Mahogany Furniture (Durability & Hardness)

Here we share all about mahogany furniture including what it is, its wood durability, hardness, different designs, and how it is used for bedrooms, living rooms, and outdoor spaces.
Dining room with mahogany buffet table, chairs, dining table, chandelier, rug, and ceiling lights

You want the furnishing in your home to look great and last you a long time. Those are two of the reasons that this material has had such a lasting appeal in home decor and that only scrapes the surface. There are a number of reasons you might want to start using mahogany furniture to decorate your home. [toc]

What Is Mahogany Wood Furniture? 

Living room with mahogany shelves, cabinets, coffee table, dining table, chairs, sofa, chandelier, floor, lamp, and windows

Mahogany furniture is often sought after for its unique appearance and timeless appeal. It’s been around for quite a while in furniture, flooring, paneling, and more. The hardwood boasts a range of benefits. It might come from a few different places too.

This material is usually separated into types according to wear it’s from like Brazilian, Cuban, or Honduras mahogany, while other types are named for their appearance, like tiger mahogany and red mahogany.

In appearance, these furnishing is brown and can range from light brown to a darker brown, and undertones that range from pink to red. This offers a lot of range, even within this single material. The wood does change as it ages, though, so you can expect to see more depth in the color of the wood. 

The grain is also rather varied. You might find mahogany with a really straight grain, or you might find a more curved or even irregular pattern in the grain. On top of the striking appearance, as mentioned, there are a few benefits to using this particular hardwood in furnishing construction.

For one, it’s resistant to rot and mildew, less prone to warping, and even has some resistance to termites. These qualities make mahogany kitchen cabinets and furnishing excellent for use in humid climates.

It’s also easy to build pieces with and it takes to a finish or a stain rather well, allowing for further customization than the naturally occurring shades of the wood allows. 

Best of all, it is surprisingly lightweight. So, it won’t add too much hassle the next time you rearrange or move. Yet, it doesn’t trade this weight out for weaker durability either. 

Mahogany Wood Durability

Mahogany table and chair

When you have furnishing made from this material, you can rely on it to last years to come thanks to its outstanding durability. On average, you can expect this wood furnishing to last 40 years or more even if you’re using your furniture outdoors. If you use your outdoor mahogany furniture indoors, you can expect it to last even longer than that. 

The fact that you can use this wood outside at all speaks to its durability. This comes back to the concept we discussed earlier that mahogany is rot-resistant and while it shouldn’t be left wet when possible, this helps it hold up better to moisture.

The durability can hold up well to daily use as well. Of course, it’s easy to make furnishing last if you never use it but what about the mahogany dresser in your room or the table in your dining room?

These often-used pieces won’t have a shorter lifespan as long as they’re properly taken care of. This means making sure you keep your wood types of furniture styles finished, cleaned, and annually polished. 

Mahogany Wood Hardness

Home office area with mahogany desk, chairs, bookshelf, lamp, window, and curtains

This type of wood is a strong choice when you’re looking for a hardwood option for your furniture or almost any other project that you have in mind. When it comes to wood, hardness is measured by something called the Janka Scale.

This scale measures hardness as how well wood will hold up to wear-and-tear as well as denting. The scale ranges from zero all the way up to 4,000. The higher the number, the harder the wood. 

As a hardwood, it has a higher Janka hardness scale rating than options like pine, beech, or ash. Depending on the type you have, the hardness rating can vary.

For instance, red mahogany comes in at a rating of 2,897 while tiger mahogany is harder with a rating of 3,840. There are even some softer forms too, including Honduran mahogany which only ranks in at about 800.

Hardwoods are often sought after for their durability and strength. Both of these beneficial features will help your furnishing stand up to the test of time even when they’re in regular use. However, regular maintenance and cleaning will always help your wooden furniture last even longer. 

Mahogany Bedroom Furniture

Bedroom with mahogany dresser, nightstand, lamp, and wood flooring

There are quite a few ways that you can use this kind of furnishing in the bedroom. The first thing that obviously comes to mind is a bed frame. These types of bedroom furniture can be designed to look completely unique, even comparing one mahogany bedframe to the last, or you can opt for something simple. 

