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Your Ultimate Guide to Furniture Wood Materials

Your Ultimate Guide to Furniture Wood Materials

Wooden furniture are some of the most adored pieces that complete any interior design. These furniture staples are known for their natural style and the warmth they provide in every interior design. Think about your cosy wooden sofa, the charming coffee table, the spacious bed frame, and the sturdy dining table, all made with elegant and versatile wood materials. While we can practically say that many wood types can be used to create your furniture, some varieties are more favoured for their looks, excellent durability, and workability. Many popular wood varieties used in making furniture pieces include oak, walnut, mahogany, rosewood, ash, pine, maple, rubberwood, and more. 

Other furniture styles that fall under the wooden furniture category are made from Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) wood or plywood. If you’ve been looking for other affordable wooden furniture pieces, you may have come across the terms "laminated," "veneered, and "particle wood."

When buying your furniture, it is imperative to understand the different types of wood used in creating them, along with their inherent characteristics, to determine the best piece that suits your needs and preferred interior style.

In general, solid wood pieces, such as those that are made from the materials we listed above, belong to the more expensive wooden furniture types. Some furniture pieces made from MDF, plywood, or particle wood are more affordable.

General Wood Characteristics

General Wood Characteristics

When shopping for wooden furniture pieces, it’s crucial to check the following characteristics to ensure the quality of your wood choice and to choose the right piece that fits your design preferences.

Hardness

Hardness

Wooded furniture materials are generally characterised as hardwood and softwood. Hardwoods are generally denser than softwoods and are mostly used in creating high-end furniture pieces. However, hardwood pieces are not necessarily more durable than softwood types. Some softwoods can compete with hardwoods in terms of their durability and price. We will talk about the two classifications of wood as we go along in this guide.

Wood Grain

Wood Grain

Wood grain effects the visual appeal of wooden furniture. These grains are determined by the cell structure of the wooden tree. Depending on your personal preference, open-grain options can look more attractive. If you prefer a cleaner look, close-grained woods are your elegant options. Open-grain woods are more expressive with well-defined patterns than close-grain woods.

When it comes to colour, hardwood varieties offer richer hues and a finer texture than softwoods. Colours vary from light brown to yellow, to reddish to dark hues. The best wood tone depends on the interior design that you want to achieve.

What are the Main Types of Wood?

What are the Main Types of Wood?

The main types of wood used in creating furniture pieces are classified as hardwood and softwood. Hardwood comes from angiosperm trees, or trees with flowers, while softwood is derived from gymnosperm trees, or woody trees that usually have cones. Seeds from hardwood trees are not monocots and are enclosed within a fruit or ovary. On the other hand, softwood trees are uncovered and bear no flowers or fruits.

In terms of its quality, hardwood is often found in high-end furniture pieces and other long-wearing constructions like flooring and cabinetry. Softwood varieties are generally less dense than hardwood varieties but are also efficient in furniture-making, thus offering less expensive options for furniture shoppers.

When it comes to their visual appeal, hardwood varieties have more prominent pores that give them more noticeable grains, while softwood varieties have lighter grains. In terms of workability, softwoods are easier to work with, thus, they are used in a vast variety of applications. Hardwood materials, on the other hand, are more challenging to use but are durable, making them a more expensive option, but they are trusted for their notable durability.

Hardwood

Hardwood

Hardwood materials are generally found in hard-wearing furniture pieces like bed frames, sofas, dining tables, chairs, wardrobes, and cabinets. You may also encounter a myriad of accent pieces made from solid hardwood materials. Here are some popular hardwood types that are used in creating your favourite furniture pieces.

Oak

Oak

Oak is one of the most sought-after hardwood types used in creating furniture pieces. This furniture wood type is abundant and desired for its expressive grains and flexible wood tone. Oak is generally categorised as white oak and red oak. Wide oak offers its beautiful greyish-brown look, while red oak presents its reddish appearance.

Oak is dense, heavy, and durable and is found in many high-end furniture types.

Walnut

Walnut

Walnut is another excellent wood type that is known for its rich wood tone and notable strength. Walnut is an open-grain hardwood that offers its dark chocolate brown hue and attractive straight grain. Like teak, this wood type is found in many high-end furniture pieces and comes in a more expensive price range.

