Wooden furniture has always been a popular choice for Indian homes. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find high-quality solid wood furniture at a nominal price. So most of us opt for less expensive alternatives with decorative finishes. These simulate the look and feel of wood.

Laminates (commonly called Sun Mica in India) and veneers are the most common finishing materials for furniture from MDF, particle board plywood or solid wood. Both of these materials have their own merits. While design and aesthetics are an important concern, you should not forget about durability and cost.

Let’s take a look at these two materials and how they differ from each other on all these aspects.

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Both finishes look lovely in their own way
Laminate vs Veneer #1: Composition

Laminate: An artificial material, you make laminate by pressing together thin layers of flat paper and plastic resins. A decorative pattern or colour print makes for the upper layer.

Veneer: Veneer is technically a thin layer of hardwood which is stuck with adhesive, to a surface hidden below.

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Laminate dining table for a sleek look
Laminate vs Veneer #2: Variety

Veneer: There are few types of veneers, each serving a particular purpose. You can classify veneers into raw, paper backed, phenolic backed, laid up, reconstituted veneer and wood on wood. Since it is a natural material, veneer is available in a limited number of shades.

Laminate: Available in numerous colors and shades, these can be broadly classified into textured, high gloss, soft and matte.  Textured laminates replicate the feel of materials like wood or stone. One can use high gloss and matte laminates according to one’s personal style.

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Low maintenance option
Laminate vs Veneer #3: Maintenance

Laminate: Laminates are definitely easier to maintain. They are scratch-resistant, waterproof and usually retain their look for years.

Veneer: In comparison to laminates, veneers require more maintenance. You should polish veneer surfaces from time to time to maintain the look.

Laminate vs Veneer #4: Aesthetics

Laminate: Laminates are available in a variety of colors and designs. But they are mass produce so they lack uniqueness in appearance.

Veneer: Since veneers are wood-make, they maintain the elegance and grace of their parent material. Unlike laminates, each veneer is distinctive adding a unique and rich feel to furniture.

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Chic and classy veneer finish bar unit
Laminate vs Veneer #5: Durability

Laminate: Laminates are known for their durability and reliability. Since it looks like wood, and you stick it to a composite base, it is extremely durable and resists scratches and stains.

Veneer: Veneers are usually not as durable as laminates. They require maintenance and care since they are prone to scratches.

Laminate vs Veneer #6: Cost

Laminate: Laminates are usually pocket-friendly and more affordable as compared to veneers. The price of laminates depends on the quality and the brand.

Veneer: High-quality veneers are much costlier than laminates. The value of veneer depends on the type of wood.

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A stylish way to jazz up your home interiors
Laminate vs Veneer #7: Where to use them

Laminate: Given their durability, laminates are the better choice for kitchen cabinets. You can also use it for wardrobes and other frequently used furniture.

Veneer: For furniture that you intend to use as statement pieces or as focal points, veneers are preferable. They add aesthetic value and a distinctive look.

We hope these tips guide you, the next time you are deciding between laminates and veneers for your home!

Want to know the difference between vitrified and marble? Take a look at this: Vitrified Tiles vs Marble: Flooring Options for Your Home.

Send in your comments and suggestions.

editor@livspace.com