Moving right next to the bed, you can opt for this wood again if you want to sport matching bedside tables with the frame. Plus, mahogany wood is neutral on its own and is easily painted, stained, or refinished to meet your decor needs if you change up your bedroom style. Similarly, you could use it for any end tables that you keep in your room as well. 

Another place for this furnishing in the bedroom is clothing storage. Whether you prefer the more common choice of a dresser or want something upright like a wardrobe, this furnishing makes for an elegant option.

If you’re someone who enjoys getting ready in your room, a vanity made from this material may be the way to go as well. This or other pieces like a bookshelf can add extra storage to your bedroom as well.

Mahogany Living Room Furniture

Traditional living room with mahogany coffee table, shelves, TV stand, fireplace, brown leather couch, windows, and rug

Stepping into a higher-traffic area of the home, you can show off your mahogany pieces while you entertain in the living room too. There are a few concepts that you can carry over from the bedroom into the living room. For instance, there’s no reason your end tables can’t be made from this material either. This also makes mahogany a great candidate for coffee tables and accent tables as well. 

Another great place for this furnishing in the living room is the entertainment system. Even if you don’t use a full entertainment system in your home, you can use a mahogany table to prop up any TVs, gaming systems, or speakers, and even add a little bit more storage to your home.

The living room is another great place to try and fit in a few wood pieces for extra storage and personalization as well. For example, a bookshelf can help you keep your books in order and on display.

Mahogany Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor patio with mahogany table, bench, coffee table, and wood deck

As mentioned earlier, you can use this type for different types of outdoor furniture as well. There are a few ways that you can implement this material in your outdoor decor as well. Perhaps the best way to use this furnishing is in designing a patio.

Who could say no to some beautiful mahogany chairs and a table? Of course, this concept isn’t limited to use on a patio. A table and chairs are well-suited to give you a place to rest on a smaller porch as well. 

Again, we have to come back to the utility that an end table can bring. This will give you a place to set down a drink or snack while you sit down or hang out in the yard. Tables and chairs or a picnic table is also a great place to enjoy something to eat and hang out outside all of which can be made with this material.

There are a few other wooden lounging seats that you might want to consider outside. This includes benches, swinging porch benches, and rocking chairs. Each of these items can be made with this wood. 

How To Clean Mahogany Furniture

Dining room with mahogany table, wood floors, chair, bookshelf, and window

Just like anything else, you’ll make the most out of the appearance and lifespan of your mahogany wood furniture if you keep up with regular maintenance over the years. In your day-to-day life, this largely refers to keeping your furnishing clean. 

To start, wipe up any spills or splashes as soon as they happen. When dust starts to accumulate, a regular duster or cloth can help you sweep it away. It’s best not to leave dust to gather on your pieces to avoid detrimental effects. 

When you’re ready to do a more thorough cleaning of your mahogany furniture, you can make a cleaning solution with vinegar. For this, you’ll want a solution of two parts vinegar and one part water. You can use a cloth dampened with this solution to clean the furnishing, following the grain of the wood. 

It’s important to never use harsh cleaners. In addition, you’ll want to avoid harsh cleaning accessories like abrasive sponges or rough rags. To make cleaning easier and better protect your furnishing, it’s best to annually polish your furniture as well. Make sure to use a wax that’s safe for your furniture. Cream waxes can be a bit easier to work with compared to hard waxes but either will work for this purpose. 

How To Lighten Mahogany Furniture

Outdoor patio with mahogany folding chairs, flowers, and hedge plants

Over time, your mahogany furniture will look darker than the day you got it. This is a natural part of aging in this type of wood. However, it’s not something every homeowner hopes for. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to lighten your furnishing as it darkens. 

To start, you’ll want to prepare by removing any pieces unnecessary for this process from the furnishing. For example, if you’re working on a dresser, remove the handles and knobs before getting started. 

After you’re ready, you’ll want to begin by sanding. For this job, you can use sandpaper with grit ranging from 150 to 180. This step will help to remove anything on top of the wood that’s darkening its natural color. 

Some homeowners still find the natural color of this material isn’t as light as they’re looking for. In this case, you’ll need to take the extra step to bleach the wood. This will help lighten the wood and, thanks to the reaction caused by the bleaching will make the grain open up a bit. This appearance is often sought after in farmhouse or rustic decor schemes. 

