Guide to Furniture Wood Types

Solid wood furniture is made from wood that falls into two categories: softwood and hardwood. These descriptions refer to the type of tree the wood comes from. Softwoods are typically less dense and lighter weight than hardwoods, though that’s not always the case. Furniture made from both types of wood tends to last longer than furniture made with engineered woods, and solid wood furniture can be refinished once it starts to show its age.

Rustic Dining Tables McKinney Guide to Wood Types

You can see examples of our solid wood furniture and the different woods on our website, or you can come check it out in person. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our design center.


The term “softwood” means that the wood comes from a coniferous tree. It doesn’t describe how sturdy the wood is – softwoods can be just as durable as hardwoods. Examples of softwoods include cedar, redwood, fir, and different varieties of pine. They are generally less expensive and easier to work with than hardwoods, but not always.

Rustic + Modern works with white pine and “rustic” pine. They’re the same wood, but the rustic pine still has the rough texture and saw marks. We lightly sand it to prevent splinters and the wood retains an unfinished look similar to reclaimed wood. Pine is a popular choice for barn doors, tables, and other furniture. It takes stain well, which gives you a variety of options for the finished color.


Woods described as “hardwood” come from deciduous trees. These woods can be either lightweight or more solid and heavy. Both are used for furniture. Examples of hardwoods include alder, beech, cherry, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut. Hardwoods make sturdy furniture and offer a variety of colors, textures, and grain patterns, but they’re generally more expensive than softwoods.

For most of our tables, our knotty alder is priced the same or only slightly more expensive than white pine. Clear alder, hard maple, red oak, hickory, and black walnut command a higher price point. These hardwoods offer a denser wood than most softwoods and have a striking wood-grain that makes each furniture piece uniquely attractive. Softwoods do show wood-grain, but it’s not as pronounced as the grain on hardwoods.


You can further customize your furniture choices with different finishes. Choose from Special Walnut, Dark Walnut, and Ebony stain for most woods, or go with a Natural finish. Try checking out what our woods look like with different stains if you aren’t sure what color to choose. The only woods we don’t stain are hickory and black walnut. Instead, we enhance the natural coloring and wood grain with multiple coats of a clear, high-quality finish. For customers who want to to stain and/or finish their tables themselves, we do offer unfinished tables. If you go with this option, subtract $150 from the total quoted on the website.

How Custom Furniture Compares to Major Retailers

If you’re thinking about ordering a table, barn door or another piece of furniture from us, you probably want to know why that’s a better option than just picking something up at a furniture store. What is it that sets us apart from large furniture retailers?

Rustic+Modern is dedicated to producing unique furniture pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. Couple that with durable, high-quality craftsmanship and award-winning customer service and we think you’ll see why we’re different (and in many ways better) than large furniture stores.

Hardwood Furniture Mckinney How Custom Furniture Compares to Major Retailers

Higher Quality

All Rustic+Modern furniture is handmade from solid wood by professional craftsmen. This results in furniture that is very durable as well as aesthetically beautiful. While you’ll pay more for our furniture than something you pick up at a place like Nebraska Furniture or Pottery Barn, our quality reflects the higher price point.

Properly cared for, solid wood furniture can last for years and become an heirloom piece in your family. You shouldn’t have to replace furniture from Rustic+Modern anytime soon and if, over the course of many years, your solid wood furniture starts to show its age it can be refinished and made beautiful again.

Unique Pieces

When you shop at large furniture stores, most of the pieces are “cookie cutter” designs. There’s a limited selection of styles to choose from and little or no opportunity to customize the furniture to your specifications. That’s not the case with Rustic+Modern. We’ll work directly with you or your interior designer to come up with a piece that fits your space perfectly.

Let’s take tables as an example. You can choose a width of either 36 or 40 inches and a length of 4 to 10 feet for most styles. Our standard table height is 29 to 30 inches tall, but some styles can be made taller. You can also choose between two tabletop thicknesses: either 1 to 1-1/2 inches or 1-1/2 to 2 inches. On top of that, we offer several style variations in the Rustic, Modern, and Industrial collections as well as the opportunity to choose different wood types, stain colors, and finishing touches.

Personal Touch

While larger furniture stores often have friendly and effective customer service departments, they lack the personal touch we can bring to customer relationships. Family values, friendly service, and a high number of satisfied customer reviews earned us the “Best Of Customer Service” honor on Houzz in 2015.

We meet with customers individually at our design center to help them choose the best furniture and make sure they’re getting exactly what they want (contact us for an appointment). Once you’ve placed an order we’ll continue to update you with product photos during the building process. After your order is delivered, we offer a 60-day warranty against defects and are available to answer any questions you might have about how to care for your furniture.

How we are Different (and Better!) than Amateur Furniture Builders

Like many handmade furniture businesses, we started out building tables in our garage. Now, Rustic + Modern produces rustic, modern and industrial style furniture pieces of the highest quality around. But what is it that sets us apart from the furniture builders who are still working out of their garages?


While there are amateur furniture builders out there who turn-out some impressive work, for the most part they don’t have the training, equipment or quality of wood to create furniture that can rival our pieces. We offer wood quality, craftsmanship, and customer service that you just can’t find anywhere.

Solid Wood

While many amateur furniture builders rely on engineered woods, veneers, or inexpensive wood picked up at home improvement stores, we use only the best 100% solid wood. Our solid wood furniture is durable, easy to care for, and long-lasting.

