With all the doom and gloom surrounding our economy these days, COZY is happy to provide a small respite from it all. Every month, we will slash prices on a particular item or manufacturer’s line, and offer significant savings to our customers.
This and next month, we are focusing on kids and teens! BERG has been spotlighted on our blog before as the creator of top quality furniture that has been passed down from kid to kid, and even across households. Their dedication to safety and finding innovative ways to utilize every inch of free space in your child’s room is nothing short of amazing.
To celebrate BERG’s newest additions, the 4 and 6 person bunk beds, we are pleased to offer the following Deal of the Month! We will be introducing these unique sleeping solutions very shortly in our online store, so don’t forget to visit us at www.cozyfurniture.com.
But now, on to the good stuff. To take advantage of this deal, use coupon code COZYBERG during checkout, or print out and present the coupon in-store for an instant 10% off your BERG purchase.
Make sure to take advantage of this offer before it’s gone for good and we move on to our next Deal of the Month!
Not looking for a bedroom solution for your child but know someone who is? Pass the coupon on! Every referral that results in a sale will earn you rewards as well! Just have your friend mention you at check-out, and we’ll be sure to send something good your way.
New Product Spotlight: Rossetto USA Nightfly Modern Ebony Dining and Living Collections April 8, 2011 No Comments
The snow has melted, the birds are chirping and tiny green buds are starting to push their way out to bask in the sunshine. Spring, it seems, is finally here. And after such a long and dreary winter, who ever heard of snow in March anyway, the world of furniture is coming out of hibernation with a burst of innovative designs!
Rossetto USA, who brought us the sexy and exotic Nightfly Bedroom just last year, is spoiling us once again. Deciding that keeping the glamor and opulence of Nightfly behind closed doors will no longer suffice, they are debuting the Nightfly Dining and Living Collections.
Featuring high-gloss finishes that are polished to a brilliant luster, visible grain of shimmering golds and bronzes and the deliciously flirty faux crocodile leather upholstery, these collections will turn your home into a picture-perfect and sumptuous escape from the gritty world just outside the door.
But while words may fail to fully describe the beauty that is Nightfly, we’re happy to offer an exclusive sneak peek!
Intrigued? Contact us for pre-order information!
New Product Spotlight: Unique and Sexy Valentine’s Day Gift Idea for Him or Her! January 13, 2011 No Comments
Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, and lovers the world over are in search of something different this year. Do flowers and chocolates really say I love you? Perhaps. Do they make your sweetheart giddy with joy and excitement? Not so much.
While every woman loves a pretty bouquet of flowers, and every man can be satisfied with a bottle of cologne… consider breaking tradition this year, and giving them a gift they won’t soon forget, use up, or toss in the trash.
Eclipse/Therapedic, a leader in mattress manufacturing founded in Brooklyn NY in 1905, has boldly gone where no mattress manufacturer has (legally) gone before and partnered with Playboy to bring excitement back into the bedroom.
The mattresses are sumptuously sexy, available in all standard sizes and feature the iconic Playboy Bunny embroidery. With several models to choose from, you and your sweetheart are sure to sleep, lounge and play in the utmost of comforts.
For those not convinced, picture this scenario:
1. You stop in at COZY, try out the mattress (yes, it’s in our showroom), purchase and schedule delivery for Monday (February 14th). You leave only YOUR telephone number as the delivery contact.
2. On February 14th, you cleverly fake a cold… and stay home from work. If your significant other does not work, this can also serve to send them out of the house for medicine as soon as you receive the phone call that the mattress is on the way.
3. With the new mattress in place, you omit the sheets (for the time being) and decorate the mattress with a huge bow. Feel free to add the flowers and chocolate!
4. Light some candles, put on some romantic music and make sure there’s some bubbly on the nightstand.
5. Once your sweetheart comes home… well… I’m sure you’re already convinced and on your way over to COZY!
For those interested parties, stay tuned for photos. Or come in for a sneak peak.
What’s the best gift you’ve received for Valentine’s Day?
Leather furniture demystified! Full-grain, top-grain, bonded and bicast… which is best? January 6, 2011 1 Comment
Hate it or love it, leather is a huge part of the furniture industry. In their quest to lower prices and entice consumers, manufacturers have created a world of confusion lately by blending leather with synthetic materials.
