Wood veneer vs laminate, which is better for office furniture?  Most of the time this question comes up when a client is shopping for a conference table.  To better answer that question, let me first explain the difference between wood veneer and laminate.

Wood veneer furniture has a thin “veneer” or skin of actual wood that is applied across the underlying construction.  This gives the furniture that rich look of real wood, but it has two downsides.   The first downside; wood veneer is prone to dents, scratches and if moisture is left too long on the surface it will form marks or rings.  Also, tossing and dragging around your keys, cell phones and laptops on a wood veneer table is a no no.  The second downside, is cost.  Wood veneer products are more for show and if you are buying that conference table to impress clients, then this may be a viable option for you.  If you plan on using that conference table as an additional work space or for lunch celebrations, then probably not.  So, wood veneer looks very nice, is more expensive and damages quite easily.

Laminate tables have the same inner construction as wood veneer usually, but the outer skin is a plastic laminate instead of wood. Laminate has come a long way over the past few years. There are many very nice looking laminates these days and they are a far cry from the drab and cheap looking walnut and mahogany “skins” we have all seen over the years.  Laminate is about half the cost of wood veneer, and is also very hard to damage or scratch.  Yes, there are still some cheap looking laminates out there, but there is also a wide range of very nice looking laminate products that will save you a lot of money and look good for many years to come.

So, to understand which is better – wood veneer or laminate, you first need to determine how that piece of furniture will be used.  After that, the decision becomes quite easy.