Real Reader Kitchens! 5 Dated Honey Oak Spaces & How A Design Expert Would Make Them Better

Within the design world, at the least as seen by the lens of the web and social media, we’re so used to “excellent.” There doesn’t appear to be a lot room for “sensible” and even “adequate for now.” However the fact is, most of our houses don’t appear to be all of the photographs hanging out in our saved folders and Pinboards. I’m guessing at the least 75% of these of you studying don’t have kitchens plucked straight from the pages of Domino. An excellent majority of your prepare dinner areas are doubtless simply…regular. Possibly even—gasp—a bit dated.

I personally am renting a property with circa 2000s cherry cupboards, and am on a mission to work with them (not in opposition to them). It’s not simple, and it’ll by no means be my dream kitchen, however I’ll get it shut sufficient to “fairly alright” with just some additions and fixes. With a want to assist others get to their “fairly alright” states of their houses, I put out a immediate on the EHD channels for readers to ship me photos of their kitchens, particularly anybody with honey oak cabinetry. The darling of the builder world within the late Eighties, ’90s and early aughts, for higher worse or for worse.

My inbox shortly stuffed up with photographs of kitchens that seemed plucked from my childhood, with requires assist in the physique of the e-mail. I sat with Jess one afternoon and whittled down the lengthy checklist of submissions to 5 that felt different sufficient to share some concepts that is likely to be useful to others right here, as properly.

The task for me was to prepare dinner up (ha!) quick-ish, affordable-ish options to carry the areas out of the Seinfeld period with none vital renovation or upheaval. Whereas each area may benefit tremendously from new counter tops and a few contemporary paint or wallpaper, there have been some apparent themes that popped up for me when jotting down my notes for every. After some weblog browsing and web searching on the topic, I discovered that most individuals with these orangey, yellowy, shiny cupboards tried to restrict the wooden and herald freshness and lightweight into the area as greatest they’ll (usually, with a number of white, tbh).

You’ll see these ideas peppered all through the kitchens and my suggestions under, however usually, right here’s what I believe every of those areas may use.

6 Guidelines For Honey Oak Kitchen Updates

  1. When doubtful, cut back the wooden load. What I imply by that is to lose as a lot of the wooden as you’ll be able to whereas nonetheless having the suitable quantity of storage. This might imply taking down some uppers in case you can spare them to maintain the burden of the wooden under eye degree. Additionally, if an current island is definitely swappable, go for a colour or white to interrupt issues up. If it’s a everlasting fixture, contemplate portray it a light-weight colour. The identical applies to different wooden in your area, together with eating furnishings and storage/show furnishings. Discover some distinction with these items both with a light-weight wooden, black or perhaps a colour; however undoubtedly keep away from making an attempt to match the oak with extra oak. The very last thing honey oak wants is extra honey oak.
  2. Discover your drama second. I believe that is true for mainly each room, however particularly once you wish to distract from one thing you don’t love. On this occasion: the cupboards. Think about wallpapering, or going all in with a counter-to-ceiling backsplash the place there isn’t a cabinetry.
  3. Scale back muddle. Honey oak can really feel very heavy, even with out being a dark-stained wooden. I’m guessing it’s the extremely seen grain. Hear, coming from somebody with a small equipment dependancy and a toddler that has all of the tiny issues in every single place, I do know what I’m about to say feels harsh and possibly unimaginable however…GET ALL THAT CRAP OFF YOUR COUNTERTOPS. Possibly not all of it, as a result of there’s no sense in placing your toaster away in case you use it twice a day, however go searching and take stock of what *actually* must be out, and what might be stashed away. This can assist immensely.
  4. Hold issues gentle and vibrant. I form of touched on this already, however probably the most profitable “work with it” makeovers of honey oak kitchens I noticed didn’t lean into any moodiness. Each area used white as a lot as they may (or pastels) and it was extremely efficient to steadiness the wooden to make it really feel extra elevated and up to date. That’s to not say you’ll be able to’t layer in any appeal if that’s your vibe. Hold the design moments within the rugs, curtains, backsplash and {hardware}.
  5. Go fashionable however not too fashionable. There’s a troublesome steadiness I see in dated rooms making an attempt to tug themselves up by the bootstraps to err on the facet of up to date however all that does is make the dated a part of the area really feel much more dated. Keep away from a stainless-steel backsplash, extremely fashionable lighting fixtures and {hardware}, and the like.
  6. Don’t underestimate the facility of some peel-and-stick. This selection is both for renters or for householders who know they are going to be renovating down the road however need an replace now with out spending a fortune. The whole lot is peel and stick nowadays associates. EVERYTHING. Backsplashes (even actual marble), countertop contact paper, wallpaper, hoods (kidding about this one, sorry). Put that momentary design energy to make use of.

