Wood kitchen cabinets come in many varieties, including eco-friendly and affordable wood cabinets. Different wood species and finish choices expand your options. Use these tips and ideas to pick the type of wood cabinets that are right for you.

By Heidi King
June 08, 2015
Shaker Serenity

What's not to love about wood kitchen cabinets? Wood lends a warm contrast to metal, stone, tile, and painted kitchen surfaces. This classic material is also durable, which means it is easier to upgrade than other kitchen cabinet materials. Simply refinish or change out the doors for a completely new look.

Wood Kitchen Cabinets: Must-Knows

If wood kitchen cabinets are on your wish list, consider the following:

  • A few cabinet manufacturers offer solid-wood cabinets, but most of the wood kitchen cabinets available today have plywood-box construction and braces or supports to cut down on cost.
  • Cabinets can be constructed from virtually any type of wood. Oak, maple, and birch are among the most popular. Each species has its own unique color and graining -- an important detail if you want a natural finish. For an eco-friendly edge, look for cabinets made from sustainable woods such as bamboo.
  • Engineered-wood kitchen cabinets are made by laminating thin layers of wood together. A wood veneer is then applied to the outside for a professional finish. This option makes engineered-wood kitchen cabinets more affordable than solid-wood cabinetry.
  • If you like the look of wood kitchen cabinets but don't want to spend a fortune, invest in solid-wood or wood-veneer cabinet doors and facings, but opt for a lower-grade wood or particleboard for the cabinet boxes.

Wood Kitchen Cabinets: Advantages

Wood kitchen cabinets are easy to clean, durable, and available in an array of finishes and styles. They are the cabinets of choice for many kitchens, making options readily available for order or in-stock purchase. If you are working with existing cabinetry, wood cabinets make matching easy for a custom cabinetmaker. Custom-wood cabinetry is also a good choice when you have an unusual design issue to work around. Even stock cabinetry has mix-and-match options, finishes, and features to suit many kitchen design styles, and they're less expensive than custom options.

Wood Kitchen Cabinets: Challenges

Besides expense, installing semicustom or custom wood kitchen cabinets can also involve a wait time. Some cabinetmakers can take up to three months to complete a cabinet project for a standard-size kitchen.

Editor's Tip: Construction is as important as materials. If you want to invest in high-quality wood kitchen cabinets, look for details like dovetail or mortise-and-tenon joinery and solidly mortised hinges. The interior of your cabinets should also be finished with adjustable shelves that are at least 5/8-inch thick to prevent bowing.

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