Pros and Cons of Different Furniture Materials

December 21, 2020


Shopping for furniture can sometimes feel like you are an acrobat performing a balancing act. On the one hand, you want to come home to beautiful comfortable furniture. However, to achieve that, you have to consider different designs and materials to find just the right fit for your decor ideas. It is not an easy task.

The secret that the design shows and magazines seem to keep omitting is, furniture materials make all the difference. Not just from an aesthetic standpoint but also in terms of price, durability, and yes, design.

So, the next time you are out shopping for furniture, here are some pros and cons of furniture materials to consider.


If there was ever a Rolls-Royce of furniture materials, it would have to be hardwood. The quality of mahogany, oak, or cherry wood furniture can simply not be compared to anything else. Even among themselves, hardwoods standout from each other in terms of color and wood grains. In addition to beauty, you can also count on the longevity of hardwood furniture. It is sturdy and not the kind to give out on you after a few years; unless, of course, the carpenter was exceptionally terrible.

As with all things of great value, you will have to cough up some decent change for authentic hardwood furniture. It is also quite hard and heavy. This means you would need to have it well padded if you invested in pieces like a hardwood crib. Further, hardwoods are susceptible to water damage and can be temperature sensitive. You would need to care well for such furniture or risk it losing its value.



Buying MDF furniture will give you all the warm aesthetics of wood but with some improved features. For instance, with MDF you do not have to worry about cracking or warping as you would with solid wood. It is engineered to remain sturdy by expanding and contracting uniformly. On top of which, it is easily available and thus way more affordable than wood. This is also a good material to go for if you like painted furniture.

On the flip side, the smooth finish of MDF is prone to scratches and tends to chip after long-term use. Such dents can also not be repaired in the way that wood pieces can be smoothed over by sanding. From a medical perspective, MDF is made using wax and resins that emit VOCs. You may, therefore, need to be careful when handling or installing new MDF furniture in your home.


When it comes to stability and durability, metal furniture gives all other materials a run for their money. It is unlikely that you would ever notice a metal chair start to squeak or get wobbly over time. Moreover, if the metal is painted with the right products, it can withstand outdoor elements with ease. Wrought iron, for instance, is one of the most dependable materials for outdoor furniture. Design-wise, metal can also be manipulated into beautiful intricate designs that you would be hard-pressed to find on other materials.

Due to the extensive production processes that go into producing metal furniture, it can be quite pricey. It can also be too stiff-looking for indoor furniture and would require heavy cushioning to achieve comfort. In terms of maintenance, metal is highly prone to corrosion and thus requires a lot of care. Any chipping in the finish needs to be addressed urgently lest it deteriorates further and makes the furniture unsightly.


Plastic is a great material choice for producing affordable lightweight furniture with smooth finishes. It is widely available and becoming eco-friendly too as furniture companies are now recycling plastic waste to make furniture. Plus, with the emergence of more innovative ways to mold plastic, it is now possible to develop more interesting designs of plastic furniture. Visit to learn more about the molding processes.

Unfortunately, there are limitations to how you can incorporate plastic furniture in your home. It would not work, for instance, for bedroom furniture because it can not withstand heavy weight. You would equally need to shield it from high heat when used outdoors as it is can melt or become deformed. Finally, while this type of furniture is inexpensive, it is not durable when subjected to heavy use.

Mixed Materials


The use of different materials to make furniture pieces gives you the best of all worlds. Wood supported by metal or glass ensconced in wicker results in lovely pieces. The right combination of materials could additionally make for stronger and more durable units of furniture. The contrast of different colors and textures also lends itself well to adding style and character to the furniture.

Joining parts made of different materials requires highly skilled workmanship and can be time-consuming. Substandard work yields furniture units that wear out fast and end up appearing disheveled. Further, the complexity of the designs means you may have a hard time finding such sets of furniture. Short of making a custom order, you may have to acquire this type of furniture as accent pieces, and even then it may be a costly affair.


Each material has something unique to offer from the next one. The trick to making the best choice is evaluating your needs and weighing them against various furniture materials. Consider decor preferences as well to avoid ending up with functional furniture that offers little in terms of style and elegance.


Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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