Meet The Material: Particle Board

Article Posted By: Jae Warren

of The Home Depot

Image of particleboard used as wall decor

Image via Design Skool

By the late 1940s, a shortage of lumber made the production of plywood increasingly expensive. Luckily, German inventor Max Himmelheber had come up with an inexpensive wood substitute in 1932, and the first commercial piece of particle board was produced during World War II at a factory in Bremen, Germany [Wikipedia].

Particle board gets a lot of flack for being cheap and unattractive. We beg to differ. The space above we found on Design Skool using the unique texture of raw particle board to create modern, minimalist wall art illustrates our point.

What is particle board? Particle board is an engineered wood made from a mixture of wood scraps, which are broken down, dried, mixed with adhesives, and then heated and pressed into sheets. Veneers are often applied to particle board to give it a more finished look.

What are some of the cool properties of particle board? Most particle board is made from recycled wood scraps and sawdust, so you can enjoy your well-designed, stylish yet affordable Swedish furniture with the knowledge it didn’t require cutting down new trees.

What is particle board used for? Particle board is available in various grades for a wide range of applications. It is commonly used in making furniture, shelving, cabinetry, moulding, and underlayment for flooring and countertops.

What can you use particle board for? Particle board is know for its soundproofing capability, so why not use it to build out your new media room or home recording studio? And while you’re at it, you could also make some kicking speakers. Or, what about a ping pong table for the man cave? You can also build shelves for the laundry room, storage boxes and a lot of other useful stuff with particleboard, too.

Here’s just a sampling of some other ways folks are using particle board to decorate, build and do creative things.

Image of bunk beds made from particle board

Image via Bunkbedspedia

Imagine how excited the kids would be for bedtime if they had really cool bunk beds to sleep in like this one we located on Bunkbedspedia. Or, heck, imagine how excited you would be if you had something like that.

Image of wall unit made from particle board

Image via via Design Sponge

In this exposed brick loft in Brooklyn we spotted on Design Sponge, the rough hewn look of the particle board wall unit is the perfect complement to the urban industrial decor of the space. Exposing the product stamping gives the room even more of a warehouse feel.

Image of the new AOL work space by Studio O+A

Image via Yatzer

When the once mighty AOL launched its rebranding efforts in 2011 with a new location in Palo Alto, what material did they use to communicate this initiative in their workspace? That’s right — particle board is used liberally throughout the space in a way that gives it the appeal of a well-funded start-up. See more photos of AOL’s new digs over at Yatzer.

Image of particle board used as flooring.

Particle board provided inexpensive flooring in this soon-to-be boutique. Copious amounts of clear polyurethane finish highlighted the funky texture of the particle board and gave the floors an exotic look customers could not stop raving about.

If you have any questions about plywood, particle board and MDF check out our buying guides.

Meet the Material is a series designed to introduce you to some of the everyday goods sold at The Home Depot. Is there a material you’d like to know more about? Just let us know in the comments!