Guide To Wooden Furniture: Understanding Its Material And Styling Tips

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Learn more about the different types of wood materials, DIY remedy to remove wood scent and importance of colour guide to styling wooden furniture!

1. Know Material of Wooden Furniture

Our first (and most important) of the wooden furniture tips: you must know the material of the wooden furniture you’re looking to buy!

Medium Density Fibreboard. Particleboard. Plywood. Natural lumber. Solid wood. Veneer. Confused?

These technical terms and furniture jargon can be intimidating and confusing when purchasing wooden furniture. To the layman’s eye, wood is wood. As simple as that. However, the details and vast differences between these wooden offerings can make all the difference.

Cheat Sheet for Wood Beginners:

Types of Wood Materials in a glance: Solid Wood, MDF, Particleboard and Plywood.
Types of Wood Materials in a glance: Solid Wood, MDF, Particleboard and Plywood.


a. Solid Wood – Natural lumber.

The original, and muse for the rest of the engineered wood who aim to look like her and attempt to surpass her in durability and strength. But of course, natural lumber is superior in its strength, density and durability. Not to mention the gorgeous wood grain *sighs in admiration*. However, even queens have their flaws. This queen is vulnerable to water damage and bug infestations. However, such damage can be treated easily. Find out more.

The Sanctum Solid Wood Dining Table set is strong and durable. Made for long-term support, perfect for family dinners.
Sanctum Solid Wood Dining Table Only (4-Seater)


b. Medium Density Fibreboard (More commonly known as MDF Wood)

Made from thin panels of wood fibre, resin and wax pressed together. Known to be water-resistant and able to withstand heavy weight. The strength of the wood varies with its grade.
Recognizing high-density MDF Wood (aka the best of its kind): Smooth finish, clean cut. 
Recognizing subpar quality MDF Wood (aka not the ones we use): Rough to the touch, furring on the surface. Nasty stuff. Scratches easily.

Hand touching the surface of the Aube Wooden Drawer Bed Frame. High-quality MDF wood is smooth to the touch and very strong.
Aube Wooden Drawer Storage Bed Frame (Japan Size)


c. Particleboard

Made from wood chips compressed together. Known to be thin and lightweight. However, particleboard furniture is not the most durable due to its low strength and ability to warp in humidity and moisture. SG = Moisture galore, hence I think you can reach the conclusion yourself.

Particleboard is mainly used to make drawers in furniture due to its lightweight quality.

Particleboard are mostly used for drawers as seen on the Otieno Study Table.
Otieno Study Table

d. Plywood

Made from gluing together thin layers of wood (or veneers) 90 degrees to each other. Known to be strong and water-resistant. However, their quality depends on adhesive strength and layering. As ‘kiasu’ as we are, our plywood furniture is made from as many layers as possible without looking distasteful.  

Plywood is usually seen in the formation of structures for bed frames and sofas.

Sturdy 100% plywood legs support the Kano L-Shaped Sofa.
Kano L-Shaped Sofa Bed

The most important wooden furniture tip is to know the material and quality of the wood furniture you’re purchasing!

2. Natural Wooden Scent, Love it or Hate it?

The supportive, minimalistic Cuenca bed frame with beautiful wood grain.
Cuenca Bed Frame (Japan Size)

What do you think of when you take a whiff of your new wooden bed frame? Perhaps the idea of something warm, earthy and reassuring. Some would say it is calming and inviting, while others might find it musty and old. 

No matter your preferences, we got you. Here are some wooden furniture tips to get rid of the wood’s natural smell (if you want to)!

DIY Remedies:

a. Try leaving the windows and doors of the room open for long periods of time. If you have already attempted deodorizing the room and the smell is still lingering, wash it out by spraying the surface with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and hot water. Make sure to wipe the surface dry after! 
b. You can try sprinkling baking soda on the surface and leaving it overnight. Vacuum and wipe the surface dry.
c. If sprinkling baking soda directly on the furniture sounds daunting, you can form a paste of equal parts water and baking soda in a bowl and leaving it in a drawer overnight to absorb the scent.  

3. Colour Palette 

A living room furnished with varying warm wood tones.
Sanctum Solid Wood Dining Table Only (4-Seater)


If you are a beginner at home décor, start by choosing your dominant wood tone. After you have found the wood tone that takes up the most visual space in your room, enhance your space by complementing it with other wooden furniture of varying wood tones. This gives the room more dimension and your décor will not look flat.  

However, do take note to use wood tones with the same undertone as the dominant one. For example, if your dominant wood tone is warm, use other warm wood tones to complement it; the same goes for cool wood tones. 

In summary: 

Before you decide to cart out that wooden piece sitting on your wish list, be sure to understand the nature of the wooden material and its pros and cons! Note the accompaniment of its natural (or unnatural lacquer) scent and I hope you find these tips useful when you are styling your wooden furniture! Now go forth and check that beauty out😉

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