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MDF vs. Solid Wood: Which Type of Furniture Is Better?

When told to choose between engineered MDF and solid wood furniture, most people would probably choose the latter in a heartbeat.

However, the rapid technological advancements have made engineered wood much sturdier, cheaper, and better-looking than before, giving products like flat pack furniture a fair chance against what was considered an undisputed leader in the industry – solid wood.

So, does that make engineered wood the better choice? When it comes to pick and pack furniture – not necessarily the case. In reality, both types of wood can be a fine addition to your kitchen, living room and bedroom furniture, as long as you’re fully aware of both their strengths and weaknesses. Learn all about the pros and cons of both materials and choose the one that best fits your requirements and budget.

What We Mean When We Talk About “Solid Wood”

When we mention solid wood, we are referring to the natural lumber that is harvested from trees. The material’s qualities, such as sturdiness or texture, depend on the plant species it was harvested from.

“Wood gathered from poplars is much softer than that of oaks.” – says Dimma (Ikea flat pack assembly and delivery at Fantastic)

To this day, natural wood is still successfully being used in construction work and furniture design till this very day.

Solid Wood – The Good News

Photo credit: PixnioBoen Engineered Wood Flooring

#1 It will stand the test of time

The fact that your grandmother’s heavy oak table is still standing strong after decades of extensive use is no mere coincidence. Natural lumber is incredibly sturdy and resilient and has been used in the past not just in the making of furniture, but in the construction of bridges and dwellings as well. Its characteristics vary depending on the tree species it was harvested from.

#2 It is aesthetically pleasing

You just cannot top natural wood over flatpacks when it comes to appearance, and each species sports a unique look. For example, white oak and mahogany feature eye-riveting grains that are favoured by many aesthetic aficionados throughout the world.

While not as exciting, red oak, pine, and fir are perfect if you are looking for aesthetically pleasing home solutions at an affordable price.

#3 Solid wood furniture boosts the value of your home

A bookshelf, table, or bed made out of solid wood can significantly bump up the price of your home. This makes the purchase of natural wood furniture, especially that of more expensive wood species, a solid investment (excuse the pun) if you are planning to sell your home in the foreseeable future. Engineered MDF wood, on the other hand, will not add any value to your home, for flat pack furniture is mostly in the lower range of pricing.

#4 It is highly customisable

You can tinker with all properties of natural wood to give your home an extra bit of personality. Today, stores offer solid wood furniture in numerous shapes, finishes, and colours. Most wood species are also fairly soft, which makes them suitable for small DIY projects around the house.

Solid Wood – The Bad News

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#1 It is not waterproof

While this goes mainly for unfinished wood, any piece of furniture made of natural wood will become damaged by mold if it exposed to heavy moisture or left in a damp environment. Even with furniture made of red oak or other sturdier materials, a quality water-proof finish is always recommended to prolong the life of the unit and avoid the hazardous risks of further mold infestation.

#2 It is temperature-sensitive

Warping and cracking is an issue that still plagues natural wood, despite the advent of modern crafting methods and technologies. Usually, the damage is caused by frequent fluctuations in temperature or humidity. If these changes happen too fast, the material will expand and contract, making your hardwood cabinets, doors, or paneling significantly less appealing.

#3 It is prone to infestations

Without proper treatment, solid wood furniture can become the hotbed of a wood boring insect infestation. To prevent this, you will need to regularly clean and maintain your furniture, as well as choose the right finish to keep the wood protected from Death Watch beetles or other nasties.

#4 It can get expensive

While species, such as fir and pine stay within the affordable range, more luxurious types of wood can really drive the price tag up. The stark price difference is usually the result of several factors, such as sturdiness, visual appeal, and local availability. If you’re doing renovation work on a tight budget, make sure to avoid furniture made of mahogany, cherry, walnut, or teak.

What We Mean When We Talk About “MDF”

MDF stands for medium density fibreboard – a type of engineered wood that is extensively used in the manufacturing of flat-pack furniture and cabinet doors. Although it is essentially a material made from recycled wood fibres, wax, and resin, it is denser than plywood and almost as sturdy as most types of natural wood out there. MDF comes in many varieties as well that vary in price depending on the material’s size, thickness, type of glue used, and the wood species it contains.

MDF – The Good News

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#1 It does not warp or crack

Because of its unique structure, MDF is virtually immune to warping and cracking. Its ability to withstand extreme humidity stems from the fact that each board expands and contracts as a whole unit. This flexibility allows the engineered wood to fully preserve its original shape.

#2 It is much more accessible

With a few exceptions, MDF materials are much cheaper that their natural counterparts. They are readily available at local stores and their panels come in sizes ranging from 1,5 metres to 3,6 metres, which makes them great for projects that require large pieces of wood with no joints.

