Which Wood for Kitchen Cabinets
Linda Jones
May 9, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We're replacing our kitchen cabinets, and we want to use something we like, that will add resale value. We know we want a light-colored wood, because we love the look of wood and the kitchen is a little dark, and we'll probably be using a dark (likely black granite) countertop.

I want maple, but my husband is afraid it may be being overused these days, so may go out of favor soon. He wants hickory, but I'm afraid it may be a little too busy for some tastes.

We both like both woods, so really it's just a question of what will attract the most buyers in 4 or 5 years. I'd love to hear what you all think.
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Rockin' Fine Finish
Maple won't go out of style and it is the lightest of the bunch I don't know where you are at but cabinets can be regional ask around and see what people are using in your area. For another option look at fir cabinets

May 9, 2013 at 6:45am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Stohlman & Kilner Remodeling Contractors
Hickory is a very nice looking wood! As for cabinets, you are right...can get a little busy. I think Maple is the way to go. It is a clean, contemporary look. If you put the right finish on the cabinets, it won't age too much (yellow). It is pretty easy to design around Maple.

If you do decide to go with Hickory, it does finish quite nicely too! It will go well with dark countertops too. Both are quality woods and will have good resell value. You have to look at the overall design of the kitchen. Yet I'll leave my vote with Maple.

Here are a couple we did (this one...black countertops)
Cabinetry Projects

This one with lighter floors and counters
Basement Renovation in Bethesda
May 9, 2013 at 6:48am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Judy M
I think you'll find some buyers that don't want maple and some that don't want Hickory but i think there is more that attracts buyers than the color of cabinets. A good layout, good lighting ( recessed and undercabinet) and flooring, backsplash and counters that blend nicely with the cabinet chosen. Will your cabinets go to the ceiling? Paying attention to the overall effect of the entire room and how it flows with the rest of the house will attract buyers.

Having said all that some Hickory has busy graining and for that reason I would go with Maple.
May 9, 2013 at 6:56am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
It's interesting that maple can come in so many shades. I'm leaning toward the lighter, less yellow side. And I'm thinking if we don't use hickory for the cabinets, we can use it for the floor--I've seen some beautiful pics of hickory floors. The cabinets will go all the way to the ceilings, which are not particularly high--I'm out of town so can't measure, but I'd guess 9 feet.
May 9, 2013 at 7:09am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
Oh, and I know there are lots of other things to consider, when it comes to resale. Since I'm out of town and can't post a photo, I thought I'd just start with one simple issue. We absolutely will install undercabinet lighting. Where do you purchase it? (I did find a 12-foot tape light at Home Depot that should work.)
May 9, 2013 at 7:13am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
@Rockin' Fine Finish, I love the cabinets in your photo, I'm looking for something similar. Saw a style from Waypoint that has a style down the center for just a touch of extra interest, but the one in your photo is basically what I'm going for. We're on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which is an awkward location. Very few businesses nearby, so will probably be dealing with someone in Salisbury, MD or in Virginia Beach. Waypoint doesn't seem to be available around here, so we'll have to find another brand we like as well.
May 9, 2013 at 7:24am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
My vote is with maple, and I don't think it is overused at all--especially with the popularity of painted cabinets at the moment. So your husband's concern is, I believe, misplaced. I think light maple cabinets are one of the most attractive wood cabinets available.
Riverwoods renovation
Kitchen + Dining spaces
Kitchen
Rhodes Architecture + Light
May 9, 2013 at 7:30am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
@feeny, I agree, painted cabinets are all the rage right now, especially painted white. My husband thinks that since oak is out of style, most people looking for a light color would go for maple, and it will get overused. But he doesn't watch HGTV and I do, and I think it's not being overused at all. So of course I'm loving the reinforcement. :)
May 9, 2013 at 7:50am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
0825sam
One more vote for the light maple. Love the photos feeny posted as well as the second by stohlman. It's such a nice clean look I don't see it going out of style.
May 9, 2013 at 7:53am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Judy M
GO to a lighting store for the undercabinet lights.
May 9, 2013 at 7:56am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Stohlman & Kilner Remodeling Contractors
So it sounds like Maple is the vote! If you have an island, you can do that in a painted look. That looks very attractive. Just depends on the overall style and design. I love the Eastern Shore area. I'm sure you'll find a good fit. If you need a reference, I'll look through my list and see if I know someone in the general area. We are in the DC area.
May 9, 2013 at 11:13am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
Yes, I googled your location and see you're north of Washington. Thanks much for the input and we'd appreciate any recommendations.
May 9, 2013 at 12:03pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
Just curious--why do you recommend a painted island? We were kind of assuming we'd match the cabinets.
May 9, 2013 at 12:04pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
It is very popular these days to do a contrasting island, especially in large kitchens where using one finish can feel monotonous. Personally, I prefer consistency and think the mixed finishes are a fad, but I suspect others will disagree.
May 9, 2013 at 12:09pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Rockin' Fine Finish
You could do a darker stain in the island
May 9, 2013 at 12:20pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
I'm guessing that if we had cabinets on opposite sides of the kitchen, with an island in the middle, a painted island might look better, but our kitchen is completely open on one wall, so no cabinets there. You'll be looking directly at the island and then at the cabinets beyond it, and then there is a smallish L-shape with cabinets on the left end. The fourth wall is beyond the eat-in kitchen on the right end. So I don't think using the same finish on the island would be monotonous.
May 9, 2013 at 1:34pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Braitman Design Studio
The below project is an example of natural alder cabinetry paired with dark grey honed absolute granite countertops.

