Using wood to make furniture has been around for thousands of years and is still incredibly popular today. Just about any wood can be used to make some form of furniture. However, certain woods are better suited for it. Some are used for durability, and others for their weather and rot resistance. Below, we’ve compiled a list showcasing ten popular kinds of wood used to make furniture.
The 10 Types of Wood for Furniture
There are not many options for wood that can top cedar for its outdoor durability. It has an incredible natural resistance to water, insects, and the sun. Cedar is still prone to physical damage as it is not a very dense wood, but this does not stop it from being used widely for outdoor furniture. Because of its weather resistance, cedar doesn’t need to be finished, so it makes excellent rustic-styled furniture. Perhaps the most iconic thing about cedar is its pleasing and robust aroma.
|Color:||Light pink to reddish-brown|
Nothing quite compares to furniture built with cherry, especially when unstained or colored. It has a beautiful aging process where it goes from a light pink color to a deep reddish-brown over time. It’s no wonder that it is one of America’s most popular woods for wooden furniture. Even the lower-end cuts of cherry wood are popular for flooring or cabinets. Because of its popularity, this wood or furniture made from it is usually expensive.
|Color:||Pale brown to dark brown with dark streaks|
Even though walnut is a domestic hardwood, it’s considered a premium wood and thus has a higher price tag than many other domestic hardwoods. Also, large cuts are not readily available, so it is often used as an accent piece to wooden furniture or for smaller furniture projects. Its beautiful chocolate color and outstanding durability make walnut a prevalent choice among woodworkers.
|Color:||Pale to medium brown|
Like cedar, pine has a pleasant smell but is not as strong. One reason pine is popular for wooden furniture is because of its strength. With proper treatment, pine furniture will last for many years, even outdoors. Also, because pine is widely available in North America, it is much more affordable than most furniture woods. While it doesn’t look extraordinary on its own, pine takes many colors of stain well.
|Color:||White to reddish-brown or yellow|
When birch is used in North American furniture building, yellow birch is the most common. It can be left unstained to darken over time to a nice golden brown naturally. However, it holds a stain nicely as well. As other woods have risen in popularity, birch has taken more of a backseat to furniture building but it’s still common for utility purposes such as shelving or crates due to its decent durability.
|Color:||White to pale brown (often darkened by manufacturers when processed)|
While not technically wood, bamboo is commonly grouped in because of its durability and excellent woodworking properties. It is commonly processed into boards that are used in various woodworking projects. But even in its natural form, it can create unique furniture designs. In addition to its versatility and durability, bamboo is sustainably farmed exceptionally well because of how fast it grows.
|Color:||White with reddish-brown tints|
One of the most widely available hardwoods in North America is maple. Not only is it highly durable, but it also looks fabulous. Woodworkers of all types love using maple for everything from fine furniture to dining tables. It can be left its natural light color or stained. Another great thing about maple is how eco-friendly it is. The trees grow in abundance and are typically sourced locally, so shipping is usually minimal.
|Color:||Medium to dark, reddish-brown|
When many people think of wooden furniture, mahogany comes to mind or something that looks like it. There are many variations of mahogany, and many other species are easily mistaken for mahogany. If you purchase genuine mahogany furniture, you can expect to pay a high premium. Even with its incredible demand, there isn’t the production to match. The lack of production is a primary reason the price is so high and continues to rise.
9. Red Oak
|Color:||Pink to reddish-brown|
Oak was wildly popular in the 1900s. For furniture, it remains one of the most popular wood choices in America. It may not have a unique color, but its unique grain patterns stand out. Another unique thing about oak is that different cuts can have different hues and even slightly different grain patterns—even within the same tree.
Like mahogany has many different pretenders, teak suffers the same fate. Various other species have similar colors and grain patterns to teak and often get passed off as a variation of teak. These knockoffs are usually noticeable by their reduced price. Genuine teak is not rare, but it is one of the most expensive woods on the market today. If you are looking for a solid piece of furniture to last for decades, spending the extra on teak may be a great option.
Pros and Cons of Solid Wood Furniture
The thought of having solid wood furniture may be romantic to some, however, for all the benefits of wooden furniture, there are negatives and things to consider to avoid wasting money.
- Generally, wooden furniture is solid and durable
- The appeal and aesthetics of wooden furniture are often unrivaled
- Wooden furniture can be repaired and restored
- Usually, solid wooden furniture is much more expensive than other options
- Wood needs proper care to be long-lasting
- Wood is vulnerable to moisture and the sun
Whether you are considering wood to make furniture yourself or buying premade furniture, you are investing in a piece that should last for generations. Some wooden furniture can last for over 50 years with proper care, such as oak or walnut. If it’s outdoor furniture, cedar is hands-down one of the best options for long-lasting and relatively low-maintenance wood.
Featured Image Credit: Tr1sha, Shutterstock
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