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Birch Wood Furniture (Uses, Colors & Durability)

See if birch wood furniture is a good material to use, including what it is, colors, if it’s a hardwood, durability, hardness, and where it’s used for furniture.
Living room with work area, birch wood coffee table, desk, cushioned chair, floor lamp, side table, and office chairWhen 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 wood. There are a lot of benefits to reap from using this material for furniture.

What Is Birch Wood? 

Living room with birch wood coffee table, accent chair, dresser, tile floors, and lampBirch is a common type of wood used in making furniture 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, birch 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.

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

What Color Is Birch? 

Living room with birch wood television stand, coffee table, sofa, pendant light, bookshelves, and windowsDifferent 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 birch 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. The wood also may have yellow tones in it. 

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

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

Is Birch a Hardwood? 

Living room with sage green wall, birch wood desk, chair, and desk lampNatural wood is divided into softwood and hardwood categories. Birch is known as one of the more popular hardwoods when it comes to furniture for the home. Hardwoods are often sought-after for their durability.

This is one area where they have an edge over their softwood counterparts. This is a big part of the reason that you can rely on birch wood 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 like any wood if exposed to fire for long enough, hardwoods like birch won’t catch as quickly. Hardwoods 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 furniture applications. 

Birch Wood Durability

Dining room with birch wood chairs, fireplace, windows, sofa, bookshelves, floor lamp, and pendant lightBirch is considered a strong and durable wood that will last you quite a while in furniture. All in all, you can expect your birch furniture to last a decade or more before it starts to break down as long as it’s cared for properly. 

One thing you can rely on is that birch isn’t naturally prone to dent or scratch easily. This means that even furniture 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 of wood. 

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

Birch Wood Furniture Hardness

Living room next to dining space with birch wood television stand, dining table, chairs, sofa, pendant lights, and windowsWe’ve already mentioned that birch falls into the hardwood category when you’re comparing hardwoods vs. softwoods. 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 types of wood as well. The Janka Hardness Scale assigns a type of wood a rating out of 4000.

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

Birch Plywood Furniture

Minimalist living room with birch plywood coffee table, brown leather couch, rug, kitchen space, pendant light, refrigerator, and white wallsPlywood 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, this plywood is used in furniture, cabinets, and more. 

Birch plywood 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. Birch plywood also has the added benefit of resistance to decay, warping, and bending. 

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

White Birch Furniture

Living room with white birch wood furniture, coffee table, couch, frame, console cabinet, pendant lights, rug, window, and string lightsOftentimes if you want white furniture, you’re left breaking out some paint. If your birch furniture 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 birch 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 furniture of a rustic interior to the simple, light furniture often used in beachside houses. 

Birch Bedroom Furniture

Minimalist bedroom with birch wood headboard, nightstand, mattress, pillows, floor lamp, and glass windowAs we’ve covered, birch furniture is an incredibly versatile descriptor. After all, birch is a versatile and strong wood 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 birch including a desk, vanity, shelving units, or even an entertainment system to prop up a TV. 

Does Birch Darken with Age? 

Minimalist living room with sofa, birch wood coffee table, white walls, and floor lampSome types of wood darken as time goes on. Usually, the culprit here is oxidation or exposure to sunlight. This effect is more easily seen in certain types of woods while you might not notice others darken as significantly or quickly. 

As for birch wood, 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 wood furniture. Of course, you can address this with solutions such as staining or painting to give your darkened wood a new hue. 

What Wood Is Similar To Birch? 

Modern living room with brown leather sofa, birch wood coffee table, fireplace, and pendant lightsOf course, birch wood isn’t your only choice when it comes to furnishing your home. There are plenty of options for wood furniture and some of them even share some properties with birch wood that might work in your favor. 

For example, if you want a similar appearance to birch wood, you could opt for alder wood but these woods are a lot softer. Cherry is another popular option but tends to run a little darker than birch 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 birch. Oak is also a great choice and it takes to staining easier than an option like birch. 

Ash Vs Birch Furniture

Custom chairs made of ash wood for home interiorsAsh and birch are both fairly common woods 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 than birch on average. Ash often also has a stronger, more noticeable grain pattern compared to birch wood.

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

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

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