There are lots of reasons to love wood furniture, including its timelessness. And when it comes to timeless wood, acacia is right up there as one that has been coveted for centuries for its beauty and durability. (In fact, it was highly valued by the British Royal Navy in the 18th century, and was the primary building material of many of its most celebrated ships.)
Strong, sturdy, and effortlessly stunning, it’s remained a top choice for furniture, and is a great choice if you’re looking for hardwood pieces that will last for generations.
Here’s what to know about acacia wood furniture, from what sets it apart to what’s made it a mainstay of interior design for so many years.
Qualities of Acacia Wood Furniture
The acacia tree, also known as the mimosa, wattle, or thorntree, has more than 1,350 different varieties around the world. It is a graceful, sub-tropical hardwood tree that’s native to Australia but can be found in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North and South America. The wood that it produces has a number of qualities that make it particularly well suited to interior functions, from staple furniture pieces to countertops and homewares.
Acacia’s ubiquity in the home can be explained by a few key characteristics. Aside from being beautiful, acacia is naturally water-resistant and antimicrobial. While many wood furniture varieties need to be protected from coming into contact with liquids and may warp or form fungus if exposed, acacia can handle regular moisture contact—even without being treated in any special way.
In terms of appearance, acacia is naturally smooth and has that distinctive grain that makes wood furniture so special and unique in the first place. It’s commonly found in warm tones, though it holds on to stain well making it equally ideal if you’re looking for a darker piece.
Acacia Wood Durability
You don’t become the preferred building material of the British Royal Navy without possessing some serious durability. Compared to other types of wood that are commonly used in furniture, acacia beats out popular choices like oak, hickory, and bamboo, with a density that measures closer to marble.
Because it’s so durable, acacia wood furniture isn’t prone to scratching, and even unprotected you can likely get away with about 40 years of use before it needs to be touched up. The biggest thing to worry about is discoloration or warping if the acacia is exposed to constant moisture, and fading if it is regularly exposed to direct sunlight.
Keep in mind that while acacia wood furniture is water-resistant, it’s not waterproof. To get the full value out of your acacia pieces you’ll want to be sure to keep them away from any standing water. While you won’t have to be concerned about fungal growth, long-term moisture exposure could cause acacia furniture to warp or swell, which would limit longevity and value.
Acacia Wood Practicality
Acacia wood furniture is a good, practical choice for both indoor and outdoor use. This is particularly true for furniture pieces that benefit from such a dense hardwood, such as dining tables and benches.
Simple maintenance is all that’s needed to keep it looking its best. This includes washing down acacia furniture as needed with warm, soapy water. You can also oil your acacia pieces to bring out more of those rich, natural tones, though stay away from any treatment that contains silicone.
Acacia Wood Sustainability
Acacia wood is a sustainable furniture material, with the acacia tree growing easily, quickly, and plentifully all over the world, often without the need for fertilizer or pesticides.
For the most eco-friendly acacia varieties, look for acacia furniture made from wood that’s FSC-certified, meaning the way it has been grown and harvested has passed the strict standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, a global non-profit that helps promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
Is Acacia Furniture a Good Value for the Money?
Yes. Though it is more expensive than other traditional hardwoods used in furniture, such as maple and oak, the higher price tag can be justified by considering the durability and long-lasting nature of acacia pieces. While you might pay more up front, acacia wood furniture is nature-made to maintain its beauty for many decades, and can hold up to many of the elements that cause other (and less expensive) wood varieties to become damaged.