14 Exquisite Dark Wood Types To Enhance Your Home Aesthetic

Dark wood has long been cherished for its rich, luxurious look, which can bring depth and warmth to any space.

However, selecting the right dark wood type for your specific project can be tricky since each type has a distinct appearance and a unique set of characteristics.

different types of dark wood samples on a white background

The key is to know your options so you can make the right decision! 

And we’re here to help you do that. We’ve created a list of the 14 most elegant and appealing dark wood types for your home, along with tips on how to style a space using these stunning materials.

Type of Dark WoodColor and AppearanceRecommended Uses/Applications
EbonyJet black color; long, straight grain; high luster with mirror finish (especially when polished) Cabinetry, ornaments, inlays
American Black WalnutDark brown to purplish-brown color; generally straight grain with some waves or curlsCabinetry, flooring, furniture, wood carving
MahoganyDeep, warm reddish-brown color; straight grain Cabinetry, flooring, veneers, indoor and outdoor furniture
African BlackwoodBlack color; minimal grain; low lusterExterior and interior applications like distinctive veneers, wall panels, bespoke furniture, custom joinery, and stylish flooring
Peruvian WalnutDark chocolate brown with a purplish tint; straight and consistent grainFurniture, cabinetry, trim, flooring, veneers
ZiricoteMedium to dark brown color with dark-colored streaks; straight or interlocked grainCabinetry, carvings, kitchenware, indoor and outdoor furniture
WengeDark brown color with black streaks; straight grainFlooring, cabinetry, carved decorations, and luxury furniture
CocoboloRich, dark orange to reddish-brown color with dark-colored streaks; straight grainTables, decor, kitchenware, furniture
Teak WoodLight to dark golden brown color; straight, close grain, which can be occasionally wavy or interlockedInterior and exterior applications, flooring, furniture, veneers, doors, window frames
SapeleDark reddish-brown color; wavy or interlocked grainFurniture, joinery, flooring, veneers, and countertops
PurpleheartDeep purplish-brown color; tight, fine grainFurniture, flooring, paneling, decking, decor, and veneers
JatobaDark reddish-brown color with dark streaks and interlocked grainFurniture, cabinetry, flooring, paneling, tool handles, and window frames
SipoDeep red-brown color; interlocked and irregular grainFurniture and cabinetry, countertops, and interior and exterior joinery for windows and door frames
RosewoodDark chocolate brown to purplish-brown color; variable grainFurniture, decorative items, veneers, and paneling

14 Different Dark Wood Types

Let’s look into the types of dark wood that can bring warmth and sophistication to your home.

Each type boasts unique characteristics, so understanding the various kinds of dark wood will help you make an informed decision for your interior décor. 

1. Ebony

close up image of Black wood. Expensive ebony texture

Known for its mesmerizing jet black hue, smooth texture, and incredible density, ebony is synonymous with luxury and top-notch quality. This is why it’s a highly prized type of dark wood.

It has a fine, even texture that allows for a very smooth and polished finish. As such, it’s often used for creating beautiful ornamental items.

Also, ebony has great stability and durability, and it is resistant to termites and insects, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture.

However, ebony can be challenging to work with because of its high density and hardness. It can be tough on cutting tools, so it requires patience and skill to work with.

2. American Black Walnut

Wood texture of natural american black walnut tangential cut with oil wax finish
TypeHardwood
ColorDark brown to purplish-brown 
GrainGenerally straight grain with some waves or curls
DensityMedium
TextureMedium to coarse
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityGood
ApplicationsCabinetry, flooring, furniture, wood carvings

Native to North America, American black walnut is renowned for its rich, dark brown hue. It often features lighter streaks that add character and visual interest.

Aside from that, it is quite strong and stable once dried, offering good resistance to decay and wear. It’s also less likely to warp or shrink when exposed to changes in temperature and humidity.

Black walnut also holds detailing well and goes beautifully with a variety of finishes, often with a natural luster that many woodworkers seek to preserve with clear finishes. 

These qualities make it a preferred choice for contemporary-style furniture and cabinetry — perfect for those who want a sleek aesthetic. 

Black walnut’s workability is another of its strong suits. Despite its hardness, it works well with both hand and machine tools, and it can be carved.