Ash

Ash

Ash wood is another exquisite hardwood variety that is highly versatile and ideal for curved furniture designs due to its excellent workability. Ash wood's colours range from light brown to reddish hues. Ash wood furniture pieces are adored for their straight grain and durability.

Beech

Beech

Like ash wood, beech wood is also a versatile wood type that can be bent during the manufacturing process. It is also known for its pinkish hue, strength, and resistance to shock.

However, beech wood can be difficult to work by hand and is not highly suitable for humid areas.

Mahogany

Mahogany

Mahogany presents a reddish-brown to a reddish hue that may darken over time. It features a straight grain look that absorbs wood stains beautifully, which makes it a quality choice for those who want wooden furniture that increases its beauty as it ages. 

Maple

Maple

If you’re looking for a clean, whitish hardwood look with some reddish details. These maple furniture pieces are excellent for mid-century modern interior themes with their regular straight grains and rare bird-eye patterns. This hardwood material is water-resistant and is commonly used for making dining tables, wardrobes, and storage cabinets.

Rubberwood

Rubberwood

Rubberwood is a medium-density hardwood that is known for being a sustainable furniture wood type. Rubberwood features a tan colour and is also notably durable. This wood type is used to build furniture pieces like wooden bed frames, wooden sofas, dining tables, and coffee tables.

 

Softwood

Softwood

Softwoods are gymnosperms that allow their coverless seeds to fall on the ground and reproduce. These wood types are generally less dense and less expensive than hardwood varieties. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot find magnificent softwood furniture pieces on the market. Here are some softwood furniture types that are worth splurging on.

Cedar

Cedar

Cedar wood is distinguished by its reddish hue, straight grain, and aromatic smell. It is moisture resistant and highly versatile, making it a good choice for many outdoor furniture pieces.

Pine

Pine

Offering its rustic feel, pine wood is known for its expressive grains and light colour. It has some "knots" that give the wood its unique look but can be difficult to work with when manufacturing. Being soft, pine wood is ideally used in constructing kids’ furniture. If an inviting rustic look is what you aim to achieve, there are several pine wood furniture pieces that you can choose from.

Redwood

Redwood

Based on its name, you may guess that redwood has a reddish tint. This wood type is moisture resistant and is mostly used in creating outdoor furniture pieces. It has straight grains and bends beautifully during the designing process.

Other wooden furniture materials include beech wood, redwood, gum, basswood, and more. 

 

Wood Alternatives

Wood Alternatives

While many of us love the luxurious feel of solid wood furniture, there are some notable alternatives to consider. 

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) is a manufactured wood type that is both dense and heavy. This wood type is manufactured at an intense temperature and pressure and is covered with veneer to mimic the look of a solid wood grain. MDF wood is used in a variety of smaller furniture projects like bookshelves, cabinets, accent pieces, and budget-friendly wooden furniture pieces. MDF accepts varnish and paint very well, making it a versatile choice in terms of its looks.

Plywood

Plywood

Plywood comes in many types, but the most appropriate for furniture making is hardwood plywood. This is a durable material that is often used for supporting upholstered chairs, sofas, cabinetry, wardrobes, and bed frames. Plywood is an excellent material for load-bearing furniture pieces like wardrobes, dressers, hutches, and kitchen cabinets as it takes heavy loads more efficiently than some solid hardwoods.

Particle Board

Particle Board

Some affordable furniture pieces are made from particle board. The main selling point of particle board furniture is its affordability, but it does not promise the same durability as other wooden furniture materials. This manufactured material can look very outstanding. However, it won’t express the unique feel of natural wood. Particle boards are also not as durable as MDF or plywood. They won’t also hold pressure and moisture as efficiently as solid wood furniture pieces.

Takeaway

Takeaway

From classic furniture to modern pieces, wooden furniture never goes out of style. In fact, many homeowners and interior designers adore the distinct feel wooden furniture pieces bring to their interior design. If you're looking for high-quality furniture for your home, browse our extensive online furniture collection in Singapore.