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The Kitchen Cabinet Trend We *Really* Didn’t See Coming

Real talk: Am I the only one who’s done with the all-white kitchen look? Year after year, I feel like I’m scrolling different versions of the same, boring white kitchens on Pinterest and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong—Carrera marble countertops and crisp white cabinetry will always have a place in kitchen design. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a new and natural trend emerging in the kitchen: ever-so-honey-colored, oak or walnut cabinets. And, at the risk of sounding dramatic, *this* is the interior moment I’ve been waiting for.

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The newest trend takes ‘90s-era, orangey cabinets and elevates them with fresh, honey-colored stains and raw textures. Think: two-tone oak with light, earthy finishes that show off the grain. “No, [these aren’t] your honey oak cabinets from the 80s and 90s–[that look is] most definitely not coming back,” says designer Melissa Welsh. “The wood cabinets that are popular today have clean, modern lines and more muted tones, like the lovely white oak cabinets you see all over Instagram.” Basically, they’re a mix between warmer, traditional tones and the blonde scandi aesthetic that’s been on the rise for years.

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The look gives rustic french-country vibes—and like it or not, the age of nostalgia and vintage-inspired design is far from over, thanks to the pandemic (and a collective yearning for better days). “Our desire for warmth and comfort is driving [this] trend of mixing wood tones in all different shades of brown, creating a sense of peacefulness,” explains Lynne Tocchet, director of interior design at Pacaso.

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Still, these aren’t your grandmother’s cabinets, and today’s designs feature fluted details and bold, complementary color palettes that add drama and dimension to the space. “Don't be afraid to mix warm wood tones and go back to the soothing hues of years past,” Tocchet adds. To that end, it probably comes as no surprise that the look is being paired with 2022’s most popular green and olive hues. But the trend can also skew minimalist with moody, monochromatic colors and sanded-down surfaces that boast a sleek, midcentury modern aesthetic.