3. Mahogany

close up image of mahogany wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorDeep, warm reddish-brown (darkens over time)
GrainFine, consistent grain
DensityHigh
TextureMedium
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityExcellent
ApplicationsCabinetry, flooring, veneers, indoor and outdoor furniture

Mahogany is celebrated for its exceptional beauty, with its fine grain and rich, reddish-brown color that darkens over time. 

It exhibits a reddish sheen when polished and provides a classic look that is versatile enough to suit both traditional and contemporary designs. 

The durability of mahogany is also worth noting. Because it’s resistant to rot, decay, and insect infestation, it’s an excellent choice for high-end furniture and outdoor applications. 

Additionally, mahogany’s workability is also excellent. It is known to be easy to cut, carve, and mold. This is complemented by its ability to take a very smooth finish and hold up well to adhesives and finishes.

4. African Blackwood

texture of african blackwood
TypeHardwood 
ColorBlack
GrainMinimal grain
DensityVery high
TextureFine and even
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityChallenging
ApplicationsExterior and interior applications like distinctive veneers, wall panels, bespoke furniture, custom joinery, and stylish flooring

True to its name, African blackwood is so dark that it can appear almost black, giving it a remarkably luxurious look. 

This is only enhanced by its fine texture and exceptional natural luster that makes it ideal for luxury items and furniture.

What’s more, it’s considered one of the hardest woods in the world that offer excellent resistance to abrasion, wear, decay, and insect attacks. So it’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications that require a durable material.

However, note that African blackwood is challenging due to its extreme hardness and density. It’s also very rare and — as a result — comes at a hefty price tag. 

5. Peruvian Walnut

a close up image of Peruvian Walnut texture
TypeHardwood
ColorDark chocolate brown with a purplish tint
GrainTypically straight and consistent
DensityMedium
TextureMedium to coarse
DurabilityModerate
WorkabilityGood
ApplicationsFurniture, cabinetry, trim, flooring, veneers

The aesthetic appeal of Peruvian walnut is undeniable. It’s one of the best types of dark wood for furniture with its rich, deep chocolate brown color, along with its natural luster.

Its grain is also usually straight and consistent, and it’s slightly softer than American black walnut, both of which contribute to its excellent workability. 

This wood type also responds well to different finishes and stains. So for DIYers who want to create polished furniture or start woodworking projects, this dark wood type is a superb choice. 

However, Peruvian walnut is not as resistant to decay and insect attacks as other walnut species. So it’s best to avoid using it for outdoor projects.

6. Ziricote

a close up image of Ziricote wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorMedium to dark brown with dark-colored streaks
GrainStraight or interlocked grain
DensityHigh
TextureFine
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityModerate
ApplicationsCabinetry, carvings, kitchenware, indoor and outdoor furniture

Ziricote is an exotic hardwood that is native to parts of Central America and the Caribbean.

Particularly known for its unique appearance, it has a dark brown color, a lovely sheen, and a spider-webbing grain pattern. 

Aside from its beauty, ziricote’s main selling point is its resistance to decay. This makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, although it’s more commonly used in fine furniture and detailed woodwork where its attractive appearance can be showcased.

And despite its high density, it’s easy to work with, whether by hand or with a machine. 

7. Wenge

close up image of wenge wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorDark brown with black streaks
GrainStraight
DensityHigh
TextureCoarse
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityChallenging
ApplicationsFlooring, cabinetry, carved decorations, and luxury furniture

Originating from Africa, wenge is an expensive dark wood with a deep chocolate-brown color. In fact, it’s often used as a substitute for ebony due to its dramatic appearance. 

Additionally, wenge is a popular choice for accent pieces, furniture, and decorative applications, and it’s especially favored in modern designs where a bold look is desired.

This wood type is also quite hard and dense, offering good resistance to insects and wear and tear. Because of this, it’s a durable option for many applications, including flooring and joinery.

But wenge can be sometimes challenging to work with due to its hardness and tendency to splinter. It’s also known for blunting cutting tools more quickly than softer woods.

However, with the use of sharp tools and a slower feed rate, it can be successfully worked to produce a very smooth and attractive finish.

