Decorative - table and chairs

Designing with
Canadian wood.

Sustainable by nature, versatile by design

Design, functionality and aesthetics are vital components to success in the furniture manufacturing industry. Furniture designers and manufacturers are constantly balancing their desire to design unique, innovative furniture with their need to build sustainable, affordable, and functional products.

As a result, sustainably harvested Canadian grown wood species from the province of British Columbia (B.C.) are becoming increasingly popular for their natural beauty, affordability, and strong environmental reputation. From Canada’s western most region comes rich and warm-toned Douglas-fir, along with elegant and economical Western Hemlock—both cost-effective alternatives to traditional hardwood species.

Versatile and easy to work with, these eco-friendly wood species are ideal for a wide range of traditional and contemporary furniture and home furnishing solutions. And Canadian wood products give you the added assurance that you’re meeting strict ecological and forest regulations, with the certifications to prove it.

From contemporary to traditional

B.C. softwood species are renowned for their strength, resilience, and aesthetic versatility, making them ideal for a variety of styles and designs. From dark to light finishes, and modern to classic looks, get inspired with the flexibility and workability of Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock. 

Designing with Canadian wood

Design savvy companies are taking advantage of Canadian-grown Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock. They are among the strongest species grown in B.C., offering strength and durability, and flexible design capabilities comparable to common hardwoods. And often more plentiful and cost-effective, B.C. softwoods deliver on affordability and good value for money.

While B.C. species tend to be less hard than common hardwood species, they still perform well in many applications due to their high strength-to-weight ratio. In addition, their lighter weight and workability can be a benefit for manufacturers looking to export lighter, nimbler products.

With the versatility of Canadian wood species, sizes and grades, designers can often achieve their desired look, using a Canadian softwood such as Western Hemlock or Douglas-fir, at a price point level lower than what they are currently paying. These species can often be 30 to 35 percent less than a comparable hardwood alternative.

Western Hemlock

Western Hemlock is the most plentiful tree species on the coast of B.C. and is known for its beauty, durability, and high versatility. Western Hemlock has a bright color and beautiful grain and is suitable for interior products that require high-quality finishing, flexibility, and diversity. Among softwood species with naturally warm and light tones, it is the choice of many designers.

Western Hemlock comes in a variety of natural colours, from light yellow to darker brown. Its shading depends on the tree’s age, growing conditions, and location. Notably, this coastal species is free from pitch and resin and is a versatile species with excellent machining, planing and sanding properties. Western Hemlock accepts and retains stains and coatings easily.​


Douglas-fir is the largest coniferous species and one of the most popular trees in Canada, accounting for approximately 10% of the coastal forest. Known for its durability, strength, and warm colouring, Douglas-fir has a unique look, colour and fine-grained texture that is unmatched in other softwoods. It offers excellent strength properties and is well-regarded for its workability—with good machining qualities. The wood dries rapidly with small dimensional movement and little tendency to check.

It is an excellent choice for furniture manufacturing, doors, windows, moulding, cabinetry, and other interior furnishings. It is durable, and resistant to abrasion, making it suitable for functional furniture, office uses and other applications where wear and tear is a factor.

Sustainable forests of British Columbia

Canada is well respected for world-class sustainable forest management practices and has the highest number of certified forests globally. As a country, Canada accounts for almost 35 percent of all certified forests globally—the largest of any nation worldwide.

British Columbia (B.C.) has one of the highest rates of third-party forest certification in the world, which provides added assurance that B.C. companies are operating legally, sustainably and in compliance with world recognized sustainable forest management standards.

B.C. has more than 41 million hectares of certified forests, some of the highest rates of forest certification in the world, which have been certified by reputable third-party organizations such as Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Wood products from Canada come with an assurance that they are legally sourced and comply with strict forest regulations that meet the environmental, social, and economic needs of current and future generations.

Forests Are Home

Learn more about PEFC’s sustainable furniture awareness campaign: Forests Are Home. One important way to achieve sustainable forest management goals is by increasing the demand for certified wood under PEFC-certification. PEFC launched its Forests are Home campaign to bring together everyone involved in creating, designing and building furniture. Certification is an inclusive, practical, and collaborative way to create permanent and ongoing protection of forests.

Canadian Wood has educational information available about softwood products from B.C. for a range of industry professionals from furniture and manufacturing to home construction. Species well-suited for both interior and exterior applications include Western Hemlock and Douglas-fir. Explore our resources and publications for more details.

Screenshot of PDF

This publication provides an overview of the working properties and common uses of Western Hemlock.

Screenshot of PDF

This publication provides an overview of the working properties and common uses of Douglas-fir.

Screenshot of PDF

An overview of the most commonly produced and exported lumber products from B.C.’s coastal species and their intended end uses.

The B.C. Wood Supplier Directory connects you with approximately 400 suppliers of high-quality, sustainable certified softwood from British Columbia.

Ask an expert

Canadian Wood is here to help you select and source high-quality, certified wood from British Columbia, Canada. We can work with you to help you better understand the design, colour, and overall appearance you are trying to achieve and can help identify the right wood species and grade for your project.

Whether you’re trialing an entirely new idea or looking for cost-effective alternatives for an existing product line, our specialists in Vancouver, Mumbai, and Ho Chi Minh City are here to assist.

Try Canadian wood

To better help you understand the colour and overall appearance of Canadian softwoods, we offer small wood samples for you to work with. Please contact us to request a wood sample.

About Canadian Wood

Canadian Wood is part of Forestry Innovation Investment (FII), a Crown agency of the British Columbia Government, headquartered in B.C. Canada, with satellite offices in Vietnam and India. Through market development programs, Canadian Wood promotes and supplies information about softwood products from British Columbia to wood industry professionals, and connects furniture manufacturers, designers, and wholesalers with leading softwood suppliers from B.C.​

For more information on Canadian wood products and species please contact

Contact Us

* indicates required fields