Some different wood varieties for kitchen cabinets include cherry, walnut, birch and pecan. Cherry wood darkens with age when exposed to sunlight. It may start out as a light, warm brown but then darken to almost a mahogany shade. The wood has a fine, fairly uniform grain and adapts well to finishes. Rustic cherry cabinets are sometimes made out of wood that has more knots and a slightly coarser grain.
Walnut starts out as a darker wood, but tends to lighten with age. Typical colors include a deep chocolate brown or a lighter variety with hints of red and gray. The grain tends to be even and straight with the occasional darker strip among the lighter grain bars.
Birch is known for its tight, even wood grain and the variety of colors that appear in different parts of the tree. The sapwood, which is the outer portion of the trunk, tends to be white to a light yellow. The heartwood, the inner core, is darker, sometimes ranging from medium to reddish brown. Some birch trees have open knots, small cracks or other imperfections that make the birch a good choice for rustic-look cabinets.
Pecan wood can have a variety of colors all in the same piece. The background is often blond to white, with grains that range from reddish to dark brown. The grain is smooth and can be straight or irregular. This is another wood that's preferred for country kitchens or cabinets in a more rustic-style property.