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Which Type of Wood is Best for My Furniture?

Not sure how to choose which wood furniture is best for you? You've come to the right place! We’ll help you decide which is the best wood furniture for your home and style. Buying solid wood furniture is an investment that you’ll enjoy for years to come. There are many different types of wood for furniture.

Shop for wood furniture with confidence! Our helpful guide explains the benefits, appearance and characteristics of different types of wood for furniture. Keep reading to find the best wood furniture for your home!

Explore Different Types of Wood Furniture Infographic

Walnut

Walnut is a hard, strong and durable wood for furniture. It carves well and holds its shape for years. This makes it perfect for ornate furniture that requires a high level of craftsmanship. This wood is ideal for investment pieces and furniture you want to stay in your family for generations. Think Amish Heirloom furniture.

In North America, walnut grows from Vermont to the Great Plains and south through Louisiana and Texas. Its color varies from white to dark brown, and it's known for its large burls. Common types include Brazilian walnut, Caribbean walnut, black walnut and North American walnut wood. Walnut’s grain is typically straight, but some waves appear closer to the roots. Walnut is the best wood for furniture that is ornate and requires a lot of detail.

Fun fact: Because of its durable nature, walnut was used to make airplane propellers in World War I.

Maple

Maple is one of the hardest wood types for furniture. It’s often used for heavy-use items like dressers and dining sets, as it can take a beating. Maple is more affordable than other hardwoods. This, combined with its durability, makes it ideal for young families.

Maple is found primarily in the Great Lakes region. Its color ranges from cream to reddish-brown, but it takes dark stains especially well. So, maple wood can easily be stained to resemble more expensive wood like mahogany. Maple wood has a straight, fine grain with occasional bird's-eye or fiddleback patterns. Hard maple usually has a lighter color while soft maple tends to be slightly darker.

Fun fact: Many scholars believe maple was used to build the inner frame of the Trojan horse.

Mahogany

Mahogany is a durable hardwood that’s often used for investment, intricate pieces of furniture. The wood species has a pleasingly fine, straight grain. Because of the trees’ large size, mahogany is produced in large boards. This makes it perfect for focal point furniture. Mahogany has a timeless look and adds warmth to the room. Any mahogany wood furniture will last generations with proper care.

Mahogany is native to Mexico, Central and South America, but it's grown throughout the tropics and Africa. African mahogany has become more popular than South American mahogany. However, antique pieces are most often made of South American mahogany. Its color varies from pale to pink to reddish-brown with a straight grain. Mahogany is the best wood for furniture that is elegant and timeless, especially large pieces like dining tables.

Fun fact: Mahogany is often used in musical instruments, giving the sound a rich, warm tone.

Birch

Birch is an extremely strong and durable hardwood that grows abundantly in North America. The species’ beautiful appearance and blond color make it a great wood type for modern furniture. It has an elegant, clean-lines grain that complements simplistic interior design.

Birch grows in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions and along the Appalachians. Its color ranges from cream to light reddish-brown with a fine grain. The wood’s strong, durable nature makes it great for woodworking and detailed craftsmanship.

Fun fact: Howard Hughes' famous H-4 Hercules aircraft, known as the "Spruce Goose," was actually made of birch.

Oak

Oak is a durable and long-lasting wood type. Because of the trees’ slow growth, the wood is extremely dense, adding to its quality. The wood adapts to a variety of finishes. This makes it ideal for both modern and traditional furniture. It’s also often used for Mission/Arts & Crafts furniture design.

Most oak lumber comes from the eastern and central United States. Many American antiques are constructed of oak wood. Oak furniture will last centuries with proper care. The color ranges from light brown to pinkish-red with a swirling or striped grain. Oak furniture is often known as a scratch- and stain-resistant wood, if properly finished.

Fun fact: The current Oval Office desk is made of oak and was given to President Hayes by Queen Victoria in 1880.

Cherry

Cherry wood is known for its extremely straight and uniform grain. The wood polishes well and has a beautiful finished look. Also known for its popularity use for antique furniture, cherry is last centuries with the proper care. It is considered a prized hardwood among craftsmen. Cherry wood furniture is often an investment that will pay off long-term.

Cherry is found in the eastern United States. Its distinctive color starts as a pinkish-brown and darkens to a deep red with a straight grain and some rippling. Like most wooden furniture pieces, cherry becomes more beautiful as it ages. Cherry is the best wood for furniture that’s designed to last for years and stay in your family.

Fun fact: Contrary to popular belief, George Washington never confessed to cutting down a cherry tree.

Bamboo

Bamboo is known for its eco-friendly nature and beautiful blond coloring. The species is actually a grass, rather than hardwood. Because of this, bamboo grows rapidly. It grows about 10-times faster than hardwoods do. Bamboo also resists swelling and shrinking.

Bamboo grows in every continent except Europe and Antarctica. Its color varies from very light to a warm medium tone, but naturally, it boasts a soft blonde color. Bamboo furniture is versatile for design but is most common in contemporary interior design. Bamboo is the best wood for furniture made for environmentally-conscious families and modern design.

Fun fact: The Tensile strength of an average Bamboo species is 3 times stronger than conventional construction-grade wood.

Pine

Pine is popular with rustic and farmhouse design. It is a lightweight wood, making it great for families that move frequently. Pine is an inexpensive wood and is a good option for those who aren’t quite ready for the investment of other wood types. Pine paints well and painted pine furniture is often used for kids’ rooms because of the fun colors.

Pine is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Its color ranges from white to light brown with yellow or red tones, and it's known for its beautiful knots. The knots are what add character and rustic charm to the finish. Pine wood furniture resists shrinking and swelling, maintaining its shape for years.

Fun fact: The oldest living pine tree in the world is a bristlecone pine that's 5,065 years old.