Wall Bed Exteriors: Veneers and Melamines

Wall Bed Exteriors: Veneers and Melamines

Achieving the Look You Want: Veneers and Finishes

During your search for the perfect wall bed, you’ll run into many industry related terms that may throw you for a loop. One of the terms you’ll run into over and over again is ‘veneer’. What is a veneer and how does it play into your purchasing decision.

A veneer is essentially a thin layer of material placed over a core panel to provide consumers with benefits that they could not achieve with solid wood alone. Some of these benefits include warp prevention, aesthetics and lower price points.

Within the world of wall beds, there are two primary types of veneers on the market: Solid Wood Veneers and Laminate Veneers. Each option has unique pros and cons you should consider.

Solid Wood Veneers

Solid wood veneers involve layering a thin slice of solid wood over a core panel. The core panel may be constructed of plywood, particleboard or medium density fiberboard (MDF). The wood veneer can be finished in several different ways and can be made out of any type of wood which allows you to achieve the exact look you want for your wall bed.

Pros of Solid Wood Veneers

One advantage of using a solid wood veneer is that you achieve the look of real wood without having to worry about the possible dis figurations that can occur with furniture completely crafted from solid wood. Since natural wood has the possibility to warp over time, introducing a veneer significantly decreases the likelihood of warping while maintaining the natural look of solid wood.

Another advantage is price. Any piece of furniture constructed from solid wood will cost a premium. Taking advantage of a veneer gives you the same quality look and feel of solid wood without the price.

Thirdly, solid wood is very, very heavy. Not only does your price per wall bed go up dramatically, so will your delivery cost and any future costs associated with moving your wall bed. A wall bed that utilizes premium wood veneers is much lighter.

Cons of Solid Wood Veneers

Because every tree is different, the grain on every piece of wood will be slightly different from the next. When choosing a wall bed with a solid wood veneer, it is important to remember that the grain on your wall bed may differ from the grain on other furniture in the room or your home, even though they may be the same type of wood. If you want your wall bed to have an even, consistent wood grain you may want to consider a laminate veneer (discussed in greater detail below).

Finishing Solid Wood Veneers

There are several types of finishes that can be applied to solid wood veneers, all of which enhance the wood in different ways. When choosing the type of finish that your wall bed will have you should take into consideration the type of finish that the accompanying furniture will have, the look and feel you want the room to have, and the overall color scheme that you plan to utilize in the room the wall bed will be used.

Oil Based Finishes:

Oil based finishes are generally either hand applied or sprayed onto the surface of the wall bed. Oil finishes are designed to penetrate deep into the wood and allow the natural grain of the wood to really shine while enhancing it with pigmentation. This type of finish is generally available in several shades to create the look you want, or accent your existing furniture. Specific color availability varies based on the company you are purchasing your wall bed from.

Water Based Finishes:

Similar to oil based finishes, water based finishes can be applied with a brush or sprayed on. Water based finishes are best used in situations when the finish will be more of a protecting agent, rather than an addition of color. Water based finishes are a more eco-friendly option, as they use less chemicals than other types of finishes and any spillage can be cleaned using water.


A lacquer is a type of varnish that is applied to furniture and can be clear or colored. When a lacquer is applied to a surface it dries through the process of solvent evaporation which creates a solid, extremely durable finish. Lacquers can have different levels of sheen, from matte to high gloss, and can be further polished to achieve variations of look and texture.


Paints are a great option when the color of your wall bed is your main concern. Because paints come in all levels of coverage, color and shine there is a wide variety of options. However, it is important to note that paint may fully cover the natural grain of the wood.

Laminate Veneers

A laminate veneer, like a wood veneer, is a thin layer of material that is applied over a core panel. The difference, however, is that the thin layer is not made of wood. Instead, laminate veneers (also referred to as Melamine or Formica) are made of synthetic materials.

Pros of Laminate Veneers

Because a laminate is a man made substance, it can be made to have any appearance you would like. For example, if you want the look of solid wood but don’t want to worry about grain inconsistency or can’t afford solid wood, laminate veneers are a good solution. Or if you like a more contemporary finish in black, you would opt for something made from melamine (a type of laminate veneer). Laminate veneers are wonderful in that your options are endless whereas wood veneers can only vary as much as the trees they come from.

Cons of Laminate Veneers

Where all of this may get a little tricky is when a laminate veneer is made to look like wood. Some people are unclear of the difference and pay real wood veneer prices for laminate veneers that imitate real wood. Though laminates can be made to have the appearance of natural materials, in the end they are still man-made and as such you should be paying less for them.

Another con of laminate veneers is if you want the actual look and feel of real wood. Unfortunately, a laminate veneer will never have the exact look and feel of real wood because it isn’t real wood. If this is something that is important to you, solid wood veneers will achieve this better than any imitation laminate veneer can.


When choosing your wall bed make sure you understand what your bed is made of – especially the exterior surface. Using veneers can be a smart decision if you find a company that uses quality veneers and can utilize them in a way to create a look that will enhance the décor of your home.

Keep coming back as we begin to explore the things to look for when choosing the company that you will purchase your wall bed from.