Now, Let’s See Some Kitchens

Alright, the time has come to peek inside actual individuals’s houses (yay!). Let me clarify how I approached this challenge first, after which we will dive into every particular person kitchen. Firstly, I noticed making a moodboard a la my cherry kitchen submit wasn’t going to be simple with out understanding extra about these readers’ kinds, preferences and what the remainder of the house seemed like. So I did one thing else as a substitute. Every house will embrace feedback on the picture of what I believe they need to strive (bear in mind, these usually are not everlasting renovation concepts however extra “adequate for so long as you need” concepts), after which on the finish, I’m sharing a ton of product roundups that might work in any of those kitchens. Bought it? LET’S GO!

Marisol: Stagnant In Sweden

I used to be immediately drawn to Marisol’s Sundbyberg, Sweden, kitchen. The sunshine in there may be so stunning and it’s a tremendous area that simply wants a bit love. Right here’s a abstract of what she stated to me:

“We love the area of our kitchen, and the format works fairly properly. It’s an unusually giant kitchen for an residence in Sweden. However the fashion of cupboards, extractor fan, and tiles usually are not our private desire. The kitchen additionally serves as our eating room, and we will develop our eating desk to sit down as much as 10 individuals. After we develop the desk, we modify its orientation and have it perpendicular to our fridge and freezer. The island might be simply moved because it doesn’t have any plumbing or electrical. I might describe our fashion as a mix of timeless with a touch of contemporary sprinkled with souvenirs from our travels.”

What an amazing area, huh? It simply doesn’t know who it’s but: a backsplash with nation kitchen vibes, a contemporary island with barstools, some appeal. Which is it? I believe one of the best transfer from Marisol is to cowl up the tile (once more, a peel-and-stick could be a simple no-reno choice right here), change out the {hardware} to one thing a bit extra basic, presumably in polished chrome, simplify the (incredible) hood and alter the island. Both one thing longer (although that may run too near the place they orient the desk for firm), however undoubtedly one thing extra conventional and white.

A smattering of drippy vegetation and possibly even a few of her souvenirs atop the cupboards would make issues really feel extra homey and eclectic.

It’s laborious to inform precisely what colour these partitions are, however a hotter white (I’ll all the time and perpetually suggest White Dove by Benjamin Moore and even Chantilly Lace) would glow extra in that stunning Swedish gentle. Additionally, the big cupboard on the left appears like an enormous in comparison with all the things else. If it’s simple sufficient to take out and exchange with a smaller show cupboard, that’s the transfer. If not, paint that pet the identical colour because the wall (or a beautiful minty inexperienced or Swedish blue). If it’s going to be giant, it’d as properly be in cost.

A easy white or cream linen Roman shade on every window would carry some life to this facet of the room. At first, I needed to counsel a built-in banquette however that could possibly be tough with the radiator underneath the window (and possibly not work for his or her giant gatherings). As an alternative, to steadiness the heavy wall of cupboards on the alternative finish, I’d say add extra shelving or perhaps a built-in bookcase scenario.

The desk and eating chairs really feel too fashionable; one thing extra Scandinavian like a rush seat wishbone or stackable bistro chair surrounding a farmhouse desk could be stunning. The very last thing I’d add here’s a giant swing arm sconce on the wall to behave as a “chandelier” second above the desk.

Michelle: Builder To Higher

I noticed myself in Michelle, in all probability as a result of we’re each mothers to tiny people and the bottles, sippy cups, pump components simply don’t stop. There’s by no means sufficient counter area with a child, however sadly, within the format of this area, I can’t actually supply her an answer for extra, like a standalone island. However, we will get this kitchen trying much less tract house and extra personalised. From Michelle:

“I reside in a builder-grade house that hasn’t had any actual updates in 15 years. The cupboards are in actually good condition and practical so I might hate to do away with them. The kitchen format additionally works rather well however may be very cramped and small in comparison with the dimensions of the remainder of the house. I’d wish to do away with the microwave and exchange it for a real hood or different various.”

First up, let’s get some {hardware} on these cabinetry fronts. Because the area feels a bit extra fashionable, I’d go for a basic easy bar pull on the underside and matching smaller knobs on high, each in a elegant nickel or bronze, because the area can’t deal with an excessive amount of visible muddle on account of its measurement. (Scorching tip: Right here’s a submit the group did some time again on {hardware} placement because it’s not all the time apparent as soon as that drill is in your arms!) The brackets underneath the breakfast bar may use a bit updating, as properly.