Have you searched for a leather sectional online only to be bombarded by such terms as split leather, faux leather, leatherette, full grain leather, bycast leather, bonded leather, top grain leather? Confused? So are most of the people who walk through our doors and are flabbergasted when we can’t match a price given by a competitor for a bonded leather sofa, when the one on our floor is full grain.
‘But it looks the same’ they say. ‘But the other guy told me it was bonded leather…leather is leather’ they cry. That’s when we sit them down (on our Italian full grain leather sofa), ask them to make themselves comfortable, and begin the lesson!
Have a seat with us now, grab a cup of coffee, and read on to learn about the ever changing ‘nature’ of leather.
The five most basic types of leathers used in furniture manufacturing today are:
Full-grain leather refers to the leather which has not had the upper “top grain” and “split” layers separated. The upper section of a hide previously contained the epidermis and hair that have been removed from the hide/skin. Full-grain refers to hides that have not altered by way of sanding, buffing, or snuffing to remove imperfections (or natural marks) on the surface of the hide. The grain remains allowing for fiber strength and durability. The grain also provides breathability, resulting in less moisture from prolonged contact. Rather than wearing out, it will develop a patina over time.
Top-grain leather is the second-highest quality and has had the “split” layer removed, making it thinner and more pliable than full grain leather. The surface has been sanded and a finish coat added to the surface which results in a tougher, plastic feel with less breathability, and will not develop a natural patina. It is usually less expensive than full grain, and has greater resistance to stains as long as the finish remains unbroken.
Split leather is created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top grain and drop split are separated. The drop split can be further split (thickness allowing) into a middle split and a flesh split. In very thick hides, the middle split can be separated into multiple layers until the thickness prevents further splitting. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain. Splits are also used to create suede.
Bonded leather upholstery , or “reconstituted Leather”, is composed of vinyl and about 17% leather fibers in its backing material (often scrap from leather tanneries or leather workshops) bonded with latex binders to create a look and feel similar to that of leather at a fraction of the cost. The vinyl is stamped to give it a leather-like texture. Bonded leather upholstery is durable and its manufacturing process is more environmentally-friendly than leather production. Some countries do not allow this to be called a natural leather product, however some still do.
Bicast leather (also known as bycast leather, leatherette, split leather or PU leather) is a split leather with a layer of polyurethane applied to the surface and then embossed. The resulting product is cheaper than top grain leather and has an artificially consistent texture that is easier to clean and maintain (simple water is all you need). Furniture manufacturers say that the main benefit of bicast leather is its price. Lower grades of leather can be used during the manufacturing process and treating with polyurethane gives a uniform shine and a long-lasting “like new” appearance. Furniture made with bicast leather will not develop a patina or suppleness, nor otherwise improve with age.
So which leather is right for you? We don’t like to advocate one over the other as there are many variables that come into play when choosing which leather product is right for you. Do you have small children? Will you be moving in the next year or two? What does your budget allow?
As always, think these points over before making a furniture purchase. Identify how long you would like to hold on to the furniture, if you’re the type to sweat over the small stuff (okay, Fido chewing on one of the sofa cushions isn’t really “small stuff”), if you’d like to encourage your kids when they’re finally being active (even if that means using the sofa as a trampoline), and a comfortable price point. Then browse a few websites to see what’s available in that price range. Visit a few stores (we like local small businesses!), ask them to show you the different leather types they have on the floor, and test them out. You might be surprised how great some of these faux products feel to the touch, just remember that many won’t last as long as the purer leathers.
And remember that while the furniture should look and feel great, it should not be the source of fights and headaches! Pick something that’s right for your current living situation and don’t worry about fads.
Have a something to add? An experience to share? We’d love to hear it! Comment below or send us an email.
New Product Spotlight: Rossetto USA Nightfly Bedroom Collection November 27, 2010 No Comments
Rossetto first introduced it’s innovative designs to the USA public in 1999, and the rest as they say, is history. Consumers quickly realized the superior design, materials and craftsmanship that the Italian-born company put into every single piece.
This year, Rossetto rolled out the sexy Nightfly collection which is quickly becoming a favorite among our most discerning customers.
