Types of Wood: A Complete Guide to Choose the Best for Furniture

Types Of Wood

Choose the Best Wood for Furniture

What  wood should you use for your furniture? You are most likely to know that this question isn’t as simple as it seems, especially if you are in the process of furnishing your home. The answer is dependent on expected usage and your budget. The process used to create the piece is another factor – in addition to the quality and wood type used in a furniture – that greatly impacts the quality-level of the wood furniture you are considering. This article hopes to educate you about the kinds of woods used in furniture-making, and how different furniture woods affect quality and price. 

Furniture Woods

The basic raw element used to construct for furniture-construction is wood. Let’s look at the types of wood that are used to make furniture before getting into a discussion about wood quality. 

There are two types of wood used in furniture-making: solid wood, that comprises both softwood and hardwood. And then there’s manufactured wood, wood that is an engineered material that is often a composite of synthetic materials and real wood. 

Solid wood for furniture-making

Wood that comes purely from lumber and is the product of a tree is called solid wood. Hardwood and softwood are its two categories. 

Hardwood for Furniture

Compared to softwood, hardwood is dense. It finds its source in deciduous trees that grow slowly. The wood types used frequently in high-quality wooden furniture belong to the hardwood family. Some of the common hardwoods used in furniture making are: Oak, Hickory, Teak, Maple, Beech, Walnut and Mahogany.

Softwood for Furniture

Softwood generally comes from coniferous trees that grow more quickly, and is less dense than its hardwood cousin. Some of the common softwoods used in furniture making are: Spruce,  Pine and Fur. 

Engineered wood furniture

Engineered or manufactured woods contain various types of wood and are also used in wood furniture making, although they are not solid woods. 

Manufactured wood types: 

  • Plywood: It is made by taking 3-5 slices of thin lumber and combining them with adhesive and is considered the original engineered wood
  • Particleboard: Particleboard, often referred to as fibreboard, is made by breaking down lumber into tiny fibers using a wood chipper and gluing them together with adhesive.

Best Wood for Furniture

Maple Wood Furniture

Best Wood for Furniture
Source: Pexels

Maple is the ideal furniture wood. While there may be various types of maple, almost all of them make for gorgeous furniture, are very durable and wear extremely well. Maple is often used to make kitchen-cutting boards because it is non-toxic. Depending on the type of maple you are interested in, there are several grain patterns available. 

Mahogany Wood Furniture

Wood for Furniture
Source: Pexels

Mahogany, one of the more traditional woods in furniture-making, is a beautiful wood. It has the strength of oak, even though it is lighter in weight than some of the other wood types. There are lighter colours of the wood, even though we think of mahogany as reddish-brown. Genuine mahogany has its source in Latin America and is becoming more and more difficult to find. Therefore, one may find it expensive. 

Oak Wood Furniture

Good Wood for Furniture
Source: Pexels

A very durable wood, oak is usually used for kitchen and flooring furniture. While it may be beautiful, it yellows over time. Red oak, by contrast, is porous and slightly darker. It is also fairly inexpensive and looks beautiful thereby making oak wood, an excellent material for furniture. 

Cherry Wood Furniture

Source: Pixabay

Cherry wood darkens with time, giving it a very rich look as it continues to darken. This is one of the most interesting characteristics of the wood. While most people choose cherry wood for its colour, there also are other things to really like about it. Cherry can be resistant to scratches and dents because it is relatively hard. It is non-toxic and has an even grain. 

Pine Wood Furniture

Source: IStockphoto

Knotty pine is commonly seen in rustic cabins and the like and is naturally assumed to be a good material for furniture. While in reality, it is quite the contrary. Pinewood gets easily damaged because it is a softwood. However, it is fairly inexpensive. 

Cedar Wood Furniture

Source: Pixabay

Cedar wood is not ideal for indoor furniture because it is a relatively soft wood. However it is quite good for outdoor furniture as it is naturally weather-resistant. Cedar’s aromatic quality repels bugs and is a reason why closets made of cedar are quite popular. 

Teak Wood Furniture

Source: Pixabay

Teak is considered as one of the best types of wood to make furniture as it is highly durable and fire-resistant. It is also one of the most expensive woods in India. It does not get affected by  white ants and dry rots, and looks very attractive after polishing. It is found in southern and central India. 

Rose Wood Furniture

Source: Pixabay

This wood type, also known as ‘Indian Rosewood’ or ‘Sheesham’, is close-grained and very tough. It is available in large sizes which can be used to create cabinets or make ornamental carvings. It also maintains its shape. It is found in Karnataka, Orissa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 


Hardwoods undoubtedly, are the best kind of wood variety for furniture. Despite being a product that is becoming harder and harder to source, hardwood furniture has a combination of durability and beauty that cannot be matched by any engineered wood or softwood. Softwoods are not nearly as durable as hardwoods even though they are beautiful. While there may be a wide variety of pretty durable engineered wood out there, the beauty and the natural character  of hardwood cannot currently be emulated by any technological process. The Janka Hardness test, which measures the hardest woods on the planet states that the hardest wood is lignum vitae (Guaiacum sanctum). It has a measurement of 4,500 lbf. on the Janka scale. Choosing the best wood for furniture often incorporates balancing the contrasting factors of wood beauty and wood density. The Red-Maple Leaf is one specific type of hardwood that does an excellent job at both. It is an exotic subset of maple that is used in furniture, has a more exquisite grain pattern and a more vibrant colour than regular maple.

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