A rug right here would assist to separate the wood flooring from the wooden cupboards which can be all the identical tone. I can’t get a way of Michelle’s fashion in any of these photographs, however a lighter colour with some sample could be good because the counter tops are darker. And talking of the counter tops, I maintain studying about individuals honing their shiny granite to assist carry it into modern-day stylistically and it seemed nice! I couldn’t discover any easy solutions on how a lot a challenge like that may value, however one supply advised me roughly $50 a sq. foot. Not low-cost, however contemplating new stone would value twice that a lot at the least, it’s one thing to contemplate.

Some contemporary cafe curtains hung increased at the least midway up the window (3/4 works properly, too) wouldn’t damage.

And at last, like most of those kitchens you’ll see, including in a backsplash would go a protracted option to feeling extra up-to-date. A white picket-style tile or perhaps a micro-stacked subway is likely to be nice right here. Additionally, I do know Michelle talked about wanting a correct hood and eliminating the microwave, which could possibly be stunning, however she’ll lose some cupboards within the means of constructing one thing like that in. Possibly one thing to attend on till there’s much less child stuff to stash away.

Alison: Serenity Over Storage

Alison’s was the primary place I flagged to incorporate on this roundup as a result of there was a number of room to play. Such a diamond within the tough we’ve right here. The format is already wonderful, there’s tons of storage so it simply wants a refresh. Right here’s what she requested:

“Our kitchen wants some assist. I’ve been engaged on some concepts, however would love one other opinion! Storage close to the range is required, however in any other case, we’ve loads of storage to take out uppers or reconfigure issues.”

That is the proper instance of one in all my guidelines to lighten the load. Between the yellow double oven and hood, the mismatched home equipment, the stainless textured backsplash, the mismatched island and rustic {hardware}, it’s A LOT.

Let’s begin with the backsplash. I’m unsure if it’s these sheets which can be glued or nailed onto the wall or particular person tiles however they carry an excessive amount of visible weight, in my view. They don’t look simple to cowl so if they may simply be eliminated and changed, that’s the way in which to go. One thing hand-glazed (or hand-glazed trying) would work properly right here.

There seems to be an open cubby subsequent to the dishwasher, which seems to be like possibly an excellent area for the trash can coated with a curtain? I actually dig the oven scenario really, however the hood feels extra dated. Even only a easy stainless hood to match the dishwasher would assist (and if it’s within the funds, an identical fridge, too). As for gentle items, let’s herald a easy runner in a inexperienced or blue and a cute cafe curtain in a coordinating hue.

Alison talked about she didn’t want all of the uppers, so the simplest place to start out is taking down those to the best of the window (and possibly even left) so as to add some open floating shelving in white or metallic much like those proven right here and lose a number of the weight up high. Some new charming lighting and a lighter island and barstools may make an enormous distinction, too.

One thing in regards to the yellow tone of the partitions makes the orange of the cupboards much more outstanding, so I’d suggest portray all of the partitions and the closet doorways both white or possibly even an excellent delicate pink (if that’s Alison’s style…I do know it’s not everybody’s). All of the counter tops appear to be outdated laminate, which may simply be coated with marble (and even simply white) contact paper if they’ve the endurance to put in it. There are additionally loads of DIYs on the web for the right way to paint laminate and pretend marble it (like this one!).

For {hardware}, I’d go for brass right here: cup pulls on the drawers and matching flat knobs on the cupboard doorways.

Kaitlin: Uppers Be Gone

One other honey oak kitchen with no backsplash, no {hardware} and little or no life. What are these builders doing?!? However what Kaitlin’s kitchen lacks in character, it greater than makes up for in space for storing. WHICH MEANS WE CAN HAVE SOME FUN!

“We purchased our home in January and have solely made one (large!) enchancment to the kitchen: we painted the partitions from a pepto bismol pink to an off-white. We all know we wish to make all the things really feel much more present and elevated, however we’re unsure what course we should always go in. Ought to we paint the cupboards, and if that’s the case, what colour? Exchange the cupboard doorways with one thing like a Semihandmade after which paint? Can we make these no matter gray granite counter tops look OK or would getting a unique countertop make all of the distinction? What a few good tile backsplash? How about lighting fixtures (the Tiffany glass isn’t me)? And clearly we have to replace the white fridge as a result of… a white fridge.

