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What colour is oak wood?

Updated November 21, 2016

Oak wood comes in a variety of colours that can be finished to display the natural patterns of the timber or you can colour stain oak to enhance the grain or to match other furniture.

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There are two types of native oak tree in the UK -- the sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and the pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), also known as English oak.

Sessile oak

Oak comes in a wide variety of colours, ranging from cream coloured in the outer layer to deep reddish brown in the heartwood.

Pedunculate oak

Colours ranging from sapwood, that is nearly white in colour, to the brownish grey heartwood are found in this oak wood.


Because of the colour, variations in the wood and the defined grain texture, oak takes either a clear varnish or a coloured stain very well, highlighting the beauty of this durable wood.


Because of the variety of colour in oak, which ranges from nearly white to a darker reddish brown, this wood is suitable for many uses such as cabinetry, flooring and furniture.

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