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10 Best Wood For Shelving In 2024

Sonya Harris
  Feb 26, 2024 3:23 AM

We independently study, test, and review 10 Best Wood For Shelving products before making recommendations. We’re testing the FATORRI, BON AUGURE, Winsome, GWH, DOFURNILIM, IRIS USA, Inc., OneSpace  for a for a future update to this guide.


A popular choice for homeowners looking to brighten up their hallways with photos and decorations or simply have a few additional storage options available in the shed, wood shelves are a great solution. When it comes to shelf construction, solid wood is an excellent option since it will last for many years, if not decades.

When it comes to crafting, you have a wide variety of options when it comes to wood varieties. It's a big deal only to decide to make your own shelves instead of buying pre-built ones. Choosing the correct type of wood, on the other hand, can be much more challenging.

When it comes to shelving, not all wood types are created equal. Some will hold up better and last longer than others. As a result, we've looked into the many varieties of wood available to discover which sorts are best suited for usage in wooden shelves.

We'll go over everything you need to know about wood, including where it comes from, how popular it is, and how it's graded. Stay tuned after we've covered our favorite varieties of wood for a breakdown of everything you need to know about wood before making a decision.

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Last update on 2024-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

Choosing your wood shelves


There are a number of advantages to using pine, like its durability and natural white or pale yellow tint, as a flooring option. It is common for pine shelves to have knots and grain patterns or "lines" in the wood. However, because the open grain varies so much, two pieces of pine stained in the same stain may not look exactly same.


Nearly pure white, with green or black streaks, is what makes poplar so enticing. It is a great choice for painted shelves because it is easy to stain and has a reasonable cost per square foot.


With a somewhat pink or brown tint and a creamy grain, natural alder is a beautiful wood. It takes stain quite well. Rustic alder and excellent alder are the two varieties of alder that we sell here. Knots and knot holes add character to rustic alder for a farmhouse vibe. There are a few knots in superior alder, but they're smaller and less noticeable.


Red oak has a somewhat pink undertone, whereas white oak is much lighter and creamier tan in color. Oak is a good choice for kitchen and bathroom shelves because of its water resistance and longevity. Both species of oak have a deep, rough, and wild grain that does not run parallel to the wood's surface.

Western Red Cedar

The western red cedar is a familiar sight to anybody who has been through the Pacific Northwest.

The western red cedar is a dominant three that produces good softwood lumber throughout Washington, Oregon, and the rest of the region. The growth pattern of the western red cedar makes it a useful asset for shelving both in the home and elsewhere, despite the fact that we've been quick to promote hardwood above softwood.

This wood species has a gentle red tinge that is distinct from redwood but still distinct enough to be its own color. There should be no difficulty in cutting or painting this sort of wood because it is softwood.

Western red cedar is a durable softwood alternative that may be used for both elegance and stress, as well as those who want a little bit of the Pacific Northwest in their house.


Walnut is a great option if you're looking for a wood that makes a statement without being too mushy.

Unlike other woods, walnut does not need to be painted or treated in any way in order to appear its best. Even while walnut isn't cheap or easy to come by, it has a unique depth and grain that few other woods can match.

Walnut isn't cost-effective enough for jobs like building shelves in a shed or other storage area, so you'll need to go elsewhere. Walnut, on the other hand, has little give, can withstand a lot of weight, and can take a lot of abuse.


Using a high-quality walnut for your shelving needs will ensure that they last for many years to come.

Douglas Fir

It's also possible to bring back memories of the Pacific Northwest using Douglas fir, another variety.

Douglas fir is not a "true fir," and it can only be found on the west coast or in eastern Asia. Additionally, Douglas Fir is a popular building material that can be easily obtained across the United States.

While paint can bring out the natural beauty of douglas fir, the ideal way to use this type is to stain it, which will bring out its natural beauty and provide all the elegance of dark hardwood at a fraction of the cost.

Because it is one of the more dependable softwoods, Douglas fir can and should be used both inside and outside the home.

People who aren't sure what kind of shelving they need or just want a versatile wood that can be used for everything from shelves to tables to furniture making may want to consider Douglas fir.

Edge laminated softwood board

These boards are formed of strips of 25 to 100mm wide softwood (pine, for example) edge-glued together to create completed board widths of 600 mm or more.

When viewed from a distance, the completed board is as sturdy and attractive as solid softwood timber, but for a few minor flaws.

A variety of finishes can be applied to it, including paint, varnish, and polishes - some inexpensive boards may have a lot of filler used to build up the surface, which may be problematic when a clear finish is needed.

You can use the same support spacings for laminated board that you would for solid timber.


Plywood is manufactured by gluing together a variety of thin layers, with each layer's grain running at right angles to the grain of the neighboring ones. With the exception of laminated chipboard and chipboard, plywood is much more durable.

Easy to use, however the edges may need to be trimmed to hide the multiple layers that are visible when it is finished cutting. Plywood can be painted or varnished for a finished look.

For all but the lightest loads, you should choose plywood that is at least 18mm thick and supports that are no more than 700mm apart.

Buyer’s Guide

There are a few things to keep in mind if you're still unsure which style of wood shelf is best for your needs. First and foremost, think about what your shelves are going to be used for and how you want to utilize them.

If feasible, it's ideal to choose wood that has been slightly changed. When building shelves, the integrity we need cannot be achieved using plywood or particle board. Make sure that the wood you choose is easy to cut, stain, and install.

Keep in mind any financial issues you may have as well. Even if you can afford the wood, staining and painting it will cost money that you don't have. All of this requires patience, and you may have to redo some of your work in the long run if you used subpar wood.

In general, we recommend using softwood for shelves that will be painted or stored in the shed, and hardwood for shelves that will be stained, left unfinished, or used as a focal point. Of course, there are always exceptions to the norm, so be sure to speak with a local professional or visit a hardware store for further information relevant to your region.

Make sure that any outdoor shelves you plan on putting up are prepared for whatever weather conditions may come their way.


What is the best wood for cheap shelves?

Building a bookshelf from scratch can be done with any of these three woods: pine, birch, and oak. Wood made from pine plywood is light and affordable.

Is Cedar good for shelving?

Shingles made from Western Red Cedar. Western red cedar is an exception to the general rule that we prefer hardwoods to softwoods when it comes to building wooden shelves. This wood is simple to work with, both in terms of cutting and painting. The result is an attractive and sturdy softwood choice that is perfect for shelves in your living room or other public place.

Is pine strong enough for shelves?

Don't use pine, MDF, or particleboard for bookshelves. Under heavy loads, they give way, are prone to dents and scratches, do not provide long-term stiffness, and require additional support over lengthy periods of time.


When building your wood shelves, we hope that you take the time to consider the following wood types: Always keep in mind that it's never a bad idea to consult a contractor to make sure you're utilizing the proper type of wood and working in the right manner.

Do not forget to measure twice and cut once, as well as correctly install your shelves before enjoying the results of your labor!

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