You're In Luck...The cabinet stain can carry the ball. For instance, even ordinary oak cabinets can be stained to a dark, rich mahogany wood-like appearance. As noted earlier, colors behave differently with different kind of woods--but you can leave that in the hands of your cabinet manufacturer. An espresso finish on maple looks much like an espresso finish on birch.
Cabinet Stains and Wood SelectionHowever, as you progress to lighter cabinet stains, the selection of wood is crucial. A strongly patterned wood like hickory is much different from the creamier maple in these lighter finishes. So, this is where wood selection comes into play.
It's fair to note that even in the dark finishes, the characteristic streaks and burls of hickory will show through to some extent. Armstrong Cabinets has an excellent comparison of the different types of woods available for new kitchen cabinets (link referenced below).
Types of Wood for New Kitchen CabinetsSome popular types of wood are:
- Oak - a reddish wood with an open grain.
- Cherry - a multi-colored hardwood with many specks and curls and gum pockets.
- Maple - a uniform, softly highlighted wood.
- Hickory - the most eye-popping wood in its natural state, hickory is a cacophony of dark streaks and dots.
- Birch - a hardwood with strong vertical stripes.
- MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) - engineered wood unsuitable for kitchen cabinets in its natural state, MDF is always covered with some type of veneer such as thermofoil.