Differences between oak and pine furniture
Published on April 18 2021
You're ready for new furniture, but what type of wood should you choose? Deciding between oak or pine furniture is a common dilemma for furniture buyers. These two common choices are very different in their characteristics, so it's important to understand the difference between pine and oak wood before making a large investment in either type of furniture. Both options offer pros and cons. The decision often comes down to your priorities and preferences.
Pros and cons of oak furniture
Oak is a popular furniture choice, but it's important to understand how it performs within the home. By looking at the pros and cons of the wood, you will have a better idea of whether it is the best choice for your furniture needs.
Check out these advantages of oak wood furniture:
- Resistant. Oak furniture is very hard, which means it is very strong and durable. Pieces made from oak are less likely to show signs of wear or damage. This is a great advantage for active families, especially for pieces that are used all the time, such as dining sets.
- Versatile use. Oak wood works for almost any furniture application. While the hardness makes it a little harder to work with than softer woods, oak has the strength to withstand use in seating, tables, beds and other furniture. You can choose oak pieces for every room and purpose to create a coordinated look, knowing that the wood is strong enough for all those different pieces of furniture.
- Versatile appearance. Oak is used to make furniture in almost any style. The color and grain make it a versatile wood that works in almost any setting, from modern to rustic.
- Timeless design. The use of oak in furniture is nothing new and the trend is not going to change. That means choosing oak furniture is something that grows with you as your style changes. The timeless look you get from oak makes it a solid choice for any furniture application.
- Investment piece. Furniture made from oak has the potential to last for decades. Many oak pieces are passed down from generation to generation because they are very strong and durable.
- Distinct grain. Oak has a very distinctive wavy grain that gives it a unique look. Oak is considered a very beautiful wood for furniture. It looks great with a simple clear coat.
- Warp resistance. Oak furniture resists warping over time, which increases its longevity. Oak wood is cut to resist further warping.
- Low maintenance. Because of its tough nature and durability, oak furniture requires very little maintenance. It needs occasional cleaning and polishing, but retains its good looks without much care on your part.
- Readily available. You don't have to look far to find oak furniture. Because of its popularity, furniture made from oak is readily available for your home compared to more exotic or rare woods. That also means you can easily add to your oak furniture collection over the years while still getting the same distinctive oak look.
Be sure to look at the potential drawbacks of a particular type of wood to make sure you can live with them. Consider the following disadvantages of oak furniture:
- Price. For some people, the cost of oak furniture is negative. Oak wood costs more than pine because of the longer growing time. However, an oak piece of furniture will last indefinitely with proper care. When you spread the cost over the decades of use you get from the furniture, the cost is very reasonable.
- Weight. Oak is a heavy wood, which gives it a substantial, quality feel. However, that weight can be a problem when you want to move furniture around. Consider the weight if you want to rearrange your furniture frequently or if you move a lot. It's worth hiring movers to do the lifting if you have a lot of oak furniture. If you don't plan to move the furniture, weight really isn't an issue and can be a pro due to the greater stability and strength of the piece.
Is oak wood good for furniture?
The answer to this question is emphatically yes. It does have some potential drawbacks, but overall, oak is a very good choice for furniture. Oak is strong, durable and stands up to everyday wear and tear while offering a natural beauty that suits almost any style of home. Its timeless design means you can keep your oak furniture in your decor for as long as you want it...
Pine furniture comes with its own set of pros and cons, depending on your needs. Consider the following advantages of pine wood furniture:
- Price. Pine furniture is usually much cheaper than oak versions of the same pieces. The rapid growth of pines is the main reason for this price difference. Pines take less care and have a shorter time to market, allowing producers to sell the lumber at a lower price. If the focus is primarily on price, pine is an attractive option.
- Color. Because of its light color, pine furniture fits well with other furnishings in your home. It has a versatile look that also blends well with various wall colors, patterns and other details in your decor.
- Options for changing the color. Pine is an easy wood to stain to achieve the desired color. This gives you a wide variety of finishing options, including stain and paint. You can also stick with the natural color by opting for a clear coat. Pine takes well to various finishes, so you get quality results no matter which finish option you choose.
- Stiffness. Pine is a very rigid wood. This makes it durable and strong when used in furniture. It is not as strong as oak, but still offers durability.
- Lighter in weight. While furniture made from pine is still moderately heavy and sturdy, it is lighter than oak. That lighter weight is a pro when it comes to moving furniture. Rearranging your furniture is easier with the lighter weight, so consider pine if you want to change the look of your room.
- Distinctive look. Pine has a very distinct look with its dark knots and light wood color. If this style suits your preferences, that distinctive look is a benefit worth considering.
