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The Best Wood Stains for Red Oak

Today I am sharing the best wood stains for red oak! I have 20 different colors and photos of how each color looks on red oak so you can choose the right stain color for you!

Red Oak is very similar to Oak but it has a bit more red in it (obviously right). The stain colors will come out similar but there will be some very subtle differences to the final product.

If you have been around the blog for a while and read any of my paint posts you will know that undertones really determine how a color will look and the same can be said for stain colors. The undertones here are in the wood and the stain colors look different on different types of wood.

Nine different stain colors featured on red oak with text overlay.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more details see my full disclosure.

Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze Stats

To understand a color you need to know what makes it that color. Here are the vitals on Urbane Bronze:

  • Hex Value: #54504A
  • Red: 84 
  • Green: 80 
  • Blue: 74
  • Color Collections: Color ID (Minimalist), Colormix Forecast 2021 (Sanctuary), Colormix Forecast 2022 (Method), Rejuvenation (Fall/Winter), Colormix Forecast 2023 (Biome), Gallery Series, Top Interior Colors, Top Exterior Colors
  • Color Family(s): Neutral

Here is what Sherwin Williams has to say about Urbane Bronze:

Rooted in nature, this brownish gray evokes a down-to-earth tranquility and a subtle sophistication that is hard to beat.

Sherwin Williams

The Best Light Stain Colors for Red Oak

I feel like Oak is one of the best types of wood for different stain colors. If you want a light color you can get it, a dark one too.

For the light stain colors, I really like all the options below. You can get a super light one and one that is a touch darker. It’s really all in what you are looking for.

Four different light stain colors on red oak with text overlay.

The Best Medium Stain Colors for Red Oak

Red Oak really shines with the medium stain colors. There is just a depth of color here that you don’t see in something like pine.

Again I think these are all really nice options here. And I notice a mistake in my photo, it’s Minwax Red Mahogany, not Varathane. I corrected it in the link below.

Three different stain colors on read oak that are medium in tone with text overlay.

The Best Dark Stain Colors for Red Oak

These dark colors are just stunning! Jacobean is probably my favorite stain color but Minwax Dark Walnut is a close second! But Espresso is just as gorgeous, just a touch lighter than the other two.

Three dark stain colors on red oak with text overlay.

The Best Black Stain Colors for Red Oak

Varathane Classic Black is the only one I really can see a good amount of black in. I think the red in the oak really cancels out the black in the other two. You just don’t see it as much.

Three different black stain colors and how they look on red oak with text overlay.

The Best Gray Stain Colors for Red Oak

Red Oak isn’t my favorite material for trying to get a gray stained look. As you can see below, none of these really take on a decent gray hew.

Five different gray stain colors and how they look on red oak with text overalay.

The Best White Stain Colors for Red Oak

I definitely like Varathane Antique White better than Minwax Simply White. (Again I made a stupid mistake and got the name mixed up on my image.)

You can really see splotches of white in the Antique White. If you really like this just make sure you use a good wood conditioner and you shouldn’t get the splotchiness that I got.

Two white stain colors and how they look on red oak with text overlay.

The Best Wood Stains for Red Oak

Okay, here are my favorites of all the colors. For Red Oak, I definitely like the light, medium, and dark tones best. They come out simply gorgeous!

I would love to know which one (or ones) is your favorite! Please let me know in the comments below.

Nine different stain colors and how they look on red oak with text overlay.

Other Stain Color Posts:

The Best Wood Stains for Red Oak

As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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Donna Ratliff

Monday 4th of December 2023

We're trying to update our red oak cabinets and we've tried several minwax colors and we're getting either deep gold or red unless we go to real dark colors like dark walnut or darker. I'm about worn out on trying to get these cabinets a pretty medium muted color. Even Classic gray came out an ugly brown color. I've been reading about possibly painting them and it sounds like quiet a process. We don't know what else to try. If you have any advice other than buying new cabinets, we would love to hear it. Our kitchen is very large 14 by 22 and full of these orange outdated oak cabinets. In fact they're also in 2 bathrooms and the living room as the entertainment system too. Thank you Kylie. Donna


Tuesday 5th of December 2023

Hi Donna. I know how you feel about being worn out and I am sorry. The red in red oak sometimes is so prominent. It's a gorgeous color except when it goes the orangy look. If you have tried the colors and not getting what you want I would go with paint. But I suggest painting one of your bathrooms first to see if you want to tackle all of that. I would also make sure you choose a color that is classic, not trendy. If you have that much red oak you won't want to be painting it every few years! Good luck!

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