Luxurious crocodile upholstery, high-gloss surfaces and the clean, unobtrusive lines which conceal the functional elements work together in harmony to create this contemporary masterpiece.
Available in White, Black or Ebony, this gem of a bedroom is sure to appeal to anyone looking for something unique and a tad exotic. But don’t just take our word for it, come in and experience the Nightfly in our showroom today!
Love it? Hate it? Let us know what you look for in a bedroom!
New Product Spotlight: DUPEN Lorena Silver Bedroom Collection September 30, 2010 2 Comments
Founded in 1966 by Enrique Duart Peris, Dupen has since exponentially increased its manufacturing and warehouse facilities as it quickly became a favorite among discerning shoppers.
With numerous awards under their belt, Spain-based Dupen now covers just over 6 acres of land and exports to 55 countries. While they have grown extensively, Dupen continues to maintain stringent quality controls which ensures that the furniture you purchase today, will serve you for years to come.
Their newest offering to the market is the glamorous Lorena collection, based on the wildly popular Nelly bedroom.
Featuring a luxuriously upholstered bed tufted with sparkling accents, the unique silver tone leatherette glistens tastefully, while the graceful lines hint at old-world glamor.
Coordinating chaise lounge is the epitome of opulence with it’s flowing lines and elegant upholstery. And don’t forget the oversize ottoman, armchair and standing mirror, which feature matching tufted leatherette upholstery.
The dresser and nightstands continue the old-world design but have been updated with modern silver-tone hardware.
With the holiday season soon upon us, treat yourself to the glitz and glamor of Lorena, and transform your bedroom into a luxurious retreat.
Color Harmony – Effects of Color on Your Mood September 22, 2010 No Comments
Last month, we focused on ways to infuse some color into your home. Be it through the simple process of painting a room, or bringing in some fun and bold accessories, adding color is a quick and easy way to change the look of any room.
This month, lets focus on color harmony, and the effects everyday color can have on your mood.
Have you ever walked into a room and felt completely at peace? Or agitated? Or suddenly inspired to paint, even though the last time you’ve held a paintbrush was in middle school art class?
While color association varies from culture to culture, and even between two people brought up in nearly identical environments, researchers have found that some colors elicit a very similar response in people.
Black has long been considered a color of elegance, status, power, mystery and sometimes, evil. Used as a backdrop, it makes almost any color stand out, and makes a dramatic focal wall in a home. Be careful when using black in conjunction with other bold colors, such as red – unless you’re looking to create a powerful and aggressive color scheme.
In feng shui, black represents the element of water, and is believed to be a grounding hue. When used in the North Ba-Gua area of your space, the color is said to be powerful in attracting new career opportunities.
White elicits the feeling of innocence and purity. Popular in the design world, the color is used to represent cleanliness, simplicity and to lend an airy feel to a space. White can also feel bare and stark, so use some contrasting accents to add visual interest.
In feng shui, white belongs to the element of metal, and is the color of new beginnings and clear endings. It represents a clean, crisp and fresh energy. Recommended in the West and Northwest Ba-Gua areas of your home, white is said to soothe the psyche and bring feelings of ever-expanding possibilities and a bright future.
One of the more emotionally intense colors, red has been found to stimulate a faster heartbeat and breathing. Used to represent courage, strength, love, passion and even danger and war, this color can elicit a very powerful reaction. Used as an accent color, red can stimulate a person to make quick decisions, but if overused, can bring about a feeling of restlessness, bursts of anger and over stimulation.
In feng shui, red represents the element of fire and will bring a hot, passionate and celebratory energy into your space. Used as the Chinese color of luck and happiness, the marriage color in India and the symbolic color of love, romance and passion in Western cultures… this color is linked to very strong emotions.
Blue symbolizes depth, stability, loyalty, wisdom, trust, confidence and intelligence. Beneficial to the body and mind, blue is said to slow the metabolism, suppress the appetite and calm the mind. As a masculine color, blue is widely accepted among males (even though pink was considered a color for boys and blue, a dainty color for girls, throughout the early 1900′s and until approximately WWII).
In feng shui, the color blue belongs to the water element, and is associated with clear skies and healing waters. Light blue is a color of harmonious expansion, while dark blue evokes deep calm and serenity. Several studies have shown that kids perform better under a blue-colored ceiling than a traditional white one, making blue a great choice for the home office.
