High-quality furniture in India was a sign of being affluent as only the upper class initially owned it.
The rest of the population would sleep, eat, and socialize on the floor.
However, colonialism changed everything.
It brought with it different styles of furniture that became the foundations of Indian furniture making.
The Indian furniture market is the biggest globally and is estimated to have a value of over $60 billion by 2023.
So, what is used to make these pieces of beauty? Let’s find out. Here are the five essential kinds of wood that are used in Indian furniture making.
1. Sheesham (Indian Rosewood).
The Sheesham is a classic and favourite among Indian furniture makers. That is because rosewood is incredibly versatile. It can be used with various finishes and polishes to get the look you want.
However, this versatility comes at a cost as Sheesham is one of India’s most expensive woods.
Sheesham’s original colour is dark, but it can be given a different look depending on the finishing and polishing.
Here are a few reasons why this is such a favoured wood in Indian furniture making:
- Offers stability to furniture
- Tough and hard
- Sheesham has an exceptionally unique grain appearance.
Of course, because of these remarkable qualities, this wood is widely used for furniture and other things that include:
- Kitchen and bedroom cabinets
- Wooden flooring
Many musical instruments in Southern India are also made of Sheesham.
It is considered one of the most beautiful looking woods and is found in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, and Karnataka.
2. Teak Wood
While Sheesham is an expensive wood, teak is the opposite. That is why it is one of the most commonly used woods in India. The best part is that it is locally available everywhere.
So, accessibility is a significant factor why Indian furniture makers opt for this type of wood.
It is produced locally and then imported as well. The region that is involved in the massive production of teak wood is Kerala. However, it is also imported from Burma and Ghana.
It is the most affordable wood, and most of the population gets their furniture made in teak wood.
Here are other reasons why this is such a popular option among Indian furniture makers and consumers:
- Incredibly long-lasting
- Highly resistant to decay and rot
- Highly resistant to extreme weather conditions
- Aesthetically pleasing straight grain pattern.
Almost all outdoor furniture in India is made of teak wood.
Of course, other types of furniture made of teak wood include:
- Door frames
- Decorative items
- Indoor flooring
If people want something durable, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing, then they opt for teak wood.
3. Marandi (White Cedar Wood)
White cedar wood is mostly imported from Malaysia as it is minimally produced in India. However, many people worldwide use it because it is a great wood that requires little maintenance.
So, people mostly use it for furniture items that are not used a lot.
It is a softwood, so the exterior of many furniture items is not made from this wood. Instead, the interior parts of many different items, such as dining chairs and sofas, are made of white cedarwood.
After that, the furniture is covered in upholstery.
Here are the many reasons why people use white cedar wood:
- Resistant to termites, insects, and decay
- Incredibly lightweight
- Requires little to no maintenance
- Affordable wood
- Aesthetically appealing
Here are the many furniture items that white cedar wood is used to make:
- Display shelves
- Wooden accessories such as drawers, shoe racks, etc
- Decorative items
Even though white cedarwood is light, it can bear a significant load and has high strength. That is why many people all over India use it because it is affordable, strong, and beautiful.
4. Satin Wood
You will find satinwood significantly in Southern and Central India. The wood is known for its high gloss finish that gives it a vintage and classy look.
Because it is locally produced, you can find satinwood in many various parts of India as it is widely available.
Satinwood can be given a polishing of your choice, or it can be given a pattern if you want to enhance its look further.
Here are the many reasons why satinwood is used to make furniture in India:
- Lustrous finish
- Locally available
- Highly durable
- Hard and tough
However, it would be best to remember that satinwood requires more maintenance than other types of wood.
While you may not have to provide daily maintenance, it needs regular polishing to maintain its glossy finish.
Here are the many furniture items that are made from satinwood in India:
- Decorative pieces of furniture
Satinwood is locally available in warm tones or a bright-yellow colour that you can choose from. Of course, you can give it a pattern or polishing of your choice.
5. Sal Wood
Sal wood is perhaps the highest-quality timber you will find in India. Many people use it all over the country as it does not require various layers of polishing to make it durable.
It is incredibly durable on its own.
It is locally available in Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
It can easily withstand any water and weather condition and is termite resistant too.
Here are many other reasons why it is a popular choice among Indian furniture makers:
- Most durable type of wood
- Resistant to decay from termites, fungus, and insects
- Provides support and strength to furniture
- Useful for making small pieces of furniture
Indian furniture makers widely use sal wood to make:
- Wooden frames
- Musical instruments
These are the five building blocks of Indian furniture making. Many of these woods are also reclaimed as it is a more sustainable option.
So, you will find all these varieties in reclaimed wood.
If you have Indian furniture in your home, what wood is that made of?