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Hardwood Furniture Guide

There’s a reason why hardwood furniture is such a sought-out feature for your home. It’s beautiful; incredible to touch with striking grain patterns, truly an aspirational purchase. But it’s also a smart investment for the future of your home.

While those on a budget might be tempted by cheaper, flat-packed furniture as a “quick fix”, the truth is that hardwood furniture is actually a much smarter choice in that one can make in the long term, thanks to our high-quality standards, and the nature of the real wood.

At Oak Furniture Land we’re passionate about hardwood furniture, obviously, using only 100% real hardwood in our products - even the bed slats and drawer backs! Here’s why we care so much, and what you need to know before making an investment in furniture for your home.

Shop our hardwood furniture

Hardwood Furniture FAQ's

  • Why should I use hardwood furniture?

    It has a gorgeous natural look

    Its beautiful grain patterns and lines are often imitated but always fall short of the uniqueness of real hardwood.


    It's actually a smart investment

    While budget furniture, like that made with MDF, chipboard or veneer, or even those made of softwood like pine, may seem like they offer excellent value when purchased, they offer much less value in the home. This furniture requires extra care to keep up its looks and is much more susceptible to staining, marks, chips or bowing. So while the price of hardwood can seem higher, you are actually investing in a piece that will serve you better over time.

    Our incredibly high build quality, and the striking good looks of the wood grain fare well with the most basic of care routines, and is much less likely to warp or show damage over time. Hardwood could easily retain it’s quality for a lifetime, making it a truly smart purchase. And did we mention our incredibly affordable finance options?


    It’s resilient and strong

    There are lots of different types of hardwood on the market, all with their own unique qualities. As our name might suggest, we love to use oak (natural and rustic) in our products, as its strength makes it one of the best types of wood to be used in furniture. It’s also workable enough to be styled into our varied ranges of furniture, allowing our designers to create superb pieces of furniture. Some of the other popular types of hardwoods that you will see in furniture are acacia, mango, ash and mahogany.

    It’s also important to notice that some furniture is built using hardwood veneer (thin slices of hardwood bonded to a composite board or plywood) to get a similar “look” to our furniture, but the quality is then compromised. We only use solid wood in our furniture, which means that every part of our furniture - from the drawer backs, bases and runners to the slats of our bed frames - is made of pieces of genuine hardwood and nothing else.


    It’s easy to look after

    One of the best ways to help your furniture acclimatise is to treat it immediately with our specially formulated wax polish, and to continue treating it at three month intervals. Doing so will protect and nourish the timbers, creating a long-lasting, protective seal. And that’s it! From a care perspective, hardwood furniture is one of the simplest to maintain, and keeps looking great over time.


    It’s versatile

    The beauty of hardwood furniture is that it can be changed over time to give it a whole new life. By sanding, staining or painting it you can change the finish wood furniture and go for an entirely new look.


    It’s a decor staple

    Adding a piece of wood furniture to a room will immediately change its feel and look. Hardwood furniture generally signifies quality and sophistication, and really elevates the style of your home, no matter what room you place it in.


  • Why choose oak?
    • Oak is the perfect timber for making furniture
    • It’s called the “King of the Woods”
    • Oak is strong and dense, but not too hard to make it unworkable
    • It offers exceptional durability
    • Oak is less affected by moisture than other softwoods
    • It also expands and contracts less
    • Every oak tree is unique with its own distinctive grain pattern and colouring
    • Oak is 3x harder than pine (Mango, which we also use, is 2.5x harder than pine)
    • Oak is far more pliable and usable than other woods such as Brazilian Walnut which is just too hard
    • When correctly designed and built, oak furniture offers products that can last a lifetime by being tougher, harder and more durable
  • What style of hardwood furniture should I go for?

    We know that deciding on the overall look and feel of your room can be somewhat tricky, but we’re always here to help. Creating your perfect space is all about finding out what styles and ranges best fit your personality, lifestyle, and the feel of your home:


    Rustic Oak

    The demand for rustic furniture has never been greater, as it speaks to a nostalgic feeling of simplicity, and a serene back-to-nature lifestyle. Fitting beautifully into country-style, boho-chic spaces, or even urban outdoor-inspired homes, our rustic ranges exude natural elegance. We designed these furniture ranges with a subtly tinted finish, which allows the grain to really stand out in a slightly darker warm tone than items from our natural oak ranges.


    Natural Oak

    The ideal style for those looking to combine the traditional charm of good quality natural solid oak with a sleek, refined modern styling. Natural oak offers light golden tones, and adds a lot of light into rooms. We love natural solid oak for its versatility, creating an exotic adventurous feel in our Tokyo and Cairo ranges, or feeling clean and minimal in ranges like Bevel.


