Closet Tips
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Melamine or Solid Wood?

Posted in

Separate Myth from Reality
Before Designing Your Custom Closet.

When it comes to building materials for a custom closet, solid wood is the known quantity. Melamine, on the other hand, is a bit of an unknown, or at least somewhat misunderstood.

Melamine is often mistakenly lumped in with the cheap laminates you’d find at a home improvement store. The fact is, a high-quality melamine product is just as attractive as solid wood while providing more durability at a lower price.

Unfortunately, many homeowners regret choosing solid wood. They made their decision because they like the sound of “solid wood” but didn’t realize the level of quality and value that melamine brings to the table.

Before you move forward with your custom closet system, it’s important to understand the differences between melamine and solid wood so you can make an informed decision.


The raw materials needed to build a solid wood custom closet, as well as the production process, are very expensive. The wood needs to be cut, shaped, joined, sanded, finished with stain or paint, and sealed. Most solid wood products need to be resealed periodically to avoid wear. All these factors make solid wood expensive.

Melamine has lower material costs and a shorter production process. It requires significantly less handling, no finishing and no maintenance. This translates to a price tag that can be two or three times lower than solid wood.


Solid wood offers colors, grains and patterns with natural variances. Some consider these variances charming. But the extent of the variances is somewhat unpredictable, which can make solid wood a risky investment.

Let’s dispel the myth that melamine even remotely resembles a cheap laminate. Focus on reality, not stereotypes. When you see and touch melamine up close, you realize just how attractive it is. Melamine is a high-end product with a uniform finish, whether you choose a solid color or grain pattern. There are dozens of options.

And what happens if you need to update your custom closet in the future? For example, if you want to add shelving or a drawer in a few years, you’ll find it very difficult to find a match in solid wood. With melamine, you simply order the same finish as the original for a perfect match.


Solid wood is susceptible to warping, especially in a humid environment. Solid wood can also chip and crack. If you have a window in your closet, exposure to sunlight can cause wood to change color over time.

On the other hand, good quality, high-heat, thermo-fused melamine won’t chip, crack, peel, fade or warp. It’s simply a more durable product than solid wood.

Keep in mind that there are different types of “solid wood” that vary in hardness, which can make certain materials more prone to damage. Many manufacturers that claim to produce “real wood” products are actually using low-grade plywood. If you choose solid wood, make sure you know exactly what you’re buying.

The Final Verdict

If you like the look of solid wood, you can live with varying patterns and tones, and you don’t mind paying a high price, you should choose a solid wood custom closet system.

If you want a product that’s both attractive and durable, with a uniform finish that allows you to add features or replace parts down the road – and you want a far more manageable price tag – you’ll be extremely happy with a melamine custom closet system.

I invite you to schedule an appointment to visit the Closet POSSIBLE showroom in Pennington. We have custom closet and storage systems fully installed, and dozens of samples on display, so you can see what melamine looks like up close. I hope you’ll give us an opportunity to show you what’s possible!

Did you know?

  • We are a family owned and operated business – personalized attention!
  • We have nearly 50 colors and textures to choose from – a broad assortment!
  • Our edge banding is 2X thicker than the industry standard – resists chipping and peeling!
  • We guarantee our products for as long as you own your home – carefree living!

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