Best Types of Wood for Interior and Exterior Designs

Best Types of Wood for Interior and Exterior Designs

What’s the best type of wood for a major interior or exterior design project? 

It all depends on the project’s aesthetic and functional requirements. 

Choosing the perfect material for your wood panel system project is a rewarding process that brings your vision one step closer to becoming a reality. 

In this brief wood selection tutorial, we’ll touch on the top selling points for a number of the most popular wood species used in interior and exterior design projects. 

Best Woods for Interior Design

Interior design wood considerations include aesthetics, acoustics, durability, and easy maintenance. Here are a few types of wood that look great and perform well when used for wood paneling or other interior design projects. 


Ash is a strong and durable hardwood, known for its light color and distinctive grain patterns. Ash is highly available and easy to work with, making it a great choice for interior design projects. Ash also absorbs stains and paints well, allowing for easy customization to match any design style. 


Maple is the #1 wood for making the bats used by Major League Baseball hitters. Strong, durable, and easy to work with, maple is great for whacking baseballs and just as useful for interior design projects. It bears a fine, uniform texture and an elegant, subtle grain pattern. Maple also stains beautifully, accentuating its natural red-tinged creamy white hue. 

Red Oak 

Red oak is a hardwood known for distinctive grain patterns and a warm reddish-brown hue. It’s an excellent choice for ceiling and wall panel systems because it’s easy to work with and takes stains well, permitting easy customization to match any design style. 

White Oak 

Compared to red oak, white oak is slightly denser and harder. This strong and durable species presents tight, straight grain patterns and attractive beige or light brown hues. White Oak is also incredibly durable, making it an ideal species for exterior projects.


Beech is a particularly strong and impact-resistant wood. Beech exhibits a light brown color that can be maintained or reddened with staining. Beech is widely available and one of the most affordable hardwood species. 


Poplar is a lightweight and versatile hardwood that’s often used for making furniture, cabinets, and small crafts. Poplar comes in a range of beautiful browns and yellows and sometimes even exhibits hints of light green. 


Cherry is considered one of the most beautiful woods, featuring thin, close grain patterns and vibrant hues that range from blond to reddish brown. Cherry wood’s coloring grows richer and darker with the passage of time. 


Bamboo is technically a grass, but it functions like a hardwood. Bamboo grows extremely fast, which has led to its increasing popularity as a practical and eco-friendly material. Manufacturers, contractors, and consumers have all warmed up to bamboo in recent years. 

Lightweight yet strong, bamboo is easy to work with and has a natural resistance to moisture. Its look is distinctive, with a range of grain styles and golden or tea-green hues. 

Best Woods for Exterior Design

For exterior design, durability is essential. Here are a few kinds of wood that perform well outdoors. 


Ipe is an extremely hard and dense Brazilian hardwood that offers excellent resistance to weather and insects. This species is also extra resistant to cracking and warping. 

Oil can be used to maintain ipe’s gorgeous reddish-brown hue, or the color can be allowed to soften naturally from age and weathering. Because ipe is so strong, it’s challenging to work with, but the results are excellent when used for outdoor projects like decks, furniture, or wood panels. 


Mahogany is an elegant, richly-colored hardwood. Mahogany is a classic choice for outdoor furniture, thanks to its excellent resistance against rot and insects. 


Like ipe and mahogany, teak is strong, durable, and offers outdoor-friendly resistance to insects and weather. Teak exhibits lustrous honey-like golden brown coloring that gradually softens with age. 

Get High-Quality Wood Panels for Your Interior or Exterior Project 

When you work with Rulon International to create a beautiful wood panel design, we’ll help you choose the perfect wood for the job. To get started, view our gallery or schedule a discovery call with one of our wood panel system experts.

best type of wood



Discover 2024's
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Discover 2024's
Design Trends