- Reduced environmental impact. Because pines grow so fast, trees that are felled are soon replaced with new growth. Pines grow well in plantations or farms with little impact on natural habitats, while oak used in furniture generally comes from primary forests.
- Resistant to shrinkage and swelling. While any wood can shrink and swell due to differences in humidity and temperature, pine is resistant to damage. By minimizing shrinkage and swelling, pine retains its original shape.
There are also some disadvantages to consider with pine furniture. Some of those potential negatives include:
- Less style versatility. While pine can work for most styles, it tends to lean more toward a rustic or country style. If you prefer a more modern style, pine may not suit your tastes.
- Increased signs of wear. Pine has a stiff quality, but the wood does not offer as much strength and wear resistance as oak. Pine can dent and scratch easily. If you plan to keep the piece indefinitely, oak is likely a better choice.
- More maintenance. Because of its tendency to scratch, damage and acquire a patina over time, pine often requires more maintenance than oak. If you don't mind the aged look, you can get by with less maintenance. However, if you want to preserve the original condition of pine furniture, you may need to refinish the piece and repair any damage.
- Potential for excessive knots. When choosing pine furniture, watch out for knots, especially if they form a hole in the furniture. Excessive knotting can cause weakness in the furniture. Choose a reputable manufacturer to ensure you purchase a piece with quality construction.
Is pine wood good for furniture?
While pine is very different from oak, it is also a good choice for furniture, depending on its purpose. It may not last as long as oak, but pine is still a strong, impact-resistant material suitable for furniture, especially if you like rustic or country styles. Over time, pine acquires a patina that gives it an antique look, which is attractive to some people. The dents and dings that are sure to appear in the wood only add to that aged look.
Deciding between oak and pine furniture
Oak and pine are popular choices in furniture today. Oak has always been a strong contender in all areas of furniture manufacturing and continues to appeal to a wide range of consumers. Pine is expanding beyond its rustic origins with greater versatility in styles. Exploring the difference between pine and oak furniture helps you narrow down your selection.
If you are still unsure which wood option is best for you, consider the following factors:
- Your budget. The amount you have to spend is a factor when buying furniture. If you have a small budget with no wiggle room, pine may be an affordable option. Oak furniture costs more than pine, but that doesn't always mean it's out of your price range, even if your budget is limited.
You may be surprised at what you can find in oak in your target price range. Also, consider that oak is more of an investment purchase because it lasts a long time. You pay more up front for the furniture, but you get your money's worth because of the long life of the piece.
- Expected life of the furniture. How long do you plan to keep the furniture? If you want a piece to keep indefinitely, oak is a good choice. In fact, with proper care, you can pass oak furniture down to your children. Pine still offers years of use and creates strong, rigid furniture that is an affordable, quality option for pieces that don't need to last forever.
For example, pine may be suitable for children's furniture that can be replaced as your child grows.
- Amount of furniture use. Oak is more resistant to wear, scratches and dents than pine, so it works well for furniture that will see heavy daily use. This is especially true for pieces such as desks or tables where it comes into direct contact with the wood during the course of its activities.
- Furniture placement. Both pine and oak furniture hold up well indoors under ideal conditions. Choose a wood type that matches well with our other furniture. If you are looking for outdoor wood furniture, stick with white oak for best results.
- Maintenance. If you want a low maintenance option, oak tends to require less work to maintain the original appearance. Pine sometimes requires more work to prevent or repair damage that sometimes occurs due to its soft nature.
- Your decorating habits. For larger pieces, you need to consider how often you plan to rearrange. Large oak pieces are very heavy, making them difficult to move if you want to reposition them. Pine is still a heavy wood, but it is lighter for ease of movement. If you want to keep your furniture in one place, weight will not be a problem for either wood.
- Type of furniture. While you can find almost any type of furniture in both oak and pine, some furniture is better suited to a particular type of wood. Oak is a suitable choice for dining tables that get a lot of use. The heavy weight of oak is ideal for dining chairs to keep them stable and prevent them from tipping over. Pine is often suitable for bedroom furniture, especially in children's rooms.
After evaluating these factors, you may decide that both pine and oak suit your lifestyle in several areas. For example, you can outfit your children's rooms with pine furniture and use oak in the dining room. You'll find a wide range of styles and prices on both types. When choosing furniture, look for a reputable company that uses quality materials and reliable construction methods. This ensures that your piece will last longer no matter what type of wood you choose.
Whether you choose pine or oak furniture, you are making an investment in your home. Consider Oak.Store for your next solid wood purchase to ensure you get quality construction and premium materials.