New showroom in San Diego is open now - 30% off Memorial Day Sale!

Buying Furniture

What to Look for When Buying Wood Furniture: A Comprehensive Guide

What to Look for When Buying Wood Furniture

When it comes to furnishing your home, wood furniture stands out as a timeless and versatile choice. Whether you’re looking for a rustic, traditional, or modern aesthetic, wood furniture can complement a variety of styles. However, not all wood furniture is created equal. To ensure you make the right investment for your space, it’s crucial to understand what to look for when buying wood furniture. This comprehensive guide will walk you through key considerations, from wood types to construction techniques.

1. Wood Types

The type of wood used in furniture greatly influences its appearance, durability, and cost. Different woods have unique characteristics, so it’s essential to choose one that aligns with your preferences and lifestyle. Here are some common wood types used in furniture:


  • Oak: Known for its durability and grain pattern, oak is a popular choice for traditional and contemporary furniture.
  • Maple: A light-colored hardwood with a smooth grain, maple is often used for modern furniture.
  • Cherry: Featuring a rich, reddish-brown hue, cherry wood develops a beautiful patina over time.

Buying Wood Furniture


  • Pine: Light in color and cost-effective, pine is suitable for casual or rustic furniture.
  • Cedar: Resistant to decay and insects, cedar is often chosen for outdoor furniture.
  • Redwood: With a natural resistance to decay and insects, redwood is ideal for outdoor pieces.

Exotic Woods:

  • Mahogany: Recognized for its deep, reddish-brown color, mahogany is associated with luxury and classic furniture.
  • Teak: Resistant to moisture, teak is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its natural oils.

2. Construction and Joinery Techniques

The construction of wood furniture greatly influences its strength and longevity. Pay attention to the following aspects when assessing construction quality:


  • Dovetail Joints: Strong and durable, dovetail joints indicate quality craftsmanship in drawers and corners.
  • Mortise and Tenon Joints: Widely used in wooden furniture, this joint connects two pieces of wood at right angles for stability.
  • Dowel Joints: While not as strong as dovetail or mortise and tenon joints, dowel joints are a reliable construction method.

Finish and Polishing:

  • Smooth Surfaces: Well-finished surfaces without rough spots or uneven staining indicate attention to detail.
  • Stain Quality: A high-quality stain enhances the wood’s natural beauty without hiding its grain.
  • Lacquer or Varnish: These protective coatings add durability to the finish and contribute to the overall longevity of the furniture.

Choosing Different Home Decor

3. Solid Wood vs. Veneer

Understanding the difference between solid wood and veneer is crucial when buying wood furniture.

Solid Wood:

  • Pros: Durable, can be refinished multiple times, and has a genuine look and feel.
  • Cons: May be more expensive, and can be susceptible to warping or cracking in extreme conditions.


  • Pros: More affordable, less prone to warping, and offers a consistent appearance.
  • Cons: Limited to a certain number of refinishing attempts, as the thin layer of wood can wear away.

Consider your budget, aesthetic preferences, and the intended use of the furniture when deciding between solid wood and veneer.

4. Moisture and Environment Considerations

Wood furniture is sensitive to changes in moisture and temperature. Proper care and placement can significantly impact its longevity.

Humidity Control:

  • Avoid Extreme Conditions: Keep furniture away from direct sunlight, radiators, or air conditioning units to prevent wood from drying out or warping.
  • Use Humidifiers or Dehumidifiers: Depending on your climate, use devices to maintain optimal humidity levels.

5. Budget and Value for Money

While it’s tempting to opt for the most affordable option, consider the long-term value of your purchase.

Quality Over Price:

  • Invest Wisely: Quality furniture may cost more initially but pays off in terms of durability and longevity.
  • Secondhand Options: Explore reputable secondhand or vintage furniture stores for high-quality pieces at a fraction of the cost.

6. Warranty and Customer Reviews

Before making a final decision, research the manufacturer’s warranty and read customer reviews.


  • Length and Coverage: A solid warranty reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in their product.
  • Ease of Claims: Check customer experiences with warranty claims for insight into the company’s customer service.

Customer Reviews:

  • User Experiences: Read reviews from other buyers to learn about the real-world performance and durability of the furniture.
  • Common Issues: Identify any recurring problems mentioned by multiple customers.

7. Customization Options

If you’re looking for a unique piece or want furniture that fits specific dimensions, explore customization options.

Tailored Designs:

  • Custom Sizing: Some manufacturers offer the flexibility to adjust the dimensions of their standard pieces.
  • Wood and Finish Choices: Choose the type of wood and finish that best suits your preferences and existing decor.


Buying wood furniture is an investment that can enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your home for years to come. By considering factors such as wood type, construction techniques, finish quality, and environmental considerations, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your style, budget, and values. Remember, the right piece of wood furniture is not just a functional addition to your home but a reflection of your taste and commitment to quality. Visit us!