Throughout history, wood has been utilized for many different things; think, the nomads used wood to build tools to hunt and today, we find wood in so many different forms. We use wood for tools and structures, all the way down to the very paper and pencil you use to write with every day. In our world of kitchen and bath design, we use wood as flooring, decorative wall features, countertops, cabinets, and more. There is so much to learn about the various wood species and their different traits? What’s suitable for my design? How do I choose between maple and cherry? Well, you’re in luck, because today we cover these questions and will discuss the some of the many wood species out there!


Cherry is a wood species you’ve probably heard of, and one that we use on occasion. It has a rich reddish-brown color tone, can easily be stained or painted, and it can darken over time when exposed to sunlight. It’s also a hard durable wood with closed, even grains. Cherry was used in many colonial designs.


Maple is the wood species we use by far the most. It’s very versatile, and because it’s light in color tone, almost white, it can easily be stained or painted. It’s also hard and durable, with subtle closed grains. Maybe you’ve seen maple before because it’s commonly used in bowling alleys!


When we use Walnut, it almost feels like a special occasion because walnut has such beautiful qualities! Walnut has various shades of brown shown in its streaks, and it’s hard and durable. It’s a great wood species to utilize if you want to have a statement piece such as a hood, or these tall display cabinets shown below.


Alder is naturally light in color tone and also known to accept stains and other finishes quite well. It also has a straight and even wood grain, giving it a nice texture. Check out some of the various alder samples with different stains below.


What wood species is essentially resistant to decay and rot? Well, teak is! Teak is known to be durable, strong, and has an ease of workability. Its coloring is typically golden to medium brown. Teak is often used in areas with moisture, such as a bench in the shower, or in outdoor cabinetry. See our outdoor kitchen in teak below!


There are many types of ash available, and they are all known to be strong and durable. Typically, in its natural state, ash ranges from light yellow to red and also takes on stain very well. Check out this fun flat cut ash in mercury from Elmwood.

Red Birch

Birch is used in many industries due to its versatility, and you can find birch in cabinetry, furniture, and flooring. Birch is hard and close-grained, and also takes on finishes very well. As the name states, red birch is reddish in color tone.


Bamboo is technically not a wood, rather it is in the grass family! Although cabinets are typically made of some sort of wood, Bamboo is gaining more and more popularity in the cabinetry and flooring industries due to its eco- friendly qualities (it can grow up to three feet a day!). Natural bamboo is pale yellow in color and takes on stain very well.


IPE is an extremely hard and durable wood species. This wood is not suitable for cabinetry, but it can be used in exterior applications, flooring, and countertops. It does vary in color from reddish-brown to yellowish-brown. Here you see IPE being utilized as a butcher block on a kitchen island -it’s a perfect surface to do your chopping!


A versatile wood that has many uses, and is also used in cabinetry! This wood is typically light cream to light brown. It’s also straight grained, with a fine even texture. See poplar wood in the bathroom below!

Rift Cut Oak

Oak is known to be durable, light brown in color, and have an open grain. Rift cut is the method of cutting the oak to allow for the grain to be accentuated. The mid-century modern kitchen below has rift cut oak in its natural color.

Now, the question remains…What WOOD do you choose?