There are two major choices you’ll need to make when installing custom wood cabinets in your kitchen. The first is the type of wood; the second is the color of stain or paint applied to your cabinets. But since your choices might be affected by a number of factors, here are a few things to take into consideration when making these decisions:
- Overall Style
The best custom wood cabinets cost quite a bit more than standard prefabricated ones, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. While you can alter the appearance of wood using stain or paint, the type of wood will usually show through, so different types of wood are generally associated with specific design schemes. Here are some popular wood choices you might consider:
- Oak: Oak has a very strong grain that shows through even the darkest stains. For this reason, it’s generally used in country-style designs.
- Cherry: Cherrywood cabinets have a deep reddish coloring that is usually enhanced with a rich stain. This wood is most popular in formal, traditional styles and is combined with decorative panel detailing.
- Birch: Birch is a very light wood, usually used with a natural yellowish stain. Its clean look is well suited to modern or contemporary styles.
- Pine: Pine has a yellowish tone and distinctive knots that show through any stain. It was once very popular, but has become less so in recent years — if you like the look of pine, you’ll need to be careful that your entire kitchen doesn’t look dated.
- Maple: Maple is a very popular medium-colored wood. Its grain isn’t very strong, so it can be stained almost any color (although it tends to take on a yellow tint).
If you’re not sure about a certain stain color, you can always test it out on a small piece of similar wood; stains rarely look the same on the can as they will on your cabinets.
Most cabinets are made of hardwoods that are resistant to scratches or nicks. But some common cabinet woods, such as pine, will get a “distressed” look over time. This is sought after by some people who want a little more character, so it’s entirely up to your personal taste.
- Other Design Elements
When you’re choosing your custom cabinets, you’ll want to make sure they look good with any other design elements in the room. Custom wine racks and cellars can be built into your kitchen design using the same wood as your cabinets, or can be created with contrasting materials. Just be sure you don’t have too many competing elements: Combining custom wooden wine racks, custom wood home bars, custom cabinetry and hardwood floors can be an overwhelming look.
Some woods are considered “premium,” while others are more standard. Prices will depend on the manufacturer, but you’ll likely find that cherry is on the high end, while oak and maple are much more affordable. If you need to trim your budget, ask your cabinetry company whether using a different stain on a lower-priced wood can create a similar effect.
What are some other factors to take into account when choosing custom wood cabinets? Share your advice in the comments.