If you're concerned with using wood which is too busy, natural alder could be a worthwhile alternative to maple. It's a versatile wood which takes a wide range of stains, and can show characteristics such as knots or be completely clear of distinctive markings. It's just as affordable as maple, but because of its grain, it can mimic cherry or other much more expensive woods. It may be appealing to buyers looking for a more natural and (possibly) textured look that isn't too overwhelming. Regarding resale value - I would suggest staying away from hickory because many buyers won’t like the extreme variation in color and grain.


May 9, 2013 at 1:40pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
@Braitman Design Studio, thanks for the idea. We do indeed like the idea of the additional grain in the alder as compared to the maple, and I don't think it would scare away a buyer--just the opposite, as from your photo, it looks very warm and inviting.
May 9, 2013 at 1:45pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Braitman Design Studio
Glad to be of help. I'd love to see how your project turns out! Good luck :)
May 9, 2013 at 3:00pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Linda Jones
We're finally going to be doing the cabinets, in the next few weeks. Have a cabinet consultant coming on Thursday. So I thought I'd bump this discussion to see if anything has changed in trends since last May. Anyone have an opinion of the choice of alder? We'll be choosing a simple Craftsman look, probably with a blue backsplash and a pretty busy granite countertop--I think the ever-present pebbly pattern is boring.
January 5, 2014 at 2:28pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
FINNE Architects
If you like the light wood feel, you cannot go wrong with Northern White Maple. We used this wood for the cabinets at our Fall City project....see attached photo.

January 5, 2014 at 3:23pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
jacquehare
We are building a new home in Missouri. I am using knotty alder with a dark stain. They are beautiful. I am not worried about it being too dark-lots of nature peeking in my windows from outdoors. We have nine foot ceilings in kitchen and cabinets are going all the way to ceiling. Good luck with the remodel.
January 5, 2014 at 3:34pm     
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Needs options for backsplash
I am installing cream cabinets with coffee bean granite...
Island layout help...before it goes in for reals...
I've got a large L shaped island with a 40x84 island...
Landscaping/ Area use Advice sought
Hello Houzzers, Just moved into this house and I've...
Do you sleep with blackout curtains?
Are you enjoying the bright nights? Although the shortest...
© 2014 Houzz Inc.
Houzz® The new way to design your home™