Does wood cabinets plus ceilings plus floors = too much wood?

kaysdAugust 22, 2012

We have started the remodel and I have to make final material selections. The kitchen will be open to a large room that functions as both living and dining room. All of those rooms have wood ceilings (fir T&G with beams) that were unfortunately whitewashed or "pickled" by a former owner. We are looking into having the ceiling sanded and dyed to a shade of brown (waiting on samples). The kitchen cabinets will be walnut. I have not decided yet if we will go with a mid-toned natural walnut (like Sochi) or black walnut. DH and I really love wood floors, but the designer keeps telling me large format rectified tile (porcelain that looks like stone) is a better choice because the wood cabinets, ceiling, furniture and floors would just be too much wood. The house is a 1960 California ranch with some modern lines, although not pure MCM.

I have seen pictures on Houzz of rooms with wood ceilings and floors that look good, but they usually feature light or bright colored furnishings, and our dining room and living room furniture is a mix of wood and brown leather. (We will replace eventually, but it may be a while.)

We had picked out a tile, but I just found out it has been discontinued, so I am thinking about wood again. We are on a concrete slab, so we are limited to engineered wood products. I worry about all that tile looking and feeling hard and cold, although it would be better for wet feet coming in from the pool.


This is the only picture I have of the wood ceiling.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL! We are remodeling a California ranch on slab with wood T&G ceilings as well. Fr floors, the only option for wood is engineered hardwood floors that can be floated. After a lot of search, we decided on hand scraped looking engineered hardwood floors that are wide plank and longish for the living room and the bedrooms where we have high ceilings. But for the kitchen, I am doing porcelain tiles that look like Mexican clay tiles with decorative accent tiles.. When I actually put the material together.. It was too much wood for the kitchen. Also we decided to do painted cabinets..

The wood ceiling in the living room is highbut the kitchen has low ceilings.

Your space looks quite vast.. If the kitchen is big and has high ceilings, you may be able to pull it off. In my space, it looked too dark.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do think it's going to be too much wood. But I wouldn't want tile either. Tile in the kitchen is a killer on the legs and back - I had them in my last house, and never ever again.

In the kitchen I'm doing now, which is the same general vibe as yours (50's ranch), we put in marmoleum sheet, which is a nice alternative to tile or wood, and you can add some color that way. Just another option to consider.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Alex House

I wouldn't be worried about too much wood because I think that concern about material is misplaced, the concern should be on visual monotony. So long as there are contrasts in the different woods, as well as walls, that should be enough to create a pleasing visual palette.

Take a look at kitchen in cabins, chalets, ski houses, log houses, etc where wood is featured in the kitchens. I think that many of them are quite pleasing to the eye because they create different visual looks for the ceiling, the cabinets, the floors and the walls. All wood, but differences are highlighted.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With that view ... no one is going to be looking at the ceiling!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've seen lots of places with wood as you are thinking, too. Lots that look nice and some not so much. Depends on the woods that are chosen as someone above said. To just generalize that 'it' won't look good is kind of a big blanket statement.

Beautiful place and view though!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Spectacular view! I really like the ceilings how they are. The light color doesn't compete with the fabulous view.

Rich wood cabinets would be beautiful. Your worries over wet feet coming in from the pool might be valid, so perhaps a travertine with pretty insets in the kitchen might be beautiful and break up the woodiness a bit. Or if you really want wood, by all means get it! Break it up with lovely runners that could absorb some of the water as the kids come in with wet feet.

A large area rug in the great room with runners in the kitchen could work really well, with out reading as too much wood. In any event, there's no way it won't be beautiful with that gorgeous room and view! Good Luck!

As an aside...I think you must live near me. Are you in OC?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Too much wood? I think it'll look a little log cabin-y where everywhere you look, you see the same finish, so you double check the towels to make sure they're not wood too. I think it would take the spotlight off your walnut cabinets. But I don't think tile is the answer either.

Are you open to the idea of painting the T&G and staining the beams walnut in a similar tone to the cabinets? I know you didn't like the pickling - that's a tough finish to love especially on fir. But if you're open to paint... don't judge prematurely... consider a white with just a touch of blue. You're not going for a light blue ceiling, you just want a hint in there so you see white but your mid thinks "sky." It has an amazing effect, especially in homes like yours, with great windows and fabulous views. Below is a swatch of Ralph Lauren paint in Tackroom White just to give you an idea.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you want would floors but think there is too much wood, you could always paint the wood ceiling. The ceiling would not stand out as much but it would still have some texture and interest to it. In our previous home we painted the wood beams in our family room to match the ceiling color and it looked very nice. L
You space is going to be fantastic.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it won't look like too much wood. Area rugs will break up the floor.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 1:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it will look fine, just balance it so it is not all one color wood. I think Marmoluem sheet would be another option .

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

Way too much wood. You would need to paint the ceiling and use something very very light for the floors like a natural maple or else the effect would be to cancel out the attention on the walnut cabinets. Everything would blend in shades of brown wood.

Or, put in painted cabinetry with your wood floor. That is usually the best solution in this situation. The paint breaks up the wood on wood effect, and you could use walnut for the counters.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It would be too much wood for me, but that is a personal decision. If you were doing only lower cabs, maybe not? Your focal point really is the view.

I agree with others about the tile.

Looks like a beautiful house and setting. Congrats!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As long as you have a lot of light, and other lighter surfaces to reflect that light, I think it could be beautiful. But I love wood, and our home has lots of wood, so I'm a bit biased.

