If you’re considering new furniture, flooring or cabinetry, it pays to know your woods:
Pine is a yellowish or whitish wood with dark brown knots, often used for rustic appearance in furniture and cabinetry. Pros: It’s low cost, resists warping, takes well to stain and paint, and develops a nice, rustic patina. Cons: The softer wood is prone to scratches and dents.
Cherry has a fine, straight grain ranging in color from reddish brown to blond, often used for carved furniture or Shaker-style tables or cabinets. Pros: Easily shaped and beautiful polished or unstained. Cons: Expensive and may darken with age.
Maple is a white hardwood sometimes tinged red, often used for heavy-use items like dressers and kitchen cabinets. Pros: Affordable and durable. Takes dark stains to mimic pricier woods. Cons: Without proper sealing, stains can look blotchy.
Oak is a swirl-grained hardwood in red and white varieties, often used as flooring or in Arts and Crafts or Mission-style furniture. Pros: Durable and resistant to warping. Cons: Stain can darken and exaggerate grain so it appears two-toned.
Walnut is a straight-grained hardwood that comes in chocolate brown and yellow varieties. Often used for headboards and ornate furniture. Pros: Strong and stable wood with rich coloring. Cons: Expensive and color can vary greatly in a single board.
Source: Real Simple