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Weighing Wood Choices for Cabinets

by Jessica Santina

For the average kitchen remodel, cabinets comprise at least half of the total cost. If you've opted for wood cabinets--particularly solid wood--that could even be more. The benefit, however, is easy to find in the gorgeous appearance and durability wood cabintes provide.

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But which wood should you choose for your cabinets?

Light Woods for Kitchen Cabinets

Popular light woods include:

  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Birch
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Elm
  • Chestnut
  • Hickory

Alder is also a unique light wood that ranges in color from pale pinkish-brown to almost white, which can be stunning in a kitchen. Home furnishings forecasters say that rustic furniture and cabinetry is in for 2010, which means that woods with a more handcrafted, country look, like oak, pine, and hickory are popular. Fortunately, these woods are all comparably affordable.

Maple, oak, and hickory are all really durable and classic, and hickory and pine have unpredictable graining that offers a unique, rustic look that's affordable. Lighter woods tend to go with any paint or appliance color; however, if you prefer a darker appearance, you can always stain them, and protective sealant can enhance the durability of a less pricey wood.

Richly Colored Wood Cabinets

These include cherry, with a reddish yet versatile color, or more expensive offerings like butternut, rosewood, or teak. Such wood species offer warmth that complements both modern or traditional decor. These woods tend to be a bit more expensive than light woods.

Dark Woods

These include ebony and walnut, which may range from dark brown to purplish black. Dark woods often make a kitchen look more upscale and contemporary, but they can also be warmed up with lighter, softer paints and accessories. They tend to cost the most. Dark colors can also mask imperfect graining in a lesser quality wood.

About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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