Buying furniture

Buying Furniture – qualities explained.

When buying furniture in a shop or online, it isn’t easy to understand what qualities you are buying. Price can determine if it is of natural woods or human-made such as chipboard, fibreboard, MDF, HDF etc. 

The reality is deceiving and price does not guarantee you are getting natural wood as expected.  Especially when the coatings and veneers fool the authenticity of wood.  

So, in this article, we will try to explain the differences in quality many manufacturers use to design and build their products. 

The article will explain mostly on flat-pack options, as many natural wood items will come pre-built or have minimal pieces to put together, such as legs of a dining table.

In order from lowest to highest quality: 

Chipboard/Furniture board: 

The cheapest material made in rigid sheets from compressed wood chips and resin, often coated or veneered. This material is mostly for all mass-produced items that are very cheap in most cases. Exceptions do exist, especially on the coating or veneer finish they use, explained later. 

From our COMFORT RANGE – West Collection – made of furniture board and foil veneer

Fibreboard/particle board/Furniture board:

A building material made of wood or other plant fibres compressed into boards. Often is in flat-pack furniture for more durability and in general, have a thicker appearance. This board ensures better stability and durability compared to lower-end and thinner chipboard. This material will have a coat or veneer.


Medium-density fibreboard is an engineered wood product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres by combining it with wax and a resin binder. These boards are of excellent quality and will be heavier and durable.   They will have a coat or veneer.  This material is the choice for quality furniture made by the best manufacturers.  

From our DISTINCTIVE RANGE – North Collection – made of MDF and foil veneer


High-density fibreboard. Stronger than MDF & more water-resistant. Maybe the best for flat-pack options, however, it is the most expensive of them all. Not only because of the material, but it also needs much more craftmanship to make it a smooth finish to stain, coat or veneer.  

To find out what qualities you are buying you need to take a look and find the technical details.  Many will add MDF as the general term for all of the above materials, as many of you know what it is.  The process to make all of them is the same. However, it is not the same! 


Plywood is layers of wood veneer (see below) glued together, alternating the grain of the wood for stability. This plywood is a common material for higher items, such as cabinets and made of real woodcuts.

From our COMFORT RANGE – East Collection – made of HDF and Foil veneer

All the materials above will have a cover with something; 

Wood veneers are thin sheets obtained by cutting large diameter wood and then cut in sheets.  They are bundled together in the same order to maintain the drawing and shade of the tree rings, ensuring continuity while being unique.

Synthetic veneers also referred to as foil/laminated/plastic/vinyl veneer, are a synthetic material to imitate natural wood or colours very well.

Always be aware if you start buying more expensive furniture and you are getting chipboard, this should never be an option in our opinion. All the furniture we have chosen for you is the best in class for all our ranges


Our other possible choices in Natural Wood throughout – visit all our PRESTIGE RANGE COLLECTIONS

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