Birch is a medium density hardwood with a tight grain and smooth surface texture. It takes paints and stains very well. Also birch trees are in plentiful supply, making this choice of wood relatively inexpensive compared to, say, cherry.
Red and white birch are not different species. They in fact come from the same Yellow Birch tree. However, red birch is the heartwood of the tree, while white birch is from the sapwood. The heartwood varies in color from medium brown to dark or reddish brown. The sapwood ranges from white to light yellow.
This range in color, along with the wood’s curly or wavy pattern, makes for distinctive kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. See the slide show above. But the use of this wood is not only decorative.