How to Select the Right Wood for Your Dining Table

As if it isn’t hard enough settling on a design and style for your next dining room table, picking the type of wood you want can be equally as paralyzing. Believe it or not, you’ll get dramatically different looks and durability out of different woods. Here are some thoughts on how to select the right wood for your table, and a few favorite options.

Questions to Ask

When determining what type of wood to use for your dining room table, you want to start with thinking through a few key areas:

  • What look and style are you trying to achieve? Different woods lend themselves better to different styles. Given how different a farmhouse décor is from a modern design, your wood choice should also be different dependent on your style.
  • How durable do you need the table to be? Families with young kids should probably look into a durable hard wood because of the wear and tear that their dining table will take, but couples without kids can probably get away with something a little less durable.
  • How much money do you want to spend? Different types of wood have varying price points, and it isn’t always related to one consistent reason. Some woods are harder to produce and source, while others are high in demand. No matter what your price point, there is a good wood to select from.

With these questions in mind, here are our favorite three selections for your dining table wood.

Favorite Table Top Wood Types


Perhaps the most formal looking of all wood types, cherry is a fantastic wood to choose for your dining room table.

Cherry’s grain pattern is subtle and consistent, blending in nicely with whatever stain you chose.

Cherry wood isn’t as hard as the others on our list like Oak and Walnut, but it is still considered a hard wood and will stand up nicely. Call it a softer hard wood.

If you’re looking to save a little bit of money, opt for a rustic cherry wood. Slightly cheaper and easier to work with, this is still a great choice for wood type.


The hardest wood of the options on our list, Oak table tops are durable and made to last.

This wood has a warmer hue to it, and works really well if you want to warm up a room. No matter what type of stain you put on it, it will retain the warm look and feel.

Oak is a very dense wood that stand up well to dents and dings. If you have kids in the home, this might be a great choice.

Oak retains a bit more of a traditional look and feel to it. If you’re trying to emulate a classic Farmhouse look in your dining area, Oak makes for a great choice.


Walnut fits the bill for the most elegant and bold of all the woods on our list. The grain pattern is extremely rich and robust, and the widely varying color of the wood creates a bold statement.

Walnut is a hard wood, harder than cherry, but not as hard as oak. It will stand up well over time, although it is not impervious to dents or dings.

Walnut truly shines when you find a piece of wood that has varying and undulating color patterns. The grain creates wide changes in dark to light stretches of wood. For many, this rawness is what makes walnut special.

Walnut works great for a more modern and urban look. It is one of the more expensive woods, so be prepared to spend accordingly.

Other Types of Wood

While these three selections provide a nice group of selections for your table top, there are some other popular choices available to you:

  • Maple: A softer hardwood, maple is great for its versatile patterning. You can stain this wood dark or light and it will look good.
  • Hickory: Extremely rustic, hickory is incredibly dense and strong and has a very defined grain pattern.
  • Elm: A harder wood, elm is very sophisticated and a lot less popular, making it a good choice if you want something unique.

Choosing which type of wood you want for your dining table might seem difficult, but it will be a lot easier if you sit down ahead of time and prioritize you wishes.

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