Five Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim & Cabinets

Every week, I receive emails and comments from people who need help picking paint colors to work with their honey oak trim and cabinetry. A few years ago, I wrote a post on how to go about choosing paint colors for honey oak trim, but I didn’t provide any specific paint colors.

Today I am sharing five light gray neutrals from Benjamin Moore that work well with medium to light honey oak trim, cabinetry, and flooring.

Here in Des Moines, there are thousands of homes built anywhere from the 80s through the early 2000s that still have honey oak trim, built-ins, paneling, and cabinetry. Sometimes, we will paint them white, but often it can be cost prohibitive. And sometimes, my clients like the natural wood oak, because it can be very beautiful, so we keep it.

I found two spots in our home that still have honey oak trim or cabinetry and photographed large swatches of the five colors next to the wood. These photos might not be very exciting, but they demonstrate these five colors in different exposures with varying shades of honey oak.

The set of photos taken by our kitchen cabinetry get northern light, and the set taken by our stair railing get more southern light. I took these photos around 10:00 in the morning here in Iowa. In the set of photos by the cabinetry, I also included a small piece of oak trim with a light stain for another variation on honey oak.

All of my walls and trim are painted Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17, so that is the background you see behind the paint swatches. White Dove has a touch of cream and a touch of gray. I think it looks beautiful with honey oak if you have the right home for white walls.

Senora Gray 1530

Senora Gray 1530 is a medium-light gray green color that looks beautiful with the honey oak. It is one shade deeper than Stingray, which I show below. This would be a good choice for you if you like Stingray but want a little more pigment.

Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Benjamin Moore Senora Gray 1530
Benjamin Moore Senora Gray 1530 in Northern Morning Light
Benjamin Moore Senora Gray 1530 in Southern Morning Light

Inner Balance 1522

Inner Balance 1522 is a light green beige, three swatches down on the Benjamin Moore Classics color strip. This color is on the next strip over from Senora Gray and Stingray, and it is slightly warmer (less gray). This was my second favorite of the five colors I chose for this post.

Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Inner Balance 1522
Benjamin Moore Inner Balance 1522 in Northern Morning Light
Benjamin Moore Inner Balance 1522 in Southern Morning Light

Elmira White HC-84

Emira White HC-84 is from the Historical Collection, so it isn’t shown on a strip with similar shades of the same hue. It’s a very light beige with subtle orange undertones that make it a good candidate for honey oak trim.

But, be careful. I didn’t love this color in the northern light, but I did think it was quite pretty in the southern light.

Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Elmira White HC-84

Sting Ray 1529

If you are looking for a light gray to pair with your honey oak trim, then Stingray 1529 is an excellent option. Stingray is a warm green-gray, one shade lighter than Senora Gray. Depending on your lighting, you may see more green or more gray at times.

As with all of these colors, it looks warmer in the southern photos by my stair railing and cooler in the northern photos.

Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Stingray 1529
Benjamin Moore Stingray 1529 in Northern Morning Light
Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Stingray 1529
Benjamin Moore Stingray 1529 in Southern Morning Light

Delaware Putty 240

Did you know that warm neutrals and beiges are coming back in a big way? I think people are tired of all gray everything, and are looking for color palettes that feel warmer and cozier. We’re all busy nesting at home right now and want our spaces to feel inviting.

Delaware Putty was my favorite of the five colors I tested for this very reason. It’s a light beige color (second from the top on the swatch strip), and its undertone is a neutral yellow that leans more towards green than orange.

By the way, this color looks amazing with White Dove OC-17 as the trim color and honey oak flooring. If you’re looking for barely any contrast from white trim to your wall color, try Ivory Porcelain 239, which is one shade lighter.

Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Delaware Putty 240
Benjamin Moore Delaware Putty 240 in Northern Morning Light
Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim Delaware Putty 240
Benjamin Moore Delaware Putty 240 in Southern Morning Light

For this post, I chose to share Benjamin Moore colors that pair well with honey oak trim. Next week, I will share five colors from Sherwin-Williams that are also pretty choices to complement your oak cabinetry or trim.

Remember, this post only addressed how these colors work with the wood tone. You still need to consider any other fixed elements in the room such as tile, countertops, stone, or any upholstery, drapery, or rugs that you don’t plan to replace.

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53 thoughts on “Five Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Honey Oak Trim & Cabinets

  1. I love this article. I have a tacky honey oak kitchen that I have tried to modernize without replacing it. To shift paint from early 2000’s earth tones to greige would clean up the picture. Thanks so very much

    1. Thank you, Myra! Stay tuned because I’m planning a post on updating a honey oak kitchen without painting your cabinets.

      1. I would love to see updated post! Looking at Sherman Williams paints here in NW Iowa. We have honey oak cabinets with Cambria Nevern counters and beige carpet. The Nevern may have been our first mistake. Choosing paint colors that combine it all is so frustrating!

        1. Beth, the Nevern looks like it has a lot of orange-yellow in it as well as some red. I think for your walls you would want to stick with a beige that has those same undertones. It can be on the lighter side, but the gray greens likely won’t work. I don’t think I have a sample of Nevern in my library to check it though.

