When it comes to buying furniture, there are a plethora of options to choose from. Choices include the style of furniture (classic, modern, contemporary), color, and even fabric. Even if you’ve narrowed down your choices to real wood furniture, there are still a lot of variations to consider. Here are a few of the most common types of wood and materials used in wood furniture. This guide can help you decide what type of wood would best match not only your design goals but your house and budget as well.
There are different species of the birch tree, which can result in variations in wood appearance. However, generally birch wood has a creamy white hue with patterns of brown sprinkled throughout. The wood is closed pore, which allows it to be stained and finished easily. When sanded, birch presents a nice and smooth finish. As birch is a hardwood, it is less susceptible to scratches and dents which makes birch wood furniture ideal for households that have pets or small children.
Oak is one of the most widely used hardwoods on the market. It is light in color, heavy, and strong. Thanks to rings within the oak tree, oak wood has a course texture and a noticeable grain. A favorite among craft furniture makers, Oak is the most popular wood for country-style American furniture. Because the oak tree itself grows slowly and has a long life-span the oak wood is incredibly strong and durable. Furniture made from oak is very durable. Although it is porous which requires an extra coat of stain or finish, oak furniture is not only built to last, it is just as beautiful unfinished thanks to its grain.
Unlike birch and oak that are both hardwoods, pine is actually a soft wood. Because of this, pine is verily easily carved and can be molded into a variety of shapes and designs. In addition to being easy to work with, pine is lighter in comparison to the other hardwoods, which means pine furniture is easier to move – which makes pine an ideal option for those in apartments and temporary housing who need to have furniture that transports well. Pine has a nice, even grain and is easy to paint and/or finish with wood stain.
Particleboard and MDF are popular building materials thanks to their low price point. Particleboard is basically wood chips and other wood waste products that are glued together and formed into sheets with a hot press. MDF is made the same as particleboard (wood materials glued together), but it is much denser. Particleboard is a staple material for ultra-low cost furniture stores and big box retailers. Usually particleboard furniture comes in pieces that the owner then has to assemble. Particleboard and MDF are weak building materials compared to real wood, and easily fall apart. Investing a little bit more in real wood furniture crafted out of materials like birch, oak, and pine will give you much more life and versatility than an economy grade particleboard unit.