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Learn How Your Natural Wood Furniture Will Age Over Time

Incorporating natural wood into your home adds warmth and timelessness to any design. Whether it’s woven throughout the architecture—in staircases and hardwood floors—or highlighted in your furniture design, natural wood uniquely varies between each piece. Wood is a dynamic and organic material, constantly responding to the environment around it. Its color, texture and even durability changes over time. Understanding these natural changes can inform on how to properly care and display each type of wood in your home.

Two main factors commonly affect the wood’s transformation—exposure to UV light and the exposure to air, known as oxidation. Additional factors like moisture and natural dirt and oil buildup can also alter the properties of natural wood. In some cases, such as in cherry woods and mahogany, purposeful aging deepens the tone of the wood and give them their signature look. 

The natural maturation process varies from wood to wood, but all come from the same basic properties. By analyzing their grain, density and how porous their texture, you can determine the best wood to use for each use and how to arrange natural wood furniture throughout your home. 

Walnut 

Ranging from a paler cream color to a richly hued brown, natural walnut is a dense hardwood which makes it ideal for long-lasting furniture. 

Unlike many of the other popular natural woods, walnut lightens in color as it ages. Paler, honey-like tones peek through its original dark hues as it’s exposed to light. To balance the characteristic variations in tone, some manufacturers will steam batches of walnut to match their color before its sold. 

Trusted for its durability, such as in fences, walnut’s straight and sturdy grains make it less prone to breakage even with changes in moisture. As with all woods, black walnut will still shrink and expand with moisture, but will avoid warping or weakening. 

Walnut makes an elegant and eye-catching selection for furniture as well, such as in Copeland’s Audrey Extension Dining Table. Made in America from sustainably harvested Walnut, this extendable tables act as a sleek, modern centerpiece to any dining room. 

Cherry 

The smooth, deep tones of cherry wood furniture are synonymous with luxury and antique beauty. But cherry wood’s most sought-after color actually comes from after many years of aging, built up both from oxidation and sun exposure. 

It begins its life as a lighter pink, growing into the rich hue many links with its signature look with the help of added stain or exposure to the elements. For this reason, it’s very important to ensure your cherry wood piece is evenly exposed to air and UV light once purchased and positioned in your home, otherwise, you may experience uneven changes in its hue. 

Cherry wood is quite durable and rot resistant, even over time. Combined with its rarity, this pricey yet resilient wood makes for desirable household décor and cabinetry work. American-made Lyndon Furniture showcases locally farmed cherry wood in a range of modern designs from armoires and dressers to chic, modern bed frames. 

Maple 

This famously dense and durable wood often turns up in kitchen cabinets, nightstands and dressers, and even throughout sporting equipment and musical instruments. Classified as a hardwood, natural maple is less malleable and therefore more resilient against breaks or buckling. These factors make maple an ideal option for items and architectural accents that frequently bear weight or need to last without constant maintenance. 

As for its color, maple begins its life as a rich, off-white hue and can be easily stained to appear a more expensive variety. If left unstained, the maple’s color will transition into a soft golden tone, often varying depending on exposure to sun and air. 

Oak 

Ranging in tone from a pale pink to coffee-like tan, both red and white oak varieties are known for their distinctive grain, filled with wither swirling knots or flecks of bright color. While white oak is more conducive to moisture and can be used in outdoor furniture, red oak’s porous nature makes it a safer option for the indoors. 

You’ll most likely find red and white oak throughout stylish bookcases or throughout a home’s architecture. Though both varieties lighten in color with long-time exposure of UV rays, their shift is much slower than in exotic woods, making this a great option for hardwood floors. 

Overall, considering how each variety of natural wood changes over time guides you toward choosing the best material for your home. A wood’s porous quality speaks to how long it can live in the outdoors, for example. Though certain precautions, such as properly finishing and staining wood, can slow the aging process, some people prefer the matured wood’s color and texture to its young appearance. In other cases, certain natural wood varieties should be kept away from direct sunlight to keep its original quality and hue. In the end, it all depends on each person’s preference and finding the best way to use natural wood to elevate a home’s design.

  • Ali Qari

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