Distinguishing Between Wood Veneer, Laminate Furniture, and Solid Wood

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By Karen

When buying new office furniture, it can feel overwhelming to learn about different types of wood and materials. However, understanding the benefits of each can help you make the best choice for your office.

Ready to learn everything you need to know before buying laminate furniture for your office?

Keep reading as we’ll help you weigh up your options and choose the ideal wood option for your office layout and design.

Wood Veneer, Laminate, And Solid Wood: What’s The Difference?

To understand the differences between these types of wood, let’s discuss what natural wood, wood veneer, and laminate furniture are and how manufacturers make them.

What is Wood Veneer?

Wood veneer is a type of wood made using plywood, with a thin layer of wood veneer coating the plywood material. The materials at the base of the wood veneer are typically cheaper options than real wood, making the wood veneer a less expensive wood option. The manufacturers place thin layers of wood at angles, interlacing and overlapping to create more strength overall.

What is Laminate?

Unlike wood veneer, laminate furniture is not made using authentic wood grain. Instead, the wood grain pattern comes from a photographic image laid under transparent laminate layers to create a wood effect. The laminate wood has several layers to add strength, and the top layers are always the laminate and the photographic wood grain image.

High-pressure Laminate (HPL)

High-pressure laminate consists of many layers of cellulose fibers. These fibers are then impregnated with various resins, then, heat and pressure are applied.

Low-pressure Laminate (LPL)

Low-pressure laminate consists of a single layer of melamine paper, which bonds to a substrate that makes up the bulk of the board.

What is ‘Real Wood’?

Natural wood furniture is as it sounds. It consists of wood from trees—oak, cedar, chestnut, or mahogany. Natural wood is carved, assembled, and then polished and stained to make it last.

Wood Veneer, Laminate, and Solid Wood—What are the Pros and Cons?

Now that you know what each type of wood is and what it is made of, let’s discuss their main advantages and disadvantages. This information will help you to determine which option is best suited for your own office furniture.

Advantages of Wood Veneer

Let’s look at the advantages of wood veneer for your office furniture.

  • Genuine Wood Finish With Natural Variations
  • Richer, Stained Finish Options
  • Cost-effective Option That Looks and Feels Like Real Wood
  • It can be Sanded and Refinished.
  • Resistant to Warping
  • Relatively Easy Maintenance

Disadvantages of Wood Veneer

Let’s discuss some of the drawbacks of wood veneer furniture.

  • Not Solid Wood
  • Can be Damaged by Water
  • Requires Coasters and Desk Pads
  • Higher Price Point Vs. Laminate and Real Wood

Advantages of Laminate

Now, let’s take a look at the advantages of laminate furniture.

  • Durable, Manufactured Surface
  • Scratch, Stain, and Heat Resistant
  • Easy to Clean and Maintain
  • Modern, On-trend Finishes
  • Budget-friendly and Easy to Manufacture
  • Antibacterial Properties

Disadvantages of Laminate

Let’s discuss some of the drawbacks when it comes to laminate furniture.

  • Can’t be Stained or Sanded
  • Not as Strong as Solid Wood
  • You Won’t Get the Beautiful, Natural Variations of Real Wood

Advantages of Solid Wood

Now, is wood best coming directly from the source? Let’s weigh up the advantages of solid wood.

  • Solid Construction
  • Has Natural Stains and Colors
  • Easy to Refinish
  • Easy to Keep in Good Shape
  • Sustainable

Disadvantages of Solid Wood

Although solid wood has many benefits, it does have some flaws and inconveniences.

  • Prone to Chipping, Staining, and Rings
  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Vulnerable to Warping

Maintaining Wood Veneer, Laminate, and Solid Wood

Whether you choose solid, veneer, or laminate, you must take great care of it. The top layer of any furniture should be treated in the following ways

  • Use coasters
  • Polish your wood
  • Oiling

Wood Veneer, Laminate, and Solid Wood: Which is Better?

A solid wood desk or wood composite option will do the job. But your choice depends on whether you need your furniture to last, whether you’re on a budget and whether you need to keep your furniture stain-free. Listing your requirements will help you to make your decision. Currently, HPL, or high-pressure laminate, is used most frequently to make office furniture across the world.


Understanding the differences between wood, veneer, and laminate furniture can help you make an informed decision when buying new office furniture. By knowing the benefits and drawbacks of each type, you can choose the best option for your specific needs. If you’re looking for wood grain furniture, check out our fantastic options at Freedman’s Office Furniture.

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