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Trending in Kitchen Design: Stained Cabinetry

Being in the custom kitchen industry, we have a front row seat to what’s trending in terms of kitchen design. Just as 90s fashion made its comeback, we’re seeing a similar shift happen for kitchen design. What’s the specific feature that’s making a notable return? Stained cabinetry.

Now we’re not saying that stained cabinetry was ever truly “out” per say, just that most homeowners started turning away from their honey oak cabinets from previous decades. So how is stained cabinetry showing up in contemporary kitchens?

We are seeing the rise of stained cabinetry show up in a few different ways. There’s not exactly one specific stain color that is saturating the industry, but instead we are seeing a wide range of stain colors being used depending on the homeowner’s preference. With custom cabinetry, there’s a variety of stain colors to choose from, with the opportunity to do a custom stain match. If we had to pick a front runner, we would say light to medium stains are the most popular over dark tones, at least for kitchens. These wood-stained kitchen designs prioritize the warmth of natural wood while offering some contrast with typically lighter-colored countertops.

We are also seeing some hybrids that combine both wood tones and painted cabinetry, offering a dynamic design that combines both the warm qualities of wood with the sleekness of the painted look. Some homeowners are opting for subtle touches of wood as an accent on the range hood or open shelves, for example, while others are using it on the island or mixing it in on the lowers versus the upper cabinets.

Advantages of Stained Cabinetry

Besides preferring the look of stained cabinetry, there are a few advantages if you’re on the fence about putting them in your kitchen. First, stained cabinetry in our custom cabinet line is usually cheaper as compared to painted cabinetry for the same kitchen design, so if you’re looking to stick to a stricter budget, stained cabinetry might be a good way to get the most out of your custom kitchen design. Along with it being slightly more affordable, stained cabinetry is typically more durable in the sense that it’s less likely to show imperfections over time and easier to repair if small damages do occur. This is especially important for a high traffic area such as a kitchen.

What to Consider When Choosing a Wood Stain

If you’re sold on incorporating stained cabinetry into your kitchen design, there are a few things to consider when choosing the stain color. First off, you need to decide what kind of wood your cabinetry will be made from. Different wood species have different qualities in their appearance, so it’s best to do your research on which one will fit the look you’re going for. Some wood species show more grain and texture than others, as well as absorbing stain differently, so it’s best to compare samples of different species. Even if you already have a stain color in mind, make sure you view a sample of it on the selected wood species before committing to it to ensure there are no unwanted surprises. You’d be surprised how much a stain can vary in color depending on the species of wood it’s applied to. It’s worth waiting for a custom sample to be made, if necessary, as a sample is easier to adjust than a whole kitchen’s worth of cabinetry.

When it comes to choosing a specific stain, pay attention to the undertones. It may be hard to detect the undertone on a standalone stain color if it’s not something you do every day, but if you compare samples next to each other, it’s usually easier to pick out which ones lean more orange versus gray, for example. You should also take samples home to view in the existing lighting to see how it appears in the space it will be installed in. To help determine the right undertone for a cabinet stain, it’s essential to consider the other design elements in the space such as wall color and flooring. All of these elements should work together to create a cohesive design. If any of this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry- that’s what designers are for! They have a trained eye for this kind of thing and can help ensure your design is consistent.

If you’d like to browse stain colors and wood options, visit our showroom in Eureka, Illinois to view our extensive collection of samples. When you’re ready to start designing your custom kitchen with Gravel Lane Design, we will pair you with one of our in-house designers who will walk you through the design process as well as provide you with 3D renderings of your selections so you can see your kitchen design before you even order. Contact us today to get started!

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