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TV Armoires Buying Guide

When Buying an Armoire, What Kind of Material Should I Choose?


Engineered woods are made by gluing multiple wood fibers together using heat and pressure. Because they can be made from recycled materials, it is generally more affordable than genuine wood. The two most common types of engineered woods are particle board and medium density fiberboard or MDF. Particle board, especially without a laminate finish, is not as strong as MDF, so when buying a computer armoire select one made of a mix of particle board and MDF or made entirely of MDF. When finished with laminates or veneers, MDF can look and feel like real wood.

Rubberwood, also known as Asian hardwood, is from Southeast Asia, and is an eco-friendly wood because the trees are used to produce rubber for 25 to 30 years before being harvested. When properly seasoned and treated, rubberwoods have the same properties as other hardwoods. While commonly used to make legs for tables, chairs and other furnishings, rubberwood is also used to make furniture that is tropical in texture and style.

Armoires can also be made from trees of varying grades of timber. Either made from hardwoods or softwoods, timber refers to wood that has been cut and prepared for use as building material. Hardwoods are woods from trees that lose their leaves in autumn, such as oak or maple trees. Soft woods are woods from coniferous trees, like pines or cedars, that do not shed their leaves or needles. The terms "hardwood" and "soft wood" do not refer to the wood's actual solidity. If your budget allows for a wardrobe armoire made of genuine wood, keep in mind that, if you would like add other furnishings at a later date, it may be harder to match them to the armoire even if it was produced by the same company, due to factors like wood density and variations in the thickness of the finish and how it was applied.

Wood veneers are produced when thin slices of real wood are adhered with heat and pressure to the piece of furniture.  Because it can be applied to any smooth, flat surface, this is a popular material for bedroom or living room furniture like TV armoires. It also gives furniture the texture and appearance of genuine solid woods, while mking it more affordable.

Laminates are produced by pressing layers of materials, such as plastic, metal and wood, together and then sealing them with a thermosetting resin. Several reasons laminates are commonly used for home and office furniture are they are strong, durable and easy to care for. Laminates don’t fade and have no grain that can cause variations from one item of furniture to another, making it easier to match any accessory pieces like a jewelry armoire that you might add to your bedroom. Furniture with a laminate finish is made of engineered wood of some kind first and then the laminate material is applied.


The word "finish" is often used as a general term to encompass any chemical when applied to furniture. However, chemical applications can be divided into three main categories: stains, paints and finishes.

A stain contains pigments that, when applied to the surface of the piece of furniture, tint the wood.

Paint, containing colored pigments, do not permeate the surface, but rather sits on top of the wood and forms a protective coating.

A finish is generally a clear, protective coating that either sits on top of the surface or permeates the wood surface. Six common types of finish are oil, varnish, polyurethane, shellac, lacquer and water-based finishes. Any one of these six kinds of finish can also contain color pigments for added texture.

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