Solid Wood Furniture Comparison | The Stated Home

Shopping for high quality wood furniture can feel so frustrating. Something may look great in the store, only to start to fall apart once you bring it home. The thing with furniture is that it’s what’s on the inside that matters–and that can be hard to figure out. For an in-depth article on what to look for while you’re shopping, visit our High-Quality Wood Furniture blog here.

We go into way more detail on the different aspects of wood furniture quality in other blogs, but the main things you want to look for are:

  • Wood Material: Is it made of solid wood or veneers instead of plywood, MDF, or particle board (materials that contain harmful chemicals)?
  • Veneers: Not all veneers are bad, but many furniture companies use them as a cost-cutting measure. Veneers on most mass-produced furniture tend to be super thin and chip and peel easily.
  • Joinery: Make sure that the pieces are joined together properly so thing won’t start to wobble.
  • Finishes: Look for finishes that can stand up to daily use, like conversion varnish or post-catalyzed lacquer.

To help you see what some of the different major furniture stores sell, we decided to compare a similar dresser from The Stated Home, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Arhaus. We were quickly reminded how difficult it is to figure out how a piece of furniture is made, since these retailers tend to use vague terminology and omit some information all together. For our comparison, we used information that was most commonly shared: the material, drawers, finish, place of manufacture, and warranty.

The Stated Home: Our Grafton 6-Drawer Dresser

  • Wood Material: Solid ash
  • Dimensions: 69”w x 20”d x 32”h
  • Drawers: English dovetail with soft-close glides
  • Finish: Low-VOC catalyzed lacquer
  • Manufactured In: United States
  • Warranty: Five years
  • Price: $2,595 + free shipping and delivery
  • Conclusion: It goes without saying that we approve of the construction of our Grafton dresser. With 100% solid wood construction and a low-VOC finish, you won’t have to worry about peeling veneers or harmful chemicals.

Restoration Hardware: Machinto 6-Drawer Dresser

  • Wood Material: The description says oak veneers, but it does not say what the veneer is covering. If it were solid wood, they likely would have mentioned it, so it’s probably either plywood or MDF.
  • Dimensions: 72”w x 22”d x 32”h
  • Drawers: No information about the construction, but has soft-close glides
  • Finish: Doesn’t say
  • Manufactured In: Imported, but they don’t say from where
  • Warranty: Who knows…
  • Price: $2,546 (with $100 membership fee) + $199 shipping = $2,845
  • Conclusion: As always, Restoration Hardware is being super vague about their furniture, but what we do know is that their veneer is on either plywood or MDF and it’s imported, so there is a good chance it contains formaldehyde (a toxin that causes cancer). Veneers often tend to chip and peel, exposing the different wood material underneath. At a cost that is higher than a 100% solid wood piece, you are paying too much money for an item that is not constructed well. It should be priced about $1,000 less than it is.

Pottery Barn: Eva Extra Wide Dresser

  • Wood Material: Oak veneers, MDF, and solid wood
  • Dimensions: 64.5”w x 19”d x 36”h
  • Drawers: English dovetail on wood glides
  • Finish: Doesn’t say
  • Manufactured In: Imported, but they don’t say from where
  • Warranty: Who knows….
  • Price: $999 + $199 shipping = $1,198
  • Conclusion: At least Pottery Barn is being forthcoming about their construction materials! It looks like the solid wood is being used for the legs and possibly the drawers. We know that MDF contains harmful chemicals and that the veneers will likely peel, but at least this piece is priced appropriately.

Arhaus: Bodhi Six Drawer Dresser

  • Wood Material: Solid oak and oak veneers (no mention of what the veneers are over)
  • Dimensions: 72.5”w x 22”d x 34.5”h
  • Drawers: English dovetail on soft-close glides
  • Finish: Lacquer
  • Manufactured In: Indonesia
  • Warranty: No mention of wood furniture in the warranty
  • Price: $1,999 + $499 shipping = $2,498
  • Conclusion: The only wood materials they mention are solid oak and oak veneers, but they conveniently forgot to say which material the veneer is on (either plywood or MDF). If you’re concerned about harmful chemicals in your home, we’d be wary of purchasing this dresser. And at a total price that is the same of a 100% solid wood piece, it’s not worth the money.

Crate & Barrel: Walker 6-Drawer Dresser

  • Wood Material: Solid oak
  • Dimensions: 69w x 20”d x 34.5”h
  • Drawers: Soft-close glides
  • Finish: Lacquer
  • Manufactured In: Indonesia
  • Warranty: Who knows – it doesn’t say
  • Price: $2,499 + $129 shipping = $2,628
  • Conclusion: This is the only solid wood option from a large retailer, which is why it comes with a higher price tag. But here’s the thing: You can get a comparable dresser that is made in the U.S.A. That means you don’t need to worry if the finish is low-VOC or if it’s covered by a warranty.

Because there is so much information left out from these descriptions, it’s difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison. With the exception of the Pottery Barn dresser, the prices are all around the same. You won’t be saving a ton by purchasing an imported piece that uses veneers when you can get something 100% solid wood with low-VOC finishes from The Stated Home.

Solid Wood Furniture Comparison | The Stated Home

Learn what you\'re getting when buying wood furniture from different stores.

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