Trend alert: Plywood isn’t just for construction anymore.
This pale composite wood is showing up on kitchen cabinets and bedroom walls all over the blogosphere, and we’re happy to report that despite its former reputation of “looking cheap,” this durable modern material is now as stylish as it is affordable.
Made from slim pieces of wood veneer that are layered with their grains at 90 degrees to each other, plywood forms a building material that is often more durable and less likely to warp than its solid wood counterpart.
Patented by engineer Samuel Bentham in the late 18th century, plywood has been creeping its way from manufacturing into our interiors over the past hundred years.
Though many iconic midcentury modern designs were made from plywood, their price tags don’t reflect the affordability of this highly versatile material. Depending on the thickness, ply, and type of wood, a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood costs only between $19 and $35.
Now, because it’s a composite wood, it can be slightly more porous than full wood alternatives, so unless it’s properly finished, it’s not ideal for the outdoors or prolonged exposure to the elements.
With the right tools, though, and the right inspiration, plywood could be the edgy modern finish your home (and budget) have been waiting for.