    Mango & Other

    Mango furniture has a unique look and feel and is a favourite alternative to some of the more conventional hardwood varieties. The beautiful variegated grain patterns of the mango wood can be brought to life by experienced craftsmen like ours, who apply our special blend of wax to each piece.

    Ideally you’ll want your mango furniture to have no additional varnishes or lacquers used, to ensure a natural finish that is both visually stunning and pleasing to the touch. To create an individual and exotic look in your home, you can't get any better than our mango furniture ranges.


    Painted Furniture

    Painted furniture is the perfect way to give your home or room a refresh while also making a statement with subtle colours and unique styles. To create a Classic Farmhouse look, view our Country Cottage Painted Range which has been designed to create an eye-catching contrast with the cream painted base and solid natural oak tops. For a Fresh Modern feel then you should have a look at the St Ives Painted Furniture Range with an elegant light-grey finish and natural oak tops the range design details give a pleasing, relaxed style.

    If you prefer the French Style then our Bella Brushed Oak & Painted Range is for you. The elegant look of the french-washed, solid oak top and cream-painted base is enhanced by the carved feet and undulating skirts, curved tops, and smooth bevelled edges to the drawers.

    Finally for the Contemporary finish, the Kemble Rustic Solid Oak and Painted Furniture Range is a firm favourite. Featuring a smooth finish of a soft putty shade of paint with a lavender undertone and a solid natural oak top the Kemble Range is an updated look of our extremely popular Original Rustic Solid Oak Range.

  • How can I make my hardwood furniture last?

    Quality hardwood furniture is an investment that can easily last a lifetime and beyond with the right care. It's surprisingly easy to look after and a small amount of care will extend your furniture's life considerably. Here are some hints and tips on how to keep your furniture looking its best:


    Furniture wax polish

    Did you know that almost half the weight of freshly cut wood is actually water? Too much water content can affect the quality of hardwood, which is why at Oak Furniture Land all our timbers undergo a meticulous kiln drying process to carefully reduce the moisture content, leaving just enough so that it can properly acclimate to the relative humidity in your home.

    One of the best ways to help your furniture acclimate is to treat it immediately with our specially formulated wax polish and to continue treating it at three-month intervals. Doing so will protect and nourish the timbers, creating a long-lasting, protective seal. For more information, click here.

    There are other ways that you can help take care of your furniture, to prevent drying and splitting. Here are some simple do’s and don't’s to help make your hardwood furniture last a lifetime:


    Do

    • Treat your furniture with wax polish immediately upon receipt and continue to do so every three months to protect and nourish the wood.
    • Blot up spills immediately with a soft, slightly damp cloth.
    • Use coasters, placemats and tablecloths to protect furniture during use.

    Don't

    • Place items of furniture in areas which receive direct sunlight, as this can cause fading to the finish
    • Place furniture directly next to heating or air conditioning vents
    • Use household cleaning products, solvents or cleaners intended for materials other than hardwood furniture, as they are liable to damage the finish
  • My hardwood furniture has a leather upholstery. Should I care for it as well?

    You definitely should! Many of our dining chairs and dressing table stools are upholstered in leather, as it is is a natural product that is also stylish, comfortable and exceptionally durable. So, it’s only natural that you want to keep it that way. And with the right care, your new leather upholstery will retain its natural beauty for many years to come.

    We always recommend that you look after your leather products with a specific care kit, like our all-inclusive leather care kit. Formulated to clean and protect without damaging the finish, our kit covers each key stage in leather care: cleaning, conditioning and protection.

    We recommend you treat your leather upholstery immediately on delivery, prior to use, and then every few months after. Investing in a care kit specific for leather is important, as household cleaning products, solvents or cleaners intended for other materials will spoil the leather finish. You should also protect your leather furniture from strong sunlight and excessive heat such as radiators.

    It´s also worth remembering that even though every effort is made to achieve uniformity, no two hides are the same, and it’s quite normal to see variations in shade and texture of the grain between products. Natural markings such as healed scars, wrinkling, stretch marks and veining may also be present; these are considered an integral part of the leather and should not be viewed as faults, but rather as characteristic marks that add to the natural beauty of the leather and show it is the real thing.

  • Can I move my furniture around without scratching the floor?

    Yes, you can! In fact, we encourage you to consider moving around your furniture occasionally, for several reasons:


    It will save your flooring

    By moving your furniture around periodically it saves your flooring from wear and traffic patterns therefore extending its life.


    Helps you take advantage of changing light conditions

    As the light changes from summer to winter the way your room performs changes as well. You may prefer to block a bit of bright sunlight from the TV screen with the low winter light, and will want to take advantage of long summer days other times.