8. Cocobolo

close up image of cocobolo wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorRich, dark orange to reddish-brown with dark-colored streaks
GrainStraight
DensityHigh
TextureFine and uniform
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityMostly good
ApplicationsTables, decor, kitchenware, furniture

Most woodworkers consider cocobolo’s high natural oil content to be its most distinctive feature. But its magnificent color variations also set it apart. Some even refer to it as “rainbow wood” because it can range from bright yellow to rich orange to deep brown with dark-colored streaks.  

Cocobolo is also a dense hardwood that holds up well against the elements, so it’s impressively durable.

However, workability can be a mixed experience with cocobolo due to its high density and oil content. While it can be difficult to glue because of its natural oils, it turns and machines well, producing a beautiful finish.

That said, the wood’s density means that it can be tough on cutting tools, and its fine dust can cause allergic reactions, so proper protection is recommended when working with it.

9. Teak Wood

a close up image of teak wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorLight to dark golden brown
GrainStraight and close (can be occasionally wavy or interlocked)
DensityHigh
TextureCoarse and uneven
DurabilityVery high
WorkabilityGood
ApplicationsInterior and exterior applications, flooring, furniture, veneers, doors, window frames

Prized for its golden brown color, teak wood boasts a captivating appearance that screams elegance. But there’s more to it than its looks. 

Durability is also one of teak’s most celebrated attributes. It’s used to make outdoor furniture and in exterior applications due to its natural oils, which make it resistant to decay, rot, and insect infestation.

Even better, teak is also usually easy to work with. It saws and machines well, and because of its natural oils, teak can be left unfinished and still maintain its resistance to the elements.

However, the same oils that give it durability can also cause some difficulty when applying certain finishes.

10. Sapele

close up image of zapele wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorDeep reddish-brown 
GrainInterlocking
DensityMedium
TextureMedium
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityChallenging
ApplicationsFurniture, flooring, paneling, decking, decor, and veneers

Sapele is a reddish-brown hardwood native to tropical Africa. It can sometimes have a shimmering quality, enhancing the elegance of any interior space.

Beyond its visual appeal, sapele wood boasts remarkable stability and resistance to humidity and temperature changes. 

This resilience also makes it less prone to warping or cracking, ensuring your finished pieces remain robust and impeccable over time.

The only downside to this wood is that its interlocking grain pattern makes it difficult to work with, whether you’re using hand or machine tools. It can be prone to tear out when cutting or planing, which you can avoid by planing in sections. 

11. Purpleheart

a close up image of purpeheart wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorAppears dull brown when freshly cut; fades to a dark purplish-brown over time
GrainTight and fine
DensityHigh
TextureMedium
DurabilityVery high
WorkabilityChallenging
ApplicationsFurniture, flooring, paneling, decking, decor, and veneers

With its naturally rich and vivid purplish-brown color, this extraordinary wood brings a burst of color to any space and effortlessly becomes the focal point of the room.

And it’s also one of the hardest and densest woods available, which is among the many reasons why it’s so highly coveted (and also why it’s shockingly pricy). 

Purpleheart is extremely durable and decay-resistant, so it can be used for paneling, flooring, and outdoor decking. And it can also be used to create eye-catching tables and furniture sets. 

But remember that its color can degrade with UV exposure, so be sure to use a finish with UV protection.

Also, due to its hardness, purpleheart is notoriously challenging to work with; most woodworkers avoid using it for this reason. This quality also makes it unsuitable for carving. 

However, following techniques like working only with very sharp tools, you can successfully work with purpleheart.

12. Jatoba

an image of jatoba wood texture, Dark reddish-brown with dark streaks, hardwood
TypeHardwood
ColorDark reddish-brown with dark streaks
GrainInterlocked
DensityHigh
TextureMedium to coarse
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityChallenging
ApplicationsFurniture, cabinetry, flooring, paneling, tool handles, and window frames

Also referred to as Brazilian cherry, this beautiful, robust hardwood has a rich, reddish-brown color and exceptional hardness and density. 

It’s often used for fine furniture, cabinetry, and especially flooring, where its durability makes it extra valuable. Plus, it’s very resistant to wear and tear, rot, insects, and fungal decay.

In terms of workability, jatoba can be somewhat challenging to work with. It has a moderate blunting effect on tools, and it can be difficult to saw or machine.

However, it glues and turns well. It also responds beautifully to staining.

