Types of Wood for Furniture : Guide for Indoor & Outdoor Furniture

Types of Wood for Furniture

For thousands of years, people have used several types of wood for furniture since it’s a trusted long-lasting material that also takes houses to new levels as it continues to offer unmatching style. However, there are too many types of wood, and choosing one from them isn’t easy.

In this guide, we will explore the best type of wood for furniture, from luxurious mahogany to softwood pine. Also, we will learn how to choose the right wood that complements indoor and outdoor furniture.

Types of Wood

There are two main types of wood; hardwood and softwood. It’s a perception of a lot of people that softwood comes from flowering trees, but that’s not quite right! Softwood originates from confiners whereas hardwood hails from flowering ones.

Different Types of Hardwood


People have been using oak for many years, since it is a durable and strong type of wood. It doesn’t matter if oak is old or new, its prominent grain makes the furniture look great. Although it is an expensive wood, it is dense and provides good resistance against stains and scratches.


This heavy, water-resistant wood is perfect for tough jobs like butcher’s blocks and sturdy furniture. Its grain can be straight or swirly, and it takes stain well to look expensive. Often used for durable dining tables and dressers, it’s prized for its strength and endurance. Another light-colored wood with a smooth texture is popular for kitchen cabinets, floors, and furniture, offering versatility in finishes.


Walnut wood is rare and pricey because there’s little around it. Its dark brown colour and fancy grain make it great for fancy furniture. It’s really strong and can have different colours in its grain, like purple streaks. People love using walnut because it looks fancy and is easy to carve and shape by hand.


Cherrywood is a type of wood that is popular for its colour. When it is cut, its colour is pinkish-brown but over the time it gets darker. Though cherrywood is a strong hardwood, but it’s light in weight. Furniture made from it looks classy and it ages like fine wine. Moreover, it is also used to make musical instruments.


Mahogany originates from a Honduran Mahogany tree. It’s luxurious and one of the most beautiful types of wood. It costs more money than any other hardwood such as oak or walnut. It’s reddish-brown in colour and has a straight grain. Besides, craftsmen use endangered mahogany for high-end furniture, musical instruments, and boat building.


Teak is a rare type of wood that is durable and expensive. Its natural resistance against harsh weather such as scorching sun and heavy rain makes it long-lasting. Teak contains a good amount of oil that protects it from pesticides. Its grain is usually straight and occasionally it can be wavy, the colour of the teak is golden to medium brown. Due to all these qualities, teak has set a high standard for outdoor furniture.

Different Types of Softwood


Found in the forests of South America, pine is an inexpensive softwood. It is one of the budget-friendly types of wood. Pine is either pale yellow with red streaks or cream in colour. It is light in weight but it is hard in density that’s why artisans use it for casual or rustic furniture.


Cedar or red cedar is famous for its pleasant and nice smell. It has a hard texture but doesn’t weigh much, people use it in outdoor furniture to keep things safe. It has a good ability to prevent moisture and pests. The colour of cedar is reddish or violet-brown with a straight grain.


Harder than most of the hardwoods, yew is one of the most durable types of wood. It is elastic in nature and it twists a lot. It is soft, has good flexibility, and is moderately heavy. Due to its capability to bend, veneers for high-end furniture are made. The colour of yew heartwood is brown to dark brown and its sapwood is of a tan colour.

Wood Type Chart

Types of Woods and their Uses

  • Oak: Use in crafting solid dining tables, chairs, and cabinets.
  • Maple: Use in making dressing tables, bedroom sets, and dining tables.
  • Walnut: Walnut is used in the making of coffee tables, desks, etc.
  • Cherry: Used in the manufacturing of fine dining room tables and cabinets.
  • Mahogany: It’s used in the manufacturing of luxurious furniture.
  • Teak: Used in the making of fine outdoor furniture and garden benches.
  • Pine: Used in the making of bedroom sets, bookshelves, and other furniture.
  • Cedar: Craftsmen use cedar to create outdoor furniture such as benches etc.
  • Yew: Yew is used for making small boxes, and veneers for high-end furniture.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Any Type of Wood For Furniture

Since there are a lot of types of wood for furniture anyone can get easily confused, therefore remembering these key considerations can assist in making up your mind.


  • Always consider your budget before making any decision. Furniture made from mahogany and walnut are expensive thus if you are looking for an affordable option, maple is the answer.
  • Although some types of wood are expensive, but they are like a one-time investment that keeps producing results so you can choose a strong, durable wood that will cost you less in the future.

Style and Look

  • For a traditional or rustic look furniture, choose either oak or cherrywood, for minimalist spaces walnut and maple are suitable.
  • It’s a good practice to keep in mind that there are a lot of types of patterns and shades of wood so choose one that matches your style and look of furniture.x`
  • Pick a wood that can be easily customized.


  • Before choosing any type of wood for furniture consider durability. For instance; in harsh conditions woods like teak and oak are reliable.
  • Think about how well furniture can handle scratches, dings, and moisture. Hardwoods like cherry and walnut are good at staying strong against wear and tear.
  • Some woods require regular care such as mahogany so if you’re not up for it, then cedar is a suitable option as it doesn’t require much maintenance.

Tips to Maintain Different Types of Wood Materials

General Tips

  • Do regular dusting with a soft hand, use a dry cloth to remove dirt.
  • Using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners can leave a scratch on furniture, thus try
    to avoid it.
  • Place furniture in a cool corner where sunlight doesn’t directly effect it.

Care by Wood Type

  • Hardwoods: To restore shine and protect wood occasionally use good quality wood polish. Teak doesn’t require much maintenance, you can just use oil to keep its shine.
  • Softwood: To restore the quality of pine you can use the mixture of vinegar and water. Cedar naturally has a good resistance against moisture and insects so it requires a little bit of care.


In conclusion, it’s highly recommendable to choose a type of wood that matches your style, and requirements. For outdoor furniture, you can select wood like teak and cedar as it’s durable and strong even in harsh conditions. For indoor furniture, go for high-end wood like oak that represents elegance. Moreover, don’t forget to take care of your furniture to maintain its beauty and life.


Q: What kind of wood should I use for indoor furniture?

A: For indoor furniture maple, walnut and mahogany are good option. You can pick pine too due to its affordability.

Q: What type of wood should be used for outdoor furniture?

A: For outdoor furniture teak and cedar are suitable as it provides durable and withstand harsh conditions.

Q: How to check wood quality?

A: To check the quality of wood look for its strength, durability, colour, texture and grain pattern.