The best wood for use in furniture depends on your décor and your budget. Ultimately, the best wooden furniture will be an attractive, durable piece which reflects your personal style.|
Types of wood
All wood furniture is made from either hardwood or softwood. Hardwood is more durable, but is also more costly.
Hardwoods are from deciduous trees. The wood is air and kiln dried to remove all moisture before the furniture is constructed.
Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods in North America. It has a beautiful grain, and is one of the sturdiest woods. Oak furniture can be left unfinished, or stained to match your décor. Other popular hardwoods are birch, cherry, and maple.
Most new wood furniture is not constructed from solid hardwood. Many modern pieces are made from engineered wood, or plywood. The finished piece is then given a veneer of the chosen hardwood. This gives the same attractive finish, for a better price.
Antique furniture, however, is probably made from solid hardwood.
Softwoods, from coniferous trees, are not as durable as hardwood. Softwoods grow faster, and are less expensive, but are also more easily scratched or damaged.
Pine is one of the most popular softwoods. It’s plentiful, which makes it cheaper, and is easy to stain, so can match many styles. Cedar and fir are other examples of softwood, but they are not often used for indoor furniture. Cedar ages extremely well, and is often used for garden furniture.
Sustainably grown wood is usually softwood, because these trees grow much faster than hardwood, so are more economical to farm.
When buying wood furniture like wardrobe unit or wall bed system, you should always consider where the wood originally comes from. Mahogany, for example, is a beautiful dark red wood, but it is not produced sustainably. The only sustainable way to buy mahogany furniture is to buy it used, or antique, and this can be very costly.
Types of furniture
Wooden chests and desks can be both beautiful and extremely practical. Some can even become heirlooms, and any good quality piece of furniture over 50 years old is an antique. Armoires, bureaus, tables, and chairs are also popular collectors’ items. Heirloom pieces are usually made from hardwood.
Consider where you’ll use the new wood furniture you’re considering purchasing. It’s worth spending more of your budget on a good piece of furniture if you’ll see it, and admire it, every day. Chests in the bedroom, for example, can help keep you organized as well as improving your décor. Wood furniture in a children’s room, on the other hand, does not need to be such high quality, because children’s furniture will get knocked, scratched, and generally heavily used. A charming table and chairs with brightly painted animals for the legs will bring more joy for the child than an antique piece they are afraid to use.
If you have wooden furniture in the bathroom, such as a chair and old fashioned vanity, you must protect them from water damage.
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