Wood Care and Cleaning Guide

General Care

  • Avoid exposing to direct heat and sunlight.
  • Maintain consistent humidity in your home to prevent excessive expansion and contraction of wooden pieces and joints.
  • Wipe up spills immediately with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Use coasters for drinks to prevent moisture from contacting surfaces.
  • Use trivets for hot pans or dishes to prevent damage to finishes and underlying wood.
  • Keep rough and sharp objects away from wood surfaces.
  • Apply protective pads to undersides of items being displayed on wood surfaces.
  • Avoid prolonged contact of rubber feet or bumpers on displayed items, which can react with and damage wood finishes.


  • Dust frequently with a damp cloth, then wipe dry.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasives on any finishes.
  • Use waxes and oils as recommended with each product to maintain moisture and provide a protective coating. Always test first on an inconspicuous spot.

Responsible Wood Sourcing

  • Design Within Reach is committed to conserving, protecting and restoring natural resources. We fully support responsible forest management practices that promote ecosystem sustainability, biodiversity and long-term environmental, social and economic benefits.

Commitment to Sustainability

  • Design Within Reach is committed to being a leader in environmental sustainability, both in the way we carry out our operations and in the products we offer. For us, environmental sustainability means conducting our business in a manner that acknowledges, measures and takes responsibility for our direct and indirect impact on the environment. By developing policies to conserve energy, dispose of waste more responsibly, reduce pollutants and other byproducts, and promote sustainability, we align our long-term success with the earth’s ecological well-being and create enduring benefits for our clients, employees and the communities in which we operate.

Common Furniture Woods

Ash wood swatch


Straight-grained, dense, strong and lightly colored.

Cherry wood swatch


Durable with a warm, rich, reddish color that darkens over time.

Oak wood swatch


Strong and heavy, lightly colored.

Walnut wood swatch


Strong and hard without being extremely heavy. Rich dark brown in color, often with a highly figured grain.

Teak wood swatch


Extremely dense and durable tropical wood, yellow to dark brown in color. Teak is most often used for outdoor furniture, on which it develops a grey patina over time as it is exposed to the elements.

Palisander wood swatch

Santos Palisander

An exoticly grained tropical wood that is closely related to rosewood but is more environmentally sensitive.

Ebonized wood swatch


Wood treated with a chemical that causes the surface to darken dramatically. It differs from stained wood in that its surface is altered chemically rather than merely coated.

Wood Applications

Solid Wood

Term used to describe furniture components that are milled completely from natural wood.


Thin flat panels sliced from larger pieces of solid wood, then fixed to
a substrate of engineered material such as MDF or solid wood. Used
to take advantage of wood grain’s beauty while making very stable
and strong furniture.


Product formed by bonding layers of wood or synthetic materials together, which are then applied to a substrate.

MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard)

A durable substitute for solid wood that is manufactured from
wood fibers and usually coated with veneer or laminate.

Wood Finishes


Hard, clear, heat-resistant coating applied to natural or painted surfaces.


Renewable coating that protects surfaces while enhancing wood grain.


A modern, synthetic coating that is tougher than traditional
top coatings.


A coating of rubbed–on soap flakes used on light woods such as
oak to produce a smooth, matte finish. Must be reapplied periodically.


Natural or synthetic substance used to color and highlight wood
grain. Can be water- or oil-based and is usually covered with a top coat such as varnish, oil or wax.


Renewable finish used to protect and enhance appearance.
Can be used on bare or stained wood and buffed to a high gloss.

Wood Cuts

Flat Sawn

Flat sawn (or plain sawn) wood is the most commonly used lumber. The grain on its face can feature both straight and ”cathedral” shaped figuring. The end grain shows a horizontal or slightly cupped pattern.

Quarter Sawn

Quarter sawn wood has a fine and straight grain pattern on its face. Dramatic flecking and wavy ribbons called “medullary rays” are present in red and white oak. The end grain has a nearly vertical pattern. Quarter sawn is a more expensive process compared to flat sawn and yields a very stable finished product.