What Wood to Use for Cabinets: Ultimate Guide

What Wood to Use for Cabinets

When building cabinets, choose hardwoods like oak or hickory for durability and high-traffic kitchens. These woods provide excellent strength and longevity.

Are you planning to revamp your kitchen with new cabinets? Cabinets can significantly transform the look and feel of your kitchen, and the type of wood you choose plays a crucial role in the overall aesthetic and functionality of your cabinets.

Whether you prefer a classic, timeless look or a more modern, sleek appearance, the type of wood you select can make a substantial difference. Read on to discover the best wood options to consider for your cabinets, ensuring you make the right choice for your kitchen renovation project.

Types Of Wood For Cabinets

For durable kitchen cabinets, opt for hardwoods like oak and hickory, ideal for high-traffic areas. Choosing the right wood, such as solid oak, cherry, or maple, ensures quality and longevity for your cabinet project. Hardwood plywood and MDF are popular choices for engineered wood products in cabinet construction.


Oak and hickory are some of the most durable options for kitchen cabinets, making them ideal for high-traffic areas. Their longevity and strength make them a popular choice among homeowners. These hardwoods add a elegant and timeless look to the cabinets that enhances the overall aesthetics of the kitchen.


When it comes to building cabinets, hardwood plywood is a popular choice among tradespeople. It offers durability, stability, and resistance to warping. Birch plywood, in particular, is commonly used for its smooth surface and strength, making it suitable for cabinet doors and shelves. The versatility of plywood makes it a practical and cost-effective option for cabinet construction.

Mdf And Particle Board

For cabinet construction, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and particle board are preferred for their consistency and smooth finish. These engineered wood products are advantageous due to their stability, affordability, and ease of customization. They are commonly used for cabinet carcasses and shelves, providing a high-quality and cost-efficient option for cabinets.

What Wood to Use for Cabinets

Best Wood Species For Cabinets

When it comes to choosing the right wood for your cabinets, selecting the best wood species can make a significant difference in the overall look and durability of your cabinetry. Each wood species has its unique characteristics and benefits that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your cabinets.

Solid Oak

Oak is a popular choice for cabinets due to its durability and timeless beauty. The grain patterns in oak wood add a touch of elegance to any kitchen space.


Beech wood is known for its sturdiness and uniform texture, making it an excellent choice for cabinets that require a smooth finish.


Cherry wood boasts a rich color and fine grain that adds warmth to any cabinet design. It is a preferred choice for creating a classic and sophisticated look.


Maple wood is valued for its durability and versatility in cabinetry. Its light color and fine texture make it a popular option for a wide range of cabinet styles.


Walnut wood offers a deep, rich color and distinctive grain pattern that can bring a luxurious feel to your cabinets. It is a prized choice for creating a statement piece in any kitchen.

Pine And Poplar

Pine and poplar are affordable options for cabinets, with pine offering a rustic charm and poplar providing a smooth, paintable surface for customized finishes.

Advantages Of Different Wood Species

Hardwoods like oak and hickory are the best choice for durable kitchen cabinets, especially in high-traffic areas.

Wood species like cherry and maple offer beautiful grains and natural colors that enhance the visual appeal of cabinets.

While hardwoods like mahogany tend to be pricier, options like pine and birch provide a budget-friendly yet attractive alternative for cabinets.

Choosing the right wood species for your cabinets is crucial as each type offers unique benefits in terms of durability, aesthetics, and cost.


Hardwoods like oak and hickory are renowned for their durability, making them ideal for long-lasting cabinets.


Wood species such as cherry and maple offer visually appealing grains and colors that enhance the overall look of cabinets.


While hardwoods like mahogany may be pricier, options like pine and birch provide cost-effective yet attractive choices for cabinets.

Wood For Painted Cabinets

When choosing wood for painted cabinets, it’s important to consider durability and finish. Opt for hardwoods like oak and hickory for high-traffic kitchens, while birch plywood is a popular choice due to its smooth surface and paint adhesion. Hardwood plywood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) are also durable options for built-in cabinets and furniture.

Painted cabinets are a popular choice for adding a fresh and modern look to any kitchen. When it comes to choosing the right wood for painted cabinets, there are several options to consider. Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics and benefits, so it’s important to understand the differences before making a decision. Let’s explore some of the best choices for painted cabinets:


Birch is a durable and strong wood that is an excellent choice for painted cabinets. It has a smooth and even grain, making it a great option for achieving a consistent and uniform finish. Birch is also known for its ability to hold paint well, resulting in a high-quality, long-lasting cabinet.


Maple is another popular choice for painted cabinets due to its smooth and sleek surface. It has a tight grain pattern and a light color, making it an ideal canvas for various paint colors and finishes. Maple cabinets provide a clean and modern look that can complement any kitchen style.


MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, is an engineered wood product that is commonly used for painted cabinets. It offers a smooth and uniform surface that is perfect for achieving a flawless painted finish. MDF is also known for its stability and resistance to warping, making it a reliable choice for painted cabinets.


Poplar is a lightweight and affordable wood that is often used for painted cabinets. It has a straight and uniform grain, making it easy to paint and finish. Poplar cabinets are a cost-effective option for achieving a customized look with a painted finish.


Oak is a strong and durable hardwood that can be used for painted cabinets. While oak is often associated with natural finishes, it can also be painted to achieve a unique look. Keep in mind that the wood’s prominent grain may show through lighter paint colors, adding a rustic charm to the cabinets.

Whether you choose birch, maple, MDF, poplar, or oak for your painted cabinets, each type of wood offers its own distinct advantages. Consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve and the level of durability and maintenance you require when selecting the best wood for your painted cabinets.