If you bleach your wood, you’ll need to take a few final measures to protect it. You’ll want to take the time to condition the furnishing with wood conditioner and then use a sealer to help preserve the wood over time. 

Painting Mahogany Furniture

Dining room with red painted walls, mahogany table, chairs, pendant lights, and wood floors

Here we share painting tips for furniture pieces made from this material.

Can You Paint Mahogany Furniture White? 

Living room with mahogany coffee table, floating shelf, TV stand, television, sofa, and floor lamp

Yes, you can paint mahogany furniture in just about any color you would like, including white. However, you’ll want to make sure you follow the proper procedure and use the right paint to get the job done. The first thing to do is to clean your furniture thoroughly. The last thing anyone wants is to paint dirt in place. Plus, any grease will make painting harder. 

Before you start painting, it’s essential to sand your furnishing. Since this can leave some dust behind, it’s a good idea to pull this project outside, if possible. Otherwise, make sure you have a vacuum handy.

Start with a coarser sandpaper grit and move finer until you have a smooth surface to work on. Make sure to brush the dust away from the furniture as well so that you don’t paint it into place either. 

Now, you have to use a shellac primer. If you don’t, you’ll likely see the color of the wood bleed through the paint. This is especially true with lighter paint colors like white. You may need to add two coats. Once the primer is dry, you can start painting the furniture in your desired color. Again, you may need to add an extra coat or two depending on how your first coat looks when it’s dry.

Best Paint For Mahogany Furniture

Dining room with mahogany table, bench, buffet table, wood floor, chandelier, and window lights

As mentioned, you’ll want to start off by painting your mahogany wood furniture with a shellac-based primer. This will make sure that the paint you use will adhere properly to the surface and that the color of the wood that you’re trying to cover won’t bleed through.

This is especially useful in covering dense knots in the wood. Shellac-based primers are especially good at keeping the wood from the oils in rather than letting them affect the paint. 

When it comes to the type of paint to use, you have a lot of options. Renovators tend to turn to anything from alkyd to latex to enamel bases for their paints. It’s best to consider where you’re using the paint too. For instance, enamel-based paints are often recommended for outdoor uses while other options may not hold up as well. 

As for the finish on the paint, you have almost as many options here as between types of paint. Whether you prefer a glossy, low-gloss, or matte finish on your furnishing, practically any finish will take to it. 

Refinishing Mahogany Furniture

Bedroom with four poster mahogany bed, mattress, pillows, headboard, dresser, lamp, window, and curtains

Odds are, the finish that’s used when mahogany furniture is built won’t last as long as the wood beneath it. The good news is that when your finish starts to look a bit dull or you want to try something new, you can refinish this furnishing. 

You’ll need to start by removing the old finish so, once again, you’ll want to grab some sandpaper. This can take a while on a larger piece of furniture but an electric sander can move the job along quickly. You can also turn to a heat gun to help you with tough spots. 

After the finish is sanded away, you’ll probably want to take some time to check the grain. If you want the finish to be smooth, you’ll likely have to fill the grain and any knots. Smooth the area and let the filler dry before moving on to add a layer of sanding sealer. 

Now that you’ve taken these steps, you can add the stain of your choice followed by the finish. Both of these steps offer a variety of options to help you achieve an end result that gives you the furniture piece of your dreams.

What Color Goes With Mahogany Bedroom Furniture? 

Bedroom with lamp, mahogany nightstand, pillows, comforter, and headboard

You have a few options when it comes to the colors you pair with your mahogany bedroom furniture depending on the decor style you’re aiming for. Since we’re talking about matching colors to this material, we’ll assume you’re matching it with the natural wood color of the furniture rather than painted. After all, if you paint this kind of material, you can change it to go with anything. 

If you want a calm, relaxing air in your room, cool colors are a great way to go. Blue goes especially well with this material and tends to invoke a relaxing mood. If you want something a little more neutral, slate gray pairs well with this wood too. 

On the other hand, you could opt for a warmer feeling in your room to make it inviting and cozy. Colors like red and orange are great for bringing a bit of warmth to a bedroom and pairing well with mahogany. Either darker or paler tones of red and orange are often less shocking and cozier than you think when matched up with deep mahogany furniture.

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

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