Wood kitchen cabinets

11 ideas for wooden kitchen cabinets

Introduce a more natural finish to your kitchen without sacrificing durability

By Paula Woods |

‘Wood. Now there’s a healthy product,’ said Kevin McCloud in a recent column about the benefits of engineered timber. ‘A carbon store that locks up CO2 for as long as it remains in use as something helpful like a book or a chair,’ he goes on to say. ‘You would have thought the tree had been invented by god to help get us out of the environmental mess we’re in.’

Wood kitchen cabinets are a great option for those looking for more sustainable materials for their kitchen. While timber and water may not seem like the best mix, with engineered timber or lacquered, waxed or oiled finishes, the possibilities are endless. These examples show how to introduce a more natural finish to your kitchen without sacrificing durability.

1. Veneered cabinets

A veneered cabinet front has a thin top layer of real wood bonded to an MDF or plywood panel. Using veneer is one way to create a complex grain pattern across a run of cabinets. This FSC-certified plywood kitchen with London Plane wood veneer and laminated Navy Atlantic doors is by Pluck, with extension and remodelling work by MW Architects.

Navy-Atlantic-doors and wood kitchen cabinets-by-MW-Architects

Photo: Malcolm Menzies

2. Homegrown timber

Choosing wood grown and milled in Britain reduces the carbon emissions associated with transporting the material to a UK factory. Look on the supplier’s website or ask about the timber’s origin. This bespoke Saitama kitchen by  H Miller Bros is made from FSC-certified British elm with veneered FSC-certified, moisture-resistant MDF and birch plywood interiors.


Photo: H Miller Bros

3. Grain patterns

Different wood species have different grain patterns. The pattern is also determined by how the timber is cut. The horizontal grain on these kitchen cabinets has been matched to create the illusion that a single piece of timber has been used. The FSC-certified Rustic Oak veneer fronts with solid edges and Fenix Grigio Bromo worksurfaces are by Finch London.

Fenix-Grigio-worksurfaces and wood kitchen cabinets-by-Finch-London

Photo: Finch London

4. Sealing timber

Timber with a lacquered finish requires minimal maintenance and offers years of protection from staining and marks. A wax or oiled finish enhances the wood grain and colour, but may need reapplying in time to maintain a good level of protection. This Sebastian Cox English beech kitchen from Devol has a water-based stain and lacquer in Natural and Inky Blue/Black and birch plywood carcasses.


Photo: Devol

5. Ribbed wood

Slatted and ribbed wood fronts bring texture to a scheme. For a uniform effect, include it on both wall and base units, or just an island for contrast. This Memory RI Old Forest Oak kitchen from Rotpunkt UK has FSC-certified oak veneered vertical grooved fronts and BioBoard Gen2 carcasses made from 90% recycled wood.

Memory-RI-Old-Forest-Oak-wood kitchen cabinets by-Rotpunkt

Photo: Rotpunkt

6. Preloved wood cabinets

Get a high-end timber kitchen at a fraction of the original price by buying from a company specialising in ex-showroom and second hand luxury designs. This preloved walnut kitchen with Miele appliances was £9,999 from the Used Kitchen Exchange.


Photo: Used Kitchen Exchange

7. The perks of plywood

Plywood is formed by gluing together thin layers of wood such as birch or maple. It’s highly stable and impact-resistant, making it ideal for wood kitchen cabinets. This Pure Scandi FSC-certified birch plywood kitchen with water-based polyurethane coating is from Naked Kitchens.

Pure-Scandi-birch-plywood-kitchen- cabinets by-Naked-Kitchens

Photo: Naked Kitchens

8. FSC-certified wood

Choose cabinets and worksurfaces made with timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. You can be sure that FSC-certified wood has come from a sustainably managed forest. This handcrafted kitchen with FSC-certified European oak veneer on birch plywood is from Bysse.


Photo: Mariell Lind Hansen

9. Blow the budget

Opting for a bespoke kitchen enables you to select from a wide range of wood species and finishes, and the cabinets are made to your exact specifications. This Martin Moore custom-made kitchen features Architectural Collection FSC-certified English oak cabinets with quartz worksurfaces.

Architectural-Collection wood kitchen cabinets-by-Martin-Moore

Photo: Martin Moore

10. Durable composite cabinets

Oriented strand board (OSB) is made from wood shavings bonded together with resin. Choose a humid-tolerant OSB3 board such as the UK made SterlingOSB Zero by West Fraser, which is FSC-certified and VOC-free. This apartment renovation with OSB kitchen by FLCA uses FSC-certified SterlingOSB3 sheet from Jewson.


Photo: FLC Architecture

11. Reclaimed wood

Reclaimed wood is highly durable. Companies working with salvaged timbers include The Main Company, Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens and Wood Works Brighton. The latter created these kitchen cabinets using oak rescued from old barns and railway sleepers.

Lusaka-kitchen-wood kitchen cabinets from-Wood-Works-Brighton

Photo: Wood Works Brighton