What Is Poplar Wood

What is Poplar Wood?


Wooden toy makers and furniture manufacturers love poplar wood. It is often used in light construction and in a variety of home improvement projects. Poplar has many characteristics similar to softwoods like pine but it is considered as hardwood. If you are looking for a light wooden material to use to make wooden doll houses, decorative molding, light cabinets and to making doors then popular poplar wood is a good choice.

What is poplar wood really?

Poplar wood is also known as tulipwood, American tulip or yellow poplar. This hardwood comes from trees in the magnolia family called Liriodendron tulipifera. Wood from yellow poplar trees has been extensively used in constructing buildings in the 18th and 20th centuries.

Poplar wood is often used in light construction, in making kitchen cabinets and doors. This type of wood is easily machine-worked, painted and stained therefore it is an excellent choice for making furniture.

Why poplar wood is hardwood

Wood from the yellow poplar is mostly used for the same applications like some softwoods such as western pine. This is where the confusion arises and why poplar is considered a “hardwood.” Also, yellow poplar is a deciduous tree which means this type of tree sheds its leaves annually, therefore, the wood from the yellow poplar is considered to be a hardwood.
But no matter what classification you recognize poplar wood this is a very popular type of wood to be used for a variety of home projects. Here are the most popular.

Poplar wood for making cabinets

Poplar wood is versatile and can be painted or stained to look like different kinds of wood. A number of good looking and very popular kitchen cabinets are made from poplar but are stained to look like pricey Cherry or Oak cabinets. This wood is durable to make strong material for cabinets and shelves. Poplar combines low price and versatility to hide its true appearance. Therefore it is a good choice for people who need kitchen cabinets on a budget.

Poplar wood for constructing furniture

Poplar is soft and may not be as tough as other types of hardware hardwoods for furniture, therefore, it is not the first choice for making fine furniture but it is quite popular for painted furniture. The softness of poplar means stained poplar are easily scratched, damaged, or even dented.

The answer to these disadvantages is applying an oil-based paint to increase the wood’s resistance to dents and scratches. Therefore with this treatment, popular furniture becomes a good and affordable furniture compared to pricier hardwoods.

Poplar wood for making molding and trim

Poplar may not be the best choice for floor molding or baseboards however it is a good alternative for making ceiling molding or trim. This type of molding is more affordable and can be painted or stained easily. And aside from molding, poplar can be used for many indoor wooden applications in homes.

Poplar wood for siding for homes

When furniture manufacturers and contractors say poplar wood, there are generally referring to white poplar. However, there is also another wood called yellow poplar and this type is commonly used as siding for homes.

Like other more expensive hardwoods, yellow poplar can be used as siding on homes because this holds well against the elements. This actually costs more or less than expensive hardwoods like oak or cedar and are very reliable and durable as well.

Poplar wood for making decks

Due to the rising cost of many hardwoods, more and more contractors and homeowners are using treated yellow poplar to make outdoor decks. Yellow poplar trees usually grow straight which means that this tree’s studs and posts are very straight. And because of this amazing characteristic, yellow poplar is an excellent choice for constructing deck posts or rails that need to be as straight.


Poplar wood is a hardwood that is light but durable. It may not be as strong as other hardwoods but by treating and using different techniques like staining and painting, poplar wood can be a worthwhile and cost-effective alternative to furniture made from expensive natural hardwood. Because of its qualities, poplar is used for making painted furniture, sidings, molding, trims, cabinets and decks.

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