Furniture Showdown: Veneer vs Laminate

Great news! You are getting your own office. Even better news, you get to pick out new furniture. You want a look that reflects your position in the company, something that will make a good impression with your clients and associates. With so many options, how do you decide what is right for your needs and your budget? Well here is one more bit of good news, we can help you!

You are going to be using your new furniture for years to come so you want it to be aesthetically pleasing, functional and durable for the long haul. Most of the choices in wood or wood-construction case goods and desks come in veneer or laminate. If you aren’t familiar with the pros and cons, we have some facts that will help you decide who the winner is in this furniture showdown.

Wood veneers
Wood veneer furniture is often used in areas where an executive or elegant feel are important to the design aesthetic. Wood veneers are thin slices of hardwood which are then bonded to a less expensive wood, like birch, or a wood composite like plywood, particle board or medium density fiber board.  Veneer surfaces are stained in a multi-step process that produces a warm, rich finish. Depending upon their thickness, veneers can also be sanded and refinished.


  • Attractive & elegant alternative to solid wood
  • High-quality materials & production
  • More affordable than solid wood
  • Requires care & maintenance because it can scratch
  • May want to protect with glass top or other desk top covering


Laminate office furniture is known for its durability, reliability and high value-to-price relationship, making it popular for use in managers, supervisors and other high-traffic work areas. Laminates are printed surfaces, often made to look like wood, reproduced on tough paper, plastic or foil, and bonded to a composite base. High-pressure laminates are molded and cured at 1,200 to 2,000 lbs. per square foot, resulting in a very smooth, tough and durable surface.

  • Value, price-point alternative to veneer
  • Virtually maintenance-free
  • Extremely durable, resists scratches & stains
  • Provides a clean look with less expensive materials
  • More styles and colors to choose from


If you weighed the pro and cons and are still torn between veneer and laminate, here is a little furniture secret. Some manufacturers offer desks with laminate tops and veneer cases so you can get the best of both!


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