We have gone the whole circle in this crazy world of initially making everything from wood in the Dark Ages to the onset of the 60s when wood was replaced by laminex and various other plastics. In fact, the retro look still remains popular with people who want to go back to that age with regards to their furniture. We found a cheaper way to make things look as if they were manufactured from wood by crushing and compressing lots of woodchips then placing a veneer over the top and calling it melamine. Melamine looks okay and it’s quite functional but put it into any contact with water and it’s a disaster.
One of the things that we have done with renovation works carried out on our investment homes is to make sure that in the bathrooms or wet areas none of the fixtures or furniture is made of melamine. The problem with that stuff is when water seeps in underneath the veneer coating and the woodchips get all soggy they expand, then they dry out, the surface coating splits and you have a bloated, messy piece of junk where once you might’ve had a cupboard door.
Lots of furniture that is made today uses wooden frames and various types of material cover. Cushioning and support make an important aspect of good furniture. The other thing that has happened just over the past five years or so is that solid wood furniture has regained its popularity. That’s not surprising considering just how beautiful natural wood looks. Mother Nature has outdone herself by supplying us humans with so many different types of wood with many different colours and textures that you can have the same piece of furniture, one made of teak, the other made of rosewood, and they look completely different.
Quite a few furniture companies that deal specifically in solid wood furniture have started to become quite popular with the discerning shopper. I’m not about to say that we are regressing back to the Middle Ages when everything was made of solid timber, but as a bit of a ‘greenie,’ I applaud the lesser use of plastics and similar non-biodegradable materials.
Years ago we used to go to these old antique shops and they would be full of old solid wood furniture, these pieces were beautifully made by craftsmen and it seemed a lot of that skill has been lost over the years in our haste to do things more cheaply and of inferior quality. Lots of people bought these antiques and they slowly disappeared from the market. As a result, wooden furniture became something affordable only to the wealthy. It’s refreshing to see these furniture companies returned to old standards and provide good-looking solid wood furniture. It’s true that forests are disappearing all over the world, but it’s not because of the growth in wooden furniture. Burning for firewood and wood chipping, clearing for development, these have been the main reasons for that.