The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wooden Furniture for Your Home and Family

A friend’s eldest son recently went off to college. Like a lot of young men, he immediately spent too much money on a new top-of-the-line television. He purchased a cheap stand for it online, but after only a few weeks, it began to wobble. When he returned home for a break, he asked his parents if they’d mind parting with a low wooden bookcase from the family room. The bookcase had survived his entire childhood and adolescence and the preschool years of his two younger sisters; it could certainly stand up to the weight of his new TV. It was several decades old, but the finish still looked pretty good, give or take a few scratches, and the bookcase could stand without sagging, leaning, or wobbling.

My friend’s story demonstrates both the advantages and disadvantages of wooden furniture. Quality wood furniture is stronger than furniture that comes packed flat in a box, and it will last for years. It’ll also look much better for much longer than cheaply-made furniture, like the kind that consists of a thin veneer of hardwood affixed to a lighter and less expensive wood like plywood. If the finish of wood furniture isn’t maintained, it can suffer damage or wear off over time, but a skilled woodworker can always return it to like-new condition.

pros and cons wooden furniture

The Advantages of Wooden Furniture

The most practical advantage of wood furniture is its strength. Hardwood tabletops, desktops, and shelves won’t sag over time the way cheaper woods like plywood, particleboard, and fiberboard can. It can maintain that strength for decades—century-old furniture is routinely found in usable condition in attics and basements. The bookcase my friend’s son made off with, for instance, was originally handed down to the family from an elderly aunt. High-quality furniture retains its value, too: Resold heirloom-quality wood furniture can often command a premium price.

The greatest advantage of wooden furniture, though, lies in its enduring look and appeal. The grain and tones of genuine hardwood bring warmth and character to any room. When finished correctly, solid wood has a luster that can’t be matched by a veneer. Even when the finish of wood furniture isn’t properly maintained, it still looks attractive. It’s why shabby chic furniture with a distressed finish is a part of the modern rustic look, which continues to grow in popularity. My friend's old bookcase, for example, currently lends a stately charm to his son’s dorm room.

Thanks to its lasting strength and enduring beauty, damaged hardwood furniture can usually be fully repaired or restored with the right tools and skills. Finished wood can withstand years of wear and tear from even the most rambunctious family—scratches and dents from careless teenagers, scribbles from crayon-wielding toddlers, spilled glue from craft projects gone wrong, and more. Scratches and scuff marks can be sanded out; the old finish can be removed and replaced with a new one. However, despite all the benefits, wood furniture comes with some disadvantages.

The Disadvantages of Wooden Furniture

When my friend’s son moved to a new dormitory, it took two people to carry his improvised TV stand across campus. Wood furniture’s strength, stability, and durability come at a price: It’s heavy. Other disadvantages to wood furniture include the following:

Wood is vulnerable to water. Moisture can damage wood finishes and soak into the wood underneath, causing it to split and swell.

Ultraviolet light can change wood’s color and damage its surface. In a way that’s similar to the effect sunlight has on skin, sunlight can break apart chemical bonds in wood and cause the surface to change colors. If you’re not among the wood furniture owners who find this kind of discoloration attractive, a skilled craftsman can restore an old finish to return the color to its original hue. Wood furniture with a durable and protective topcoat over the finish is likely to resist discoloration over time.

Finishes can be scratched or damaged by sharp objects. While the topcoat should make your furniture resistant to damage caused by everyday use, sharp or heavy objects may scratch the finish, which could expose the wood underneath. Check to see if your warranty covers repairs for accidental damage.

Repairing damage requires patience and skill. Fixing scratches on a wood surface requires a craftsman’s touch; sanding or removing stains requires patience, care, and attention to detail.

The strength of hardwood makes it ideal for use in furniture. It’ll stand up to considerable abuse, and damage can often be repaired or restored. To get the most value from your wood furniture, make sure to always purchase quality, high-end furniture made from solid hardwood.

Unruh Furniture's handcrafted Lakehouse Platform Bed strikes the perfect balance between function and appearance

Maximizing the Advantages of Wood Furniture for Your Home

Skilled woodworkers can look at a halved log of hardwood and see the graceful lines of a farmhouse kitchen table beneath the bark. Leaving things undone or done poorly isn’t in their nature. When shown a piece of high-quality wooden furniture with deep scratches or other visible damage, they’ll immediately begin to think about how to bring it back to its former glory. Not only that, but they’ll be eager to get started.

At Unruh Furniture, we build heirloom-quality dining tables, beds, and desks to last throughout the years, and we take pride in what we do. We’ll repair any damage done to our furniture, regardless of who or what caused it—at no cost to you. We’ll even come and pick it up. When you order handmade custom furniture from us, you’ll receive all of the advantages of wood furniture, with none of the disadvantages.

Unruh Furniture is dedicated to crafting the best high-end furniture for your home. Our furniture is customized to the specifications you provide and available in any of six hardwoods and twelve finishes. Schedule a visit to our Dallas showroom in the heart of Deep Ellum to find custom furniture that will last a lifetime.

Featured Image: When it comes to wooden furniture like Unruh’s intricately-crafted Lake House Dresser, the advantages are many and the disadvantages are few.

Image #1: Made from solid hardwood planks, Unruh Furniture’s Lake House Platform Bed displays the advantages of wooden furniture to their fullest

By Carly Haynam

Carly moved to Kansas City from Colorado 13 years ago, and while she loves the coffee and food scene, her passion is in design and transforming spaces, with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

Contact Unruh Furniture’s team today to customize the way you live.

Contact us