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The Value of Solid Wood Furniture

You Save Money on Cheap Particle Board Furniture, but it Won’t Last

© 2012 by Ann Nguyen; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

A comforable couch with brown fabric upholsery; photo courtesy Kelly Smith

If you love your home and you want to give it a feeling of quality and classic style, then the furnishings that you buy can really make a big difference.

In recent years, many of us have been seduced by the cheap flat-pack furniture suppliers such as Walmart and have ended up “dumbing down” our furnishings.

But when you look at any single item that you’ve purchased that is constructed from MDF, particle board, and veneers, you’ll notice how quickly it begins to show its age with a few chips and marks.

Of course, there is the argument that these kinds of furnishings are so cheap that you can go out and buy replacements whenever you want, but do you really relish putting more cheap flat-pack items together only to want to change them in another couple of years?

The Danger of Off-Gassing in Particle Board

By side-stepping more expensive solid wood, there is a dangerous factor that you can’t see — off-gassing. Unhealthy chemicals used in the manufacturing process can be emitted into the air as a gas for years.

For example, the Minnesota Department of Health relates, “Formaldehyde is found in many products such as particle board, plywood, paneling, pressed-wood products and urea formaldehyde foam insulation.”

How bad is formaldehyde? OSHA states, “Formaldehyde may cause cancer; causes skin, eye, and respiratory irritation.”

Personally, I’d rather spend more money buying some decent furniture and only go through the process once.

For example, I have an oak chest of drawers in my bedroom that I bought twenty years ago.

It looked beautiful when I first took it home and put it under the window, and today it looks just as good. All it needs is the occasional dust and polish.

Benefits of Solid Wood Furniture

The great thing about buying solid wooden furniture is that you know you are buying things that are built to last, probably longer than your own lifetime. And with the range of different styles of wooden furniture that are available today, there’s no need to stick to traditional styling either.

Many of the most contemporary pieces of furniture rely on one of the oldest furniture materials in the world — oak. Oak has many advantages. There—s a lot of it around so deforestation is not an issue.

It is also a species of great beauty with a “a pin” appearance in the grain. Finally, it is much more affordable than species such as cherry, cocobolo, and walnut.

New or Antique pieces?

You can buy whole ranges of new oak furniture that look just as at home in a brand new apartment as in a period home. Just take a look at the choice of oak TV units at to see the amazing variety of styles that are out there.

Once you find a design that you like, see what other pieces are available in the same collection and you could soon have a home full of beautiful wooden furnishings instead of flimsy flat-pack throwaway furniture.

Finally, consider antiques. You can find some real bargains out there although you might have to roll your sleeves up and do a bit of restoration and refinishing. But consider that this is an investment.


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