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The Pros and Cons of Maple vs Oak Furniture

Can you name the most expensive piece of wood furniture ever sold at auction?

The honor goes to the 18th-century Badminton Cabinet, which sold for a cool $36.7 million. The extravagant chest was constructed in Florence and inlaid with amethyst quartz, agate, lapis lazuli, and other precious stones.

Chances are you don’t have $36 million to drop on your living room furnishings. Still, when it comes to maple vs oak furniture, you want to be sure you choose the best wood for your needs and budget.

In this post, we’ll review the pros and cons of oak vs maple so you can make an informed decision. Keep reading for your guide on maple vs oak furniture.

Maple vs Oak for Furniture

Homeowners commonly compare maple vs oak, as both types of hardwood are ideal for household purposes. Some common uses for both types of wood include:

  • cabinets
  • dressers
  • flooring
  • baseboards
  • crown molding
  • door casing
  • stairs

Maple and oak do share some similarities, including weight and durability. However, they are very different in grain patterns and coloring, so much of your decision depends on aesthetics too.

How can you make the best decision for your home? Let’s look at some pros and cons of maple vs oak furniture.

Pros & Cons of Maple

Maple is one of the hardest wood species. This makes it a popular choice for heavy-use items like cabinets and dressers. It comes in both hard maple and soft maple varieties, although even the “soft” maple is quite sturdy.

Pros: Maple is extremely durable and surprisingly affordable. It wears well, so it can take a beating and keep looking great for decades. It’s also naturally non-toxic, which makes it an ideal choice for health-conscious buyers.

Maple takes dark stains well, so it’s often stained to mimic a more expensive type of wood, like mahogany or cherry. If you love the look of those expensive woods but you’re concerned about the environmental impact of harvesting them, stained maple could give you the look you want.

Cons: If maple wood is not properly sealed first, the staining can look blotchy. If you buy maple furniture with the intention of staining it, it’s best to take it to the pros.

Pros & Cons of Oak

Oak is another popular hardwood with a very grainy pattern. It’s fairly inexpensive and most people find the grainy pattern attractive.

There are two main varieties. Red oak ranges from light brown to light red and features a swirling, waterlike pattern. White oak has a tiger-stripe grain that includes yellow flecks and rays. 

Pros: Oak is strong and durable. It’s often cut in a way that makes it resistant to warping, making it ideal for household furnishings. A clear finish is easy to apply and nicely highlights the grain pattern.

Cons: Stained oak can darken and over-exaggerate the grain pattern, making it look two-toned. Unstained or unfinished oak may yellow over time.

What if you buy an antique piece in need of refinishing work? The pros at D C Keeton Home Improvements can bring it back to its original luster. 

What’s the Best Wood for Furniture?

So, in the battle of maple vs oak, which wood comes out on top? Ultimately, the final decision is up to you.

You may not find a Badminton Cabinet to adorn your foyer, but you can find some beautiful wood furniture you’ll cherish for years to come.

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