What Color Is Real Cherry Wood Furniture?

Last updated on February 28th, 2019 at 10:55 am

Google image search results for ‘real cherry wood”. Half of these are NOT cherry wood.  Many are illegal rainforest woods, brought to you by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.

Cherry Wood: Will The Real Color Please Stand Up?

We have conversations with customers every day about the color of real cherry wood furniture.  It’s no wonder!  When I just googled “real cherry wood” well over 50 shades of red, brown and even yellow came up.  Quite a variation, isn’t it? Truth be told, half of these images are NOT of cherry wood.

Natural Cherry Dining Furniture | The Brighton Collection | Lyndon Furniture
The Brighton Dining Set is shown in real, natural cherry wood. This photo was taken shortly after the set was made so the cherry is still a light color. Over time, it will darken to a rich reddish brown, similar to the color of mahogany.

When the big American furniture companies started off-shoring their furniture in the 1980s they found it cheaper to use rainforest woods than cherry. But consumers love cherry. So they stained rainforest woods and gave them various trade names containing “cherry”.  For example Makore, an increasingly rare African wood being illegally logged in Sierra Leone and Gabon has been sold under the trade name Cherry Mahogany (though Makore is not closely related to either cherry or mahogany).  Worse yet, it’s listed as an endangered species due to illegal logging and exploitation by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.

The Vermont Shaker Bedroom Set | Natural Cherry Wood | Vermont Woods Studios
Our Vermont Shaker Bedroom set shows how real cherry wood furniture “ripens” to a darker hue after about a month of exposure to moderate levels of sunlight.

Many times customers come to Vermont Woods Studios looking to buy real cherry wood furniture that matches existing cherry pieces in their homes.  After discussions and emailing pictures back and forth they are shocked to find that their “cherry” furniture from Bassett, Ethan Allen or other big “American” companies is not cherry at all but rubberwood, poplar or engineered hardwood.

This rocker shows the range of colors for real cherry wood
This rocker shows the range of colors for real, natural cherry wood. The chair’s darker than the cherry in the photos above because it’s older and has been exposed to more light. Notice too, that even within the one rocking chair, there are differences in cherry wood color that are created by grain patterns and grain direction.

At Vermont Woods Studios, our cherry furniture is indeed made out of real, solid North American Black Cherry wood.  The color starts out as a light pink and slowly ripens to a rich reddish brown over time, as it’s exposed to light.  Nina’s photo of the rocker above shows the range of natural cherry colors after the wood’s been exposed to light for a few months.

Are you interested to learn more?  Find tons of information and photos of American made, real cherry wood furniture on our website & send us your questions on Facebook or in the comments section below.

real cherry wood furniture

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

4 thoughts to “What Color Is Real Cherry Wood Furniture?”

  1. Hi Linda,
    Where did you buy your cabinets? I wonder if they’re made with real cherry wood? If so, what is the grade? For our furniture we use black cherry wood that’s grown in PA & NY because it’s really the finest quality cherry with the rich reddish brown color you’re thinking of. It sounds to me like your best bet might be to contact the company that made your cabinets and ask them to replace them with a higher grade of cherry.

  2. We just have our custom cherry cabinet installed, no stain, natural, only several coats of lacquer applied on it, but the color is so dull, kind of medium black brown, I am so disappointed on the color, what should I do? just waiting for it aging to get a warm reddish brown color tone? but right now the color is kind of dark brown, I am doubting if I could get that medium reddish brown warm color even along it ages.

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