Home Furnishings

Rocking chairs.

There are many things to consider when buying new furniture for your home. With proper care, solid wood furniture can last a lifetime. The various types of wood will determine the quality and durability of the piece. You will want to consider that when deciding what pieces to buy.

What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

There is a misconception that the names origins are based on one being harder than the other when if fact the term originated from the type of tree the wood was harvested from. Softwood’s come from trees with needles. These trees are known as conifers. Some examples of softwoods: pine, spruce and cedar. Hardwood’s come from trees that shed leaves and are known as deciduous. Some popular hardwoods are oak, mahogany, walnut, and maple.

There is, however, a difference in the density of the wood. A hardwood is strong along all directions of the grain and a softwood is strong only in specific grain direction and is much less compressed.

With that in mind, it is important to consider what the piece will be used for. For instance, if you are looking at purchasing a dining room table, you may want to look for an oak dining room table. Many families use the dining room table for daily meals as well as entertaining. You need something that will hold up well under constant use.

If however your dining room table is simply for special occasions there would be no reason why you can’t simply buy any solid wood dining table. Generally speaking, hardwood furniture is more expensive than softwood so buying a softwood piece will be easier on your wallet.

The same rules for making a decision when shopping for a piece for your dining room would apply to other rooms in the house, including shopping for a bathroom vanity. You may find pieces that are built from softwood and then veneered to look like hardwood. In most cases, solid wood will outlast a veneered piece or a piece made from particle board.

If you are hoping to find American made furniture, do your research before heading out the door. There are definite advantages to American made and there are manufacturers that still pride themselves on doing the work in America. This doesn’t necessarily mean the wood used in construction of the piece was harvested in the US. Depending on the piece and the type of wood it will be harvested and shipped.

There are many styles of wood furniture to choose from, traditional, country, and even mission style furniture. Once you have decided on the type of wood you want, picking the style will simply be a matter of personal preference. Most large home furnishings stores will carry many different styles and will be happy to help you design a room around your budget and your lifestyle.


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