For reference on how the kitchen matches in with the remainder of the home, the kitchen is a part of a reasonably new addition to the home (early 2000s) and the remainder of the home is fairly outdated (1890). We’ve been redecorating the opposite rooms in sort of a barely up to date Shaker, eclectic, New England fashion (suppose: fairly wallpaper with a mixture of antiques and fashionable furnishings), so ideally this might look considerably complimentary.”

Kaitlin appears probably the most open to overhauling this area, however within the spirit of this submit, I’m not going to suggest something too drastic. Sure, swapping the cupboard fronts and portray all the things would go a looooong option to revitalizing this kitchen, but when not, there’s nonetheless so much to do.

Within the above view, you’ll be able to see there’s an island within the center that has an overhang breakfast bar, which frankly, is a bit odd. Nobody goes to sit down with their backs to the range just some toes away. If the island is simply floating over the flooring, I’d give it the boot to interchange it with an open freestanding island. They don’t want far more storage, and the room may use some airiness.

The gray counter tops may look nice with the honed or leathered therapy I beneficial for Michelle. A cool linear pendant over the island could be nice to hit that fashionable look Kaitlin talked about wanting in right here, and my observe about eradicating the crown and including in cupboard containers would assist make these look much less dwarfed by the ceiling peak. That is an instance of what I imply.

Right here, I wish to suggest shedding ALL of these uppers and framing the window in shelving (I believe white cabinets could be nice right here). I’d take the added backsplash as much as the underside of the highest shelf after which wallpaper up from there (that is an instance that Emily did in a latest kitchen reno). A Roman shade in a stripe could be great in opposition to the print of a floral wallcovering. For the sunshine above the sink, I’d ditch the pendant and go for a flush mount there as a substitute or a sconce simply above the window.

Caitlin: Cincinn-Saddie

And at last, we head to Cincinnati to see reader Caitlin’s giant builder-grade kitchen full with an ungainly island (why is that this ever a factor?). Honey oak flooring, honey oak cupboards…it’s so much.

“I used to be so determined for a change that I searched excessive and low for a ceiling colour to carry a bit life into the kitchen (severely, my paint samples made the ceiling appear to be a patchwork quilt). We’ve got taken down a number of higher cupboards (by some means there was an excessive amount of storage?) and changed them with a pot rack and a spread hood (which suggests our over-the-range microwave grew to become a countertop microwave). We’ve bought an odd L-shaped island, a sliding door pantry that may be very impractical, and so many cupboards! I’m determined for drawers. We even have an odd little nook space with a shallow counter and extra cupboards underneath the pot rack that I don’t know what to do with. As well as, our pot lids reside on high of the fridge, which is an terrible place for them, and each the rubbish can and recycling bin reside out within the open. I wish to have them hid.”

Okay, let’s see right here. We’ve got a number of locations we will maintain eradicating cabinetry. Firstly, if this island might be swapped, let’s swap it. There are some nice choices on the market which can be drawer-heavy, which is what Caitlin desires and desires. And that little slender cupboard on the best…let’s simply take it out. A tall freestanding cupboard could be good to interrupt up all that wooden, plus it could properly tuck away her pots, pans, and all of the lids that presently reside on high of the fridge.

Caitlin talked about an extra of storage and that she’d be glad to take down some cupboards, so to open issues up a bit extra, let’s pull down the cabinets across the range hood. Including cabinets (and a backsplash as much as the primary shelf peak all through the kitchen) would modernize the area.

Once more, take down some cabinetry, add shelving, and whereas the {hardware} right here is completely superb, the dimensions of the room permits for one thing a bit extra stately and even one thing fashionable like a micro knob.

In the event that they selected to not take away the island, I believe it could be a strong place to put in a pull out trash and recycling bin so we lose the visible weight of the black plastic can right here.

And since she talked about the pantry sliding door being inconvenient, sooner or later, in the event that they’re open to it, reconfiguring this complete wall to be top-to-bottom cabinetry with an built-in fridge could be severely groundbreaking to the room.

Phew, I really feel like I simply ran a “suggestion field” marathon there, however I actually hope that was useful. I do know a number of the concepts had been comparable throughout the board, however it appears that evidently most of those areas had the identical points. Small updates will completely make all of the distinction in how the kitchens really feel to these utilizing them every single day, even when it’s not a full reno or reconfiguration. Let’s not make excellent the enemy of excellent (sufficient).

Now, for some procuring. I used to be fairly particular in my picks to search out issues that stylistically and colorwise would make sense with the honey oak colour and normal design aesthetic of all of the rooms right here. I’ll by no means have the ability to hand-select gadgets for somebody’s house with out understanding a lot about their fashion and likes and desires, most of this stuff may simply be blended and matched to nice end result.

