How To Choose The Right Wood For Your Kitchen Cabinets

With the many species of wood that are available for kitchen cabinets, it can be difficult to choose the right one to suit your kitchen. However, it is one of the most important choices to make, as it can have a greater effect on the appearance of your cabinets than the paint or stain that you use. Here are the qualities of a few of the most popular wood options for kitchen cabinets to help you make the right choice.


Oak is the wood that is most commonly seen in stock kitchen cabinets. It has several desirable characteristics that make it somewhat of a default option for cabinets, one of the most important being its wide availability. Oak is one of the most durable wood options that you can choose for your cabinets, although there are other types of wood that are lighter but still rival it in durability.

Oak has a beautiful grain full of pinstripes and watery swirls that most homeowners like to showcase, instead of covering it with paint. You will often see oak cabinets that have been stained in natural or honey tones that accentuate the reddish-gold undertones of the wood. Oak is an excellent choice for kitchens that have a traditional or rustic decor style.


Cherry is the wood of choice for homeowners who want cabinets with dark, rich shades of red and brown. The grain of cherry wood is mostly uniform and smooth, but also has occasional irregularities like pin holes or mineral streaks that add visual interest to the wood. Like oak, cherry is a hardwood that is very resistant to dents and dings.

When you are first shopping for cherry cabinet wood, you may notice that the wood is lighter than you expected. Cherry gradually ages and darkens as it is exposed to the sunlight that filters into your kitchen, and the deep reds and chocolatey browns of the wood become more apparent. You will be able to look forward to your kitchen becoming even more beautiful over time if you choose cherry cabinets.


Maple cabinet wood comes in light white and cream colors with the most smooth and uniform grain available. Because of the naturally light coloration of the wood, you can stain it to match any kitchen design style without hiding the beautiful grain of the wood. Maple is less dense than oak and cherry, but is still just as durable. You will often see small, bird's-eye markings in the grain of maple wood that give it a unique character.


Birch is one of the most affordable hardwoods available, but it can be stained to mimic the appearance of more expensive hardwoods very well. This makes birch an excellent choice for homeowners that want a premium-looking kitchen without breaking the bank. The grain of birch wood is less uniform than other woods, and it often contains more pin holes, knots, and small cracks than other types of wood.


Pine is the only softwood that is used in cabinets, and it is somewhat less durable than the hardwoods mentioned above. It is available in white and cream tones that resemble maple, but it is somewhat more yellow in color. Like birch, it is one of the most affordable wood options, and can be stained to resemble much more expensive varieties of wood.

Deciding on a wood for your cabinets can be one of the most satisfying parts of a kitchen remodel. Use this guide to weigh the pros and cons of each wood so that you can be sure you will be satisfied with the final look of your kitchen cabinets.