Laminated veneer wardrobeWhether you are furnishing a home for the first time, or upgrading the existing furniture in your home, you will need to consider purchasing a wardrobe or a bookcase at some stage. The materials that the wardrobes or bookcases are made from is extremely important, as is the method of construction. A properly constructed piece of furniture made from quality materials will still look good for many years that could become a family heirloom in future generations.
Oak, mahogany or other hardwoods Wardrobes, upholstered bed frames or bookcases made from solid hardwood timber are those that are most likely to last the longest. there is a considerable amount of solid timber furniture around in the world of antiques. The nature of the wood means that it is less likely to be damaged by knocks and scrapes and over the years often retains its natural colour. Obviously bespoke made solid timber wardrobes and bookcases are the most expensive, however with modern manufacturing techniques and mechanisation it is possible to produce furniture that looks good and is solid and long lasting. In wardrobes and bookcases it is often the corner joints of the carcass that are the weakest. A properly made dovetail is one of the strongest joints available and all the best furniture on the market today should be manufactured using these joints.
Veneered solid timber Many of the darker hardwoods are very expensive to purchase and a common alternative is to use a veneer on a cheaper base wood such as pine. The construction methods for wardrobes and bookcases should be similar to those of an oak hardwood item, the main difference being that the visible surfaces of the timber are covered by a thin sheet of veneer cut from a hardwood (e.g. Mahogany, cherry etc.). This furniture will look good, and many items of antique furniture are made from veneered wood. The downside is that veneer can be damaged more easily than with a wardrobe or bookcase made from solid timber.
Pine Many stores sell pine furniture that includes ranges of wardrobes and bookcases. These ranges can be purchased as either pre-built or flat-pack The wood is relatively inexpensive and is available in a number of finishes. The wood itself is softer than a hardwood and is more easily damaged through knocks and scrapes, however a properly built pine wardrobe or bookcase can give many years of service.
Veneered/laminated chipboard Much of the flat-pack wardrobes and bookcases on the market are made from veneered or laminated chipboard or other composite material. The underlying board is covered with a thin layer of wood veneer or laminated using a layer of plastic that has been coloured and given a texture resembling natural wood. Whilst these wardrobes and bookcases are relatively cheap, the finish is often prone to damage, particularly on the edges of the board. Further the method of construction usually relies on joints that are built into the carcase and tightened with a screwdriver. These joints are often weaker than a properly made wood joint.
What design? Obviously the design of wardrobes or bookcases you choose depends on the nature for the room and how you want it to look. Whether you are looking for a traditional, modern or minimalist style, there are plenty of options available. For wardrobes, there is the choice of the number of doors, drawers underneath the cupboard part etc. The main consideration is the size of the wardrobe, and how you want to use it. When looking for a bookcase, apart from the size, you need to consider how the shelving will be used, and you may need to choose an item with adjustable shelf heights. The joins in a bookcase made using adjustable shelves often need to be stronger than those with fixed shelves, and this is where the method of construction (including the joints) is an important consideration.