Choosing the right wood for your kitchen cabinets

If you are considering new kitchen cabinets, wood is easily customisable and will become a beautiful feature in your newly designed kitchen. Not only are there a number of stunning choices available, wood is highly durable, so your investment will last for years to come.

It can be difficult to choose the right wood for your kitchen cabinets; this is why we have put together this quick guide which walks you through the different types until you are able to find your favourite.


A strong hardwood which is extremely durable, oak holds its own against stains and scratches. The distinctive, open-grained surface features varying grain patterns which are more noticeable with lighter finishes and are a desirable quality.

Oak ranges in colour from white to pink and reddish. Mineral deposits in the wood may cause streaks of green, yellow and even black to appear. Oak may also contain wormholes.


A lighter, softer wood, Chery is distinguished by a red tinge but can vary in colour from white to a warm, rich brown. Though the surface has a smooth, close-grained, uniformed texture, it can also feature unique, random markings including pin knots and curly graining.

The grain of cherry allows finishes to be applied with ease, though the wood will age with time and exposure to sunlight, darkening the wood. Sapwood shows mineral streaking, fine pinholes and pitch pockets which are highly sought after. Those who choose cherry expect the change in colour and variations.


Maple is a close grained hardwood which is predominantly white/creamy white. You may find the occasional reddish/brown tones within a door panel. This type of wood generally features a subtle, smooth and uniform grain which works well in any finish.

Often found in a chestnut colour, maple’s characteristics include fine brown lines, wavy/curly graining, pecks and mineral streaks. These are inherent traits which enhance the wood’s natural beauty.


Though there are many varieties of birch, yellow birch is the most sought after. Both strong and heavy, birch has a smooth surface with a tight wood grain. The predominant sap wood colour is white – creamy yellow whereas the heartwood varies from medium/dark brown to reddish. Birch can have straight, curly or wavy grain patterns and be stained in order to look like mahogany or walnut.


The most versatile and popular wood for cabinet making, walnut comes in many varieties and is a very strong, hard and durable wood which takes finishes well.  Available in deep chocolate/reddish grey or brown, Walnut features elegant grain patterns which are smooth, fine and straight.

Strips, burls, mottles, crotches, curls and butts are present in walnut and the grain turns wavy towards the root.


A species of hickory wood, pecan varies between blonde, white, or reddish-brown/dark brown. The wood features a close grain without much figure and the dramatic colours are courtesy of the heart and sap wood.

If you would like some further assistance choosing the right wood for your kitchen cabinets, you are welcome to discuss your choice with S Simpson Joinery.