Which Wood Would You Pick?

Wood cabinets are the classic “go to” for kitchens. Each wood type has slight variations in the grain (knots, patterns and markings in the wood). Deciding what type of wood is best for your kitchen renovation depends on the overall look and durability requirements you anticipate for your project. Here’s a quick overview of what we see at AKB!

Painted maple kitchens are the most popular choice. Maple is hard and heavy with a smooth texture and a uniform grain that is very easy to paint. Maple is also a relatively versatile type of wood, allowing it to fit in amongst many different styles of home decor.

Cherry is geared toward the traditionalists. Durable and longwearing, it is known for its’ naturally rich and luxurious dark color, but can vary between deep yellow and pale red. Cherry is very sensitive to light so you can expect cabinets to darken with age. Cherry cabinets tend to be on the pricier side but seldom chip or dent.

Hickory wood cabinets are an affordable counterpart to cherry wood yet produce a rustic aesthetic. Hickory is hard and heavy and shows extreme color variation. Its’ unique two-toned appearance is made up of natural streaks of lighter white, and darker reddish wood. Because a stain can’t penetrate the tight grain of this wood and veining can vary in a single cabinet, hickory wood cabinets are typically sealed with a clear finish. 

Poplar is a cost-effective, medium density option with good strength and stability and is particularly suited for dark-stained finishes. Wood is made up of thousands of cells, some large and some small. The large cells collect more pigment and go dark, whereas smaller cells collect less and appear light. So when you stain, you’re actually highlighting the cell structure of a tree. Bottom line, if you’re using poplar, go dark.

Oak is a very hard wood with a straight open grain. It is extremely durable with large open pores that accepts stain very well. The honey colored oak cabinets of the 80’s are out but cool toned oaks are popular today.

Alder is a nice cost effective wood that is also easy to stain. It is susceptible to dents more so than other hardwoods. With its naturally light tone, Alder is a great wood to use for lighter paint colors since it won’t show through.

Walnut cabinets feature graceful grain patterns and warm, sophisticated brown hues. The smooth, fine and general straight wood grain has colors that range from deep chocolate to light reddish-gray brown. We’ve designed many walnut and painted maple cabinetry combinations.

So which wood would you pick? The easiest answer is the best wood for the look you want at the price you can afford. Come see all the options at The Little Yellow House of Big Ideas on  the corner of Lafayette and Euclid Avenues.

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