As the most restful color for the human eye, green is healing and symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Darker green is associated with money and the financial world, and will work well in an office where meetings with clients take place.
In feng shui, green belongs to the element of Wood and is said to be very nourishing to health. Use in the East, Southeast and South Ba-Gua areas of your home or office in several varying shades to bring out a feeling of renewal, fresh energy and new beginnings.
Although the color is often associated with sunshine, joy and happiness, babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms, so we do not recommend using this color for a nursery! Yellow is said to stimulate mental activity, cheerfulness and is very effective for attracting attention. If overused in a room, yellow can be overpowering and even lead to loss of temper and angry outbursts.
In feng shui, strong yellow applies to the element of fire, while a light yellow is symbolic of the earth element. It is believed to be an excellent choice of color when decorating (older) children’s rooms, kitchens and living rooms. Have a room with little natural lighting? Bring in some yellow to instantly lighten and brighten the space.
The royal color purple symbolizes nobility, power, ambition and luxury. Conveying wealth and extravagance, purple is also associated with wisdom, dignity, creativity and magic. Light purple evokes feelings of romance, and nostalgia while deep purple has been shown to cause depressive symptoms if exposed to over long periods of time.
In feng shui, the color purple applies to the element of fire and is believed to be the color of connection to the spiritual realms and thus should be used sparingly. If you decide to use purple in your home, experts advise to use only lighter shades such as lavender for wall applications, and save the deep purples for accents.
A solid and reliable color, brown is associated with nature. Since brown is really a mixture of several different colors, the effects depend largely on the colors used. Considered a neutral shade, brown is largely represented in wood tone furniture and used in lighter tones for wall applications.
In feng shui, brown represents the element of wood and is best used in the East, Southeast and South areas of the Ba-Gua due to its rich and deeply balancing energies. Experts advice to use this shade in the main entryway, kitchen or as accent walls in the living room and bedroom. Avoid using too much brown in a space as it can lead to a lack of ambition.
Are there any colors you’d like to see that we haven’t covered? Have a story to share about your experience with color, good or bad? We’d love to hear from you!
And as always, please join us next month for more of our consumer education series.
Next week we will be announcing a new product that has just come on the market! If you’ve been looking for a glamorous bedroom, your search just might be over once you see this beauty.
Essence of Color in Your Room August 17, 2010 1 Comment
While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about room color, it affects every day of our lives.
Room color can influence our mood and our thoughts. Colors affect people in many ways, depending upon one’s age, gender, ethnic background or local climate. Certain colors or groups of colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people – the overall difference being in the shade or tones used. So it’s important to choose wisely.
When she hears people express a reluctance to paint their rooms in vivid hues because they believe it is inappropriate to the age or architectural style of their house, designer Susan Sargent waves away their concerns as though swatting flies. “I tell them to get over it. Truth is, every period of American architecture has welcomed colorful rooms,” says Sargent, who is known for her bright-colored furnishings line. Indeed, from the blue-painted hearth of a Colonial Revival to the deep red parlor walls of a Queen Anne to the teal accents of a Craftsman bungalow, there has always been a place for color inside the house. Even in today’s open-plan homes, where kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms are often one large space, color is used to help define interiors and create focal points in relatively featureless rooms. The trick, of course, is figuring out which colors to use and where to put them.
In a world where thousands of colors can be yours for just $25 a gallon, it pays to consider the advice of architectural color consultant Bonnie Krims. “Always remember that while there are thousands of paint chips at the store, there are only seven colors in the paint spectrum,” says Krims, referring to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (what Color Theory 101 students are often taught to remember by the mnemonic device, “Roy G. Biv”). “I always suggest eliminating a couple even before you go to the paint store.”
Her sure-fire method for creating a color scheme? Start by selecting three colors from an existing object in your home. “Take a pillow from the family-room sofa, your favorite tie or scarf, or a painting—anything that conveys comfort or has an emotional connection for you—and take that object to the paint store,” says Krims. “Find three sample strips with those colors, and you instantly have 15 to 18 colors you can use, since each sample strip typically contains six paint colors.” The next step is to choose one of the three paint colors as your wall color and to save the other two to be used around the room in fabric or furnishings. To choose the colors for adjacent rooms, take the same original three color sample strips and select another color. Finally, choose a fourth color that can be used as an accent: “Splash a little of that color into every room of the house—by way of a pillow or plate or artwork. It makes a connection between the spaces,” Krims says.