1. Zellige Costa | 2. Good Tiles Penny Sergio Inexperienced 8.97 in. x 8.95 in. Vinyl Peel and Stick Tile | 3. Mi Alma 6″x6″ Vinyl Peel & Stick Mosaic Tile | 4. 11” W x 11.2” L Stone Composite Peel and Stick Mosaic Tile | 5. 6″ x 7″ Stone Composite Peel & Stick Mosaic Tile | 6. InHome 19-in W x 20-in H Self-adhesive White Geometric Wall Decal

1. 1″ Diameter Spherical Knob in Polished Chrome | 2. Bradt Versa 8 13/16″ Middle To Middle Bar Pull | 3. Oval 4″ Polished Nickel HBar Pull Polished Nickel | 4. Vernon Bin Pull Aged Brass | 5. Marion 1-1/8 Inch Mushroom Cupboard Knob Ash Grey | 6. 4″ Belfast Strong Brass Cupboard Pull – Satin Brass | 7. Alzassbg 10 Pack Polished Chrome Cupboard Pulls, 5 Inch | 8. Fashionable Fluted Brushed Brushed Brass Cupboard Knob | 9. Kinney 6-5/16 Inch Middle to Middle Deal with Cupboard Pull Ash Grey

1. William Morris Roman Shades | 2. Artdix Cordless Roman Shades Blinds Window Shades | 3. Printed Café Curtain – Set Of two | 4. Cordless Roman Shades Made to Order Blackout Sand Beige | 5. Johanna Hankie Café Curtain – Set Of two | 6. Riviera Striped Linen/Cotton Cordless Roman Blackout Shade | 7. Fake Linen Kitchen Curtains 36 Inch Size | 8. Farmhouse Roman Shades | 9. Jinchan Boho Kitchen Curtains Linen Tier Curtains 36 Inch

1. Imperial 35.5″ Pedestal Eating Desk | 2. Plumas Walnut Eating Desk for six, Extendable | 3. Keener All Wooden Spherical Eating Desk | 4. Aya 94″ Charcoal Brown Wooden Eating Desk by Leanne Ford | 5. Odyssey Brass Eating Desk | 6. Massena Pure Wooden Eating Desk, 72″

1. Florence Fashionable Farmhouse Rubberwood Eating Chairs (Set of two) – Midnight Blue | 2. Clement Strong Again Aspect Chair (Set of 4) | 3. Henry Strong Wooden 30” Stool | 4. TON 18 Bentwood Caned Chair | 5. Svelti Aloe Inexperienced Counter Stool | 6. Word Aspect Chair | 7. Walsh Stool (Set of two) | 8. Hamm Eating Chair | 9. Ceylon Woven Counter Peak Barstool

1. Francis – FRA-01 Space Rug by Chris Loves Julia x Loloi | 2. GioHand-loomed Wool Rug 2.5’x9′ | 3. Amber Lewis x Loloi Billie Ocean / Brick Space Rug 2’6″x9’6″ | 4. Comb Washable Rug 2’7″x9′ | 5. Pure Sycamore Striped Jute Space Rug 2’x8′ | 6. Alina Gentle Stone Rug 2.5’x7′

1. Henry Pendant | 2. Commerce Winds Genevieve 2-Gentle Wall Sconce | 3. Presley 1 – Gentle Single Empire Pendant | 4.  Bezel Perforated Metallic Pendant (16″) | 5. Aristo 12″ Broad Pendant | 6. The Inventive Lamp | 7. Brashear Dimmable Pendant | 8. Handmade Rattan Lampshade | 9. Rodarte 1 – Gentle Single Pendant

1. Spence Wooden Kitchen Island | 2. Vertex Closed Storage Bookshelf Cupboard | 3. Delaney Kitchen Console | 4. Arnika Eating Cupboard | 5. Body Kitchen Console – Marble | 6. Hemnes Glass-Door Cupboard | 7.  Torniviken Kitchen Island | 8. Casement Black Tall Storage Cupboard | 9. Grayson Kitchen Island | 10. Mysen Walnut 70″ Cupboard | 11. Belmont White Kitchen Island | 12. Luna 72.88” Tall Accent Cupboard with Fluted Glass

Thanks to all of the readers who submitted their kitchens, and to the chosen few for accepting my feedback. And to any readers who may need different simple ideas, be happy to hop into the feedback and drop these gems.

Your buddy in design, Arlyn

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