How To Coordinate Your Kitchen Flooring – A Design Guide

Selecting the right flooring for your kitchen can be a challenging task. With so many factors to consider, such as colour, finish, and material, it’s essential to make a decision that complements your kitchen’s design and meets your practical needs.

In this post, I’ll discuss various design aspects of kitchen flooring, including how to choose a colour that works with your cabinets, whether your countertops should match your flooring and the pros and cons of polished and matte finishes.

This post is focused more on the design aspect of choosing a kitchen floor, rather than the materials themselves. If you’d like to learn more about this, check out my post on the various kitchen flooring material options.

Let’s get into it!

should Kitchen flooring be lighter or darker than kitchen cabinets?

There’s no kitchen design rule here that dictates whether flooring should be lighter or darker than kitchen cabinets. Ultimately, the decision depends on personal preference, as well as the specific style and colour scheme of your kitchen. That being said, I’ve got a few considerations that may help you make your decision.

Creating Contrast

One of the most critical aspects of matching your flooring with your kitchen cabinets is achieving the desired level of contrast. To create a striking contrast you could consider:

  • Pair dark cabinets with light-coloured flooring, such as a white or beige tile, light oak, or pale laminate, to make the cabinets stand out and create a bold, modern look.

  • Alternatively, if you have light-coloured cabinets, consider a dark floor like espresso-stained hardwood, black slate, or charcoal grey tiles to create an eye-catching contrast and add depth to the space.

Coordinating kitchen flooring light cabinets and warmer wood flooring
This kitchen uses a mid-dark toned wood floor to create a contrast to the lighter-coloured cabinets and walls. The darker floor helps to create some warmth and depth in the room.

Coordinated Color Schemes

If a more harmonious and coordinated colour scheme is what you’re after, choose flooring that complements the colour of your cabinets:

  • For dark cabinets, consider medium-toned flooring with warm undertones, such as rich walnut hardwood or a warm, earth-toned porcelain tile. This combination will create a balanced, cohesive look.

  • If you have light-coloured cabinets, opt for flooring in a similar colour family with subtle variations in shade or tone, like light maple hardwood or a soft grey tile. This will maintain a light and airy atmosphere while adding dimension to the room.


Avoid over matching

Having just said about how creating a coordinated kitchen can be visually appealing, don’t overdo it!

Falling into the trap of over-matching, where the flooring, cabinets, walls, and countertops all share the same tone or colour, can lead to a monotonous and uninspiring space. It is crucial to strike a balance to avoid this common mistake.

A kitchen that lacks visual interest can become bland and uninviting when every element shares the same colour or tone.

kitchen with over-matching flooring, cabinets, walls, and countertops
A kitchen that is too matchy. Try to avoid this.

Practical Considerations

In addition to aesthetics, take practicality into account when selecting the colour of your flooring:

  • Light-coloured floors tend to show stains, dirt, and wear and tear more easily. If you have young children, pets, or a busy kitchen, you may want to choose a darker or more forgiving flooring option, such as a distressed hardwood or patterned tile that can better conceal imperfections.

  • Dark flooring may show dust, pet hair, and scratches more prominently. If you’re concerned about maintenance, consider medium-toned flooring with a matte finish, which can help minimize the appearance of blemishes.

Should Your Kitchen Flooring Match Your Countertops?

They don’t have to. Kitchen countertops and flooring don’t necessarily need to match, as it’s typical for them to be made from different materials, colours, or patterns. When designing your kitchen, it’s important to consider various factors such as personal style, functionality, durability, and maintenance requirements when deciding whether to match your countertops with the floor.

One key aspect to consider is the design aesthetic. If you’re aiming for a specific design aesthetic, like a modern or minimalist look, opt for countertops and flooring that complement each other. For instance, pairing sleek white countertops with a light-coloured, polished concrete or tile floor can create a clean, contemporary appearance.

Another important factor is the durability and maintenance of the materials. Assess the durability and maintenance requirements of both the countertop and flooring materials. If you have high-maintenance countertop material like marble, it may be wise to choose low-maintenance flooring options like porcelain tile or luxury vinyl plank. This balance helps ensure the overall maintenance of your kitchen remains manageable.

