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The Peak Expert: 7 Types of Wood Best for Homes

With the introduction of new materials for furniture design, wood holds its own.

For a timeless material, wood is experiencing a contemporary revival. With global interest in craft, collaborations between traditional craftsmen and designers are on the rise, making wood the material to watch. From the traditional woodworking enclaves of Asia, to the industrial workshops of Brooklyn, a new generation of designers is celebrating wood in all its natural glory.

Even in the world of modern designer furniture, wood has held its own against contemporary counterparts like plastic and steel. Michael Thonet’s iconic bentwood chair, one of history’s most successful mass-produced products, paved the way for an era of democratic design.

Since the early 20th century, designers have long hailed the virtues of modern wood-based materials like plywood and veneers, making wood accessible to a wider population. Some of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century, like the Eames Molded Plywood Chairs, celebrate wood’s capacity to be bent and shaped into sumptuous pieces.

VIDEO: Watch Aaron Foeste, craftsman at wood design firm Arthur Zaaro, as he takes us through the process of making a table from wood. 

An age-old material, wood has never lost its appeal. But its unique qualities are perhaps increasingly relevant today. Malleable, strong, lightweight and, more crucially, renewable, wood is the sustainable material of choice for our eco-conscious world. Its simplicity and naturalness fulfils a modern need to be closer to nature. And as traditional woodworking skills become increasingly rare, the appeal, and value, of owning a unique piece of handcrafted furniture has only grown. Wood continues to bring forth a world of fascinating possibilities, be it expressing the delicacy of Japanese cypress, the unpredictable grain of suar, or the opulence of European walnut.

From soft timber used as mouldings to hard logs carved into hardy furniture pieces, here are seven common types used to make furniture.

  • TEAK (Far left and right): A tropical hardwood mostly grown in South-east Asia and usually brown to dark gold in colour. Extremely resilient to winds, teak also contains natural oils that makes it a popular choice for outdoor furniture.

    OAK (middle): Unlike other types of wood, this has a grain that’s evenly spaced out. It’s commonly used for flooring, thanks to its sturdiness and distinctive look.

Stay tuned for our tips on how to bring out natural warmth in your home with the right furniture choices.