What do you look for when selecting furniture for your home? Do you go for the color of the wood? Or do you prioritize the price? Some people go for durability above anything else.
When picking the right furniture for your home, the quality boils down to the type of wood used. Read on to find out which type of wood best suits your furniture needs.
Types of Wood Used for Furniture
Wood used to make furniture can be categorized into two groups:
The density of wood is a fundamental determinant of its strength. Both these groups possess different qualities, making them suitable for different types of furniture. Some work well for light furniture, such as coffee tables, and some are best suited for heavy furniture, such as dressers and beds. Also importantly, your taste will dictate which type of wood you opt for.
The quality of the grain, the color, and durability are a few factors that many buyers look for when buying wooden furniture.
Here are some other popular wood qualities and species used to make furniture.
Walnut is a woodworker's favorite, especially in the U.S. Its appeal stems from its dimensional stability, stress resistance, strength qualities, and rich hue. Walnut comes in different shades, from a creamy white to a dark brown (black walnut).
Did you know that walnut wood was employed in the making of airplane propellers during World War I? It is a hardy but lightweight wood that carves well and retains its shape for decades.
Polished walnut wood develops a lovely patina over time. It has a strong following of dedicated woodworkers and fine furniture enthusiasts due to its unique color. Walnut is also used to make high-end cabinets, kitchen accessories, and other items.
If you're looking for furniture with a smooth finish but don't want to compromise on strength, then maple is a great match for you. Maple wood is fine textured, and its pores are barely visible. It is also one of the strongest woods used for household furniture. While it doesn't necessarily scream luxury, maple wood can absorb stains well to achieve gorgeous finishes.
More importantly, maple wood isn't toxic, so it is also used to make most kitchen cutting boards. It is a hardwood; therefore, it is used to design furniture that can handle damage, such as dresser tables. It also ages well, and if finished off with a dark stain, it can exhibit some amazing grain patterns.
Some furniture made from maple wood that you might want to look into include console tables, dining sets, shelves, and bedside tables.
Mahogany is a popular hardwood that is famed for its rich color. It is also admired for its beauty and stands out even amongst other hardwoods. Mahogany is used to create timeless pieces that are bound to draw the attention of anyone who lays eyes on it.
When you buy furniture made from mahogany wood, you can be sure you won't have to buy a replacement for decades. Since it's a tropical hardwood, it is extremely durable and can last for years with minimal care.
Mahogany boasts a reddish-brown hue. It adds warmth to rooms and creates focal points in spaces. It is a favorite for furniture designers since it takes most stains, finishes well, and does not warp or shrink over time. Some great furniture pieces made from mahogany wood include dining table sets, fashion cabinets, and nested tables.
If you're a fan of modern furniture, there's no doubt you've come across birch wood. Being a lightweight wood with above-average strength, it works well for most furniture types. This type of wood has a fine grain, and its color ranges from cream to a light reddish-brown.
Since birch is slightly elastic, it is commonly used in making “manufactured wood.” Manufactured wood includes plywood, which is used to make other types of furniture. Birch is also a good material for storage boxes, crates, cabinets with wide sides, interior doors, and seating. Plywood can be bent easily and works well in making curved furniture. It is also perfect for manufacturing veneer panels.
Oak is a versatile wood that can adopt different qualities, depending on the finish applied. It can be made into modern designs, despite being around for ages. Traditional furniture pieces made from oak wood still look amazing today.
Oak is a dense hardwood, making it a good timber for building durable furniture. It can be found in two main species: white and red oak. The red species is also called black oak due to its dark color.
When choosing oak furniture, you may want to look out for its grain pattern. It exhibits a nice swirling or striped pattern that looks gorgeous when stained or varnished. It is an easy wood to work with, and it also has admirable resistance to yeast, moisture, and fungus.
The moisture-resistant quality of oak makes it the perfect candidate for making outdoor furniture, such as benches. Oak is also an excellent timber for making indoor and office furniture. It can be used for flooring and veneer production as well.
If you love antique furniture, then cherry wood might just pique your interest. Cherry wood, which is sometimes referred to as fruitwood, is a strong, warp-resistant closed-grain timber. It is easy to curve, and polishing just adds to its qualities.
Cherry wood has a rich pinkish brown color that darkens to a deep red. And due to its density, it is used in making solid furniture, such as tables, cabinets, and shelves. It's also popularly used as a decorative wood—It can be carved into different shapes, and many antique pieces of furniture are made of it.
Bamboo is an eco-friendly timber option for making furniture. It is closely related to grass, which means you can harvest its stalks severally, and it will grow back again without replanting. It is naturally blond in color but can be found in different shades, from a light to a warm brown color.
Bamboo furniture feels more in touch with the earth than other wood types. It is a light wood that rivals the strength of major hardwood species when built correctly. It has excellent resistance to fungus and yeast, making it a great option for durable indoor furniture. However, bamboo is sensitive to water, and soaking might cause it to swell up.
Common furniture pieces made from bamboo include stools, sofas, outdoor seating for porches and balconies, bookshelves, and cabinets.
Last on our list is pine. Pine is a softwood that has a white to light yellow appearance. It is fairly inexpensive compared to other wood types. It is versatile and “rustic” and is used in farmhouse interior designs. Due to its soft nature, it is easy to shape and carve. However, it is less durable than other furniture made from hardwoods like mahogany.
Pine is a good wood for different kinds of furniture. It is used in making door and window frames and paving materials. Since it takes in paint so well, it can be used for outdoor furniture, provided it's protected with a layer of water-resistant paint.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, your choice of wood for furniture depends on your taste. Whether you prioritize the color, strength, grain, or durability, there's a variety to choose from. Softwoods are mostly used for indoor furniture, while hardwoods work well for outdoor furniture.
Nowadays, it is easy to customize furniture pieces to your taste, thanks to the current technology. You get to choose the design as well as the wood you want. So, if you don't like ready-made furniture, this list gives you a good idea of what to expect from whatever wood you go for when customizing furniture for your home or office.
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