So, you’re finally taking the plunge and updating your old cabinets. Or perhaps you aren’t taking the plunge of updating, but instead are building your dream home and are trying to determine what new wood will warm up the center of your home. Whichever your purpose might be, it’s important to know the options that are available for cabinetry throughout your home.

When starting the weed out process, it’s important to know what kind of look you are going for with your cabinets. If you want something modern, you might want to go with a bamboo veneer
cabinet. However, if you want something warm and classic, cherry might be your best bet. If you
want something that is “style-neutral” for lack of a better term, maybe maple is the wood species
that’s right for you with its variety.

The first step is to determine what type of wood matches your style and hue and go from there.

Also, it’s important to consider what type of wood grain you want. Different types of grains include fine, straight, cross, spiral, wavy, curly and arch.

Here is a list of the most common types of wood for cabinet use:

  • Cherry: Can darken over time, somewhat expensive with pinkish brown hues. Cherry wood has a smooth grain that can be brought out with different stain treatments.
  • Maple: Typically a light, hard wood with a variety of different grain patterns. Because of its variety, maple can be made to resemble other more expensive woods. Maple is very popular because of its variety.
  • Knotty Alder: While its name suggests it, knotty alder creates a casual, woodsy feeling with its many variations in look and often produces cabinets with knots so large they can actually go all the way through the cabinet resulting in a hole. This is ideal for a rustic, woodsy feel. Typically, knotty alder is a light to medium tone wood – depending on how it is stained and finished.
  • Oak: Probably one of the hardest woods on the market, oak is a timeless choice that can be transformed into a modern look with a simple stain change. Oak comes in two main varieties, red and white, and typically has an arch grain pattern.
  • Birch: Known for taking any stain well, birch is also known for having a variety of colors. This can be problematic if the consumer is looking for something uniform. However, this effect creates a casual, cozy feeling while being able to transition into high style.
  • Hickory: Hickory ranges naturally from very light to almost black. Of course, this can be exaggerated with the use of stains. This type of wood species is also known for its straight, rectangular grain.
  • Exotics – (Bamboo, fir, zebrawood, white oak, etc.): Because of the cost and availability of exotic woods, often these cabinets are veneers that are placed onto less expensive woods to create quality, solid wood cabinetry. These are great for creating a contemporary living space, or for the homeowner who wants something unique.

Not to overwhelm, but often what makes a cabinet have a particular style isn’t just the wood – it’s the style of the actual cabinet. Are you looking for a shaker style with straight lines? Or maybe you just want a solid panel with no decorative elements. Or something traditional and timeless? All these things must come into consideration when selecting a wood species and design.