#3 It can be easily painted or stained

One of the major differences between MDF and natural wood panels is that the former don’t have a visible grain. This makes the wood painting or staining job much easier since you will not have to worry about any wood grain or knots bleeding through and ruining all your hard work.

#4 It is a go-to choice for cabinet doors

When it comes to MDF’s forte, cabinet doors, you will find a variety of styles available, such as flat-paneled, inset, or raised designs. Some boards even offer improved water resistance, which is why so many kitchen and bathroom cabinets on the market are made from this material.

MDF – The Bad News About Flat Packs

#1 MDF is easily scratched

This alone would not be a problem if MDF could have been sanded. Unfortunately that is not the case, since sanding engineered wood will only expose its fibre material. This means that any scratches or dents your furniture receives will be permanent. In this regard, solid wood is a better alternative since even a casual sanding job will often be enough to erase the damage.

#2 It weighs a lot more

When comparing solid and engineered wood, one would think that the natural equivalent will be heavier, right? Well, it turns out that it’s the opposite. In fact, MDF is so heavy that cabinet installation becomes several times more difficult than mounting regular hardwood cabinets.

#3 It does not react well to heat

If exposed to extreme heat, the core materials of this engineered wood will become damaged beyond repair, rendering the material completely unusable. This is why you should try to avoid placing MDF furniture near fireplaces, kitchen stoves, or in your garden outside at all costs.

#4 It is not weight-friendly

While this type of engineered wood is very commonly used in cabinets, open wall shelves, and bookshelves, placing too many books or heavy porcelain plates on top may cause the material to gradually sag over time. You can avoid this by reinforcing your MDF furniture with solid wood.

Conclusion: Which type of wood wins the fight?

As you may have gathered by this point, the golden medal belongs to neither of these materials. In reality, your choice between MDF and solid wood will usually boil down to your personal aesthetic preferences, budget, and the way in which you intend to use each of the materials.

However, when it comes to choosing cabinet doors, medium density fiberwood clearly takes the lead. We recommend using this material if you want to give your kitchen or bathroom a small facelift, or if you are a person who favours convenience and practicality over visual appeal.

But, if you are a traditionalist who loves classic designs and for whom budget is not really a concern, then solid wood is the material you need to make your dream project come to life and here at Just Wood Furniture we can custom build any item of furniture.

200 Creative Wood & Furniture Ideas

In this Video published by Ideas Creative SB you can see over 200 unique and extremely creative ideas that have been built by skilled craftsmen like us here at Just Wood Furniture. You can get a good idea of what products we have to offer here at JWF and if you see something you really like we can recreate it for you!

In some examples they have used natures garbage like old logs and sections of trees and used the beauty that they already hold and polished them up and gave them a use in the home by adding simple extras like a glass surface or built in shelf. In others they have carved out unique designs, sanded and polished the surfaces and finished with various types of lacquer to bring out the grain and natural patterns and they look stunning.

After watching the video you will see how a lot of old industrial components have been used like storage pallets and old disused cupboards and this is very typical of today and certainly helps with the environment to be recycling old things like this and putting them to use in the home.

Below are some of our favorite creative pieces for you to check over but be sure to watch the video and then of course place an order with Just Wood Furniture for a bespoke piece for your home or garden.

Want us to make one of these items for you? Get in touch! with JWF

Why custom hand carved wood furniture is better than mass produced furniture

Do you know that the furniture that you buy for your home is an investment? An investment is a long-term thing. In fact, since you are investing it is important to ensure that what you get is valuable. Custom hand carved wooden furniture is an awesome investment compared to mass produced furniture. Do not be deceived otherwise.

Mass production through machinery has enabled manufacturers to produce a large number of furniture within a short duration of time. On the other hand, production of custom hand carved wooden furniture takes a lot of time. However, the later are better in many aspects when compared to the mass produced furniture.

In today’s article, we are going to look at why custom hand carved wooden furniture is better than mass produced furniture. The reasons we are going to explore here will clearly make you understand why you should always choose custom hand carved wooden furniture over mass produced furniture.

Without wasting any more time, let us look at the benefits of custom hand carved wooden furniture. Actuary, benefits of hand carved wooden furniture over mass produced furniture, range from environmental, health, budget as well as family ones.

