When you’re looking for new furniture, you’ll usually need to weigh up whether to go for solid wood furniture or veneer. Unfortunately, it’s not always a straightforward decision – both types have their pros and cons, and a big part of your decision depends on other factors in your home. Furthermore, there are still the questions of quality, workmanship, style and design which give each piece of furniture its individual attributes. Then, to complicate things further, there is plenty of furniture in Toronto which is a combination of both solid wood and veneer.
What Are the Main Differences between Solid Wood Furniture and Veneer?
To the untrained eye, there may appear to be very little difference in appearance, at least at first glance. Solid wood furniture is made entirely of the same type of (usually higher quality) wood. When you look closely at the sides and edges of a piece of furniture, you can tell it is solid wood by the pattern of grain, which is the same all over the surface. Veneer pieces, on the other hand, are usually made of cheaper wood, such as plywood or chipboard. As these woods are typically less attractive, a solid wood layer is then bonded to the body as a veneer. This gives the piece the appearance of solid wood, while in fact, below the surface, it is not. Both of these types have their pros and cons:
- Veneer Pieces are Often Cheaper – While they still have an attractive appearance, the core of the piece is usually made from a cheaper wood, bringing the overall price of the piece down. This makes it possible to have attractive furniture in your home without breaking the bank. This is a general rule, of course – you can still find high quality veneered pieces that are worth more than some solid wood pieces.
- Solid Wood Furniture Tends to be more Resistant to Damage – Wear and tear can expose the cheaper, core wood of veneered furniture, which also makes it difficult to repair. While solid wood pieces are still vulnerable to scratches and dents, they can easily be sanded out and polished to reveal a surface which is as good as new.
- Veneer Furniture Tends to be More Stable – Solid wood pieces tend to have more obvious joints, which can move over time, especially in humid and warm environments. These pieces can end up warping or even cracking if uncared for. Veneers, on the other hand, are attached to a core which doesn’t tend to be susceptible to warping or cracking, making the piece more stable overall.
- Solid Wood Pieces Tend to be More Admired – If you visit any of Toronto’s older and grander buildings, more often than not you’ll find them stocked with solid wood pieces. There is something about the appeal of furniture which is made entirely from the same wood, with the same grain pattern, that veneers can’t match. If appearance is important to you, you’ll probably want to go with solid wood.
When it comes down to choosing an individual piece of furniture, you really need to be asking yourself more questions, though. You need to make sure that you’re going to enjoy having the furniture in your home, that it will stand the test of time and really feel like a part of your home. Look at the craftsmanship, consider the type or types of wood and whether it suits your personality and the room you plan to use it in. There is no point in buying one type or the other simply for the sake of it. Whether you want solid wood furniture or veneer, the important thing to consider is your relationship with the piece itself.