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Hardwood Furniture vs Softwood Furniture

Is Hardwood Furniture Better Than Softwood?

It is time to buy a new furniture piece such as a dining table for your new home or renovated home in Brisbane.

But what type of timber should you choose for your dining table?

Australians usually buy furniture that looks great and is practical.

We are less inclined to buy showpiece furniture rarely used in a formal dining or lounge room.

Spending time with family and friends is important and most of this time happens when entertaining around the dining table!

Why choose hardwood timber over softwood with a dining table?

The real difference between softwood and hardwood is the structure of the wood.

The hardest types of timber have a molecular structure that creates a stronger bond.

This results in a different wood structure, giving it different properties.

Softwood, in Australian terms, usually relates to coniferous trees (Pine)

Softwood is not delicate, and pine feels just as hard as oak to the average person!

But the way the timber copes are measured is based on the wood's resistance to denting and wear.

Dining tables are typically used daily for meals and work tables for homework or study.

What Hardwood Timber Should I Use?

Common hardwoods used for furniture in Australia are native timbers.

Their names can be confusing as they are descriptive rather than an actual tree species. See our Timber selection page for more examples

Tasmanian Oak

For example, Tasmanian Oak is not from an English oak tree.

It is derived from three Eucalypt species that are found in Tasmania.

It ranges in colour from pale pink to brown straw.

Victorian Ash

This is also a Eucalypt species - Victorian ash is an Australian hardwood made from two species of Eucalypt – Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash. It is very closely related to Tasmanian oak.


is also a Eucalypt from the southern states, and it can also be named as

Tasmanian oak, stringybark Brown top, and Australian oak.


Blackbutt is also a eucalypt species native to the coastal regions of New South Wales and Queensland.

Rosewood or Rose Mahogany

This is also a descriptive name for a family of tree species worldwide. Australia has a native tree that is part of the species.

Which is better: hardwood furniture or softwood furniture?

When deciding between hardwood and softwood and choosing the right furniture for your home, there are various factors to consider:

Environmental sustainability

Softwood and hardwood have different environmental impacts.

In general, hardwoods take longer to grow than pine.

Pinewood for furniture is usually grown on plantations.

The pine trees are constantly harvested and replaced by new seedlings in an area specially created for this purpose.

This means that new trees are constantly growing while older trees are harvested.

There are Australian hardwood plantations, and 80% of the hardwood used for timber and flooring is from plantations.

If you're genuinely environmentally conscious, more and more recycled timber is available for furniture making, and we at Custom House furniture love creating tables from recycled timber.

Messmate or Tasmanian oak has a much smaller environmental footprint because their manufacture involves recycling old wood instead of cutting new.

Wood Grain

Both pine and hardwoods have a beautiful wood grains.

Hardwood grains tends to be wavy and have more knots and unique markings.

It is more pronounced and noticeable than pine's grain because, like most hardwoods, it has deeper pores.

Wood grains in pines are usually straighter and lighter in colour.

Timber Durability

This is one of the characteristics of hardwoods and softwoods that is most often discussed: durability.

Hardwoods create harder wearing furniture material than pine due to the structure of the wood.

Hardwoods will always be a superior choice for furniture that will last a lifetime.

This is not to say that pine is a weak timber choice.

On the contrary, pine is extremely sturdy, but hardwoods are less prone to dents, stains or wear over a long period.

With table tops like a dining table, this is a surface that will be dented and scratched from general use at meal times.

Bedroom Furniture

However, pine might be a better choice if you're looking for furniture for your child's room.

You may replace it as your child gets older and you redecorate, or you can get rid of it altogether when your child moves out, and their room serves as another room.

Therefore, your furniture may not need to be as durable.

With the difference in durability also comes a price difference.

So, carefully consider whether the longer lifespan is beneficial to you.

If so, oak wood is worth the investment because it will last a long time.

Furniture Life Expectancy

While softwood is still very sturdy, hardwood is more durable. This means that oak furniture will last longer than pine furniture, which is one of the most popular reasons people choose oak (hardwood) over pine (softwood).

Furniture Cost

As mentioned earlier, there is a cost difference between pine and oak. The reason is hardwood timbers take longer to grow than pine.

If cost is your deciding factor for furniture while you have young children, Pine may be your best choice. It is still sturdy and look nice but are a little less durable in the long run and, therefore, less expensive.

It will be more difficult to get a custom built or designed table in pine as most furniture malers use hardwood timbers.

If the cost doesn't matter to you and you want a custom made piece if furniture, hardwoods will give you a lifetime of use and good looks.

Choose the timber on your colour choice and remember as time goes by and interior decor trends change, we can sand back your custom dining table top and re stain it to a colour that suits.

Timber Colour Choices

If the wood is untreated or natural, pine is usually a lighter colour than hardwoods, although some species are considered as a blonde in colour such as the native White Beech which is a hardwood as a decorative paneling the Australian pine species - Hoop Pine

However, both hardwood and softwood can be finished differently to change the appearance.

Different finishes can make furniture lighter or darker to achieve the look you want.

What's the final verdict?

Is hardwood furniture better than softwood furniture?

There is no right answer to this. If you desire a very durable and long-lasting piece of furniture and price is not the most important factor, then hardwood is the better choice.

If you desire a less expensive piece of furniture that will last for many years but still want to replace at some point, then pine is perfect. For example, if you're furnishing a child's room or looking for an inexpensive solution for your living room (that still looks great!), pine may be the best choice for you.

Custom House Furniture are Brisbane Furniture makers and use all types of hardwood timber to create a custom piece of furniture or dining table that you will love.

Each piece of hardwood furniture is painstakingly crafted to match your furniture dreams.

So with proper care, a Custom House Furniture piece furniture should last for generations. Get in touch with us today to speak about what timber will be perfect for your custom made dining table!


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