High Quality, Cost-Effective Hardwoods

June 4, 2024

Designers and procurement teams face a delicate balancing act when furnishing hotel rooms. On one side, there’s the need for durability and an upscale look that conveys luxury. On the other hand, budget constraints require finding cost-effective material solutions. 

Hardwoods like maple, oak, and cherry have long been prized in the hospitality industry for their rich tones, elegant grains, and exceptional strength. Solid hardwood furnishings can withstand the constant use and abuse of heavy foot traffic in hotels. With proper care, high-quality hardwood pieces can last for decades, making them an investment that pays dividends over time.

Yet, not all hardwoods are created equal in terms of sourcing and pricing. As a manufacturer of fine hospitality furnishings, we understand the importance of balancing luxury aesthetics with budget realities. Here are some of the most cost-effective hardwood options that can deliver the quality guests expect from premier hotel brands.

7 Affordable Hardwoods for Luxury Hospitality Furniture

The cost of different species of hardwood can vary depending on market conditions, availability, the supplier’s location, and the size of lumber required to fulfill the design. Considering those variables, here are seven cost-effective hardwoods that make beautiful furniture.


While technically a hardwood, poplar is a relatively soft wood that is as easy to work with as pine. Poplar is lightweight, affordable, and pale in color with a straight grain and uniform texture. While it isn’t the most striking or durable choice and is often used for structural components, it can be stained to mimic the appearance of more expensive wood.

Soft Maple

Soft maple is a fast-growing tree, making it a sustainable and abundant wood source that is more cost-effective than hard maple. Its lovely, light-colored finish and subtle grain pattern can give hotel furniture a clean and modern look. It stains beautifully to create a smooth, high-quality finish but lacks the durability of harder hardwoods.


Alder is a readily available hardwood known for being budget-friendly. Its warm light pinkish-brown color can be quite attractive and can be stained to resemble cherry wood. Alder’s straight, fine grain provides a clean and somewhat uniform appearance.

Like poplar and soft maple, alder is a softer hardwood susceptible to dents and scratches in high-traffic areas. Alder is not a good choice for very humid environments.

Red Oak

Red oak is a readily available hardwood, making it a budget-friendly option. It is much stronger than poplar, soft maple, or alder, making it suitable for high-traffic hospitality areas.

Red oak takes stain well, allowing you to achieve a variety of color options to match your décor. Its naturally reddish-brown color can also be left unstained for a classic look, though its prominent open grain can show wear without a well-applied finish.


Ash is a readily available hardwood with a light, open grain. It’s known for its strength and elasticity, making it a good choice for tables and chairs, including those with bent components. Ash has a light, open grain with a clean aesthetic. It can be stained or left natural for a modern look.

Ash is harder than poplar, soft maple, and alder but softer than red oak. It can be sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations or high humidity.


Beech is a widely cultivated, strong wood with a close grain and a light creamy color. Its Janka hardness rating is similar to red oak’s, making it resistant to dents and scratches and suitable for high-traffic hospitality locations. 

Beech takes stain well, making a versatile choice for achieving different design aesthetics. In some cases, beech can be stained to resemble more expensive woods like mahogany.


Birch is an affordable hardwood with pleasing aesthetics. Its light color and clean, close grain can be beautiful. It also stains well, making it a versatile choice whether you want to achieve a modern look with a natural finish or stain it to resemble other wood tones.

It’s not quite as hard and durable as red oak or beech, but harder than alder, soft maple, or poplar, making it a solid choice for medium and low-traffic locations or pieces like hotel room chairs.

Quality, Service, and Value

At BSF, we’ve built our reputation as a leading hospitality furniture manufacturer on a foundation of engineering excellence and an unwavering commitment to quality. We understand that delivering a luxurious guest experience goes beyond sourcing premium materials. It requires seamless execution from the design concept to the final installation. That’s why our team prides itself on providing outstanding customer service from start to finish.

Connect with your area representative today to get started with your next project and experience the BSF difference through our commitment to quality, service, and value.