Choosing the Right Cabinet Wood

Making the decision to get new kitchen cabinets is just the first decision in a long line of many to come. Once you decide new cabinets, rather than simply freshening up the old cabinets, is the way to go, you’ll have to decide whether you want stock or custom cabinets, what finish you want, what hardware will look best, and of course, which is the right cabinet wood. Here is an in-depth look at some of the cabinet wood available to you to choose from.


Cherry wood can come in a whole range of colors from a tan blonde to a very deep reddish-brown. The color may actually change as the wood ages especially when it is exposed to high levels of natural light. This type of wood typically has a smooth grain. Choose this cabinet wood if you’re looking for a refined appearance or trying to warm a room up.

Maple wood can bring a lot of character to cabinetry. It comes in a variety of colors from cream to a soft reddish brown. This cabinet wood can be finished to resemble other, more expensive woods such as cherry. It’s grain may be straight, wavy, or curly; however, maple typically has a nice smooth and uniform appearance.

Oak wood is a hard wood with a strong appearance. It typically has a strong (visible) grain and ranges in color from salmon pink to a sort of burnt cinnamon. Oak may also display many natural characteristics such as worm holes and mineral streaks. While oak can be finished to resemble other styles, it is a great cabinet option when looking for a country or rustic look.

Hickory wood is one of the hardest and heaviest woods. It is known to have random streaking which can be great accents for cabinets. Hickory wood can be any color from cream to a brown so dark it nearly appears black.

Birch wood is smooth with straight, wavy, or curly grain. Typically, it is light in color but may appear any shade from cream to tan blonde to yellow.

When you go with a wood cabinet such as the woods mentioned above you may encounter a variety of natural characteristics in your cabinets such as:

  • Bird pecks - small marks in the grain caused by (you guessed it) birds.
  • Burls - swirls or twists in the grain.
  • Heartwood - mature, typically darker wood.
  • Mineral streaks - streaks of color in the wood that are any shade from olive to a black-brown.
  • Sapwood - younger, lighter colored parts of wood.
  • Sound knots - solid knots.
  • Sugar tracks - yellow or brown streaks in the wood.
  • Unsound knots - circular areas that once formed the base of a branch.
  • Wormholes - holes in the wood.
Stone Statements March 1st, 2016 | Posted In: Design

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