How to choose the right hardwood for your home furniture

It doesn’t matter whether you are making your own furniture or whether you are buying something that has already been made for you, but it is so important that you choose the right colour of wood. Sure, the furniture that you have in your home right now can help you to decide, but if you have a blank slate to choose from then this can really open up a ton of possibility.

In this blog post we’ll explore how to choose the right wood for your home furniture.

Mid Century Modern Desk

What’s the difference between softwood and hardwood?

First things first.  You might be wondering what is the difference between softwood and hardwood and which should you choose?

Softwood tends to come from evergreen trees or even conifers. They are quick and easy to grow, and this is why there is an abundance of it available on the market.  The wood is workable and a cheaper choice.

Hardwood tends to come from deciduous trees, and they tend to grow much slower.   The wood is less durable and often more dense, but there are exceptions.  Hardwood is often used for higher quality furniture.  It is long lasting.

I don’t know if he’s having me on, but Ben told me that one way to tell the difference is to press my nail tip into the wood.  My nail will leave a dent in softwood, but it won’t make a mark in hardwood.

Now here are some examples of different hardwoods to help you make your decision:



Oak is classed as being hardwood. It is suitable for creating a huge range of furniture, and looks great under varnish. Oak tends to be one of the most requested woods around and the end look is rich and luxurious. It is very strong and the warm colour that it has to offer makes it suitable for almost any home.

We love oak in our home!  We have a rustic oak beam above our fireplace and rustic oak shelves.  Our blinds throughout the downstairs of our home are oak as well as our kitchen worktops.  Our floor is not real oak, but oak effect.  It brings a real natural warmth into our entire home.


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Maple is actually much lighter when compared to other hardwoods. It is often used in chopping boards and even in kitchen utensils because it is incredibly strong, and it offers a much higher level of moisture resistance. The grain pattern does tend to be subtle, but it has a beautiful finish.

It is ideal for furniture as well, but you should only work with it if you are experienced. The reason for this is because it is very expensive, and one wrong cut could cost you a small fortune. If you are not able to make your own furniture then shop instead for some readymade old charm furniture.



Ash is a fantastic wood, and it gives an appearance that is similar to oak, but much lighter in appearance. It is also way cheaper so if budget is an issue then this could be a good contender. The density is lighter and this means that it is not as durable. For this reason, it is often used to make curved furniture. The grain is stunning, and it also has a light and warm finish when it has been oiled. Ash is ideal for tables and it can bring a lot of brightness to a room.



Walnut is a stunning hardwood and it is not as heavy as some of the other woods that are available. It is very hard-wearing, but it is light in weight. The colour is very similar to dark chocolate and it can be hard to make it work in a room that utilises a lot of light colours. That being said, as a stand-alone piece, it really is stunning and when polished it can give a sheen unlike anything else.

My favourite hardwood is definitely oak which I feel blends well with modern homes today.  Of course, choosing the right colour wood for your home and furniture is a personal choice.  Hopefully you’ve learnt something new about the above four hardwoods and will be able to choose the hardwood that is right for you.  There are lots more available and you can explore online for more ideas.

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