Should I Choose Solid Wood or Wood Veneer Furniture

Solid Wood Table

Buying big ticket items like furniture and mattresses can be really intimidating.  We don’t buy furniture like we buy clothing so when it is time to replace a furniture piece, redecorate a room or start from scratch and decorate an entire home we want to make informed, knowledgeable decisions.

Let’s start with buying wood case goods.  A case good can be anything that isn’t upholstered.  These pieces can be made in North America or can be brought in from off shore.  When you are looking at wood it can be solid or veneer.  People think that veneers are not the same level of quality as solid wood but that isn’t necessarily the case.  Veneers can actually be more expensive than solid wood.

Solid wood pieces are, like the words imply, made from solid wood.  There are many different species of wood that can be used and they all have different levels of hardness.  That is a factor to be aware of when you are purchasing furniture.  Pieces made of certain types of pine can be soft and will mark very easily with everyday use.  When a piece of furniture is built of solid wood everything visible will be constructed of the same species of wood and sometimes the hidden parts will be made of less expensive wood but will still be solid.  People choose sold wood because of its durability.  It can last a long time and if it does end up with damage such as a scratch or dent it can be repaired quite easily.  Even white rings and water damage on the top coat can be fixed.  Many people like the look of solid wood and are reassured in the fact that they can own the piece for a lifetime and change the stain and color as often as they want.

The downside of solid wood is that it can dry out and split, especially in dry climates like Calgary.  To help ensure your wood furniture stays nice it is a good practice to keep it out of direct sunlight and also buy furniture that is made to last in your climate.  A humidifier can also help your solid wood furniture stand the test of time.

The process of making furniture using veneers can be more complicated.  A very thin layer of hardwood is glued onto another piece of wood or particle board.  The hidden pieces are usually made from a lower cost wood.  Because you are using such thin slices the veneer can be cut into intricate patterns and can be turned into beautiful high end furniture.  The veneer is glued down to the wood and has less chance of warping or splitting but is still real wood so can be sanded and stained in any color like solid wood pieces.  If you are looking for a pattern with wood grains going in different directions then veneer is  a very good choice as you couldn’t get that look with solid wood.  In some cases the veneer can lift or peel but with the technology available today that is a rare occurance.

Veneer is thin so one of the downsides is that if you get damage on the piece it can be much harder to repair.  Also if you decide you want to change the look of the furniture you have to be aware that you are not sanding right through the veneer because that would be very difficult to repair.

When choosing your furniture as long as you are choosing good quality pieces that are a great value it becomes a case of personal taste.  You can choose the look you want that fits the design of your house.  If you like the patterns that a veneered piece offers or the clean look of solid wood either will work in your home.  Ask whether a veneered piece is solid wood underneath or particle board?  Ask whether a solid wood piece is all made out of the same wood and how that wood will hold up over time.  These questions and your research will help you make a very informed decision and lead to you being very happy with your purchase.