What type of wood should I have for my kitchen?
The choice is yours, no one type of wood is any better in a kitchen than another. Typically kitchens use Oak, Maple or Beech. Other popular options include Hickory and Alder.
Oak: Oak is a ring porous hardwood. It has a very pronounced, distinctive grain pattern. When stained the effect of the grain is often enhanced. Therefore if you are looking for a kitchen which is very obviously wood, oak is a good choice. Oak is naturally a rich medium or light brown.
Maple: Maple is a diffuse porous hardwood, this means that is has a much more subtle grain pattern which is exaggerated less by stain than oak. The grain has a very smooth appearance. It is the ideal wood to use for semi transparent or opaque lacquers. You would use these when making a kitchen where the wood grain is not the main focal point. However, stained or clear lacquered maple is also beautiful. Maple is pale yellow, sometimes close to white, with a subtle light brown grain pattern.
Beech: Beech is also a diffuse porous hardwood. It has a lot less figure to it than oak but has more than maple. It leaves a nice smooth finish and takes stain well. You would use this wood if oak was a little too obvious for you and maple was too subtle. Beech is naturally a light pink, it has dark pink or brown flecks in it and a dark pink/brown grain pattern.
Hickory: Hickory is a very hard, ring porous hardwood. Therefore it has a distinctive grain pattern like oak although it is a little less pronounced. It takes a smooth finish. Hickory is creamy brown to white in colour and has a slightly darker grain pattern than the surrounding wood.
Alder: Alder is a very soft hardwood. It has a subtle grain to it and takes a finish well. However it is easily dented due to its softness. Alder is a rich red brown naturally and has a slightly darker grain pattern.