Using natural solid wood makes each furniture piece unique since it highlights the wood’s natural beauty. You can learn more about the woods and stains we offer by clicking here. For the parts of our furniture that aren’t wood, we use natural and forged components chosen for their strength and design quality.

Professional Craftsmanship

The skills needed to turn out a high-quality wood furniture piece aren’t something you can learn overnight. It requires many, many hours of practice and an unwavering commitment to excellence. This is another thing that sets Rustic + Modern apart from amateur furniture builders. We’ve spent countless hours learning about and building furniture, and are constantly adding to our skills.

Each of Rustic + Modern’s furniture pieces is designed to become an heirloom. You won’t find any slip-shod craftsmanship in our collections. But don’t just take our word for it. If you contact us to request an appointment to visit our design studio, you can come check our furniture out for yourself.

Award-Winning Service

Another thing you won’t get with amateur furniture builders is award-winning customer service. Since the very beginning, Rustic + Modern has been dedicated to appreciative and positive customer support. Last year, our work was recognized with the “Best Of Customer Service” honor on Houzz. These honors are based on a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews.

You need only read some of our 5-star reviews to learn that our clients are consistently happy with both the quality of our furniture and our friendly, professional customer service. We hope to make you just as happy with your next furniture purchase.

What To Expect With Solid Wood Furniture

When you buy quality solid wood furniture, you can expect it to stay beautiful for many years as long as it’s well cared for. The strong visual presence and organic feel of wood never goes out of style and fits with most decorating themes. These pieces can even blur the line between vintage and modern, as do the tables and desks in our Industrial Collection.



Solid wood furniture is an investment that, if properly cared for, can be passed down from generation to generation. Furniture like our Classic Farmhouse table is the sort of thing that can stay in the family for a long time and become an heirloom.

In keeping with their durability, you can expect solid wood furniture pieces will be heavy. This makes them harder to move, but also more sturdy. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re planning to move or rearrange furniture frequently.


Taking care of solid wood furniture is not difficult. To keep the wood from warping, avoid exposing it to excessive temperatures, liquid, and extreme changes in humidity. For tables, make sure you put a hot pad down before placing any warm dishes on the surface. Table clothes, coasters, runners, and/or placemats will also help keep the surface in good shape.

We recommend using mild soap and a soft cloth, like microfiber, to clean your Rustic + Modern furniture. Never use harsh chemicals like bleach, as they will eat away at the finish. Instead, polish and protect wood as-needed using a product like Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner.


Solid wood furniture ages gracefully and often stays beautiful for many, many years. When it does start to show its age, wood furniture can be made beautiful again. Unlike manufactured wood and veneers, you can refinish solid wood.

Even old, neglected furniture that’s decades old can be refinished. The fact that people are still picking up old solid wood dressers, tables and chairs and restoring them to their former beauty is a testament to wood furniture’s endurance.


We’re more conscious than ever about the environmental impact of our products, and solid wood is one of the most environmental-friendly choices you can make when shopping for furniture. Plastics, veneers, and engineered wood are typically heavily processed and filled with chemicals. Solid wood, on the other hand, can be manufactured in a more natural way.

The wood used in solid furnishings can be sourced from forests being replenished by new plantings. When you take into consideration how long solid wood furniture can last and how many years will pass before it’s ever thrown away, it becomes an even more sustainable choice.

How To Find High Quality Furniture

Anyone can tell you that you’re buying high-quality furniture, but how do you know they’re telling the truth? If you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, you need to know what to look for when furniture shopping.


Type of Wood

Wooden furniture can be made from hardwoods, softwoods, or engineered woods. Some engineered woods are fairly sturdy, but they can’t be refinished. Avoid anything made of particleboard, pressed wood, or fiberboard – it’s too flimsy. Veneers, which have a thin piece of high-quality wood covering less-expensive wood, might look nice, but they can’t be refinished either.

Solid softwood (from conifers like pine) and hardwood (from deciduous trees like oak and maple) are the best choices. These woods tend to last longer and furniture made from solid hardwood can be refinished once it starts to show its age. That’s why Rustic + Modern only uses high-quality, solid hard and softwoods in our furniture.


Once you’re assured that the furniture is made from a good, solid wood take a look at the construction. You want furniture pieces with straight angles and no warping. Check that all the legs rest firmly on the floor and the piece doesn’t wobble when sitting on a flat surface.

Next, look at the joints. The best furniture uses either dovetail joints or mortise and tenon joints. Dovetail joints look like interlocking teeth or puzzle pieces. Mortise and tenon joints have one piece of wood fitted into the other then secured with a fastener. Don’t buy pieces held together with staples or visible glue – good furniture is fastened with dowels or screws, and any glue used will be out of sight.


A high quality, long-lasting finish is really important to maintaining the quality of wood furniture, especially tabletops. Well-finished wood feels smooth when you run your hand across it and has an even stain that enhances the wood’s natural beauty.

Signs of poorly finished wood include a rough surface (unless the piece is intentionally distressed), splintered edges, scratches, dents, and specks, bubbles and drips in the finish. Dull patches on the surface indicated uneven coats of stain and/or finish.


If you’re planning on keeping this furniture piece for a while, make sure the design is something you want to live with for many years. Decorating fads might look good now, but will it fit into your home in 5, 10 or 20+ years? High-quality wood furniture is an investment that, if cared for properly, can become a family heirloom. Keep that in mind when shopping for and designing your furniture.

Want to inspect the quality of our Rustic + Modern furniture in person? Contact us to make an appointment and visit our design center.