Wood Furniture

Classic wooden furniture styles

Wood furniture has long been a staple in homes across the world because of its natural resilience and beauty. But the quality and warmth associated with solid wood doesn't need to be confined to heirloom wood bedroom furniture. It can be used as an integral part of your living room and dining room as well.

Wood Living Room Furniture

The living room is the first place most guests are welcomed into and where homeowners can make their best first impression. This is where individuality and interest in quality can shine through with a room of wood furniture. Natural ways to incorporate wood furniture in your living room decor include coffee tables, end tables, bookcases and curio cabinets. More formal sofas may also have wooden frames, and a wood occasional chair, rocking chair or bench can provide additional seating.

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All solid wood furniture is resilient and durable, but each type of wood has its own qualities and characteristics. Here's a quick primer to help you differentiate them:

  • Mahogany furniture is insect and moisture resistant, and can be buffed to a rich red color without the use of shaded veneers or stains.
  • Maple wood furniture is known for its attractive grain patterns. Maple is a hardwood that can be bought in a natural state or stained to look like other woods.
  • Oak furniture is very popular because of its durability and beauty, but it's usually rather expensive.
  • Teak wood furniture is often used without stains; it is highly resistant to weather and rot and can develop a unique silver patina.
  • Cherry wood furniture has a natural rich red-brown color and has a unique straight or curly grain pattern, depending on what part of the tree the furniture was made from.
  • Pine is a lightweight, inexpensive softwood that can be a good choice for someone looking for solid wood furniture on a budget.

Taking Care of Wood Furniture

Most wood living room furniture shouldn't need any special cleaning besides regular dusting. However, if it becomes stained or you notice a dullness to its finish, you can gently clean it to restore it to its just-bought beauty.

For clear-finished wood furniture (any wood that has been coated with shellac, varnish or lacquer), you can easily clean the piece with a soft cloth and a mild soap. Just clean off the soap with a dampened cloth to prevent any residue buildup and then a dry cloth to prevent any water damage. If the finish is cracked or flaking, water shouldn't be used to clean the wood furniture at all until the piece is refinished.

For unfinished wood furniture, you never want to use water to clean because it can raise the grain and permanently alter the appearance of a piece. Instead, look for mineral spirits (usually available at hardware or paint stores) that can be used to clean the unfinished piece along with a soft cotton cloth.