I hate tile and grout. I've had it in previous kitchens, and never liked it. Mainly because of the upkeep, not because it was hard on my back. There are so many beautiful choices in light wood that would compliment your walnut cabinetry.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are describing our family room. Golden oak ceiling, walls, and floor. Here are three pics:

The room is very large, and I have divided it into areas: three seating areas and a dining area.

I think it works. There are area rugs that you don't see in these pics, color in upholstery and accessories, and as much light as we can bring in. We added the french doors (used to be a closet) and the sky lights.

I would hate a white ceiling in this room--and before we had it, I could not have imagined a wooden ceiling.

You obviously have spectacular windows and views and lots of natural light. Wood swallows light. Add rugs, lamps, textures, and it will be stunning. Wish I had your sky and wide view!!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems like a lot of wood to me, especially in a stunning ocean view home like you have. Full disclosure - I've never been a wood on the ceiling person, unless it was a chalet/mountain retreat of some sort. And then add in your dark furniture, it just seems like you need to lighten the space up a bit. Again, especially given the location.

I love the idea EAM suggested of painting the ceiling an off-white ever-so-light blue, especially given your space, but I also tend to be uncomfortable painting gorgeous wood. (Although I'm almost ashamed to admit I painted stunning matched library paneling one time. It simply didn't work for me, nor in the house. I've also painted wood beams on the ceiling. Both times the rooms and homes looked much better with the wood painted IMO.)

Have fun with your new home. I think the thing most people will be seeing is your lovely view.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Engineered wood and wet feet coming in from the pool do not mix. I think your place is really well suited to a large format tile.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your floors were light (maple, bamboo) it would lighten up the kitchen. I am not a fan of all dark cabinets - had them once and they seemed to suck all the light out of my kitchen - but if your kitchen has lots of windows and the countertops are not dark, it should be very nice.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your space actually reminds me of this home. I think that they wanted the interior finishes to blend so that the eyes would be drawn to the windows and view. I'm not sure if it would work for you, but I've attached the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Canadian House and Home

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all. Either painting the ceiling or the cabinets would be the easiest way to avoid too much brown wood everywhere. (I actually rather like modern high gloss lacquered cabinets.) White paint with a slight blue tint on the ceiling with walnut stained beams sounds quite pretty. However, my DH hates painted wood. Given the choice, he would much rather go with tile floors than paint the ceilings or the cabinets.

The wood ceiling doesn't look too bad as is in the photo I posted. I like the depth of the color it is now - not too dark and overpowering - but the tone of the color is the problem. At certain times of day, as the light changes, the ceiling takes on an unattractive pinking or yellowish cast. One of our big problems in the house is lack of lighting, so we are adding as much as we can during the remodel, including cove lighting on top of the cabinets (we can�t do any recessed lighting because there is no space between the wood ceiling and the roof), so the wood ceiling will become more of a feature with the lights aimed at it. Our contractor is supposed to do samples to see if we can dye the ceiling to a more neutral brown shade, without going much darker. We could try to do a greyish tone, like driftwood or aged teak, but that will probably be harder to achieve successfully over a large area than a brown tone.

There are little wing walls that separate the kitchen from the dining/living area, so we could do separate flooring in each space. I do not mind using tile in the kitchen, it is the living room that concerns me. I agree that the trick to using multiple woods in one space is to vary the tones and textures, but they still must be complementary. We could leave the ceiling lighter, like it is, and use darker wood floors in the living room, but the furniture in that room is a mix of pecan stained cherry and teak, with medium-dark brown leather couches. I will buy a new contemporary styled rug in lighter tones (creams and blues most likely) no matter what we choose for flooring.

In the kitchen, we are using white quartzite counters, stainless appliances and some glass doors in cabinets, so that will break up the brown wood. I still think wood floors in the kitchen at least will be too much with the cabinets and ceiling. I am really torn between lighter or darker walnut cabinets because I love both looks.

Black walnut from Smallbone (not sure if this is stained or natural):

Sanjuangirl, we are south of you, in San Diego.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 5:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am in the "never can be too much wood (warmth)" crowd IF done right, and IF you have a lot of sunlight, which you obviously do.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 6:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
"Ledge" sinks and accessories -- do you use them?
I'm considering an undermount stainless sink that has...
Liebherr cs2062 door badly scratched
Hi everyone, I am considering the purchase of a "scratch...
Chris Treadwell
Strategies for washing dishes in a large single sink vs double sink
Hi all, We have in our plans to get a large (33 inch)...
Resurrecting kitchen project Part II
My husband’s kitchen deadline is still May, but it...
Opinions please on glass or not for problem cabinet
Short run of counter on the window wall, with only...
Sponsored Products
Home Decorators Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Home Decorators Collection Rugs
Home Depot
30" Non-Ducted Under-Cabinet Range Hood
Signature Hardware
Porcelain Vessel Sink
MR Direct Sinks and Faucets
Design Element DEC015D Redondo 60-in. Double Bathroom Vanity Set - DEC015D
Area Rug: Forever Moroccan Ivory/Grey 7' 9" x 9' 9"
Home Depot
Birch Blonde Giclee Shade Arc Floor Lamp
Lamps Plus
European Style Heavy Duty Freestanding Tub Supplies with Shutoff Valves
Signature Hardware
Airocide Replacement Cartridge Kit
$99.50 | FRONTGATE
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™