The Best Wood Species to Use for Kitchen Cabinets

While engineered materials come with various benefits, nothing beats the beauty and appeal of natural wood for kitchen cabinetry. The color variations and grain patterns can give your space more character. Today, a trusted cabinet refacing expert shares some of the best wood species for cabinets. 


A hardwood with significant grain, walnut comes in a variety of colors, from dark brown to creamy white. Experts consider it a premium wood because it’s not as common as other popular species but it’s easy to work with. Since it comes in different colors, walnut can suit traditional, transitional and contemporary spaces. You can go for a dark finish if you prefer a more classic look but a light finish will accentuate walnut’s natural color. 


Maple is a light-colored wood available in various shades, from almost-white to cream. It has a fine, smooth grain. Many prefer this wood species because it’s readily available and beautiful. It looks great in traditional, transitional, contemporary and modern styles. If you want to use maple, consider your door style and other design elements in your kitchen. 

Rift Oak

Rift oak is another wood species you should consider for your kitchen remodeling project. It features a unique linear grain that can be used in both horizontal and vertical applications. In its natural state, rift oak varies from beige to creamy tan. This wood species is quite common but more expensive than regular oak because it involves more milling. It’s commonly used in modern style spaces due to its linear grain and consistent color. Rift oak is typically stained, but any kind of finish will bring out linear grain. 


Cherry is quite common but it can cost more than maple and clear alder. Compared to other hardwoods, cherry is softer. It has a rich grain with irregular small pin knots and pitch marks. This wood species is often correlated with high-end woodworking. With its classic reddish-brown color, it can elevate the look of traditional kitchens. 

Clear Alder

A fairly soft wood, clear alder has a moderately fine, uniform grain. It features colors that range from light tan to reddish-brown. It somewhat resembles cherry but it’s softer, which is great when producing distressed and antiqued finishes. However, clear alder becomes lighter as it ages.

Let’s Start a Conversation!

At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of St. Louis Park, we’re here to help you design and create beautiful and functional spaces. We’re one of the leading kitchen remodel contractors in the area. Call us at (952) 417-9999 or fill out our contact form to discuss your dream kitchen! We work with clients in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Bloomington and many surrounding communities.

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