Wooden kitchen cabinet ideas are a timeless choice. Wooden cabinetry, in any shade or finish, will bring warmth and texture in abundance. Whether part of a pared-back and natural palette, or as a counterpoint to bold color, the robustness and versatility of wood makes it an enduring addition to almost any interior.
‘A wooden floor can survive 300 years of wear,’ says Søren Lundh Aagaard, CEO of Danish kitchen makers Garde Hvalsøe. ‘A stylish design is pointless if it does not age beautifully; a quality outcome requires quality materials,’ he adds. In this spirit, when choosing wooden cabinetry, it makes sense to invest in the best you can afford to ensure your kitchen will wear well with time and use.
If a tailor-made timber fitting is out of the question for your kitchen cabinet ideas, consider a durable and adaptable off-the-shelf model. Certain IKEA ranges, for example, can be easily customized with a wealth of different door styles by British makers such Plykea, Hølte, Custom Fronts and Husk.
Another option is to work with reclaimed timber. ‘There are quite a few places to source it from, such as The Architectural Forum, Retrouvius or eBay,’ says London-based architect and salvage aficionado Anthi Grapsa. ‘Salvaged oak or maple flooring can be used as cladding on cabinets, while the best wood to use on worktops is a hardwood, such as iroko or teak.’
Whatever design you choose for your cabinetry, we believe that you can rarely go wrong with wood – and here are eight unique and beautiful timber kitchens to prove it.
Wooden kitchen cabinet ideas
1. Corian-Clad Cabinets
‘Originally created for a seaside home on the coast, this bespoke kitchen combines the characteristic warmth of wood with linear Corian in a glacial white,' says Jack Trench, director of the eponymous kitchen brand. Its ‘JT Curvilinear’ model, shown here, encases timber cabinetry in an outer shell of Corian, which forms both the worktops and exterior paneling. The result is a precise finish with no visible joins, which – combined with the minimal interior scheme– gives the kitchen its clean-lined and contemporary feel, showing that kitchen cabinet color ideas can be brilliantly effective when muted, too.
2. Wall-to-Wall Spruce
A seamless interior of pale spruce joinery defines this light-filled kitchen, part of a recent project by Southeast London studio Tikari Works. ‘The limited palette of materials minimizes visual clutter and creates an atmosphere that’s calm, tactile and comforting,’ says practice co-founder Nicola Tikari of the design, which looks more aligned with Scandinavian design than your typical London apartment block. Red quarry and terrazzo tiles line the floor, while a white worktop and tap contribute to the space’s streamlined aesthetic, showing how even the pattern of terrazzo flooring can seem muted against the right setting.
3. Warm Wood meets Cool Color
When it comes to grey kitchen ideas, dark wood is the perfect complement. This striking dark-stained oak design was conceived by Swedish bespoke kitchen company Nordiska Kök, for an atmospheric 19th-century apartment in Gothenburg. ‘Together with the owner, we created a rustic wooden kitchen that featured an asymmetrical wall cabinet in a more contemporary design,’ says the brand’s founder and creative director Johan Lundkvist. Dark grey paint covers both the cabinet and the wall, contrasting with the rich tones of the wooden base units, which are topped with a locally produced, cool-grey limestone worktop.
4. Characterful Reclaimed Wood
‘The aim was to create a fun and cozy kitchen for a growing family. Something robust that would reflect their love of color,’ says architect Anthi Grapsa, who used accents of reclaimed iroko hardwood in this mustard-yellow kitchen that she designed in London. ‘The wood was once part of bench tops in a school laboratory and came complete with all its beautiful graffiti. It was sanded slightly to remove the varnish and then resealed, but still retains its original character.’ Terrazzo tiles form the modern kitchen backsplash ideas and zone an area within the reclaimed pine floor, while lustrous brass handles complete this subtly 1960s look.
5. An Iconic Floating Design
Designed by Søren Hvalsøe Garde in 1999, Garde Hvalsøe’s beautifully crafted ‘Minimal’ model has since become a timeless classic, an icon of minimalism in interior design. ‘A distinctive aspect is the floating expression of the drawers,’ says the Danish brand’s CEO Søren Lundh Aagaard of the kitchen, shown here in the home of Michelin-starred chef Nicolai Nørregaard. ‘The cabinet is pulled back, creating an open space around each drawer and resulting in a graphic appearance,’ he adds. The overall effect is a pleasingly pared-back design, which has the added bonus of freeing up floor space and helping the room to feel bigger.
6. Vintage-Inspired Cabinetry
No conversation about modern kitchen ideas feels complete without referencing this one, an instant modern classic. ‘The kitchen is the center of this airy Scandinavian home,’ says DeVOL’s creative director, Helen Parker. ‘An eclectic mix of vintage furniture complements our Haberdasher's cupboards, which have a nostalgic feel that ensures they fit perfectly into the space without feeling either too modern or too contrived.’ Inspired by a love of mid-century furniture and the ‘evocative feel of a gentleman’s haberdashery’, DeVOL’s Haberdasher’s range offers a nostalgic take on superior kitchen organization. Highlights include oak-framed cupboards with glazed fronts for displaying linens and crockery, and tambour-style slatted panels for concealing essential appliances.
7. Stained Timber for Subtle Color
When architects Thomas Geldof and Carmine Van Der Linden designed the interior of this duplex on the Belgian coast, they took inspiration from the surrounding landscape and chose a sea-green stain for the wooden kitchen units. ‘We tasked Belgian joinery experts Deco-Lust with the custom birch cabinets, who did a great job achieving the color we wanted, says Thomas. The technique allows the texture and grain of the wood to shine through, while introducing some soft and subtle color to the space - you can achieve a similar feel easily if you know how to paint kitchen cabinets.
8. Plywood and Pastels
The kitchen of this Victorian terraced house in east London is located in a former cellar, which means low ceilings and little natural light. ‘It was a dingy space, so we thought that the room needed some sunny tones,’ says Christian Ducker of Gundry + Ducker architects, who devised a palette of pale plywood and pastel shades - a wonderful take on kitchen color ideas. ‘A continuous bookshelf runs along one wall, with a birch-faced plywood exterior and yellow-painted interiors,’ he continues. ‘It’s completed with a pink terrazzo floor and bespoke candy-flecked terrazzo worktops.’
What is the best wood to use for kitchen cabinets
Oak is a lovely wood to use for kitchen cabinets as it has a soft grain to it, is in plentiful supply and goes with most other colors. It is also durable enough to withstand the high use that being in a kitchen will put it through.
Tessa Pearson is an interiors and architecture journalist, formerly Homes Director at ELLE Decoration and Editor of ELLE Decoration Country. When she's not covering design and decorative trends for Livingetc, Tessa contributes to publications such as The Observer and Table Magazine, and has recently written a book on forest architecture. Based in Sussex, Tessa has a keen interest in rural and coastal life, and spends as much time as possible by the sea.
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