Is Particle Board Good for Furniture? (Beds, Desks, Shelving & More)

Whether you are buying new furniture or making some of your own as a DIY project, you have probably noticed that there are plenty of base materials to choose from. Particle board often pops up as a popular option for different types of furniture, but is it a suitable material?

Furniture such as beds, shelves, desks, and more can be made with particle board. However, it is usually not as high-quality as furniture made from natural wood. 

This article details the pros and cons of using particle board for furniture builds.By the end, you should have a better idea of which material you’ll use for your own furniture.

particle board material for furniture

Is Particle Board a Good Material for Furniture?

Most homes have their fair share of particle board. This manufactured wood product seems like a miracle solution when it comes to building many things, such as flooring and furniture.

Particle board is undoubtedly a decent option for furniture. But experts will tell you that it is not the best material to make furniture from. Its best advantage is its low price range compared to alternatives like hardwood.

Something to make a note of is that an excessive amount of particle board can be a health hazard for children.

Particle Board vs. MDF for Shelving

Particle Board vs. MDF

Shelving for your kitchen or anywhere else in your home can be made with particle board or MDF (medium-density fiberboard.) How do these two compare as materials for kitchen shelving?

Usually, shelves and other furniture manufactured with MDF are seen as superior in quality and strength compared to particle board. This generally makes MDF a better option for your shelves. However, particle board is less expensive.

Consider the following differences between particle board and MDF:

Durability

While particle board is made from waste, such as wood chips and sawdust, MDF is made from fine wood fiber. This makes MDF less susceptible to tearing and chipping. By contrast, particle boards can break apart while you work on them if you aren’t careful.

Finishes

You can finish both particle board and MDF with veneer or laminate. If you want a painted finish, however, particle board can absorb the paint in such a way that it warps and begins to break apart. This is not an issue when painting MDF.

If your shelves do not have to be elegant and are not going to hold a lot of weight, particle board is perfectly fine. But if you want classy shelves and do not mind spending more, go with MDF instead.

Is Particle Board Good for a Workbench?

particle board for workbench

Having a workbench is very useful, especially if you take on DIY projects on a regular basis. In fact, most DIYers would be lost without a workbench—some even use multiple workbenches for different purposes. 

When looking to buy or make a workbench, you might wonder how you can make it more affordable.

Although particle board is relatively strong and heavy, it is not as strong as other materials commonly used to make workbenches, such as MDF or solid wood. Because of this, particle board is not the best option for a workbench unless you will use it for light work.

You could choose to make your workbench top with particle board and make it even stronger by gluing two layers together. This would ensure that it is strong enough for just about anything that you might use it for. If you do this, make sure to use high-quality glue.

Something else you might want to take into consideration if you are making a workbench top with particle board is which finish you’ll apply to it. The best idea is to use a veneer finish. This will give your workbench top a nice look while protecting you from the dangerous formaldehyde particle board contains.

Particle Board vs. MDF for a Workbench

While you can make a workbench with particle board, you might also look into other building materials, including MDF. But just how different from each other are they?

To make this choice, you will need to consider your budget and how you’ll use your workbench. If you have a higher budget or need a heavy-duty workbench, MDF is typically the better option. But particle board is fine if you have a limited budget or are just doing light work.

Depending on how strong you want your workbench top to be, both particle board and MDF are good building materials to use. MDF is undeniably more robust, but particle board is denser and will not dent as easily as MDF when hit with a hammer or another heavy object.

How much you spend on building materials always has to be considered to stay within budget. This is why so many people choose to build furniture, flooring, workbenches, and more with particle board, whereas if you decide to go with MDF, you’ll spend a lot more. 

To put this into perspective, a 4×8 sheet of particle board will run at about $35, but MDF can cost twice as much depending on the thickness and where you buy it.

IKEA Furniture

IKEA Furniture

IKEA sells a lot of furniture made with particle board, such as beds, desks, sofas, shelves, and more. This brand’s furniture is considered by many to be elegant—but it’s also quite expensive. 

An interesting thing to note is that, with a bit of effort, DIYers can use particle board to make furniture that is just as presentable as IKEA furniture.

Of course, solid wood like oak or cherry will last decades and can be refurbished. On the other hand, particle board furniture will break down much sooner and is far more challenging to repair. 

Conclusion

Particle board has a lot of advantages for DIYers who want to make furniture, especially when it comes to saving money. Just keep in mind that there are better options if you are willing to spend more and want your furniture to last longer.