13. Sipo

a close up image of sipo wood texture
TypeHardwood
ColorDeep red-brown
GrainInterlocked and irregular
DensityHigh
TextureMedium
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityGood
ApplicationsFurniture and cabinetry, countertops, and interior and exterior joinery for windows and door frames

Sipo, commonly known as utile, closely mirrors the appearance of traditional mahogany, boasting a uniform medium texture and showcasing a distinctive grain that weaves in an interlocked pattern. 

It offers a touch of sophistication and the rich, luxurious feel of mahogany at a more accessible price point.

And it’s also renowned for its longevity, providing impressive defense against rot and deterring insect damage. 

Moreover, despite its durability, it’s quite easy to work with. It’s amenable to machining, yielding to glue and various finishes with relative ease, while producing a smooth end result. 

So it infuses woodworking projects with both elegance and practicality — a wonderful choice for crafting enduring furniture, detailed cabinetry work, and sophisticated joinery.

14. Brazilian Rosewood

Texture of Brazilian Rosewood, used as background
TypeHardwood
ColorDark chocolate brown to purplish-brown
GrainUsually straight; may be wavy or interlocked in some cases
DensityHigh
TextureMedium to coarse
DurabilityHigh
WorkabilityMostly good
ApplicationsFurniture, decorative items, veneers, and paneling

Naturally refined with a deep hue and a strong, sweet fragrance that persists over time, Brazilian rosewood is often used for high-end products such as luxury flooring and furniture. 

Its visual impact is unparalleled, offering an upscale feel that goes with a wide range of interior styles. 

This is a hard and dense wood with a high resistance to decay. Its natural oils not only contribute to its longevity but also give it a natural luster that can be polished to a high sheen.

Additionally, rosewood sands to a very smooth finish and can be intricately carved, making it a favorite for detailed workmanship.

Design Tips for Styling a Space Using Dark Wood

While dark wood can add a touch of elegance and luxury to your space, it can look unnecessarily severe if not styled properly. To help you avoid this, here are some friendly tips to help you style your home with chic dark wood pieces:

Mix and Match Styles

Dark wood can be both classic and versatile. So don’t be afraid to mix and match it with different furniture styles. 

For instance, a dark wood cabinet in a sleek, contemporary living room can add a nice contrast and texture to the overall design. You can also use a dark wood bedframe in a boho-style bedroom to introduce some depth into a space with light-colored, textured decor.

Use Cabinets To Create Focal Points

No need to limit your use of dark wood to just tables and chairs. 

Go for dark wood cabinetry too! Not only is it functional, but it’s also visually striking. It can create a focal point in your kitchen, bedroom, or living room.

Opt for Durable Hardwoods

When selecting dark wood furniture, look for pieces made from durable hardwood, such as teak and African blackwood. These resilient woods will withstand wear and tear for years to come, making them an excellent investment for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dark Wood Types

What Is the Darkest Wood Type?

Ebony might just be the one. It is a very dark type of wood with a striking jet black hue.

How Do You Maintain the Deep Color of Dark Wood?

To preserve the pristine appearance of your dark wood pieces, regular maintenance is essential, including dusting, polishing, and possibly refinishing over time. 

As dark wood can show scratches more easily, you’ll need to take extra care to avoid damage.

Are There Any Affordable Dark Wood Options?

American black walnut is among the most affordable dark wood options in our list above. 

However, take note that most dark wood types tend to be very expensive, especially ebony, African blackwood, and purpleheart. 

So if you want a cost-effective approach to dark wood, consider staining readily available and reasonably priced wood types — like oak — to achieve a darker shade.

How Can You Darken Light Woods?

To give light wood types like birch, oak, and pine the sophisticated appearance of dark wood, select a high-quality stain or dye that accentuates the grain and apply it in successive thin layers for even coverage.

After achieving the desired shade, seal your furniture with a compatible clear finish to enhance its luxury and protect it from damage.

Style Your Space With Dark Wood Types for a Sophisticated Look!

Investing in dark wood furniture can be a great decision as their timeless beauty and impressive resilience ensure they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The beautiful dark colors and rich tones found in these woods make them perfect for creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home.Moreover, dark wood furniture can fit seamlessly into a variety of design styles, making it versatile and adaptable. 

So consider adding dark wood furniture to your home! You might be pleasantly surprised by the transformative effect it has on your space.

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