Wooden furniture has been a staple in the design industry since the beginning. With its lengthy history of its existence, we have collectively researched, understood and applied the beneficial use of wooden furniture within the comforts of our living space. With so many choices available in today’s market, it can be rather hard to choose one that suits us the best.
Notably, furniture made with pure solid wood is becoming less common while alternatives like laminate and veneer wood are being used increasingly for their good quality. Although they all look similar, there are some significant differences between them, and we are going to discuss the pros and cons of each of these wood materials in detail.
Laminate wood is the cheapest option of the three in this list, made with synthetic materials or with very thinly sliced pieces of wood pressed together and then goes through a method of printing to achieve its wooden appearance.
- Durability. Very sturdy and resistant to water and heat
- Cost-effective. Much cheaper than veneer and solid wood
- Versatile. Can be used in flooring, furnishing and decorative with a wide range of colours and imitate other materials
- Low Maintenance. Resistant to scratches and can be easily cleaned with a wet cloth.
- Non-recyclable. Due to being made with synthetic materials, it cannot be recycled and break down as new materials for a new object / surface.
- Lacks aesthetic. Laminate wood has a very shiny surface on top, which gives the finishing a very artificial look despite having a wood aesthetic look.
- Durability. While made to be durable to heat conditions, it can get scratched which will leave a permanent mark on the surface.
Veneer is the medium or the middle man between laminate and solid wood. It’s a thin layer of hardwood, no thicker than 1/8 inch that is bonded or glued with adhesive to a surface hidden beneath. Though not the exact same as solid wood, veneer is a moderately cost-effective material that maintains similar natural elegance and is distinctive to a unique and rich feel.
- Moderately cost-effective. Slightly more costly than laminate but a potentially good cheaper alternative to solid wood.
- Natural appearance. Unlike laminate, it maintains a natural and aesthetic elegance of real wood similar to its parent.
- Eco-friendly. It’s made of a thin layer of real wood, and can be recycled.
- Low maintenance. Although prone to scratches, it can be easily removed by sanding and repolished.
- Durability. Veneer is softer and less durable which makes it prone to get damage from heat and water.
- Maintenance. Requires polishing every few years.
- Lack of versatility. Mainly available in natural wood finishes only
Solid wood is as classic as you can get in a wood material. Made with 100% pure solid wood, furniture made with solid wood can be sanded, varnished and endure other forms of treatment process. Solid wood furniture is embraced for its beauty of its natural wood grain and the craftsmanship that goes into it. Even with cheaper alternatives capable of capturing its essence well, it never really replicates a solid wood’s alluring beauty.
- Durability. Able to endure very heavy duty usage, can be hammered with nails and can last for several years.
- Aesthetic beauty. Every piece of solid wood has its unique natural wood grain, making it all the more pleasing to the eye.
- Low maintenance. Scratches, and minor ones can be easily fixed without losing its original state.
- Versatile. Has a wide range of stains and colours and can be used in furnishing, doors and decorative.
- Cost. Easily the most expensive and while you gain high quality, it is not ideal if you have a tight budget.
- Heavyweight. While very durable and lasting, it’s also very heavy which can become inconvenient if you are prone to move houses often.
- Versatile quality. Solid wood has a wide range of quality depending on its origin, since it is pure natural wood and often people overlook this small downside.
- Extreme Conditions. As it is natural wood, solid wood is prone to warping and changes under extreme heat and cold conditions. It is important to keep it at a consistent temperature away from water.
Overall, which of the three suits you the best? The answer is it all depends on your needs. Each one of these materials has their pros and cons, and not everyone has the same taste with each other. Hence, careful and very considerate research on each material about their value, quality and purposes will help you narrow down your requirements and perspective to meet your standard and needs while still able to achieve your desired style and design. People may give their experience and recommendation but at the end of the day, it is yours to admire and see all day long so be wise to choose the perfect material to your needs.