If you find yourself paralyzed at the paint store, unable to choose your color sample cards, Krims offers this tip: Look at the darkest color at the bottom of the strip. “If you can live with the one at the bottom, you know you’ll like the middle and top, but if you choose by looking at the top, lightest colors, all the cards in that category start to look the same.”
Once you have your colors in hand, consider the finish you’ll be using. Though today’s flat paints have increased stain resistance, conventional wisdom has long held that a satin (also called eggshell) finish is best for walls because it is scrubbable and doesn’t draw attention to imperfections. Semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes, it was thought, were best left to the trim, where they could accent the curves of a molding profile or the panels of a door. Today, however, finishes are also being used to create visual effects on the entire wall. Paint one wall in a flat or satin finish and the adjacent wall in a semi-gloss, both in the same color, and “when the light hits the walls, it creates a corduroy or velvet effect,” says Doty Horn. Similarly, you can paint the walls flat and the ceiling semi-gloss to achieve a matte and sheen contrast. (The ceiling will feel higher the more light-reflective it is.) Keep in mind that the higher the gloss, the more sheen and the more attention you draw to the surface. Used strategically, color and gloss together can emphasize your interior’s best assets.
5 Common Color Mistakes
1. Being afraid.
“The world is divided into two groups—the color courageous and the color cowardly,” says New York color marketing consultant Ken Charbonneau. “People who live in colorful interiors have gotten over the fear of making a mistake.” The best way to get over that fear is to always start with a color you love—from a rug, a painting, a fabric. Then test it on the wall. If it’s too strong, consider asking your paint store to formulate it at “half-strength” to lighten it or to tone it down by adding more gray.
2. Putting too much on the walls.
Be aware of the intensity of the colors in a room. “If you have an Oriental rug with five or six strong colors, don’t paint the walls in equally strong hues. Let the rug be the focal point and the walls a lighter color,” says Sherwin-Williams’s Sheri Thompson.
3. Putting too little on the walls.
If you think your room is boring, look at it in terms of the 60?30?10 rule that designers employ: Sixty percent of the color in a space generally comes from the walls; 30 percent from upholstery, floor covering, or window treatments; and 10 percent from accent pieces, accessories, and artwork. Translation: Liven up those white walls.
4. Rushing the process.
The best way to find a color you can live with is to paint a 4-by-4-foot swatch on the wall and live with it for at least 24 to 48 hours so you can see it in natural and artificial light. “Taking the extra time to do the swatch test is worth it to find a color you’ll love living with for years,” says Benjamin Moore’s Doty Horn.
5. Forgetting about primer.
When changing the color of a wall, primer (white or tinted) is vital to getting the actual color you picked out. Michael Baillie, paint sales associate at The Home Depot, says, “Priming ensures there will be no interference from the previous wall color.”
(Reprinted in part from ‘This Old House’ magazine)
Join us in September for the continuation of our Consumer Education workshop. We’ll go into more detail of color psychology and what effect different hues have on our everyday mood.
And as always, we’re here to answer all of your furniture, decor and design questions!
New Product Spotlight: BERG Play & Study August 10, 2010 1 Comment
BERG, a family owned business, has been bringing innovation and exciting design to children since 1984.
Parents across the USA love and praise the highly functional room set-ups that save space, while kids are stimulated by the creative design and the many nooks and crannies in which to store their treasures.
Proudly manufactured in the USA, BERG uses kid-friendly and durable materials that stand up to many years of use and abuse. And don’t forget that American furniture is manufactured to meed a code of standard that has been implemented to keep kids safe and provide the high quality that our consumers expect.
We at COZY have worked with BERG for many years in-store, and are now happy to offer their wonderful products to our clients across the USA (and the world!) via our online store.
When there’s homework to be done, simply slide out the table, complete with light, surge protector and several drawers and shelves to keep study materials close at hand.
