Argos buying guide to home furniture – 5 of 6

A guide to materials and finishes

Whether it's pre-assembled or flat-packed furniture for building at home, all our furniture is made from quality materials that are built to last. The material you choose will depend on how and where you'll use it.

Solid wood furniture: This natural product is often found in our premium range. It shows knots, grain and colour variations that will change and become more distinct over time, giving your furniture a unique appearance. Because it's natural, solid wood is likely to move slightly with temperature and humidity changes.

Wood veneer furniture: Made from thin layers of wood allowing for more decorative finishes, wood veneers are often less prone to movement than solid wood. They look similar, but they're a fraction of the cost.

Wood-effect finish furniture: This material has the feel and appearance of real wood with the added benefit of enhanced consistency in colour and appearance (there are fewer variations than in real wood).

Glass furniture: Either frosted or clear, glass creates a sense of space and light that can help brighten up any room. It's incredibly easy to care for and flexible enough to suit most rooms. And if you'd like to give your home a sense of simple elegance, you can even try a mirrored piece. Worried about breakages? You can rest assured that all our glass furniture uses tempered glass that has passed the British Safety Standards BS6202.

Acrylic furniture: This is ideal for small rooms as its transparent nature gives the illusion of space and light. It's a practical choice for creating a modern look.

Metal furniture: Tough, practical and stylish, metal gives your home a modern twist. By combining the strong, architectural design of chunky chrome pieces with other materials you can create a touch of understated elegance.

Semi-aniline leather furniture: Soft, natural-looking leather where you can still see some of the unique surface characteristics of the hide. There may be some shade variation, but this will enhance the depth and character of the leather's appearance. If you like your furniture to have a soft texture with natural characteristics, keep your eyes peeled for this material in our premium real leather ranges.

Antique leather furniture: Look out for antique leather in our premium real leather ranges. This furniture has a special surface, applied to give the aged appearance of traditional leathers. There'll be natural marks and some shade variation, plus the leather will mature over time.

Corrected-grain leather furniture: This has a thicker surface so it's extremely hardwearing and will last longer. The original leather surface is lightly treated to remove any imperfections before the surface coating is applied. The result is an even finish with no blemishes. This all means furniture made from corrected-grain leather is hardwearing with a uniform appearance. You'll find it in our standard real leather and deluxe real leather ranges.

Split leather furniture: Made using the middle or lower section of the hide, covered with a polymer coating and embossed to mimic the grain of leather. Split leather is only used in non-wearing areas such as the back and side panels.

Bi-cast leather furniture: Created by adding a polyurethane coating to a split leather hide to produce a high-gloss sheen.

Faux leather furniture: Offering the authentic look and quality of leather, but without using animal products. These fabrics are both affordable and extremely fashionable.

Cotton furniture: Cotton is soft and natural. On sofas and chairs, look out for loose covers that are machine washable for easy cleaning.

Chenille furniture: This textured material is soft and pliable, and it's particularly popular at the moment.

Damask furniture: Exclusive to our mattress range, damask material combines sophisticated design with an extra-soft finish that feels beautiful to touch – it's the ultimate in luxury.

Knitted fabric furniture: Some latex and memory foam mattresses have a rich knitted fabric that adjusts to the movement of your body and works in harmony with the mattress fillings.

Bamboo knitted furniture: A new, natural alternative to cotton, bamboo mix fabric is soft, durable and sustainable – the perfect 'green' fabric.

Faux suede furniture: Offering the authentic look and quality of suede, but without using animal products, these fabrics look great and don't cost the earth.

Caring for your furniture

Every piece of furniture will need care and cleaning to remain at its best. Take a look at our care and maintenance tips to keep your furniture looking like new.

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Argos guide to home furniture