Oak can help bring a charming heritage look to your home’s interiors – especially given this particular wood’s strong association with ‘80s and ‘90s kitchens. Furthermore, if you look after oak well, such as by following these instructions from Better Homes & Gardens, this hardwood can serve you well for a while.
However, there remains the question of exactly where you should use it in your home. Yes, the kitchen would be one obvious candidate – but you need to consider both the ‘where’ and the ‘how’.
Go ‘broken plan’ with oak frame
What is ‘broken plan’? It’s a compromise between traditionally separated rooms and ‘open plan’, where walls are knocked down to leave a seamless flow through adjacent spaces of a property.
The Homebuilding & Renovating website’s assistant editor Amy Reeves enthuses that “broken plan works particularly well in oak frame interiors” – and she has even shared a photo showing an example of how.
Though the pictured home utilises wide doorways and consistent flooring throughout, exposed oak frames still demarcate the different spaces.
Contrast oak features with contemporary design
One risk of implementing oak in your home is that you could consequently be tempted to overdo it with other, similarly traditional-looking elements. Examples of such include a wood-burning stove and stone flooring – but, actually, maybe you should go in the opposite direction.
In other words, even as you add oak touches to your residential interiors, you shouldn’t be shy about also including much more modern features, like an expanse of glazing – lest the home start looking too twee.
Give your kitchen a subtle ‘country’ look
You can do this simply by incorporating oak without entirely relinquishing mod cons that would ultimately mark the kitchen out as modern rather than traditional.
So, don’t be too quick to hide away the likes of wine coolers, fridge-freezers and dishwashers. Instead, you could leave them on show – all while adding, say, an oak table top that would be compatible with any table legs you are eager to use in this kitchen.
Don’t go overboard with oak cabinets
Installing too many of these in your kitchen can somewhat overpower its overall design. That’s why, if you do have – or would like to add – oak cabinets in this particular part of the home, you could help to distract from them by creating an alternative focal point.
You could fashion that from, say, a striking tile backsplash or statement range hood. If either option would be too expensive for you, consider Better Homes & Gardens’ suggestion that you “lay down a patterned area rug or runner to balance the visual weight throughout the room”.
Accessorise oak cabinetry
Though oak cabinets often come with an orange finish that risks making your kitchen look outdated, you could find that your own oak cabinets are closer to neutral in colour.
In this case, you could effectively accessorise them – such as by displaying decorative plates and coloured glass vases on these units. Doing this could help to offset the visually cooling effect of the oak cabinetry.