This is why custom handmade wooden furniture reign supreme!
a) Ability to design perfect fit furniture
Custom built furniture is the best because it can be built to a perfect fit. This is very suitable for homes that have been designed with unique features like fireplaces, cornices as well as bay windows.
b) It is possible to design furniture that suits your personality (Uniqueness)
An interesting thing with custom hand carved wooden furniture is that you can work closely with the designer to produce furniture that portrays your personality. This way you are able to make your home look unique.

c) Ability to choose materials that suit specific individual needs
When you work with a custom hand carved wooden furniture designer you attain the power to decide what you want. You are able to choose the material that satisfactorily meets your special needs. For instance, if your child is suffering from asthma, you have the power to ensure that their bedroom furniture like bookshelves is made from materials that are respiratory friendly. Moreover, in case you are sensitive to chemicals and toxins, you can ensure that the furniture is finished with an all-natural product.

d) Durability
Custom made furniture is durable pieces of art. They will last for long if properly taken care. In fact, buying a custom hand carved wooden furniture acts as a family investment because the furniture will be cherished by generations to come.

e) Saving expenditure cost.
Over time custom made furniture helps you save money. This is because the durability of the furniture cuts down on the replacement cost.

f) Environmental benefits.
Custom hand carved furniture is environmentally friendly since there are no emissions involved. Additionally, mass production mostly involves the use plastic and other man-made materials which are non–biodegradable. However, wood that is involved in the production of custom hand carved furniture is highly bio–degradable.

We live in an environment that is under the influence of human activities. Most of these activities especially industrial productions contribute a lot to the emission of greenhouse gasses, which in turn contribute to global warming. As a result, global warming leads to climatic change.

Custom hand carved wooden furniture is unique and durable compared to mass produced furniture. On the other hand, buying custom-made furniture means you are supporting the talented craftsmen who devout themselves to design and build the furniture. At the same time, you are supporting their marginalised communities.

Hence, custom hand carved wooden furniture is better than mass produced furniture.

Keep checking back to our blog for more updates in the furniture world at

Custom Handmade Furniture Versus Mass Produced Furniture

There’s always been a debate when it comes to choose between Custom made and mass furniture. Buying and owning furniture is not like old days. In the modern era, the interior of your home is a part of your personality and your style statement. It reflects your mood and your choices.

People are going for custom made furniture these days. Although mass furniture buying is more convenient, yet more and more consumers want custom made designs.

Quality Factor

The most integral part of furniture is its quality. The life and durability of the furniture depends upon the quality of the materials used. Custom handmade furniture is always prepared with great care in terms of good quality components whereas the mass produced furniture may not always provide the best quality. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the quality, but because they are being created in bulk, there are chances that the quality may not always be the same.

Hand Carved Furniture

Carved furniture looks very stylish and artistic. The fineness of a hand carved furniture is truly un matchable. Handmade furniture speaks for itself. The details and carefulness can be seen in the carvings. Floral patterns may be displayed in the mass produced furniture but in the case of handmade furniture, a human touch is the most eminent feature.

Customized Furniture

Another element which distinguishes the handmade furniture with the mass furniture is that you can make it according to your own design. You can order the manufacturer to design your furniture of your choice, tell them to add what you like and ask them to avoid what’s not your style mantra.

There are designs that you may like in mass produce furniture, but sometimes you may not like the color or the material. With a handmade furniture you always have unlimited options.

Environmental Factor

Mass furniture is built in huge factories, and they have to collect the building materials from all around the world. To preserve the wood, a lot of synthetics are used. Some of these may be harmful for health and others might have a disgusting odor. Custom made furniture on the other hand is made from local building materials or sustainable wood sources which means no use of smelly preservatives.

The Uniqueness Of Custom Made Furniture

Custom made furniture has become a status symbol in many societies. People buy  antique furniture to complement their homes and to satisfy their aesthetic sense. In fact the true beauty of the custom made furniture is pretty evident in its uniqueness. Every piece is fine and unique.

Mass produced furniture usually lack the distinguishing element. Most people buy mass furniture for most of their home décor and therefore they seem monotonous.

Resale Of Custom made furniture

Most of the times, a mass furniture may get worn out in a year or so. On the other hand, antique furniture will gain more value as it gets older. The antique style furniture never loses its charm. People will always like to add antique pieces into their home décor.

The Most Happening Custom Made Furniture

Dining chairs are the most in demand when it comes to handmade designs, upholstered furniture and none upholstered. Long legged, light colored, no shiny chairs are the ultimate choice of many people.

If you have a lovely outdoor space to adorn with unique handmade items then we can go wild with the designs and base them on your local environment or something to your own personal taste. Designs like these patio furniture pieces made from wood are often basic in their appearance when bought from mainstream stores due often being mass produced as the tooling for the production is cheaper and easier to build but we can go to extreme lengths to make your patio furniture like no other on the market!

Custom made kitchen tables pictures can be seen on instagram cooking accounts. Others love to have them too. These hard wood tables are quite in demand. Dining tables are also made with hard and unpolished wood.

Antique style beds always give a sense of royalty. It gives the bedroom a more authentic and classic look. These beds have a long life and are made of the finest wood.

Custom made chests, commodes and center tables are also very popular among the consumers.