Discover wood species: How to choose the perfect wood for your furniture

Holzarten entdecken: Wie du das perfekte Material für deine Möbel auswählst

Which wood is right for furniture

Are you looking for new furniture for your home? Then you need to know about the different types of wood. They not only determine the look of your furniture, but also its quality and durability. In this article, you'll learn how to identify different types of wood, which ones are best for furniture making, and which ones will best suit your personal tastes.

How to identify different types of wood

The variety of wood species is impressive, and each has its own characteristics. If you want to know what type of wood a piece of furniture is made of, there are a few clues you can look for.

Color: Each type of wood has its own range of colors, from creamy white to dark brown. The color also depends on the part of the tree the wood comes from. You can use dark parts from the heartwood or lighter parts from the outer part of the tree (sapwood). The furniture oil or glaze also affects the color. Natural oil, for example, will make the original color a little darker. Light oils make the wood even lighter, and glazes or stains give the wood a specific color.

Pattern: The texture of the wood is another important distinguishing feature. The wood may have a pronounced grain with visible annual rings, or it may have a finer grain. In some types of wood, knots and branches can be much more visible than in others.

Each piece of wood is unique and different. Within a species there can be differences, especially in grain, but also in color.

Density and hardness: A distinction is made between hardwood and softwood. Softwood is easier to shape and work and is also a little lighter than hardwood. This does not mean that softwood furniture is not durable. With good workmanship, it is possible to make quality furniture from softwood. An example of this is pine. It has been used to make furniture for centuries.

For reference, here is a table of the most commonly used types of furniture wood. We are only talking about European woods, because the similar American and Canadian species differ in color and grain from the European ones.

Types of wood in comparison

Type of wood Color Sapwood Color Heartwood Pattern Hard/Soft
Oak Light brown Brown Subtle grain Very hard
Ash Light brown with a whitish tone Light brown with a yellowish tone Medium grain with strongly marked annual rings Hard
Beech Light brown with a reddish tone Brown with a reddish tone Even and subtle grain Very hard
Pine White with a slightly yellowish tone Light brown with a reddish tone Distinct grain with darker annual rings Soft
Maple Creamy white Creamy white Even and subtle grain Hard
Birch Creamy white, old wood gets yellowish tinge Creamy white, old wood gets yellowish tinge Subtle grain with slightly noticeable annual rings Hard
Walnut Dark brown Dark brown Clear very dark grain Hard

What is solid wood?

Solid wood or solid timber refers to wood products made from a single species of wood with minimal mechanical or chemical processing. Solid wood is therefore wood in its natural form, as opposed to engineered wood or composites, which are made up of multiple layers or particles. At ekomia, we use solid wood with a low formaldehyde-free glue content of less than 1%.

Unlike panel materials such as particleboard, solid wood lasts longer, is easier to repair and has a natural beauty.

When is wood sustainable?

Sustainable wood is characterized by its environmentally friendly production and positive impact on the environment. Unlike unsustainable wood, sustainable wood comes from ecologically managed forests, where strict rules and practices are in place to protect nature and conserve biodiversity.

Using sustainable wood has several benefits. First, it helps conserve forests by ensuring that only as much wood is harvested as can grow back. This reduces deforestation and protects the natural habitats of animals and plants.

Sustainable wood products are also produced with social aspects in mind. This means that fairly paid workers and fair working conditions are ensured during production.

Sustainable wood also offers health benefits for you and your family. Because it comes from natural, sustainable sources, it contains no harmful chemicals or pesticides that could contaminate your indoor air. This makes it a safe choice for furniture, especially for areas such as bedrooms or children's rooms where a healthy indoor environment is especially important.

So by choosing sustainable wood, you can not only add an aesthetically pleasing piece of furniture to your home, but also make an active contribution to protecting the environment and creating a healthy living environment. It's a conscious choice that increases the value and quality of your furniture while promoting a sustainable future.

Overview of the types of wood we use at ekomia

There are many different types of wood that are used to make furniture. Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics and offers different aesthetic possibilities. At ekomia we use five different types of wood. Here is an overview:


Pine nature vs white glaze

Pine wood is known for its natural beauty and warm appearance. It has a very light color with a distinctive grain. However, it darkens considerably over the time, which gives the wood a rustic charm. Pine is a soft, relatively inexpensive solid wood. It's lightweight yet sturdy, making it a popular choice for furniture, especially country style. We use an ecological white glaze with pine because, unlike hardwoods, pine absorbs color pigments well. We used pine to develop our Scandinavia collection with white furniture in a purist Scandinavian style.



Oak is one of the most common types of wood and is valued for its strength and durability. Oak has a light to dark brown color with a fine grain and few, small knots. When freshly cut, it is noticeably lighter in color, which can be maintained with a light furniture oil. Oak is the basis for our Cosmic Collection, a perfect combination of wood and metal.

Wild Oak

Wild Oak

Wild oak (or knotty oak), also known as rustic oak, displays a lively grain with knotholes and natural features. When grading wood, wild oak tends to have darker parts selected. Dark color and distinctive grain give the wood a rustic and authentic character. Wild oak is used to make our Berlin collection.



The wood of ash is characterized by a light, yellowish color and a fine grain, which make it ideal for processing into beige furniture. It is a medium hard wood with pronounced elasticity. From ash we have made our Northern Island collection. The special features of this collection are the delicate beige color and the fronts in wave shape.



Beech wood is known for its warm, reddish color and even, fine grain. It is a hard wood with high density and durability. It has good value for money as it is one of the most affordable hardwoods.

Beech heartwood

Core Beech

Beech heartwood refers to the darker core wood of the tree. It features a more intense color and distinctive grain. Beech furniture is timeless and fits a variety of interior styles, from classic to modern. We use beech and heartwood beech for tables and table tops.



Walnut wood is known for its dark, refined look. It has a rich brown color with an eye-catching grain and often features natural characteristics such as swirls and color variations. Walnut adds a touch of elegance and luxury to furniture and is significantly more expensive than other wood species. We use walnut for tables and table tops.


Each of these wood species has its own merits and suits different tastes and styles. If you know the characteristics of the different types of wood, you can make the perfect choice for your furniture and create a cozy and appealing home.

If you own a piece of solid wood furniture that has gotten unsightly scratches or stains over time, we recommend our article with practical tips on how to care for solid wood.

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