The Best Wood Type for Home and Office Furniture

Best Wood Type for Home and Office Furniture
Photo by John J. Vickery

Planning to furnish your home with wood furniture is easier said than done. You will most likely end up facing some very important questions yourself, “What will be the best wood type for my furniture? Do I need hardwood or softwood? The answer is all dependent on how deep your pocket and your expected usage is. Hardwood species tend to be more expensive but last longer, even generations. Softer wood is less expensive but will damage more easily. All wood species have different unique appearances.

Below, we enumerate some popular wood types in furniture making with the aim of at least widening your knowledge about wood furniture.

Oak Wood
Red Oak Wood

Oak is an excellent wood type for furniture. It is a tough hardwood, strong, and light-colored. It is the most widely used hardwood typically used for flooring. There are more than 600 varieties of this wood around the world with about 90 of these wood natives in the U.S. This wood type can be grouped into two basic varieties, red and white. Red Oak is the more traditional preference of the two mainly due to its golden-light tone and pink highlights. It is softer than the white variety. White Oak is a great option that stands out among the others because it has a distinct look and offers a true warmth that fits into almost any decor. It is more expensive and harder than red oak. Overall, it is fairly inexpensive.

Mahogany Wood
Mahogany is a beautiful wood. It is very durable and has good workability. This wood is one of the more traditional wood types used in furniture making. It is lighter than some other wood varieties but has the strength of oak. High-end cabinetmakers such as Chippendale and Sheraton use mahogany for their furniture. Often, we think of mahogany as reddish-brown, however, there are lighter colors of this wood. Mahogany can be expensive depending on what kind of mahogany you are talking about. The most desirable varieties are very expensive mahogany sourced from Cuba or the West Indian mahogany. It is very rare and harder and harder to find.

Maple Wood
Maple Wood

This type is among the favorite hardwood choices commonly used in high-end furniture making, flooring, and kitchen accessories. Maple wood generally strong, durable, and quite lovely when well-polished. When properly finished, it will make a gorgeous piece of furniture and wear extremely well. As it ages, the hue will mellow over time into a gorgeous golden patina. This wood type is also often used as kitchen cutting boards since it is naturally non-toxic. Maple is workable with a fine grain and uniform texture. Several grain patterns of these woods are available depending on the variety of maple you want. Moreover, it is less expensive than oak.

Cherry Wood
Easily the most popular, cherry wood is reddish-brown with smooth-grained hardwood from the American Black Cherry fruit tree. It is perhaps the most prized furniture hardwood found in American homes. Cherry wood is famous among wood craftsmen and furniture enthusiasts for its color and aging process. The natural cherry wood changes its colors over time and its colors will change significantly among trees and even between different boards from the same tree.  The most significant characteristic of cheery wood furniture is that it darkens with time thereby giving it a deep rich reddish hue with a lustrous patina look as it continues to age.  These characteristics are what drive most people to love cherry although there are more things to genuinely like cherry wood. The natural cherry wood is quite hard it can resist scratches and dents. Moreover, it bears an even grain and is non-toxic.

Meranti Wood
Meranti wood or Lauan wood is a loose-fitting term that applies to wood species from Southeast Asia. Precisely, the term Lauan has been applied to most commercial lumber found in the Shorea genus, where it is generally used in its native southeast Asia. Although it is likewise commonly called Philippine Mahogany, Meranti/Lauan wood has no relation to what “true” mahogany in the Swietenia and Khaya genera is. This wood species has an abundance variety among the different species; each one with different appearances, working properties, and mechanical strength values. There are five main groupings of these woods: Balau, Dark Red Meranti, Light Red Meranti, Yellow Meranti, and White Meranti. When stained, Red Meranti looks a lot like mahogany wood, while white Meranti, may resemble Cherrywood, of which the result makes a terrific feature to any home.

Cedar Wood
Red Cedar Wood

This type of wood is relatively soft. It is not ideal for indoor furniture; however, it is quite good for outdoor furniture since it is naturally weather-resistant. Cedar is an exceptionally tough wood that bears natural anti-microbial properties, a great choice for outdoor furniture. More often, it is generally used in closets or chest as its aromatic trait repels bugs. Cedars are less costly than some comparable lumbers, such as redwood, but still, it is very expensive. Cedar can be painted or stained to retain its original look over the years. But if you prefer to leave the furniture as it is, it will progressively weather into a beautiful gray or silver shade. This gradual change in color is true to all types of cedar, including the more popular red variety.

Pine Wood
Often, we see the prominent grain and knotty looks darker than the wood itself in rustic cabins and some other furniture. This led us to believe that pine wood is also good for furniture. But contrary to its belief, pinewood is a soft kind of wood that easily damaged! This wood characterizes stiffness and shock resistance though, many still choose pinewood for their furniture depending on its purpose. Pinewood is easier to work with mainly because of its softer nature. It is lighter in color, normally with a creamy-white look, however, certain shades can vary slightly. Several pine kinds of wood types are very whitish in color while others tend toward a yellowish appearance. The light-colored pine wood is easy to stain to achieve almost any color you want, or just use a clear coat to protect the wood while letting the natural light color take its course. Pinewood is fairly inexpensive.