Lightweight furniture panels are utilised for a wide range of applications and uses. Before specifying lightweight furniture panels for an application, it’s important to understand what they are and how they can be used.

In this guide, we will explore the materials used to create lightweight furniture panels, the benefits of lightweight furniture panels, and their key applications and uses.

In this guide:

What are lightweight furniture panels?

Lightweight furniture panels are panels which can be used to construct furniture that is strong and sturdy, without being too heavy.

These panels are manufactured as a sandwich construction by bonding outer layers of decorative material to a lightweight core material (usually extruded polystyrene foam or honeycomb).

These panels are similar in stability to wood and more solid, expensive materials.

What materials are used to create lightweight furniture panels?

Lightweight furniture panels are constructed using a wide range of different materials, both in terms of the facing materials and core materials. The facing material will depend on how the panels are being used and the look they provide. In addition, when it comes to core materials, it’s important to consider how the panels will be used to ensure the panels are suitable for the application.

Facing materials

In terms of facing materials, the following can be used for lightweight furniture panels.

  • Melamine faced MDF – This offers a slightly textured surface which does not require painting to look finished and is suited to furniture of all types. From desks, retail displays, bookcases and more, this material will provide the same look as solid wood furniture, without the associated weight.
  • Plain MDF – is another choice which can, again, be used for a range of furniture types and also be finished with paint where required
  • Plywood – plywood has a great look and can be used to create a range of furniture and lining components, including furniture that is used within vans or caravans. Ideal for desks, it creates the look of a much heavier wood-based panel, without the weight. Plywood is a fantastic choice for offices or schools who want a uniform look to their furniture.
  • High-pressure laminates – this material can be used to create incredibly durable, decorative surfaces, which are also water-resistant. This makes it especially suitable for environments with a lot of water, steam and general dampness, such as washrooms. 

Core materials

When specifying a lightweight panel, there is a range of options available, again, to meet the needs of different applications and projects.

  • Ravatherm XPS (extruded polystyrene) – Ravatherm XPS is a popular choice due to it’s lightweight and durable properties as well as its high compressive strength. It is also available in any thickness from 3 – 160mm
  • Paper honeycomb – this material is often chosen as a core material for interior furnishings. It can also be used to create partition walls. Very lightweight, it is also a great low-cost option, meaning the panels can be thicker while still keeping costs down.
  • ThermHex polypropylene honeycomb – with a lightweight finish, this material is extremely stable and strong. Its finish makes it easy to bond with other materials, so a wide choice of facing materials is available when this material is used. 

Key benefits of lightweight furniture panels

Lightweight furniture panels have a range of great benefits over and above other types of panels available. 


One of the biggest benefits of lightweight furniture panels is that they are much lighter than other options. They offer a lightweight solution while still being sturdy and suitable for a wide range of uses in a range of different environments, whether that be in an office, a home or even a vehicle.

These panels offer a similar stability to solid wood, with a similar aesthetic appeal. 

Strength and durability

It is possible, with panels of this nature, to reduce the overall weight of the furniture without compromising on strength or durability. They boast excellent impact resistance so the panels will withstand daily use.

Reduced transportation costs

Another excellent benefit is that manufacturer transportation costs are reduced, a saving which is passed on to the end consumer. Lightweight furniture panels weigh much less than solid wood or solid material panels so cost much less to pack and transport.

Key applications and uses of lightweight furniture panels

Lightweight furniture panels can be used to replace traditional, weightier panels in a wide range of scenarios. 

Caravans and leisure vehicles

Lightweight furniture panels are used in caravans and leisure vehicles, with the lighter weight resulting in fuel savings.

Kitchen worktops and cabinets

Lightweight furniture panels can also be utilised in kitchen and bathroom cabinets or kitchen worktops. Within the home they are an excellent choice for tabletops and can be used for a wide range of commercial and domestic furniture. 

Office & retail furniture

Outside the home, lightweight furniture panels are suitable for used in office furniture (for desks, tables and more), hotels and even to create retail shelving which is light yet sturdy and resistant to the constant use it will be subject to. 

Lightweight panels are used for point of sale displays and general wall panelling that is aesthetically appealing and adaptable.

School furniture 

Lightweight furniture panels are often used in school furniture such as tables, benches and desks to provide furniture that is able to withstand heavy use but which can also be easily moved and stacked.

Choosing Panel Systems as a supplier of lightweight furniture panels

Panel Systems is the perfect choice when it comes to supplying lightweight furniture panels with a team of experts in our field and access to the latest tools. 

Supply bespoke projects

Panel Systems is able to supply bespoke projects and fulfil large orders with a range of experts with many years of experience on hand to advise and help to make sure the project is specified to the correct standards.

Our ability to cut materials in-house means that we can make changes or cater to unusual projects. 

Expert team

Our expert team is on hand to deliver projects that meet exact specifications, on time and with the knowledge and experience required to advise on projects from specification through to completion. 

In-house cutting and CNC machining service

Our in-house cutting service means that we are able to deliver projects efficiently, without any communication issues or unexpected delays that can occur when using off-site services. 

Longevity of business

Our business has over 45 years of experience in our field which means we can provide information and guidance both around the materials we supply and our cutting service to make sure we meet your needs in the quickest and most cost-effective way.

To find out more about lightweight furniture panels and Panel System’s capabilities, please contact our expert team today