      2. Id love to see the post for updating a honey oak kitchen without painting your cabinets too! Thank you for such a great article!

      3. Good day what colour did you choose

  2. This article is just what I needed! I’m in the process of choosing colors so I can repaint my home, and the wood cabinetry in my kitchen dictates the colors I can choose. Can you do a post on your favorite beiges and warm neutrals to pair with this wood tone? Thanks for the great post!

    1. Hi Maureen, great idea! I can definitely do that and will make sure to share it with my email list when I do.

  3. What a wonderful and useful post, Jillian. I have honey oak accents on my white cabinetry in my kitchen and would love to repaint my kitchen..and now I have some great ideas and more confidence in which colors to choose, thanks to you!

    1. Thank you, Leslie! Let me know how it turns out. I’d love to share some photos. There are so few examples of colors with honey oak out there that it’s hard to illustrate these suggestions.

  4. Jillian,
    What a great post. Who hasn’t run across honey oak before… I love how you talk about northern and southern light that can change the look of paint colors. Something every homeowner needs to be aware of. I loved Stingray!

    1. Thanks, Jana! Stingray has long been a favorite of mine as well.

  5. I’m in the Boston area and we too have a zillion suburban builder homes from the 80’s plagued with honey oak everywhere and a bunch from the 70’s with brown stained pine 2 1/2″ colonial casings and doors. These are great color suggestions if you don’t have either the patience or funds to paint over the wood!

    1. Thank you, Janet! If there’s anything worse than honey oak, it’s that brown pine. After painting trim in our last house, I decided never to try to again myself. So if I can’t afford a painter, the oak will have to stay! For baseboards, my husband is really handy and can switch those out, but the door and window trim is much harder.

  6. Terrific post! Your original article was so helpful to me before I choose finishes for my kitchen update a few years ago. The grieges with warm green undertone also work well with my 25 year old maple cabinets in great condition, stained same light warm orange in north facing room. I choose Cambria Ella counters, gray subway tile with green undertone for backsplash, BM Edgecomb Gray for walls and BM White Dove for all trim. I look forward to your posts on working with the honey oak!! It is a great color in moderation. I’m so glad I did not paint the cabinets!!

    1. Hi Janice, I’m so glad that you found the older posts useful. Yes, those gray greens look beautiful with maple. I remember specifying BM November Rain and Silken Pine for a client with all maple trim several years ago, and it looked stunning. It sounds like you made some beautiful selections for your home! Ella is such a pretty quartz.

    2. Hello,
      I am in desperate need of help!!! Where can I find the original article? I am trying to update my honey oak cabinet kitchen without painting cabinets or replacing black appliances. I’m at a loss of where to start. Walls are Navajo white, countertop is beige Formica, floor is linoleum beige 1 ft. square stick on tiles, and cabinet hardware is 25 year old tarnished bronze fruit clusters. Bought home 8 years ago. the sink is silver. looking for ideas on wall color, cabinet fixtures, complimentary countertop, backsplash and flooring.

      Thank you!!

  7. There is so much honey oak and most people don’t want to replace all the trim and cabinetry in their homes. This is a helpful post! Thanks for you expertise in color choice.

    1. Thank you, Lisa!

  8. Jillian, this is brilliant! We too have many homes that are full of honey oak. While it’s costly to paint over and/or remove, this post gives great paint choices.

    I’m looking forward to your post next week!

  9. Here in New England we have tons of that honey oak. Great options! Thanks

  10. Such a great post!
    Everyone needs this info at least once in our lives- everyone I know has had oak they’ve tried to design around before- especially here in the south:)

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! Yes, we painted over it in both our homes, but I’m still living with in parts of this house. I don’t want to pay to have it painted when I want to remodel those areas anyway, so making the best of it for now.

  11. The 90’s are calling and want your honey oak back! This is a great post. So many homes still have the honey oak and it’s nice to get paint colors that go with it. Easier to paint than sand and re-stain or paint cabinets.

    1. It’s so expensive to paint it all out as I know from experience. Sometimes it’s easier to work with it.

  12. Just love your articles and your ebook.
    What colour is the white on yours walls. Think it looks great with all these Benjamin Moore colours!
    Another homeowner in Canada with beautiful honey oak trim, floors, cabinets EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

    1. Hi Daina, glad you are enjoying them and thank you for commenting! My wall color is Benjamin Moore OC-17 White Dove. Sherwin-Williams Alabaster SW 7008 is a close match. It’s one of my go-to whites. I love it so much.

  13. Great job providing tons of options for people looking for paint colors for these types of cabinets. Very generous of you to go over each paint color.

  14. Great idea for a post!

  15. Hi Jilliam, I love those colors an few weeks ago I painted my hone oak kitchen cabinets in a gray color they look great and the good thing about it is the oak wood grain is still visible, I would like to send you pics, let me know how to do it.

  16. WHEN is your post on how to update honey oak WITHOUT painting???? Help!!!

    1. Hi Rhonda, do you mean without painting the oak or the walls?

  17. hi I have those awful 80’s cabinets!! I was planning a remodel but that has now been put on hold…again! I’m wanting to paint that honey(or what ever you call it) trim around the cream/ white fronts.
    And the walls.
    Any suggestions? I like aqua tints as well as greys. The other parts of the house are painted grey. But please nothing with baby blue tints!! Thanks for the info just in time!!

