Adding Solid Wood Worktops to Your Kitchen

Timeless, warm and characterful – solid wood has so many desirable qualities that make it a much sought after choice for kitchen worktops.

Each piece has a grain that makes it unique, and its natural beauty often deepens over time as the wood ages.

Solid wood does require some maintenance, but its charming appearance and affordable price tag makes it a tempting option for any kitchen.


What’s the best wood for kitchen worktops?

There are many types of wood to choose from for your kitchen worktops, and your choice will partly depend on your budget, decor and style of kitchen.


Oak Worktops

Oak is one of the most popular wood kitchen worktops; it’s extremely durable and comes in a wide spectrum of natural colour shades, making it a flexible option for any kitchen. Some retailers will even offer different ranges of oak worktop based on their natural grain, so you can choose how much variation you want in the pattern.


Walnut Worktops

Walnut is another common choice – darker than oak but still very hard-wearing and resistant to heat and scratches. Walnut’s rich colour brings warmth to any room, and has the option of being polished to a high shine for a glossier look.


Iroko Worktops

Iroko is used for a lot of kitchen worktops, with its high oil content making it naturally hygienic, resilient and water resistant. A special quality of Iroko is that it naturally darkens over time from golden brown to a rich bronze, for a truly distinctive look.

How thick should my wood worktops be?

The depth of your wood worktops can give them a completely different look and feel, so you should think early on about how thick you want them to be. Budget will be a key factor, as a thicker worktop will of course cost more, but there are other things to consider too.

Thicker worktops really shine in traditional or farmhouse-style kitchens, bringing a gravitas to your kitchen while also feeling homey and lived in.

Thin wood worktops look more slick in modern kitchens, and can also make your kitchen look more high-end, even if you’re on a tight budget!

30mm is a standard depth of wood worktop, but your choice could range from around 20mm to 50mm.

Styling your wood worktops

Traditional kitchens

Solid oak worktops are well-known for being used in farmhouse kitchens, often paired with cream units for a homely, rustic look. This looks particularly impactful in a kitchen with exposed wood beams.

If you want a little more colour in your kitchen, olive green or light grey can contrast well with wood worktops. For a shabby chic look, baby blue or mint green really stand out from the crowd!

Modern kitchens

Wood is often dismissed as a material just for traditional kitchens, but if styled in the right way it can create an impactful look in a modern kitchen too.

The trick is in choosing the right wood; find a wood with clean lines and a cooler colour tone that will blend into a more minimalist, contemporary kitchen.

An on-trend dark navy blue or green pairs well with wood for a dramatic but understated colour palette.

Add well-placed spotlights to add to the effect and showcase your wood worktops. Or in a smaller space, lighten and brighten with white cabinets and light wood for a Scandi feel.

How to treat solid wood worktops

Solid wood worktops look amazing, but do require some care to keep them looking their best. However putting the time in to treat your worktops regularly will protect them long term, and save you the expense of replacing them before their time.

Test with water

Your worktops should be regularly oiled, both to protect them and maintain their glossy finish. You can test to see if your worktops are ready to be re-oiled by dripping water on them – if the water beads, you don’t need to do anything, but if the droplet sits flat on the surface, it’s time to re-oil.

Sand the worktops

Before applying the oil, sand your worktops to get rid of any old varnish, stains or marks. Sandpaper should be enough to remove any small imperfections, but if you have larger marks or chips in the wood you may need an electric sander.

Apply the oil

Danish oil is generally used for maintaining a wood worktop. Carefully pour small amounts of oil directly onto the worktop, and use a lint-free cloth to wipe the oil evenly over the whole surface.

Spread the layer of oil thin, then repeat; you should have multiple thin layers of oil rather than one thick layer.

Leave your worktops to dry overnight, then repeat the water droplet test – keep applying oil layers as needed until the water beads.


How to clean solid wood worktops

One of the best things about solid wood worktops is that they’re naturally anti-bacterial, as long as they’re sealed properly – which is why it’s important to regularly oil your worktops.

Of course you should still thoroughly clean your worktops daily – a natural disinfectant of water, white vinegar and washing up liquid is enough for the majority of everyday messes.

One thing to always remember is that wood is susceptible to water damage, so any spills should be wiped up immediately before they can soak into the wood and stain or warp it.

Want more kitchen design ideas? Check out our planning guides for inspiration.

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