Sometimes finding the perfect desk can leave you crippled with inaction due to an overwhelming number of options. L-Shape? U-shape? Table desk? While we could write a book on what is available, we’ll start with the “wood veneer vs laminate” debate.

Wood Veneer

Not a solid wood, veneers are about 1/8th of an inch thick sheets of real hardwood that is sealed to a piece of composite wood. The composite that the veneer is bonded to varries by manufacturer, but it is commonly composed of particle board, plywood, or an inexpensive wood like birch. With a wood veneer, you’re actually getting a natural wood grain pattern.

Lufton Series Veneer - © Global Total Office

Lufton Series Veneer – © Global Total Office


A laminate is a plastic surface that is printed to give the appearance of a wood grain; and like a veneer, it is bonded to a composite wood. Of course, laminate does not have to be a wood grain finish. Due to their manufactured nature, laminates can come in any pattern, color, or finish (matte, gloss, etc.).

Zira Teaming Series - © Global Total Office

Zira Teaming Series – © Global Total Office

An 8th of an inch might not seem like much, but the fact that a veneer is comprised of real wood sheets is what makes it more expensive than laminate. Because the surface is real wood, veneers tend to show every scratch or stain. However, due to their real wood surface, veneers can be sanded and refinished if the wear and tear gets too deep. As a result of the higher price point, veneers tend to stay in executive offices and conference rooms.

Laminates provide a significant cost savings and their variable nature make it easy to match them to the veneers that are elsewhere in your office space. They are more durable and because they are ultimately plastic, cleaning a laminate surface hardly ever involves anything more serious than a damp cloth.

A good strategy for getting the most out of your office furniture budget would be to choose your more expensive materials first (executive offices, conference rooms); then select a less expensive, more durable laminate for your high usage areas. The great news is manufacturers are used to this dynamic, and their finishes tend to blend; helping you acheive a cohesive look throughout your office

Share Button