  18. Jillian, thank you so much for this! Would you believe I’ll be starting priming my oak cabinets on Weds! Any chance I can get a sneak peak on next week’s post? I think my kitchen cabinets are straight oak and not so much a honey oak.

  19. Thank you for the perfect grays to cover the oak! I’ll be trying these soon!

  20. Thank you for the perfect grays to cover the oak! I’ll be trying these paint colors!

  21. Great article! I also have honey oak throughout and starting to do light remodeling. Looking to start with my master bath and would love some ideas for colors and finishes on bath faucets, etc ! Please let me know how I can reach out!

    1. Hi Angela! I think I saw you started the process of booking a discovery call. Let me know if you don’t see the email with the scheduler. I’d be happy to chat with you about how I can help.

  22. what colors would you recommend to go with Oak Trim and with a lot of light coming from the West side of the house and very little light from East. There are no windows facing North and South. I am really struggling with paint colors.

    1. Hi Ann, the northern exposure I showed actually gets eastern light in the morning, which is when I took those photos. The general rule of thumb is that southern/western lighter is warmer, and northern/eastern light is cooler. I think these colors are a good starting point, but maybe you’ll want to work from the colors that appealed to you more in the southern exposure.

  23. I’m looking at painting a long SW wall that extends from my honey oak ridden kitchen to my dining room. This wall is clearly visible as you enter my small home due to an open floor plan. I wonder if a somewhat bolder/less neutral color is in order to breather some life into my currently white walled home. I enjoy soft pinks, but I get that this is likely not the right color for the kitchen portion of things. That being said, there’s only a few oak lower cabinets on that particular wall. Thoughts?

  24. What about houses with east morning light? What colors would look best?

  25. Appreciate all the tips! I have honey oak cabinets which I’m starting to re-appreciate given the beautiful wood grains. I’m planning on painting my walls with Benjamin Moore Edgecomb grey. My entryway leading to the kitchen is a warm tan color. My concern is with having the 2 different colours. There is only an open archway between my entryway and kitchen. Is there a rule or tip for these type situations?

  26. Hi Jillian – so happy to see this article . We have honey oak bedroom furniture and hoping to repaint the walls. Any thoughts on BM Winterwood with honey oak furniture ? Much appreciated !
    Thanks !

  27. Appreciated this article. As someone who wishes to stay away from gray, I am struggling to find a color! I am getting ready to have my kitchen and vaulted great room painted – both have a lot of honey oak trim and maybe a little darker oak wall built in shelves. I’ve been looking at the sw natural choice but it seems so stark. Both rooms have little natural sunlight. Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Kim, I was just at a client’s home yesterday who painted her whole main level Alabaster trim with Natural Choice walls. It was a really beautiful combination. I was thinking of your question while I was there, and the Natural Choice is very light and soft. I suppose it could feel “stark” in the wrong lighting. Did you look at some of the other colors in my posts? Some of those were much darker than Natural Choice.

  28. Jillian, due to your site suggestion, we recently painted the complete interior of our home with Dove White. We have honey oak everywhere. Kitchen cabinets, all interior trim and a lot of wood flooring. Because our home is very open from kitchen to living area and into a large foyer, I opted to go with the one color throughout. It really is beautiful, very rich and warm. Thank you for the idea!

    1. I’m so glad it worked for you. I love our White Dove house, and we still have quite a bit of honey oak even though we painted our trim.

  29. How do you feel about BM Light Pewter works with honey oak trim in a darker room? Although my dining room faces south, our front porch overhang prevents much light in the room, especially in the sunless winter month.

  30. Hi! I’d love to do a kitchen refresh for my parents this summer. They have the honey oak cabinets and awful Corian countertops in Sandstone. Their floors are a “white” textured tile. What colors would you suggest we paint the cabinets and/or walls?

    Also, what wall color goes well with a mossy green/dark gray couch in the living room???

    Thanks for your help!

  31. Hi, what a perfect post for what I’m contemplating right now! My 63 year old house has tons of honey oak throughout and I would like to complement it with a paint color. My color designer suggested Kelley Moore’s “Snip of Tannin” but I would like to make sure that “Snip of Tannin” is not too dark (my dining room is pretty dark) and that it goes well with the honey oak (I love the contrasting warm looks of some of your samples here). Which one of the Benjamin Moore or Sherman Williams paint colors you mention here ressembles KM “Snip of Tannin” the closest? Thanks! Great post!

  32. Hi,
    I love these suggestions. Do you have a color suggestion for a finished basement with Venado Oak Cortec Luxury Vinyl flooring? Also, do you use the White Dove color on your ceiling as well?



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Jillian Lare Des Moines Interior Designer

About Jillian

Welcome! I’m a Des Moines based interior designer, boy mom to one, avid reader and always aspiring artist. I started this blog when I moved to Iowa in 2008. Currently, I write about life in Iowa, personal development, and my creative journey.

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