Best Woods for a Dining Table

In most interiors, real wood furniture has always been a staple. It’s also the most commonly material used for making dining tables. Real wood is desirable because of its natural beauty and durability, and the craze of DIY furniture has brought skilled woodworking with natural materials back into popularity. Since the dining table is one of the most commonly used furniture, investing in one made of quality woods is a smart choice. Whatever interior design style you have, wooden dining tables adds a sense of comfort, beauty, and warmth to your home. Once you’ve chosen to create your dining table out of a quality wood piece, you can be sure that it will be enjoyed by your family for a long time.

Since there are so many wood options out there, let us guide you about the types of wood perfect to use as a dining table:

1. Oak
Oak is a dense and hard lumber choice with a deep natural grain you can see and feel. Besides its beauty, oak is also known for its strength. It’s a practical choice for a dining table because it is resistant to dings and dents. Depending on the type of oak a table is made of, real oak has a pink, reddish or green tint – but all of them takes stains and paint easily. Here are the two types of oak commonly used for tables and other furniture:

  • Red Oak – This classic wood type common in North America is perfect for traditional-styled homes. It provides a warm and comfortable feel to any dining room. Red oak has opened grain and an orange-reddish hue, with sapwood ranging from white to light brown. It can easily absorb stains because of its open grain pattern. It also resists wear and its grain helps hide minor dents and imperfections. Besides furniture, red oak is also often used as doors, floors and wall trims.
  • Quarter Sawn White Oak – This type of oak has a more interesting-looking grain than red oak. It has a unique look due to its linear grain pattern with interesting swirls going across the grain. This pattern occurs because the logs are cut up at a 90-degree angle to the three’s growth rings and sawn into building stock, thus the “quarter sawn” white oak name. Because of this occurring pattern in the wood grain, this type of wood is a favorite choice for Mission and Arts and Crafts-styled furniture. The natural variation in color seen in the wood grain can be enhanced by staining. This type of oak is tough and has a high level of wear-resistance.

2. Maple
Maple is a hardwood known for its smooth texture, strength, and durability. It has a silky look and rich color, making it a common choice for bedroom furniture and large cabinets. Maple is resistant to moisture, making it a perfect dining table material. Its grains are tighter than oak, but the unique swirls of the wood grain are equally beautiful. Here are two types of maple commonly used for making furniture:

  • Brown Maple – This variety of maple has smooth and variegated grain that works well for contemporary-style furniture. The grains are characterized by varying streaks in colors of brown, tan, white and cream. To showcase the natural range of grain colors, choose a lighter colored stain. But if you want to blend the colors well, choose a darker stain. Brown maple is one of the softer hardwoods, so it can be prone to denting and scratching with heavy use.
  • Hard maple – Hard maple is one of the sturdiest domestic woods in America. Since it’s “hard” maple, it is very durable. If features a smooth, blonde, minimal grain pattern that makes it great for a contemporary, modern or transitional style interiors. The sapwood wood is creamy white with a golden touch, while the heartwood can vary from light to dark golden brown. A company like Anne Quinn, who are one of the leading furniture producers out of Canada, have some amazing maple tables available. You can purchase their dining tables here.

3. Cherry
Cherry is a popular type of wood used for indoor furniture. It is known to be resistant to decay and prone to dings and dents. It darkens with exposure to light, especially when given a no-stain finish. The two types of cherry woods commonly used as dining tables are:

  • Regular cherry – Common cherry wood is softer and lighter than other hardwoods like oak (this is why it can be prone to dings and dents). But its rich, smooth grain features soft lines and curves with dark outlines that brings an elegant feel of wood to a dining room.
  • Rustic cherry – Rustic cherry has knots and pits along with the beautiful grain pattern with soft lines and curves, which comes naturally with cherry. It offers more casual and rustic elegance.

4. Walnut

Walnut offers a rich chocolate color with hints of gold, gray and black streaks, giving a dining table a sophisticated and luxurious look. Over time, it takes on a lighter color slightly. Walnut looks slim and sleek and offers clean lines and straight cut design. It was always popular and has recently gained more popularity as it is used in a lot of urban types of décor. Due to its beautiful grain pattern with lots of movements and streaks, it makes a statement in contemporary or traditional interiors. In terms of hardness, walnut is harder than brown maple, but not as hard as oak. Take care of it as it can be prone to denting with heavy use.

5. Hickory

Another rustic-looking wood, hickory is a type of wood that offers a striking pattern. It gives an earthy feel that will bring you visions of lodges and cabins. It helps bring the outdoors in, adding that casual and rustic feel to your dining area. Hickory features cream and reddish colors with contrasting streaks. It’s a strong type of wood that is dense, making it a great material for a dining table. But due to the density of the wood, hickory can be prone to warping and cracking. You also need to be careful to not expose it too humid environments.

6. Mahogany
One of the premium types of hardwood, mahogany wood is classy and beautiful. It’s a solid material with rich and varied patterns and offers a medium brown to deep reddish brown. It’s often used in traditional-style furniture and is a popular choice for use in dining tables. Mahogany is a resilient material that resists wear and tear. It even emits a unique aroma that keeps away termites and other insects that destroy wood.


Pine is one of the least expensive choices for wood. As a softwood, obviously it’s not as tough as other hardwoods listed in this article, but it’s an easy type of wood to work with. It’s a good choice for a dining table, but it won’t be as durable as other options since pine can be susceptible to dings and scratches. To keep your pine dining table top smooth, it can be very helpful if you would place a piece of glass to protect it from scratching. Also, pine lumber needs a coat of primer before staining or painting because of its natural pale color.