (I'm to hard on things to have marble) or quartz, and then maybe a light coloured mosaic tile backplash. Not sure on those details at this stage, I'm a LONG way from getting my kitchen as we expect to break ground on our new home around December, and then we hope to be in it for a long, long time.

Here is what I told my husband about it, if we have dark cabinets and get sick of them after several years we can always paint them white! :) ha

As for induction, I went through the exact same thing. We switched over a few years ago and I LOVE it, though we bought it without having ever seen on functioning in person. I'd never ever go back.

I've had a difficult time trying to take pictures of my existing kitchen as it does always look darker in person than it is in reality and it is difficult to see the contrast between the woods, but in reality it is quite different. I'll try to get some pictures up for you tomorrow!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Laura - Sorry that I'm hijacking your thread and really veering this off course.

How exciting to be building a new home! I know you've been doing your homework on the forum and I can just imagine how lovely your house is going to be when it gets done. Have your builders given you an idea as to how long it will probably take to complete?

I agree about needing something to lighten things up for our kitchen. Initially, DH was loving a super dark backsplash also...NO light stuff anywhere! We've finally gotten past that a bit, I think...we've seen a white glass backsplash that he likes and is open to that. Showed him "fusion" as a choice for our countertop since there's a lot more lightness to it. He was rather unreceptive to it. Showed him Luce di Luna, still not much love. So, I don't know what we're going to do.

Colors have been mostly in our head up until this point. Today I went to HD and picked up some various colors of hardwood flooring samples to start putting pieces together. DH wants darker floors with slightly lighter cabinets. I think it would work better the opposite, but he's not loving that. One thing that did actually help though is now that he's seeing dark cabinet, dark floors, and dark granite together he sees it's going to be too much dark.

I love what you told your DH about the dark cabinets and painting them. In our house, the words "wood" and "paint" just don't go together! But, it is a solution.

What you said about induction is exactly what I've been reading - those who brave taking the plunge (most of them without seeing one function) have all positive things to say about them. So, I'm mostly excited, but a little nervous that I'll need to "relearn" how to cook with a new type of heat.

Take your time about the photos for your kitchen...we're still trying to iron things out with a GC for our remodel, so it's not as if I need colors tomorrow by any means! I appreciate you doing it and if you happen to remember the stain color used, that would be sweet also. :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:47PM
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BTW, here's another one that we can add to what's shown. These cabinets look black, so they are darker than the espresso cabinets, but still helpful with some inspiration, perhaps.

Traditional Kitchen design by Minneapolis Kitchen And Bath Tammy Johnson

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 12:40AM
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LL, is that first photo a kitchen with wood look ceramic tile flooring?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:05AM
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Here's my kitchen. Espresso maple cabinets, with a sheet type floor, made to resemble a seagrass.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Here's on of my not quite finished kitchen. Floors are probably a bit lighter then you are going to do. Still need the hood and backsplash...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Thanks for the fantastic photos! I love both of your kitchens. You are all making me feel much less alone in our design decisions! :)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 5:22PM
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andreak100 - I sent you a PM, though I know the first time around the often end up in junk mail so I wanted to give you a heads up! :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Thanks Laura - I just saw it and responded back. :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Another one, using lavender as an accent color:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 12:47AM
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