What Wood Should You Use When...

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If you are in the market for a new kitchen or just want to spruce up the one you have cabinetry is probably somewhere on your radar. Regardless of what your specific design style is one thing is for sure, the wood species you choose for your cabinets is going to be a key player in delivering the look you desire. 

Let's start at the beginning. A lot of cabinets are made of wood, and there are many species of wood that can be and are utilized in the construction of cabinetry.

Various wood species, like paint, have their own unique undertones as well graining that can really affect the final product. There truly is no "best wood" to use for cabinets, it all comes down to the finished look you are hoping to achieve. Today I am going to talk about a few aesthetics you may have in mind and let you in on the best wood species to help you get there. 

If you want painted cabinets...

If you love a painted cabinet, be it the classic white kitchen or yearn to integrate more color into your world through a selection a bit more radical like red then maple wood is your best bet. Maple wood is ideal for painted cabinetry because it takes paint well and is hard and durable. In addition the graining is not prominent so a clean painted finish is achievable. 

Poplar is another common choice for painted cabinetry. Like maple, poplar's grain will allow for a clean finish and the wood overall paints pretty well.

Aesthetically there is not going to be much of a difference between maple and poplar, but a lot of people feel poplar does not wear as well over time due to the fact that it is a soft wood and can dent easily. 

If you want stained cabinets....

There is just something so warm and elegant about a stained piece of cabinetry.

Stained cabinets can come in many different hues, but do keep in mind even more than the specific stain color you choose, the wood species will significantly determine the final coloring of the cabinet. It is amazing how you can put the exact same stain finish on three different wood species and all of them turn out completely different.  

If a rich brown hue is what you are after walnut is the wood for you. Walnut is just a a great wood with beautiful graining that can be just as enticing with little or no stain as it is when stained up nice and dark. 

Cherry is also a popular option when it comes to stained cabinetry. Cherry has a natural red undertone, so when staining cherry, no matter how dark or how light it will come across more red than walnut. Cherry has nice graining as well which only adds to the beauty and elegance of this wood species. 

Mahogany walnut and cherry has beautiful graining and is another great wood to stain, but this species has a more purple undertone. 

If you Want a Restoration Hardware Vibe...

So, Restoration Hardware makes some beautiful pieces of furniture and many people want to replicate the washed, warm aesthetic in their homes, especially in their kitchens!

For this type of look a multi-step finish is typically necessary in addition to a wood species with interesting or dramatic graining. Oak and Pecan are two wood species that can work nicely to achieve this aesthetic.