I do agree with K-Co's answer. I always recommend going at least 3 shades lighter or darker than your flooring. A good example of not following this rule, is a client of mine that insisted on using the same color on the floors, cabinets and a butcher block top on her island. The kitchen is beautiful, but is aesthetically confusing. Take a look at "Traditional Cherry with a Custom Hood" in my photo gallery <http://www.narfinecarpentry.com/gallery/kitchens/>
In the end it is the homeowners decision, and in the case I described above, the clients were very happy with the outcome.
If you are going to use wood flooring in a kitchen I always recommend a contrasting tone. If you have dark, rich cabinetry I would recommend a light hardwood with a tight grain like hickory or maple. If the cabinets a light and bright I would go with a deep hardwood like Brazilian walnut.
Cabinetry is your number one focal point. You must have them pop with your floors, paint and appliances. Do not go cheap here there is plenty of ways to save money. I know cost wasn't part of your question but I just wanted to make a note on that. I have stained cabinets made out of birds eye maple that would take your breath away, cherry wood is a real rich wood grain too. Oak is nice but so typical, Alder (I think that is the correct spelling) is nice as well, try going with a dark stain if you can (like dark walnut, deep cherry or Early American). The darker the better, the less were and tear you will see. As far as your flooring goes, I like a natural look (clear coat only no stain) with a dark boarder, this brings out the real beauty of the wood. I hope this helps and good luck.
Sean B. Perkins
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Louise Deer Park, TX
A: counter top colors
I have light tile, natural cherry cabinets and back splash will match flooring. what color should I use for counter top (will be granite) appliances are stainless steel
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jackie highland, mi
A: Flooring and countertops
Would you go with dark countertops and dark tile with maple cabinets?
I have picked dark espresso maple cabinets with a cream and dark blend granite countertop. I am having difficulty choosing my wood flooring. I like the dark floors but my builder says dark floors throughout the kitchen/dining /living room would be too much and suggested a light hickory that is distressed with dark tones. I need some feedback