With work all done, slide the desk back in to maximize on play space! And if that’s not enough, there’s a fully lit play area hidden behind the double doors. Kids adore private spaces of their own, and this nook is the perfect place to read a book, play a board game or share a secret with a friend. And since storage is one of the top priorities at BERG, the Play & Study also features plenty of drawers and cabinet space for clothes.
As day turns to night, you little adventurer will eagerly climb the steps (which are also drawers!) that lead to their comfy twin sized bed. A handy shelf keeps books, a glass of water and anything else that absolutely must accompany them to bed, within easy reach.
With the new school year fast approaching, give your child the gift that will enable him (or her) to succeed and have fun while doing so!
Join us next week for our consumer education workshop, this month we’re focusing on color.
Cozy’s Guide to Furniture Woods July 19, 2010 7 Comments
As we have promised in an earlier post, this month we have a very in depth article on woods as used in the construction of furniture.
Knowledge is power, so please dedicate half an hour or so and read over the article in whole. This is especially important if you’re shopping around for substantially priced solid wood pieces. Invest some time in researching your future investment.
Hardness: The simplest way to describe a wood is to say it’s a hardwood or a softwood, but this description can be deceptive: not all hardwoods are hard, and not all softwoods are soft. The hard/soft classification is a botanical one — hardwoods are flowering trees; softwoods are conifers. Although most hardwoods are harder than most softwoods, there are exceptions.
In general, hardwoods are more valuable than softwoods, because the wood is scarcer. But this isn’t always the case — gum, for instance, is a hardwood that competes in price with softwoods. A more practical way to identify wood is by its grain and color.
Wood grain and color: The cell structure of a tree, different for each species, determines its grain. Hardwoods have tubular cells called vessels, visible as pores in the wood. If the cells are large, the texture of the wood is slightly rough, or open; a filler may be needed to smooth the surface. If the cells are small, the texture is smooth; these woods, described as close-grained, don’t require filling. Oak, walnut, ash, mahogany, rosewood, and teak are all open-grained woods; beech, birch, maple, cherry, satinwood, gum, and poplar are close-grained. Softwoods don’t have vessel cells, but for all practical purposes can be considered close-grained.
All trees have annual growth rings, made up of the cells formed during each year’s growing season. The types and arrangement of the cells determine how the wood looks. There are woods with subdued and with clearly defined grains; there are straight grains, stripes, swirls, waves or curls, ripples, eyes, and mottled effects. There are colors from white and pale yellow through red, purple, and black. Every species has its own particular grain and color, and although they vary from tree to tree, these characteristics can almost always be used to identify the wood.
Furniture woods are chosen and valued for the character of their grain and color. Hardwoods usually have a richer and finer-textured grain than softwoods, but there are rich grains of all colors and patterns. Woods with very distinctive patterns are usually more valuable than woods with subdued or indistinct patterns, and the weaker-grained woods are often stained to give them character.
Veneers and Inlays: Because rare woods are scarce, and because they’ve always been more expensive than other woods, many types of furniture, both new and old, are made with veneer, a thin layer of wood glued to a base of less expensive wood or plywood. In old furniture, veneers and inlays of rare woods were often used to form designs or special effects; highly figured burl woods and other exotic woods were especially prized. In modern furniture, veneers are used primarily where solid wood is unavailable or too expensive.
Many different woods are used for veneers and inlays. Some veneers are cut from the crotch or butt of a tree, where the grain is more interesting; some are cut at an angle to produce a particular pattern. Some highly prized grain patterns, such as the bird’s-eye figure in maple and the burl patterns, result from irregular growth. Some veneer woods, such as the burl woods, are not usable for solid construction because the wood isn’t strong enough. Ebony, in contrast, is veneered because it’s much too heavy to be used alone.
It isn’t always obvious what’s veneered and what’s not. Sometimes the veneer is visible at the edge of the wood surface, a thin layer glued over the base wood. If you can’t see a joint at the edge, look at an unfinished area under the piece of furniture. If the unfinished wood looks the same as the finished surface, the piece of furniture is probably solid wood. If there’s a considerable difference, it’s probably veneered.
