First of all, we need to look at the different wood types available and their advantages and disadvantages when using them for indoor wooden furniture.
There is a difference between softwood and hardwood, according to HowStuffWorks. Softwood originates from evergreen trees and hardwood from deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are known for their slow growth causing the wood to grow denser and therefore more solid ideally for furniture that lasts several generations. Although these characteristics sound like the perfect wood for indoor furniture, softwood should not be underestimated. Softwood is more sustainable due to it’s quicker growth which also causes it to be less expensive. Given it’s softer structure it is also easier to work with. Common softwoods for indoor furniture are for instance fir, pine, cedar or redwood, whereas the use of redwood is more common in the States than in Europe. Common hardwoods used for indoor furniture are for example oak, maple, birch, walnut or cherry.
Next to just solid hardwood or softwood, there are also a lot of so-called “engineered” or “manufactured” woods, that you probably came across already at your go-to Scandinavian furniture chain. Typically manufactured woods are for example plywood or particleboard, whereas particleboard is the more frequently used “wood” for indoor furniture. Particleboard is made of pressed wood chips which makes it dense, cheap & very sustainable at the same time. In fact, up to 60% of wood can be saved by using particle board instead of solid wood. This type of “wood” can even utilise the branches and not just the trunk,opposed to furniture built from soft- and hardwood. It is usually also lighter than solid wood making it easier to transport and assemble.
So does that mean that particleboard is the one and only wood that should be used for indoor furniture because it comes with so many different advantages?
The answer is: It really depends. It depends on your needs, your expectations and your budget when furnishing your home. Choosing solid wooden furniture is definitely an investment for the future. So if you would like something solid and durable, the choice should fall on solid wood. Which type of solid wood, however, is a matter of taste. Mahogany and cherry are for example very dark and birch and pine very light. But not just colour differentiates the different wood types. Some trees grow bigger or denser than others and can, therefore, be used for larger projects like massive dining tables. Oak, for example, is one of the densest woods available, also the texture and grain differs between various types of solid wood. Cherry is known for its straight grain, for example.
If you choose high quality solid wooden- or even bespoke furniture you need to also take into consideration that it needs to be maintained and cared for to last even longer. Next to cleaning, it also requires treatment, protection and polishing. If you would like to find out more about the right treatment for your indoor wooden furniture you can take a look at our blog What are the best treatments for wooden indoor furniture? . If your budget is smaller and you are maybe moving into your first own apartment your emphasis might be on lightweight, inexpensive furniture that does not need a lot of care and maintenance, and is easy to move house with. Then you might want to consider furniture built of particle boards. However, on a long-term view solid wooden furniture is definitely worth the investment and care making your house or apartment a home.