Hardwood furniture stays in style and demand the same way hardwood floors do. From classic to rustic, hardwood furniture can suit the taste of nearly any home furnisher. One of the great things about wood furniture is that it can also be customized. Say you found a piece you really wanted for your space but it wasn’t quite the right color to go with your other furnishings. Just request a custom piece of a different wood species. You may not know many types of wood species off the top of your head, but don’t worry. We’re here today to help you learn some of the most popular types of wood out there!
Softwood v Hardwood
Most people have heard the term “hardwood” or “softwood,” but not as many know what the difference between these two wood types actually is. We’ll start by helping make this distinction.
Hardwood trees are usually deciduous (ones that lose their leaves every year). These trees grow more slowly than softwood trees, and grow more dense as well. This is what makes them “hardwood” and additionally, as the name suggests, the denser wood is favored in furniture because it can stand up to years of use without adverse effects to appearance.
Softwood trees are mostly coniferous. Softwoods grow faster than hardwoods, but as a result they are not as dense. That doesn’t mean that softwood is weak. It holds up well as flooring and decking year after year. However, it does mark more easily than hardwoods, which is why it is not used in fine furniture nearly as often.
Favorites in Furniture
So while softwoods can be just as useful as hardwoods, the latter is normally preferred for furniture. Let’s look at which type of hardwood species’ are most popularly used in furniture. For examples of furniture using some of these hardwoods try visiting a local hardwood furniture retailer near you.
There are different varieties of maple. You may be surprised to know that some are considered hardwood and others are considered softwood. Hardwood maple is what is used in furniture. It usually has a lighter color than softwood maple but can be enhanced to a darker shade with various finishes and stains.
A popular type of maple used for furniture is known as brown maple. Brown maple is also a hardwood. This type of maple in particular is popular in hardwood furniture because of the patterns that can be found in the wood. Often found with swirls or wavy lines, brown maple makes particularly attractive hardwood furniture.
Cherry is another hardwood commonly used in wood furniture. It is a lighter hardwood, which makes it uniquely suited to certain projects. Additionally, it is popular to work with because the wood has some elasticity. Homeowners often enjoy hardwood furniture made from cherry due to the intricate grain patterns characteristic of the wood.
There are different types of elm. All are hardwoods, but within that category there are further differentiators. Some species of elm are known as “soft hardwoods” while others are “hard hardwoods.” The hard species yield some of the toughest wood in furniture. The fine grain makes for furniture that is both sturdy and attractive.
Hickory is one of the hardest woods worked with in furniture crafting, which is why it’s a material usually reserved for experienced craftsmen. Amish furniture makers who use traditional crafting techniques also make beautiful furniture out of hickory. The wood can take on many different shades depending on the stain or finish used.
Oak is a commonly known hardwood and one that is highly popular in furniture. Not only does oak come in a variety of species, but its endurance makes it an excellent choice for fine hardwood furniture. Somewhat easier to work with than hickory, oak will still last for decades, standing up to even daily use.
Of the many oak species, white oak is one of the hardest. White oak is usually straight grained, making uniquely patterned furniture pieces. The hue of the wood can also change depending on how deep within the tree the wood was. It can also be darkened or have the hue altered to better fit with other furnishings by using stains or finishes.
The hardwoods we’ve looked at today at the most popular used in hardwood furniture today. However, there are many different types and varieties of each, making the choices for hardwood furniture nearly endless for those homeowners searching for the perfect piece. It’s out there somewhere, and if you can’t find it, custom options can usually help you get exactly what you want.