Perhaps the most popular hardwood species of North America, the maple hardly needs to be introduced. Its light color and fine, even grain make it ideal for decors calling for a light, open-space, uncluttered look or those veering towards simplicity, less-is-more type of concept. The Eastern maple is light-colored, probably the lightest of all domestic species, with occasional brownish streaks occurring in the rustic-grade lumber; the Western maple has subtle greyish and reddish undertones. Both species have a wavy or curly grain which is not heavily emphasized; the patterns are subtle, almost invisible from certain angles. The wood of the eastern variety is hard with excellent stiffness and high resistance to wear and tear. The Western maple is about 25% softer, having the same hardness as cherry. Exposed to UV radiation, the wood gets a light honey-yellow patina. Due to the wide variability in the porousness of maple wood, it tends to blotch when stained; it makes however a good choice for a distressed, worn-out and weathered look.