The Best Paint Colours to Update Wood Stains – Red, Yellow and Orange
Partner Post to 5 Ideas: How to Update Oak Cabinets Without a Drop of Paint!
There are SO many colours of wood in the world – virtually every colour in the rainbow it seems! And while some of these colours can be quite timeless, there are also many versions that can be challenging (understatement) to modernize and update.
And why do I call them colours of wood not species of wood? Because wood is often stained a different colour than its roots (literally) suggest – so we’re going to base things on the overall ‘colour’ that you see – not the chronological history of the tree!
This is going to be TREE-LY exciting, so let’s get started!
Before you get into the nitty gritty, you need to decide whether you want to accent your wood or whether you want to blend or camouflage it a bit.
- Paint colours that are a few tones lighter or darker than the wood tone can also help to accent. However, simply painting the walls a cooler colours regardless of depth will do a good job.
- Keeping the paint colour a similar depth to that of your wood is a great way to keep things seamless, but can be a bit bland feeling if you choose a warm or neutral colour. It’s better to go just a bit lighter OR darker than the depth of your wood.
The Best Paint Colours to Coordinate with Yellow Toned Woods
Yellow toned woods are some of the trickier ones to work with as they are harder to tone down (but accenting them is easy!). Some yellow toned woods can pick up a flash of pink or orange, but generally speaking, they are pretty darned yellow.
STOP thinking of your cabinets as a wood and start thinking of them as a ‘colour’ – and your colour is YELLOW!
Colours to Consider
Click on underlined colour name to view on BM and SW website
Sherwin Williams Softer Tan SW 6141
Softer Tan is a warm tan with subtle orange, yellow undertones. With its beige base, it would be your best bet to start blending those cabinets in, while still staying on the lighter side.
Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC 23
For a soft, subtle look, Classic Gray is a nice slightly warm gray which won’t blend in, but certainly won’t ‘highlight’ your cabinets. I usually recommend darkening Classic Gray by about 25%, just to give it a wink more body.
Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC 173
This is another fave. Edgecomb Gray is a subtle dusky undertone that can nod towards the pinkish end of things (without being REMOTELY pink), making it a LOVELY choice for light oak that has those undertones. The foundation of this colour is a gray with a solid greige/beige undertone. This colour would slightly neutralize light oak.
Read all about Edgecomb Gray in its colour review!
Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream OC 96
Gentle Cream is not as bright as the colour shown above, but it’s still a lovely way to create a room that is warm and inviting. With its almost ‘butterscotch’ undertones, this colour will sit pretty neutral with oak and won’t entirely camouflage nor accent.
Sherwin Williams Silverplate SW 7649
Silverplate is a cool, slightly stormy gray with a vague blue undertone. And sure, the blue might enhance things slightly, but overall it’s a great way to create a more modern look with your yellow toned wood (shown below).
And don’t forget about LRV when choosing a paint colour! How to Use LRV to Pick a Paint Colour
Benjamin Moore Collingwood OC 28
Collingwood is a beautiful greige (beige/gray blend) with that soft, feminine undertone that looks SO pretty with the more soft, subtle yellow tones (shown above).
Sherwin Williams Sea Salt SW 6204
Sea Salt is a lovely complement to any oak if you’re looking for a fun and fresh look. Sea Salt is a light toned green blend with a gray/blue undertone to calm it down. Yes, it will slightly accent your oak, but it will look BEAUTIFUL! Read ALL about Sea Salt in it’s colour review.
Benjamin Moore Gray Cashmere 2138-60
Gray Cashmere is a soft gray with strong green and blue undertones making it almost whimsical with its fresh feeling (leans more blue). It has more gray in it than Sea Salt so it adds a whisper of colour without being too powerful.
(Related post: The Most Beautiful Blue Green Paint Colours)
The Best Paint Colours to Coordinate with Orange Toned Woods
While yellow toned woods tend to be pretty darned yellow, orange toned woods can have some yellow in them or even a touch of red – but the ‘base’ colour is orange.
Make sure you stop thinking of your cabinets as a wood and start thinking of them as a ‘colour’ – and your colour is ORANGE!
Colours to Consider
Benjamin Moore Muslin 1037
Muslin is a lighter beige base colour with a great mix of warm undertones, making it super flexible and easy to decorate with.
Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531
Canvas Tan is a nice relatively ‘neutral’ tan paint colour that doesn’t fall too flat or greige toned for orange toned woods, as shown with these furniture pieces below…
Benjamin Moore Lenox Tan
With a nice range of warm undertones which focus more on orange and yellow, Lenox Tan is a rich golden beige is a beautiful way to blend-in your orange toned woods, as shown in this north facing living room below…
Kylie M E-design
Benjamin Moore Stone Harbour 2111-50
Stone Harbour is a beautiful, classy way to subtly accent your wood tones. Adding a gray with a bit of brown and purple in it is a nice way to complement the orange tones of your wood without going quite as far as blue/green would.
Benjamin Moore Mountain Air CC 636
Mountain Air is a beautiful way to subtly accent the warm tones of your orange toned cabinets or flooring. It is more of a fresh choice with it’s subtle, earthy, gray/green blend, as shown in my clients bedroom below…
Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue HC 143
Wythe Blue is a beautiful blue/green with a subtle gray undertone and it will really come to life with your cabinets for an inviting and friendly look.
Benjamin Moore Sandy Hook Gray HC 108
Sandy Hook Gray is a greige with a decent green undertone. So, while it WILL accent the warmth of your cabinets, the neutral base keeps things a bit more in check.
Kylie M Interiors E-decor
Sherwin Williams Ellie Gray SW 7650
Sure, this will bring up the warm tones in your oak BUT it will look quite stunning in the process! Ellie Gray is a beautiful gray with a very subtle blue, almost blue/green stormy undertone that will accent but COMPLEMENT your orange toned oak.
The Best Paint Colours to Coordinate with Red or Cherry Toned Wood
Red or cherry toned woods are the richest of the bunch, adding depth and colour to a room. However, if you are following trends, red is not on the ‘must-have’ list and most of my E-Design clients are looking to work with them, rather than fighting with them.
- Cherry and red woods allow for a lot of richness and depth when it comes to decorating.
- Cherry and red toned woods are often best accentuated by using opposites and medium toned warm neutrals – rather than trying to blend it in with dominant warm paint colours.
- Red toned woods, in their lighter versions can often look quite pink, if this sounds like you then check out the this post here
- While there are some lovely lighter versions, red or cherry toned woods tend to sit in the rich/dark range, so keep that in mind when choosing a paint colour as your colour can determine whether your room feels cozy and inviting (medium/dark toned paint colours) or fresh and clean (lighter paint colours).
- I usually avoid flat beiges – beiges without rich warm undertones with cherry cabinets
Colours to Consider
Click on underlined colour name to view on BM website
Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige SW 6106
With a nice range of warm undertones, Kilim Beige is a soft, subtle and versatile choice.
Sherwin Williams Latte SW 6108
Latte is a great colour with its warm brown tones (without it going too orange or yellow)
This colour is actually BM Lenox Tan which is VERY close to Latte
Sherwin Williams Proper Gray SW 6003
Proper Gray is a warm gray with a subtle brown/purple undertone are absolutely BEAUTIFUL with cherry toned cabinets and woods.
Sherwin Williams Cardboard SW 6124
Cardboard is an awesome, more rich golden beige tone (shown above).
Benjamin Moore Abalone 2108-60
Abalone is a mix between gray, brown and purple. The purple is subtle but adds enough colour that you aren’t just dealing with ‘greige’ and light enough that it can help to off-set a bit of the visual weight of darker cherry cabinets. I love how the purple taps into the wood tones without being ‘obvious’ about it (shown below).
Benjamin Moore Collingwood OC 28
Collingwood is a beautiful greige (beige/gray blend) with that soft, feminine undertone that looks SO pretty with cherry tones.
Sherwin Williams Earl Gray SW 7660
Earl Gray will accent the wood a bit, but look super stunning and rich with its cool gray tones and subtle blue/green cast.
Benjamin Moore Heather Gray 2139-40
Heather Gray is a beautiful gray with a cool green cast (warm green has yellow in it, cool green has blue in it).
Still not sure what the best colour for your home is?
Check out my affordable Online Colour Consulting and E-Design Services!