Additionally, creating contrast and visual interest in your kitchen design can be achieved by selecting countertops and flooring with different colours or textures. For example, if you have dark wood flooring, consider pairing it with light-coloured, natural stone countertops like certain marble, limestone or quartzites. This combination creates an appealing contrast and adds depth to your kitchen design.

Ultimately, deciding whether to match your kitchen countertops with the floor comes down to personal preference and style. Take into account the practicality and aesthetics of both materials and choose a combination that best aligns with your needs and design vision.

Image – Nordiska Kök
This kitchen subtly matches the wooden flooring with the timber countertops but has enough contrast with the cabinets and walls that it’s not too matchy and overwhelming, creating a fresh but warm atmosphere.

Which is better, polished or matte finish for kitchen flooring

Deciding between a polished or matte finish for kitchen flooring relies on personal preferences and practical considerations specific to your household. Personally, I’m a fan of a matte finish but that’s just me. Here are some factors to help you choose the most suitable finish for your kitchen flooring:

Aesthetics: Polished finishes have a shiny, reflective surface that can create a sleek, modern look in your kitchen. On the other hand, matte finishes have a non-reflective, more natural appearance, which can contribute to a warmer, more inviting atmosphere. Keep your desired kitchen aesthetic in mind when selecting the finish.

Slip Resistance: Matte finishes generally offer better slip resistance compared to polished finishes, particularly when wet. This makes matte finishes a safer option for households with young children, elderly individuals, or anyone prone to slips and falls.

Durability: Polished finishes may be more susceptible to scratches, scuffs, and surface damage over time. Matte finishes, however, are better at concealing wear and tear, making them a more durable choice for high-traffic areas in your kitchen.

Maintenance: Polished finishes typically demand more maintenance than matte finishes in order to preserve their shiny appearance. Polished floors may require regular buffing and re-sealing, while matte floors can often be maintained with simple sweeping and mopping.

How can flooring complement countertops And kitchen cabinets?

It’s all about creating visual balance. Selecting flooring that complements your kitchen countertops and cabinets contributes to a harmonious and visually appealing kitchen design. When choosing a floor that enhances your kitchen features, you should consider various factors, such as colour coordination, contrast creation, texture matching, style consistency, and flow creation.

In terms of colour coordination, opt for flooring options with colours or tones that harmonize with your countertops, cabinets and walls. For light-coloured countertops and cabinets, consider warm, natural-toned flooring such as oak or hickory. For dark-coloured countertops and cabinets, choose lighter, neutral-toned flooring like beige or grey.

When it comes to creating contrast, if your countertops and cabinets share a similar colour or tone, aim for contrasting flooring. For instance, with dark countertops and cabinets, select lighter-coloured flooring options like light hardwood or tile.

Texture matching is another important aspect to consider. Find flooring options with textures that resemble your countertops or cabinets. If your cabinets showcase a wood grain texture, consider flooring with a similar pattern. Likewise, if your countertops have a honed or matte finish, look for flooring with a comparable finish.

Ensure style consistency by selecting flooring that corresponds to the style of your cabinets and countertops. For modern, minimalist kitchen designs, consider flooring with clean lines and a sleek, polished finish. For more traditional, rustic kitchens, explore flooring options with natural wood or stone finishes.

Finally, focus on creating flow by choosing flooring options that establish a sense of continuity between your kitchen and adjacent areas. Aim for flooring that complements the flooring in nearby rooms or hallways to achieve a cohesive look throughout your home. Similarly, it helps to be sympathetic to the style and period of your property and what would feel at home the most.

Image – Nordiska Kök
This kitchen creates a good contrast between the floor, cabinets and walls but keeps the tones well balanced giving it a fresh and contemporary look.

Can You mix and match different types of flooring in A kitchen?

Mixing and matching different types of flooring in your kitchen is possible, but it requires a little bit more careful planning and execution to achieve a harmonious result. The more, different elements you introduce into a room, the harder it becomes to keep everything balanced and well-coordinated.

One of the key aspects to consider is selecting materials that complement each other in terms of colour, texture, and style. For instance, you could pair hardwood flooring with slate or tile in a matching colour to create a visually appealing combination.

