Hallowood answer your questions with their advice and tips on how to look after wood furniture in your home
What are the current trends for wood furniture?
Oak never really goes out of fashion! The vintage look is always popular. Dark shades of oak with antique-style handles give a classic and rustic look. Light oak is always on trend too. The great thing about light oak is not just the quality of the wood itself—but its versatility too. Light oak lifts any space and fits any decor. Some people like to mix contemporary and traditional looks together in the home. Painting wood furniture to add a splash of colour is popular as well.
What tips could you give to looking after and protecting my real wood furniture?
High quality furniture care kits, which include suitable polishes and cloths for cleaning a particular type of wood, are always the best idea. Cleaning and caring for your furniture regularly will remove the build-up of grease, lint and dust. Always use a soft lint free cotton cloth as scratches can be caused to the finish otherwise. Other than that, it's just a case of being sensible and taking reasonable steps to protect the wood. Use coasters and place mats with drinks and hot food, and avoid sliding these across the surface, as this is how scratches can occur.
See also: The New Rules of Interior Design
What types of wood can I choose from?
Your main choices are hardwoods—the likes of mahogany and oak; and softwoods, such as pine. In general, hardwood furniture has a longer life. Softwood furniture can be a more affordable option and ideal for starter homes, for example. You will also a mixture of woods described, such as 'oak and oak veneer'. Don't be put off by this! This is a combination of solid wood and veneer—using veneer is the best way of adding strength and durability to a piece of furniture.
How do hardwoods and softwoods differ?
This can be a bit confusing as not all hardwoods are hard and not all softwoods are softer than hardwoods! In terms of furniture, softwoods tend to be used at the lower end of the budget range. Woods such as pine are used in the construction of affordable furniture. This can look fantastic but is generally less durable and longer lasting than hardwoods such as oak and mahogany. The grains of hardwood timbers are really attractive too—especially when finished with a natural oil, stain or wax.
What is veneer and is it better to use than solid wood furniture?
Veneer is a wood that is bonded to other woods. There are a few misconceptions about it to be honest. Often people say that they only really want solid wood furniture—because they think this will be stronger, last for longer and is of superior quality. The truth is that veneer is actually stronger than solid wood. Solid wood is also much more prone to warping and cracking. Veneered panels and doors prevent this happening. It's also virtually impossible to tell the difference between the two. What's more, veneer is more environmentally friendly and is great value for money.
See also: Make It New With Upcycling
I live in a small apartment and I am thinking of redecorating, which types of wood furniture should I look for to ensure they last and make my space look bigger?
Light Oak is the most obvious choice. Oak and oak veneer furniture is long lasting and blends with virtually any colour scheme. Other tips would be to choose a light oak-framed mirror to add space and light to a room, or multi-use furniture pieces. Pieces such as a nest of tables that can be neatly stacked and can have many uses, or a lamp table that also has a drawer and a shelf make good choices they provide you different options. A piece of furniture that can be used in different ways will be a massive benefit, especially in a smaller property.
How can I maintain wood furniture and keep the wood from fading?
Ideally, wooden furniture should be placed away from windows or in a spot where it is blocking direct sunlight. This will help to protect your furniture from damaging UV rays. Over time, UV rays can cause wood to fade and even bleach.
Can you give me some tips on finishing my wooden furniture?
Most wooden furniture comes with a plasticised film known as a finish. This adds lustre to the wood as well as enriching the grain. Not only that, the finish helps to seal and protect the wood from spills and knocks and everyday use. With the natural-lacquer or wax finish that most wooden furniture will come with, you really don't need to anymore. Other than that, you can just use a quality furniture care kit, follow the care instructions carefully and clean the wooden furniture regularly.
What can I do to fix any minor problems such as deep scratches, loose hinge screws and splits or loose parts on wooden furniture?
Most loose parts or screws will simply need tightening and usually just a screwdriver will do. Scratches and damage to the wood can be a little bit trickier. A wax filler stick and beeswax can be used to treat deep scratches. For less visible areas, a wood stain that is similar to the original grain works well. Some people swear by using a mixture of olive oil and vinegar but the best advice though is always to seek the advice of a professional.
See also: Wonderful Wooden Floors
Our thanks to Barry Marchant, Operations Director at Hallowood for his assistance with this article.
Get more inspiration and tips on how to look after wood furniture on Celebrity Angels
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