Guide to Furniture Wood Types

Solid wood furniture is made from wood that falls into two categories: softwood and hardwood. These descriptions refer to the type of tree the wood comes from. Softwoods are typically less dense and lighter weight than hardwoods, though that’s not always the case. Furniture made from both types of wood tends to last longer than furniture made with engineered woods, and solid wood furniture can be refinished once it starts to show its age.

Rustic Dining Tables McKinney Guide to Wood Types

You can see examples of our solid wood furniture and the different woods on our website, or you can come check it out in person. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our design center.


The term “softwood” means that the wood comes from a coniferous tree. It doesn’t describe how sturdy the wood is – softwoods can be just as durable as hardwoods. Examples of softwoods include cedar, redwood, fir, and different varieties of pine. They are generally less expensive and easier to work with than hardwoods, but not always.

Rustic + Modern works with white pine and “rustic” pine. They’re the same wood, but the rustic pine still has the rough texture and saw marks. We lightly sand it to prevent splinters and the wood retains an unfinished look similar to reclaimed wood. Pine is a popular choice for barn doors, tables, and other furniture. It takes stain well, which gives you a variety of options for the finished color.


Woods described as “hardwood” come from deciduous trees. These woods can be either lightweight or more solid and heavy. Both are used for furniture. Examples of hardwoods include alder, beech, cherry, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut. Hardwoods make sturdy furniture and offer a variety of colors, textures, and grain patterns, but they’re generally more expensive than softwoods.

For most of our tables, our knotty alder is priced the same or only slightly more expensive than white pine. Clear alder, hard maple, red oak, hickory, and black walnut command a higher price point. These hardwoods offer a denser wood than most softwoods and have a striking wood-grain that makes each furniture piece uniquely attractive. Softwoods do show wood-grain, but it’s not as pronounced as the grain on hardwoods.


You can further customize your furniture choices with different finishes. Choose from Special Walnut, Dark Walnut, and Ebony stain for most woods, or go with a Natural finish. Try checking out what our woods look like with different stains if you aren’t sure what color to choose. The only woods we don’t stain are hickory and black walnut. Instead, we enhance the natural coloring and wood grain with multiple coats of a clear, high-quality finish. For customers who want to to stain and/or finish their tables themselves, we do offer unfinished tables. If you go with this option, subtract $150 from the total quoted on the website.

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