A Guide to Styles, Wood Types, Finishes, and Joint Types

A Guide to Styles, Wood Types, Finishes, and Joint Types

Designing Your Dream Furniture Piece From Scratch

When it comes to custom furniture, there are a variety of styles, wood types, finishes, and joint types that are commonly requested. Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories to help you determine the perfect combination for your next project.


  • Modern – Sleek lines, minimalistic, and often characterized by a focus on function over form.
  • Rustic – Rough-hewn wood, often featuring visible knots and natural imperfections.
  • Farmhouse – Often incorporates shiplap, beadboard, or other paneling, along with wood accents.
  • Industrial – Made with raw, unfinished wood and metal, often featuring exposed screws and bolts.
  • Mid-century modern – Characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and a focus on functionality.
  • Shaker – Simple, functional, and featuring clean lines and minimal ornamentation.
  • Traditional – Often characterized by ornate carvings and moldings, with a focus on symmetry and balance.

Wood types:

  • Oak – A popular choice for its durability and classic look.
  • Maple – Known for its consistent color and grain pattern.
  • Walnut – A luxurious and durable wood that can add warmth to any space.
  • Cherry – Often used for its beautiful reddish-brown color and smooth finish.
  • Mahogany – Known for its rich, deep color and durability.
  • Ash – A versatile and affordable option that can mimic the look of more expensive woods.
  • Pine – A softwood that is often used for its affordability and rustic charm.


  • Natural – A clear coat or oil finish that allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through.
  • Stained – Often used to add color and depth to the wood, with a variety of shades available.
  • Painted – Adds a pop of color and can be used to match existing decor.
  • Distressed – Gives furniture an aged, antique look.
  • Whitewashed – Creates a light, airy feel and can be used to brighten up a space.
  • Matte – A flat finish that creates a modern, sleek look.
  • Glossy – A shiny finish that can add a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Joint types:

  • Mortise and tenon – A classic joint that provides strength and durability.
  • Dovetail – A joint that is often used for drawers and adds visual interest to the piece.
  • Tongue and groove – Often used for panels and flooring, providing a tight and secure fit.
  • Butt joint – A simple joint that is often used for less formal pieces.
  • Lap joint – Often used for framing and paneling, providing a strong connection without the need for visible fasteners.
  • Miter joint – A joint that is often used for frames and adds a clean, polished look.
  • Dowel joint – Provides a strong connection without the need for visible fasteners and is often used for chairs and other furniture pieces.


Author Since: March 21, 2023