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by Sravani Padmanabhuni February 13, 2014 In Base Material Blog Interiors Decoded Uncategorized

There was a time when a house was meant only to live in and the home décor was simple. Today, a house is a matter of pride and interior decoration is a much sought after activity.

Think of the time you went about scouting for the perfect interior decorator to make your house look unique and more beautiful than other houses.

What did you just say? You also had to face some problems with the person and your expenses also went off the budget, is it?

That is because you gave the full charge to some professionals who were only concerned about their work and not you. That is why you should know the basic terms used in interior decoration so that the next time you revamp your home, you know what you are getting into.

But Bonito is not merely like those pool of professionals who just concentrate on getting the things done. We are presenting this whole new section of “INTERIOR DECODED” blog is dedicated – just for you to reveal about the in-depth information about different Hardware and base materials.

Since the furniture making is the most exclusive part of interior decoration, you should know what materials go into the making of your furniture.

Today varied options are available for home and office furniture. The ready-made market of furniture is really huge. Many people also prefer to get furniture made on their own to suit their space and budget.

While both the options are reliable depending on what you need, let us look at the materials from which furniture are made.

The components of furniture – MDF and ply

Today, apart from solid wood, ply and MDF (Medium-density fibre board) are what are used to make furniture, door, windows, etc. Let me tell you what ply and MDF are.

Both MDF and ply are made from wood.

Ply is made by binding together thin wooden sheets at high pressure. MDF is made by binding together wood fibres (which are residuals of hard or soft wood) with adhesive binders.

The entire manufacturing process of MDF can be better understood with the below diagram.


These bound fibres are then converted into panels at high temperature and pressure. When it comes to density, the density of MDF is more than that of plywood. MDF came into being only in 1980s.

It is a preferred choice for making closets and drawers. Ply is used for making a wide range of furniture such as wardrobes, doors, windows and kitchen cabinets. MDF can be used as a decorative element in any areas of the house just like the image below


HDF and MDF:

There are mainly two types of fibre boards, one is MDF which I just mentioned about and the other is HDF or High density fibre boards. Of course, when it comes to items of wood, the basic principle is that for the wood to be strong, it should have high density.

If we consider that rule then, HDF is regarded to be better and stronger than MDF.

HDF – denser and stronger: HDF is much stronger than MDF. It lends a smooth and even surface when you apply it. Since HDF contains no grain, just painting it can give it a smooth finishing.


The maintenance of HDF is where you have to take some extra care. HDF is not water resistant and that means you have to keep it away from water.

  • Cleaning HDF is also easy.
  • All you have to do is just wipe the surface with a clean cloth.
  • Do not use wet cloth to clean HDF.
  • Though the finishing of HDF can be done with paint or veneers, it is important to follow maintenance procedures for the particular finishing used.


HDF has a smooth surface and since its density is very high, HDF stronger than MDF, thus it is widely used in making wall panelling, room partitions, doors and even indoor and outdoor furniture. But remember, HDF outdoor furniture is good for non rainy season only.

Major disadvantage of HDF

A major disadvantage of HDF is that its nail holding capacity is not much, so ideally, some carpenters like to work with wood than HDF for items that require more drilling and nailing.

Yet, HDF is liked by carpenters because HDF is a friendly material to work and it can be molded as per requirements, a major requisite for making designer furniture. When it comes to its price, HDF is less expensive than solid wood.

MDF is not much strong and that is why it should not be used for functions which need to bear good weight. As in HDF, MDF’s nail bearing capacity is also not good.

So, MDF cannot be used for assembly furniture or for those which require more nailing. The maintenance tips for MDF is similar to the HDF.

Also Read: Manufacturing Process of ply

How to give a smooth finishing to MDF?

MDF provides a smooth surface to any item on which it is applied. MDF can be finished in different ways.

Painting: Paints are often used for the finishing of MDF. You can’t paint it away just like that but what needs to be is that first the MDF should be sanded evenly. Usually two types of sandpaper are used.

The first step would to be to use a 180-grit sandpaper and use a pressure pot sprayer with ordinary lacquer. Allow it to dry and then again use a 400-grit sandpaper.

This will ensure a smooth finishing to MDF. Then air blow the surface and use two coats of enamel paint to give it a glossy finish.

Using lacquer: This method is not usually required for home décor. Here also after sanding the surface, a stain is applied on the surface and on its drying, a coat of lacquer is applied. Again the surface is sanded and then again two more coats of lacquer are applied.

Working with colored lacquer: This can be done if you wish to impart a deeper hue to the MDF. Since it comes in amazing hues of black, white, red or blue, it provides a certain beauty to the MDF. The procedure is same as mentioned above. Just that in the last step, coloured lacquer is applied.

Other ways of lending finishing touches to MDF are using an oil-based stain and then apply floor wax. Better still, apply an oil-stain, then finish it with clear urethane. You can also apply paint or varnish to small areas using a brush.

MDF and ply – similar yet different:

Well, when I say that MDF and ply are similar, I mean, their functions. Both are used to make furniture. But they are as different as chalk and cheese. You now know how both are made. So let’s get into a comparative study of MDF and Ply.

The cost factor works in favour of MDF as it is less expensive than ply.

MDF has a consistency throughout, so even after its edges are cut, MDF appears smooth. Ply is not so. The layers within a ply are visible at the edge, so when cut, ply can often splinter at the edges. So when it comes to cutting, MDF is more convenient.

MDF cannot resist water, so it cannot be used to make kitchen cabinets which are exposed to water content from time to time. Even for cleaning the surface of MDF, dry cloth has to be used. Ply is water proof and don’t soak up water and swell easily. MDF does.

Nail holding capacity of ply is much better than MDF. Ply can hold screws very rigidly. So ply is more convenient for furniture that needs lot of drilling and nailing to hold it together.

It is not possible for MDF to soak up stains like a sponge does, so when stained, MDF surfaces look bad. It cannot be cleaned also. Ply is stainable, that is why it is in demand for kitchen furniture, table tops and other such items.

Each raw material available to make furniture comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important for you as a consumer to know the features of these materials and draw your own conclusion.

Both MDF and ply have their own benefits and drawbacks. It is on you as to what your requirements are, and then decide accordingly what material you would like to use.

“Do give a thought to the nature, before you take up anything.”