Another important factor is using different types of flooring to define distinct areas within the kitchen. You could opt for hardwood flooring in the dining section and tile flooring in the cooking and preparation zones. This approach not only adds variety but also helps differentiate functional areas in your kitchen. Find naturally obvious zones and lines to create the threshold between different materials.

In addition to this, it’s crucial to evaluate the practicality of your chosen flooring materials. For example, hardwood flooring might not be the ideal choice for areas prone to spills or moisture, such as near the sink or dishwasher. Always consider the durability and maintenance requirements of each flooring type when making your decision.

Lastly, creating smooth transitions between different flooring types is also essential for establishing a cohesive appearance throughout the kitchen. You can achieve this by using moulding, borders, or patterns, which help blend the different materials seamlessly.

Image – Blakes London
This a fantastic example of mixing different flooring materials in the kitchen.

What Colour Wood Floors Go With Dark Cabinets?

When pairing wood floors with dark cabinets, it’s important to create balance and contrast in your kitchen. Lighter wood flooring tends to work well with dark cabinets, as it provides a visually appealing contrast and helps prevent the space from feeling too dark or heavy. Some options to consider for wood floors with dark cabinets are:

  • Light oak. Light oak flooring offers a warm, natural tone that contrasts nicely with dark cabinets. The natural grain and texture of the oak also add visual interest to your kitchen.

  • Maple. Light maple floors provide a subtle contrast to dark cabinets while maintaining a warm and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen.

  • White-washed or bleached wood. White-washed or bleached wood flooring creates a more dramatic contrast with dark cabinets, giving your kitchen a fresh and modern appearance.

  • Light grey wood. Light grey wood flooring is a popular choice for creating contrast with dark cabinets. The neutral colour works well with a variety of cabinet shades and provides a cooler (temperature colour-wise) contemporary look.

When choosing the colour of your wood floors, keep in mind the overall design and colour scheme of your kitchen, as well as the amount of natural light available in the space. Lighter floors can help brighten up a kitchen with limited natural light. While darker floors may work better in a kitchen with ample sunlight.

However, there are always exceptions to this and it’s not to say you can’t have a darker floor with darker cabinets. It’s all about creating a visual balance in the room. As always, the choice depends on your personal preferences and the desired look you’re going for in your kitchen.

How do you coordinate wood floors with wood cabinets?

Coordinating wood floors with wood cabinets requires careful consideration of various factors to create a visually appealing and harmonious kitchen design. However, In my opinion, the most important aspect is finding the right balance between the wood tones of your cabinets and flooring.

You can choose contrasting tones, such as pairing light floors with dark cabinets or vice versa, for a striking effect. Alternatively, you can select similar tones for a more seamless and monochromatic look.

However, if you’re opting for similar tones, ensure there’s enough variation to prevent the space from appearing flat or monotonous. For example, if you have rich, dark walnut cabinets and a dark wooden floor, consider going for a lighter contrasting countertop and wall colour.

Another consideration is the wood grain patterns of your cabinets and flooring. Coordinating woods with similar grain patterns can establish a sense of visual harmony within the space. For instance, if your cabinets feature a straight grain pattern, like maple, you might want to choose a flooring option with a similar pattern, such as oak or bamboo.

Additionally, it’s crucial to pay attention to the undertones of your wood cabinets and flooring. Undertones can range from warm, such as yellow, orange, or red, to cool, including grey and blue. To create a cohesive look, choose wood floors with undertones that complement your cabinets’ undertones. For example, if your cabinets have warm, reddish undertones, selecting flooring with similar warm undertones can enhance the overall design.

Lastly, think about how the wood flooring will transition between the kitchen and adjacent spaces. A seamless flow between rooms can be achieved by selecting flooring that complements the wood elements throughout your home. This consideration ensures that the overall design feels connected and visually consistent.

Final Thoughts…

So there you have it! My guide to selecting the perfect flooring for your kitchen design.

Ultimately, the decision to go with lighter or darker flooring than your kitchen cabinets depends on your personal preferences, the style of your kitchen, and any practical considerations. By carefully evaluating contrast, colour coordination, and practicality, you can make an informed choice that enhances the overall appearance and functionality of your kitchen space.

With these factors in mind, you’re well on your way to creating a beautiful and well-designed kitchen that suits your unique needs and style preferences.



Michael from

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.