The Timeless Appeal Of Birch Wood Furniture: Uses, Colors & Durability

Living room with work area, birch wood coffee table, desk, cushioned chair, lamp, side table, and office chair

When you want to fill your room with beautiful, lasting furniture, you’ll want to keep the materials in mind just as much as the aesthetics of the piece. One material that will serve you well and offer a beautiful appearance is birch. There are a lot of benefits to reap from using this material for furnishing. [toc]

Birch Wood Characteristics For Furniture

Birch is a common type of wood used in making furnishing for several reasons. For one, it’s attractive and durable, meaning the end results are often aesthetically pleasing, fitting for a variety of home decor schemes, and are meant to last you quite some time. It’s easy to work with as well, making it popular among furniture makers.

As for the versatility that comes from staining wood, this material can deliver but you have to be careful and make the right preparations. It’s not always an easy job, with darker stains often proving the hardest to avoid a blotchy finish, but it’s possible with the right steps.

It is also considered a relatively inexpensive material, although exact price ranges vary quite a bit depending on the furnishing you’re considering purchasing. 

What Color Is Birch? 

Room with birch minimalist stand, coffee table, sofa, bookshelves, and windows

Different types of woods take on different hues and birch often veers towards the lighter end of the spectrum. In fact, you might see a pale brown type but it can veer as pale as a cream or white tone when cut up and used for different types of furniture styles, flooring, or construction. It also may have yellow tones in it. 

You may notice that some types of this material has a redder hue than others. Intensified yellows and hints of red are often a sign of a piece of this furnishing that’s been around for a while. 

As covered before, it’s not always as easy to stain this material compared to other types used in furniture making. However, you can paint it easily which makes it a rather versatile option when it comes to appearance. 

Is Birch a Hardwood? 

Room with sage green wall, birch desk, chair, and desk lamp

Natural wood is divided into softwood and hardwood categories. Birch is known as one of the more popular hardwoods when it comes to furnishing for the home. They are often sought-after for their durability.

This is one area where they have an edge over their softer counterparts. This is a big part of the reason that you can rely on it so much in furniture not to easily break down. That’s because these slow-growing hardwood trees produce wood with a denser internal structure. This often makes these types of wood for furniture longer-lasting than their softwood counterparts. 

The density of hardwoods also makes them more fire-resistant. While they’ll eventually burn if exposed to fire for long enough, they won’t catch as quickly. These materials are also traditionally easy to keep tidy as well since they have relatively low maintenance. This is useful and has made it popular both in flooring and furnishing applications. 

Birch Durability

Dining space with birch chairs, fireplace, windows, sofa, and bookshelves

It is considered a strong and durable wood that will last you quite a while in furniture. All in all, you can expect these pieces to last a decade or more before they start to break down as long as it’s cared for properly. 

One thing you can rely on is that it isn’t naturally prone to dent or scratch easily. This means that even furnishing that’s often used in high-traffic areas stands a chance of collecting significantly less damage than if they were made out of a softer type. 

However, there are a few things that you should be careful of when you own these products. In particular, this material is vulnerable to rot and decay as well as insect infestation if the wood isn’t kept in the proper conditions. 

Birch Hardness

room next to dining space with birch television stand, dining table, chairs, and sectional sofa,

We’ve already mentioned that this material falls into the hardwood category. This isn’t just a loose set of traits either. The hardness of wood is determined by a specific measurement seen on the Janka Hardness Scale.

On this scale, you can see not only whether a type of wood is hard or soft but compare its density to other variants as well. The Janka Hardness Scale assigns a type a rating out of 4000.

As for this material, it has a rating of roughly 1260, considering there is some variance in the type used. This puts it in a medium range on the scale. By comparison, it is softer than a hardwood like oak while most options – save for Paper Birch – are stronger than options like cherry. 

Birch Plywood Furniture

Minimalist style room with birch plywood table, brown leather couch, rug, kitchen space, and black pendants

Plywood is a material made out of layers of a wood veneer but the exact material can vary. One option that is commonly used for plywood is birch plywood. In turn, it is used in furnishing, cabinets, and more. 

This material is also looked upon with favor for its durability and longevity. It’s a sturdy choice, even in a thinner, plywood consistency rather than solid wood, it still lasts quite a while. Plus, it holds up strongly enough to be used for shelving. It also has the added benefit of resistance to decay, warping, and bending. 

This furnishing can take many shapes too – any piece that you’ve seen made with plywood can be made with this material too. This includes wardrobes, bookshelves, nightstands, coffee tables, desks, entertainment systems, and more. The possibilities with these pieces are practically endless.

White Birch Furniture

Room with white birch furnishings, rug, window, and string lights

Oftentimes, if you want white furniture, you’re left breaking out some paint. If your furnishing isn’t already white that’s definitely an option. After all, it’s an easy surface to paint if you so desire. However, the fact that this material is already available in pale, nearly white varieties can save you some time. 

White furniture is neutral and a great way to brighten up a room a bit. It’s a popular option in a few different design methods from the white furnishing of a rustic interior to the simple, light pieces often used in beachside houses. 

Birch Bedroom Furniture

Minimalist bedroom with birch headboard, nightstand, mattress, pillows, floor lamp, and glass window

As we’ve covered, this furnishing is an incredibly versatile descriptor. After all, this material is a versatile and strong option that you can use in a variety of different furniture applications. Plus, the fact that you can paint or otherwise alter this wood to meet your needs helps to make sure it fits perfectly into your bedroom decor. 

In your room, it can be used anywhere from in your bedframe to the dresser to the nightstands by your bed. You might even have a few other types of bedroom furniture made from this material including a desk, vanity, shelving units, or even an entertainment system to prop up a TV. 

Does Birch Darken with Age? 

Minimalist room with sofa, birch round table, white walls, and floor lamp

Some types darken as time goes on. Usually, the culprit here is oxidation or exposure to sunlight. This effect is more easily seen in certain types while you might not notice others darken as significantly or quickly. 

As for birch, it tends to change its color with age as well. The material starts to take on a more red or yellow hue, often a shade mixing the two colors, as time goes on.

Some find this effect undesirable while others find this natural effect adds character to an aged piece of furniture. Of course, you can address this with solutions such as staining or painting to give your darkened piece a new hue. 

What Wood Is Similar To Birch? 

Modern room with brown leather sofa, birch table, fireplace, and pendants

Of course, this material isn’t your only choice when it comes to furnishing your home. There are plenty of options and some of them even share some properties with birch that might work in your favor. 

For example, if you want a similar appearance to this material, you could opt for alder wood but these types are a lot softer. Cherry is another popular option but tends to run a little darker and it’s more prone to darkening with age at a faster rate. 

Hickory also has a similar appearance to birch but it has more streaks than another great option in the place of the former. Oak is also a great choice and it takes to staining easier. 

Birch Vs Ash Furniture

Custom chairs made of ash wood

Example of Ashwood

Room with birch modern table, accent chair, dresser, tile floors, and lamp

Example of Birchwood

Ash and birch are both fairly common options used in furniture making and they have a lot in common. For instance, they’re both hardwoods and both often have light tones, although ash can get darker on average. Ash often also has a stronger, more noticeable grain pattern compared to birch.

While both are hardwoods, ash is slightly harder. If you want to keep the natural texture but not necessarily the natural color, it’s a lot easier to stain ash. 

One problem with the natural texture of ash is the open pores. These have to be finished or it can leave the material vulnerable. Much like birch, ash wood will start to darken over time. 

See more related content in our article about ash wood furniture on this page.

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