Wood combinations: Another consideration is that many types of modern furniture are made with two or more kinds of wood, to keep the cost down. Rare woods are used where appearance is important, such as table-tops; the more common woods are used for less conspicuous structural pieces, such as table and chair legs. A table you think is walnut, for example, may turn out to have gum legs, stained to match.
Common furniture woods have their own distinctive marks, just like each person has his or her own unique fingerprints. Below are some details or characteristics that can help you easily identify the numerous types of furniture woods available.
Ash (white ash): Ash is a tough hardwood known primarily for its excellent bending abilities; it’s used for bentwoods and for bent furniture parts requiring maximum strength. Ash veneers are also common. Ash varies in color from creamy white or gray with a light brown cast to a dark reddish brown. The price is moderate.
Basswood: Basswood is a common hardwood, often used in combination with rare woods such as walnut and mahogany. Its color varies from creamy white to creamy brown or reddish, with broad rays and sometimes slightly darker streaks. The grain is straight and even. Basswood is close-grained, with very small pores. It is inexpensive.
Beech: Beech is another hardwood that bends easily, but it isn’t as attractive as ash. Beech is often used with more expensive woods, primarily in inconspicuous places — chair and table legs, drawer bottoms, sides and backs of cabinets. Beech takes a stain well, and is often stained to look like mahogany, maple, or cherry. Beech is both hard and heavy,and is difficult to work with hand tools. It is inexpensive.
Birch (yellow birch): Birch, a common hardwood, is used in all aspects of furniture construction. The wood is light yellowish brown, very similar in color and in grain to maple. The grain is quite pleasing. Birch is close-grained. It is moderately expensive.
Butternut: This hardwood, often called white walnut, is similar in many ways to walnut. The wood is light brown, with occasional dark or reddish streaks. The grain is pronounced and leafy. Butternut is coarse-textured, with visibly open pores; it is usually filled. Butternut stains well, and is often stained to look like dark walnut. The wood is light, and is easy to work with hand tools. It is moderately expensive.
Cedar (Eastern red cedar): Cedar, a softwood, is used primarily in chests and closets; it has a distinctive scent, and is effective in repelling insects. The wood is a light red, with light streaks and knots; the grain is quite pleasing. Cedar is close-grained. It should not be bleached or stained. Cedar storage chests should be left unfinished on the inside, and treated with a clear finish on the outside. Cedar is moderately expensive.
Cherry (black cherry): Cherry, one of the most valued of hardwoods, is used in fine furniture and cabinets. Its color varies from light brown to dark reddish brown, and it has a very attractive and distinctive grain, often with a definite mottle. Cherry is close-grained, and does not require a filler. A light stain is sometimes used to accentuate the color. Cherry is difficult to work with hand tools, and it is expensive.
Elm (rock elm, American elm): This hardwood has excellent bending qualities; it’s used in all types of furniture, and especially for bentwoods. Elm is light brown to dark brown, often with some red streaks Elm has a distinct grain; rock elm has contrasting light and dark-areas. Because Dutch elm disease has destroyed so many trees, elm has become a rare wood, and can be both hard to find and expensive.
Gum (sweetgum, red gum): This hardwood is often used in veneers or in combination with rare woods; it’s also used in some moderately priced furniture. Gum is an even brown, with a reddish cast; it sometimes has darker streaks. Its price is moderate to low.
Hickory (shagbark hickory): This hardwood is noted for its strength, hardness, and toughness; it is used in rockers, Windsor chairs, lawn furniture, and some veneers. The wood is brown to reddish brown, with a straight, indistinct grain; it is open-grained. Hickory is very hard and heavy, and is difficult to work with hand tools. Its price is moderate.
Lauan (red lauan, white lauan): This hardwood, a mahogany look-alike, is used in less expensive grades of furniture; it is often sold as Philippine mahogany. The wood varies in color from tan to brown to dark red, with a ribbonlike grain pattern similar to that of true mahogany. Red lauan is more expensive than white.
Mahogany (New World mahogany, African mahogany): This hardwood is a traditional favorite for fine furniture, one of the most treasured furniture woods in the world. It’s also used extensively in veneers. Mahogany varies in color from medium brown to deep red-brown and dark red; the grain is very distinctive and attractive. It is very expensive.
