It doesn’t take a lot to understand the appeal of flatpack furniture; and, far be it for us to be snobs about homemaking on a budget. However, there is a big but here, the value for money that flatpack pieces offer is short lived! Furthermore, this usually adds up to a shockingly false economy. This is just one of the many reasons for solid wood designs being superior. Let’s talk about a few more as well though.
Try as you like, veneer or artificial wood never comes close to capturing the same warmth and tactile appeal of solid wood. There are some fantastic materials out there, offering their own durability and functionality, but when it comes to looks, it’s hard to compare a slab of MDF with thin veneer with a thick live edge wedge of black walnut.
If you’re thinking that flatpack furniture has a place in homes that have been designed to look very modern and minimal; don’t forget that solid wood is one of the most malleable materials in the world. If you want simple, lacquered and unfussy; you can get that in timber and without worrying about replacing it within the next two years too.
Let’s talk about longevity. Flatpack furniture is generally designed to serve as a fast and inexpensive solution to furniture and storage needs; and that doesn’t usually leave a lot of room for lasting durability. If it did, everybody would buy cheap bookshelves and they’d last forever. It’s simply not a financially savvy move for flatpack pieces to last well, but solid wood? It’s in its nature to go on forever.
Scratch a solid wood coffee table and it can be repaired to look good as new. Chip a solid wood sideboard and it will simply add some character and rustic charm. We cannot say the same for flatpack items. You chip one of those and you’ll expose the murky manufactured board interior, or maybe break a supporting dowel.
Have you ever heard of anybody passing down a Billy bookcase from Ikea to younger generations of their family? Of course not, because places make them in masses and don't make them special. What about a much loved solid wood dining table though? One with years of thanksgiving memories, birthdays and family pow-wows around it? That’s the kind of heirloom that families fight over. Because, everybody wants to put it front and center in their homes for another 20-30 years.
Solid wood furniture has memories attached to it. Every scratch and nick, if not repaired, carries an experience and a story that is part of the tapestry of family life.
Finally, nobody ever admired the craftsmanship of flatpack furniture, namely because you have to build it yourself. It was all made in a factory! However, a solid wood item? Something carved, hand finished and designed by some of the most dedicated and talented minds in the artisan world? That’s an investment and something to admire for years to come.
Though offered as solutions for the same things, flatpack and solid wood furniture are worlds apart in terms of lasting appeal; and, being worthy of your hard-earned money. So, when in doubt, always remember one of our favorite adages: buy cheap, buy twice.