Even if your kitchen is made of something other than solid hardwood a great way of giving it that natural feel that only wood can achieve is to have wooden countertops. These are reminiscent of the Old World, something that is very much in vogue in kitchens today but also never goes out of fashion.

If you want your kitchen to be a room that can be enjoyed in decades to come by those who inherit your home from you, then there's no better legacy than solid wood countertop which can survive the worst that food preparation gives without ever seeming to lose their style or their pristine nature. In a word, they're timeless.

There are many varieties of timber that you can choose to use on your wooden countertop and each will have its own associations. Your choice will not only be dictated by what your kitchen and house looks like, but will also play a large part in guiding your future decisions regarding decor - so it's important you make the right choice.

For those who want a light coloured timber for their countertop then the most popular choice is oak. Oak is often stained to be much darker than it is naturally, but in its natural colour it's becoming increasingly popular. The grain gives it an old farmhouse feel while the timber itself is long lasting and has never gone out of fashion.

For an even lighter choice than oak, choose maple. It typically has a lighter grain pattern, which is great for modern looking kitchen surfaces. If you want to be a bit different and have the money to spare get your kitchen designer to source birds eye maple. This maple has lots of little 'pips' in it that look a little bit like tiny eyes, which really add character to a timber which is otherwise quite free of blemishes. Maple with these 'pips' is hard to come by and no one quite knows conclusively what causes some maple to have them in it.

For darker kitchens wenge and black walnut are ever popular. Black walnut is great at producing thick countertop surfaces, although you'll find it hard to get wide boards in it due to the nature of the tree. Other timbers to consider include teak, cherry, sycamore and rosewood.

The choice of timber isn't just about style though, as the wood has different properties naturally, it must be chosen with practicalities in mind too. Your kitchen designer will help you choose based on your intended use. Remember wood is an organic material and hence is prone to splitting and cracking which can occur if the timber isn't treated properly.

You'll need to keep moisture off your wood countertop. Most will come with an finish already added such as a mineral oil, but you might need to add more over time to protect the wood. Other options include lacquers. A wood countertop isn't like a laminate one however and does need care monthly. You'll probably want to use a chopping block to prepare food on too, to avoid damaging the surface. It might seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off by how great your kitchen will look.