How to Select a Wood Type for Kitchen Cabinets

wood type


The average kitchen will contain between 10 and 20 cabinets — so it’s no wonder that cabinet doors are the most visible surface in your kitchen. Placed squarely at eye-level, cabinets are immediately visible, and contribute the most to the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

There are a multitude of options when considering materials for kitchen cabinet doors. Metal, laminate, and glass are popular choices, but natural hardwood cabinetry offers warmth, durability, and classic beauty that never goes out of style.

Marsh Kitchen & Bath offers a wide range of natural hardwood options in the most popular wood styles. Selecting between them is simply a matter of personal preference. When considering your cabinet wood options, take into account each wood’s characteristic grain pattern, color, and hardness to find the wood species that is right for your kitchen.

Oak — A Hardworking Hardwood

Oak is by a wide margin the most popular wood choice for kitchen cabinets, and because materials are so widely available, this is also an economical option for budget-conscious consumers.

Oak has a distinctive and traditional open wood grain is highly valued among oak enthusiasts and is highly visible, even when stained. Natural oak pattern may range from tight and controlled to coarse and ranging. Oak has a warm, rich hue that may range from red-brown to honey or yellow.

Oak is an extremely hard wood and is very durable. It takes well to stain and is well suited to traditional, casual, or rustic looks.

Cherry — The Elegant Hardwood

Prized for its beauty, resiliency, and strength, cherry is an elegant hardwood that is a stunning addition to any kitchen.

Like oak, cherry is known for its strength and beauty. Displaying a prominent, even grain pattern, cherry wood is uniformly textured and ranges in color from light to dark reddish brown.

Because it is less common than oak, cherry can be a bit more expensive — but consumers don’t choose this hardwood for its cost. Cherry is well known for developing a rich and lustrous natural red patina as it ages and is exposed to light.

Maple — The Adaptable Hardwood

Maple is a dense, adaptable hardwood that is an excellent and versatile option for any kitchen. With mild grain patterns and subtle coloring, maple can be adapted to a variety of kitchen designs and themes.

Maple’s natural color ranges from creamy white to honey yellow or light brown. Maple takes stain well and, like cherry, also develops a natural (although subdued) patina as it ages. Maple is also a characteristic wood that can include wood variations such as tiny “bird’s eye” dots or mineral streaks.

Maple is a hardy wood that is widely available and presents buyers a durable, versatile option for any kitchen.

Birch — The Chameleon

Birch is a straight-grained hardwood with a fine, even texture and subtle grain pattern. Resembling maple, birch is a similar but less costly alternative with comparable strength, color, and texture.

Because of their strong resemblance, birch is often used interchangeably for maple at a fraction of the cost.

In its natural state, birch ranges from a creamy white to light yellow or reddish brown and can be stained or finished nearly any way with good results.

Need more help?

Marsh Kitchen & Bath's experienced kitchen designers have years of experience in total kitchen design and can help you select the right wood for your use, style, and budget. Contact an experienced designer today or visit one of our five locations in North Carolina.