Wood Veneer vs. Laminate

| Furniture Materials

Oct 30 2014

What's the difference between veneer and laminate? In short, veneer is a thin layer of real hardwood applied to a less expensive material such as plywood. Laminate is a printed surface made to look like real wood, but usually made of plastic and bonded to a composite base.

Debating which option to go with for your new office furniture? Here are some distinguishing features of each to make it easier for you to choose which is best for you and your working needs.


Laminate is a man-made product. This means that it is stronger and that it tends to be heat- and scratch-resistant, making it easier to care for than real veneer. Due to this, you don't need to be as careful with laminates as you do with veneers. It's also much easier to produce laminate products, so the price of laminate furniture is usually very economical, making them the more budget-friendly choice. One downfall of laminate is that, since it's a manufactured surface, you will not get the natural variations and true wood grains that you see with real wood veneer; however, the color possibilities are endless.

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer, on the other hand, is a thin layer of real wood that’s applied to a plywood base. Because it’s a natural material, wood veneer has a richer and more varied look. Since more effort goes into crafting a veneer top, they are usually priced higher than laminate alternatives. Wood veneer is softer and more susceptible to scratches and dings when compared to laminate, so we recommend using desk pads and coasters to protect your surfaces.

Choosing between laminate and veneer really comes down to durability and consistency versus natural beauty and variation. Consider which of these benefits is more important to you when making your decision.

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