Choosing The Right Wood For Cabinet Doors

Choosing the right wood for cabinet doors is crucial for durability and aesthetics. Hardwoods like oak and hickory are ideal choices due to their durability, making them perfect for high-traffic kitchens. Other popular options include birch, maple, and walnut for their quality and versatility.

When it comes to choosing the right wood for your cabinet doors, it’s essential to consider both durability and aesthetic appeal. The type of wood you select can significantly impact the overall look and functionality of your cabinets. In this section, we will explore some popular wood options for cabinet doors and discuss their unique characteristics.

Baltic Birch

Baltic Birch is a favorite among cabinet makers due to its exceptional strength and stability. It is known for its smooth, uniform surface and minimal defects. The multi-ply construction of Baltic Birch makes it highly resistant to warping, making it an excellent choice for cabinet doors that need to withstand the test of time.

Red Oak

Red Oak is a classic choice for cabinet doors, known for its durability and distinct grain pattern. It offers a warm and inviting look that complements a wide range of kitchen styles. Red Oak is also a highly versatile wood, making it easy to work with for cabinet makers. Its natural resistance to moisture and durability make it suitable for busy kitchens.


Poplar is a popular choice for those looking for an affordable yet attractive wood option for cabinet doors. It has a smooth texture and a light creamy color that can be easily stained or painted to match any kitchen decor. Poplar is also known for its stability and resistance to warping, making it an ideal choice for cabinet doors.

White Pine

White Pine is a softwood known for its pale color and straight grain. While it may not be as durable as some other hardwood options, White Pine offers a unique rustic charm that adds character to any kitchen. It is a budget-friendly choice and can be easily customized with different finishes.

Soft Maple

Soft Maple is another popular choice for cabinet doors due to its durability and affordability. It has a light color with subtle grain patterns that give it a timeless look. Soft Maple is easy to work with and takes finishes well, allowing you to achieve the desired aesthetic for your cabinet doors.

When selecting the right wood for your cabinet doors, it’s important to consider your budget, style preferences, and the level of durability required. Each wood option discussed above has its unique characteristics that can enhance the overall look and functionality of your cabinets. Consider consulting with a professional cabinet maker to determine the best wood choice for your specific needs.

Common Wood Choices For DIY Cabinets

When selecting wood for DIY cabinets, options like oak, hickory, birch, and maple are durable and ideal for high-traffic kitchens. Other choices include pine, poplar, and MDF for more budget-friendly options. Find the best wood species for your painted cabinets at Deslaurier Custom Cabinets.

When it comes to building your own cabinets, choosing the right wood is crucial. The type of wood you use will not only affect the overall aesthetic of your cabinets but also their durability and functionality. In this section, we will explore the common wood choices for DIY cabinets, focusing on plywood and birch plywood.


Plywood is a popular choice for cabinet construction due to its affordability and versatility. It is made by layering thin sheets of wood veneer together, with each layer alternating in grain direction. This construction method gives plywood excellent strength and stability, making it ideal for cabinet carcasses and shelving.

When selecting plywood for your DIY cabinets, it is important to consider its grade. There are different grades available, ranging from A to D, with A being the highest quality and D being the lowest. Higher-grade plywood has fewer defects and a smoother finish, but it also comes with a higher price tag.

In addition to grade, you should also pay attention to the type of plywood. There are different types such as paint-grade plywood, which is specifically designed for painting, and cabinet plywood, which has a smoother finish suitable for visible cabinet surfaces like doors and drawer fronts.

Birch Plywood

Birch plywood is a specific type of plywood that is known for its attractive appearance and durability. It is made from birch trees and has a light-colored, uniform grain pattern that adds a natural warmth to cabinets. Birch plywood is often used for both the interior and exterior surfaces of cabinets, providing a consistent and cohesive look.

One of the main advantages of using birch plywood for DIY cabinets is its resistance to moisture and warping. Unlike some other types of wood, birch plywood can withstand humidity and temperature changes, making it suitable for kitchens or bathrooms where moisture levels may be high.

When using birch plywood, it is important to apply a finish to protect the wood and enhance its natural beauty. A clear coat or stain can help bring out the grain and provide additional durability.

In conclusion, when it comes to common wood choices for DIY cabinets, plywood and birch plywood are two excellent options. Plywood offers affordability and versatility, while birch plywood adds an attractive and durable finish to cabinets. Whichever wood you choose, make sure to consider the grade and type of wood to achieve the desired look and longevity for your cabinets.

What Wood to Use for Cabinets

Frequently Asked Questions Of What Wood To Use For Cabinets

Which Wood Is Best For Cabinets?

Hardwoods like oak and hickory are best for durable kitchen cabinets, ideal for high-traffic kitchens. Common high-quality choices include solid oak, beech, cherry, maple, and walnut. Cheaper, less durable options include pine, poplar, or fake wood substitutes like MDF and particle board.

What Type Of Wood Is Used For Built In Cabinets?

Hardwood plywood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) are commonly used for built-in cabinets due to durability and versatility.

What Kind Of Wood Does Cabinets To Go Use?

Cabinets To Go uses hardwoods like oak and hickory, known for durability and ideal for high-traffic kitchens.

What Thickness Of Wood Should I Use For Cabinets?

For cabinets, use wood with a thickness of ¾ inches for frameless cabinets and ½ inches for cabinet backs. Hardwoods like oak, hickory, and maple are ideal for durability. Avoid cheaper options like pine or poplar.


Selecting the right wood for your cabinets is crucial for their longevity and aesthetic appeal. Hardwoods like oak, hickory, cherry, maple, and walnut are excellent choices for their durability and natural beauty. On the other hand, engineered wood products such as birch plywood and medium-density fiberboard offer practical advantages.

Consider your specific needs and style preferences to make the best choice for your kitchen cabinets.

Md Meraj

This is Meraj. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Wood Working Advisor is a blog where I share wood working tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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