    You can maximise solar performance

    Who never thought about push their sofa closer to the sunny winter window perfect for curling up on cold winter days in the warm sun?


    It's so much easier to clean

    Moving your furniture around gives you the best chance to clean under and around things. Use this as an opportunity to do a really good deep clean a few times a year.


    Because change is good

    Moving your furniture around gives it new life and helps you appreciate it in a way that you hadn't previously.


    Bearing this in mind, we always suggest using our felt floor pads with your furniture, as these are a great way to protect your flooring from potential scratches and gouges. These are quite easy to apply and available in various sizes - you choose from our pack of twenty four 25mm pads or the four larger 70mm pads which you can cut down to size.

  • How easy is it to assemble hardwood furniture?

    We're aware that assembling furniture can be quite a tiring process. More often than not, you’ll find that some retailers ship their furniture flat-packed and it will take you the better part of a day to assemble your bed or bookcase.

    You’ll be happy to know that at Oak Furniture Land you won’t have to worry about that. All of our furniture is delivered making sure that minimal home assembly is needed. That’s why we never ship flat-packed furniture. First and foremost, we value your time and look forward to providing the best service possible.

  • What are the main differences between hardwood and softwood?

    It’s actually nothing to do with whether the wood feels soft or hard. Softwood furniture is not necessarily soft - nor hardwood furniture particularly hard. Here are some of the key aspects that differentiate hardwood from softwood:


    It’s all about the seeds

    If a tree’s seeds have some sort of covering, like a nutty shell or fleshy fruit coat, it’s hardwood. On the other hand, if the seeds are bare and open to the elements, it’s a softwood. Examples of hardwood include oak, elm and teak. Softwood, on the other hand, comes from evergreen trees such as pine and spruce.


    They require different maintenance

    Every type of wood, either hard or soft, will require maintenance from time to time. Even though we recommend you to treat your hardwood furniture with our wax polish every three months, this should be seen as a precautionary measure in order to make sure that your hardwood furniture always looks its best as time passes.

    This doesn’t change the fact that, even without treatment, hardwood furniture is much more durable than its softwood counterpart. On the other hand, softwood furniture requires much more care and maintenance as it is very easy to accidentally scratch or make dents.


    Hardwood offers unrivalled durability

    If you’re more interested in how your furniture looks now, rather than over time, a cheaper choice may suit you perfectly. But if you want to invest in pieces that will stand the test of time, hardwood ends up being a much more economical and practical investment in the long term.


  • Why should I choose hardwood furniture over veneer or laminate furniture?

    We only ever use 100% real hardwood in our products, because we want to offer our customers the highest quality products at the best value. But with so many budget options on the market, it can be difficult to understand why that’s so important. Here are the differences between some of the main wood alternatives:


    Laminate

    Laminate is one of the cheapest furniture build material options available, but that also means that its quality is lowest. Laminate is made with layers of synthetic materials or very thinly sliced pieces of wood. In some cases, it is made to look like wood grain by using a method that is similar to printing.

    Laminate typically has a shiny finish and is known for being used in low-end furniture and pieces that need very durable surfaces. It is incredibly susceptible to chipping and bowing, and the layers often split apart over time.


    Veneer

    A “veneer” refers to a very thin panel of wood that can range from paper thin to around 5-6mm thick applied to the visible surface of a piece of furniture. It’s usually glued to chipboard or MDF (Medium Density Fibre Board) and is commonly associated with cheaper flat pack furniture of lower quality to make it appear better. Low-quality veneer is extremely wafer thin and usually sits on top of a cheap MDF or chipboard base.

    Because it is so thin, it’s easily damaged and usually leaves the unfinished chipboard or MDF exposed underneath. In addition, if the technology used to apply the veneer to the base is inappropriate, the veneer can actually come off, rendering the piece useless. This can be a result of poor or inappropriate glue quality, too little or too much glue, as well as the quality of the base component.


    Hardwood

    Few can deny the fact that solid wood furniture looks beautiful. It can bring a feel of classic and quality décor to your home. Hardwood timbers are generally accepted as being the highest quality wood in the market, which naturally has a reflection in the price. However, its durability, magnificence and outstanding looks are worth every penny.

    Laminate or veneer can be used as a short-term solution in a space, but hardwood furniture provides you the best return on investment. As time goes on, hardwood always proves to offer more durability, better looks, and a longer life.

    Additionally, with a lasting beauty through generations, it’s as aspirational as it is economical in the long-run. While lower-end choice may have a smaller price tag, it will usually result in sacrificed quality. And what you save in the short term may end up costing more in the future when these pieces need to be replaced.


Take a look at our other Furniture Guides