Maple (sugar maple): Maple is a strong, dense, attractive hardwood, used in furniture and for butcher blocks. Its color is light brown, with a reddish cast; the grain is usually straight, but also occurs in bird’s-eye, curly, or wavy patterns. Maple is difficult to work with hand tools, and is usually expensive.
Oak (red oak, white oak): This abundant hardwood has always been valued for its strength and its attractive grain; It is used extensively for solid furniture and, in modern furniture, for veneers. White oak is a rich grayish brown color; red oak is similar, but with a pronounced reddish cast. Both types of oak are distinctively grained, with prominent rays or streaks. The wood is open-grained. It is moderately expensive; red oak is usually less expensive than white.
Pecan: This southern hardwood is quite strong, and is used extensively in dining and office furniture; pecan veneers are also common. The wood varies from pale brown to reddish brown, with some dark streaks; the grain is quite pronounced. The wood is difficult to work with hand tools; the price is moderate.
Pine (white pine): This softwood was used extensively for Colonial furniture, and is one of the basic woods of modern furniture; it’s used in almost all types of furniture, and is the primary wood used for unfinished furniture. The wood varies from cream to yellow-brown, with clearly marked growth rings; it is close-grained. It is inexpensive.
Poplar (yellow poplar): Poplar is a moderately soft hardwood, used in inexpensive furniture and in combination with more expensive woods. The wood is brownish yellow, with a distinctive green tinge; the grain is subdued. Poplar is close-grained wood. It stains very well. Poplar is relatively light, and is easy to work with hand tools. It is inexpensive.
Redwood: This distinctive softwood is used primarily for outdoor furniture; it is resistant to decay and insects, and is rarely finished. The wood is a deep reddish brown, with well-marked growth rings. It is moderately hard, and is easy to work with hand tools; its price varies regionally.
Rosewood (Brazilian, Indian, or Ceylonese rosewood): This hardwood, like mahogany, is one of the finest and most valued furniture woods; it’s also used for veneers. Rosewood varies in color from dark brown to dark purple, with rich, strongly marked black streaks. Rosewood is difficult to work with hand tools, and is very expensive.
Rubberwood: (also called Parawood in Thailand) is the standard common name for the timber of Hevea brasiliensis. It is one of the more durable lumbers used in the manufacturing of today’s home furnishings. As a member of the maple family, rubberwood has a dense grain character that is easily controlled in the kiln drying process. Rubberwood has very little shrinkage making it one of the more stable construction materials availabe for furniture manufacturing.
Rubberwood is the most ecologically “friendly” lumber used in today’s furniture industry. After the economic life of the rubber tree, which is generally 26-30 years, the latex yields become extremely low and the planters then fell the rubber trees and plant new ones. So, unlike other woods that are cut down for the sole purpose of producing furniture, rubberwood is used only after it completes it’s latex producing cycle and dies. This wood is therefore eco-friendly in the sense that we are now using what was going as waste.
Satinwood (East Indian satinwood): Satinwood has always been prized for fine hardwood veneers and also for use in decorative inlays and marquetry. Its color varies from bright golden yellow to a darker yellowish brown, with a very distinctive and attractive mottled or ribbon-striped pattern. It is very expensive.
Sycamore: This hardwood is used extensively in inexpensive furniture and in veneers; it is very resistant to splitting, and is also a favorite wood for butcher blocks. The wood varies from pinkish to reddish brown in color, with prominent, closely spaced rays; the grain pattern is distinct. It is moderately easy to work with hand tools, and moderately priced.
Teak: Teak is one of the choice furniture hardwoods, and has traditionally been used for both solid pieces and veneers. Teak varies from rich golden-yellow to dark brown, with dark and light streaks. It is very expensive.
Walnut (black walnut, European walnut): Walnut has traditionally been used for fine furniture, and is still in demand today; it is commonly used in veneers. Walnut is chocolate brown, sometimes with dark or purplish streaks; its grain is very striking and attractive. It is very expensive.
Other woods: Although most furniture is made from the woods listed above, many other woods are used in furniture construction.
Some of the other woods used for furniture are alder, apple, aspen, chestnut, cottonwood, cypress, fir, hackberry, hemlock, holly, koa, laurel, locust, magnolia, pear-wood, spruce, tupelo, and willow.
The full, unedited article can be found on TLC by clicking HERE.
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