Wood is one of the earliest materials used to make furniture. It is also one of the most popular thanks to its variety, durability and sustainability. There are few, if any, types of furniture not made of wood. This is no bad thing. It does, however, mean choosing the right piece of wood furniture can be a little trickier than it first appears. This handy guide to buying wood furniture should help anyone struggling to make a decision about just what pieces are right for them.
Whether wood, stone or steel, furniture works best when it reflects the home it lives in. The good news is that wood is versatile enough to use in any range of styles, meaning it will fit into most – if not every – home. Oak, for example, looks just as good in a farmhouse as it does in a penthouse apartment.
The trick is finding the right design: modern and sleek for the penthouse, rugged and rustic for the farmhouse. This will require shopping around. Or, if nothing appeals, commissioning a bespoke furniture design that fits the look and feel of your home.
Remember when buying wood furniture to not only think about the shape and size of a piece but the type of wood. Some wood, like Ash, for example, is ideal for staining, which means Ash furniture is generally available in a range of shades that work with any decorative style. Other woods, such as Mahogany don’t stain as well. These tend to be woods with darker shades, which will work well in homes with lighter paint or wallpaper.
The type of wood also affects the kind of furniture it makes. Maple, for example, is highly flexible and is ideal for furniture with rounded or smoother designs. Mahogany, meanwhile, is softer and more suitable for intricate carvings or ornate furniture. As a result, more traditional furniture styles use Mahogany, while more modern designs often use Maple and Ash.
While most wood could be used for furniture, some are more popular than others. We’ve looked at these below, listing the most common and why they work so well for making furniture. These will help any buying decision.
When buying furniture, remember the type of wood is not all that matters. How the furniture is made is also important. The better the construction, the longer the piece will last. Look for furniture with wooden dowels, interlocking sides or screws rather than glue or staples. The latter are less stable and mean the furniture is more likely to break, making it more expensive in the long-run, even if it’s cheaper at the time.
Finally, when choosing wood furniture, it’s important to consider the environmental impact. Whether buying from a department store or commissioning a custom piece of furniture, look for wood that is FSC Certified. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification confirms that wood has come from sustainable resources and farmed in an environmentally-friendly way.