Material Matters: Choosing The Right Wood For Your Kitchen Cabinets

The doors of your cabinets must stand for both beauty and utility. Most woods might look the same to an untrained eye, but each species has a different grain and color and has the potential to change differently over time. When choosing cabinets for your kitchen, you’ll want to make sure you have the right wood for the job. 

Cabinet doors and drawer fronts are usually made from solid, quality wood (and if they aren’t, you should look elsewhere). The doors and drawers become the face of beauty on the functionality of your cabinets. 

When choosing a wood, you should consider the grain, how well the wood holds stain, the smoothness of the finish, and if the wood has the tendency to change colour as it is exposed to light. 

1. Oak. Oak has a beautiful, prominent grain that shows up well with simple natural finish and looks especially attractive under a dark stain, which brings out the natural design of the wood. However, when exposed to light, natural oak will take on slight orangish tint.

Oak is a more common hardwood option, so it is not as expensive. It must be cured properly, because it does have the tendency to warp and shrink, especially in humid climates, and the finished product may not be as smooth as other woods. 

2. Maple. Maple is the most popular option for cabinetry. It is dense and reliable, and is the cabinet wood of choice for those who prefer a blond, subtle wood tone. Maple will begin to yellow with age, but it holds the color of wood stain very well.

When stained, it leaves a uniform finish, as the grain is not very bold. It has the versatility to be made to look like other more expensive woods. 

3. Cherry. Cherry wood represents a happy medium for hardwoods. It has a noticeable, but still understated wood pattern. It adapts to stain and finish beautifully, and will eventually take on a reddish hue as the wood ages.

Cherry has more naturally occurring imperfections, which add character, but some might consider cherry to be lower quality wood for cabinet making because of holes or natural pith spots. 

4. Pine. Knotty pine is a softwood cabinetry option with tons of character. Pine wood eventually will lose its fresh-cut color, fading more yellowish-grey as it ages, but the knots and lines in the wood make this the perfect option for rustic designs.

5. Alder. Alder is another popular option, especially because it is a softer hardwood that has a smooth finish and reflects deep, rich colors from wood stain.

The finish is almost as uniform as maple, but the softness of the wood allows for carvings and more intricate patterns. Alder is an excellent choice for custom colors and custom cabinet door design.

6. Hickory. Hickory will bring a dramatic flare to your kitchen with its bold pattern of both light and dark wood hues, and strong grain lines. Most cabinet fronts will have a mixture of light and dark, reflecting the true character of the wood.

Hickory has little to no color change over time and is especially hard and durable, so it the most impervious to damages from scratches and dings. 

7. Walnut. Walnut is a more precious hardwood that has a beautiful straight grain. It is very durable, but still remains lightweight and easy to work with. The natural wood hardly fades, as the color is fairly dark in its natural state. Natural walnut can be a more expensive cabinetry option. 

You can learn more about kitchen renovations here.

No matter what kind of wood you choose, you want your kitchen to reflect the potential beauty of the material. Choose the right wood with your needs for colour and hardness in mind, and enjoy a kitchen that has as much beauty as it does utility. 

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