Wood Shelving Guide

Wood Shelving Guide

Traditional Wood Shelves will give any room a classic look

Wood shelving has a “classic” or “rustic” look that is timeless and more importantly, isn’t trendy.  The difference between buying wood shelves versus some other type like metal or glass is that as it ages, it can develop its own personality and may even become a centerpiece of the room.

They come in all shapes and sizes and can be used from something as spectacular as an entertainment center that stores all your media to something as simple as a free floating shelf that mounts using 2 L brackets.

There are a couple things that will influence the price of wood shelves…
  1. Type & grade of wood
  2. Detail of the wood (if it is hand carved)

Understanding the Different Grades of wood for shelving

  • MDF–  This is the cheapest of all woods because it is composed of wood fiber that has been ground into powder, compressed and then glued.  This type of wood can swell over time and is not a good type to stain, although you can paint it.  MDF shelves are low quality and typically can be found in big box retailers like Target and Wal-mart.
  • Laminate–  Laminate is another “wood” type that is cheap but not considered real wood.  The good news about laminate is that it typically holds up better than MDF but it isn’t designed to hold heavy weight.  Typically, laminate shelves are combined with MDF framework.
  • Soft wood–  Soft wood is a decent choice because it is cheaper than hard wood and can be stained and painted.  The problem with softwood, such as pine is that it splits easy so the holes need to be pre-drilled by a profesional.
  • Plywood– Another cheaper option to hardwood shelves, plywood is strong and durable and can be drilled without worry of splitting the wood.  Plywood comes in a variety of grades and this will determine where you would want to put it.  Lower graded plywood should be reserved for the garage or pantry.  It can be painted and stained.
  • Hardwood–  Hardwood should be reserved as the centerpiece of a room because of how expensive it is and should be stained.  It is strong and durable.  The good news is that hardwood shelving can stand the test of time and could be passed on from generation to generation.

Types of wood shelving

There are all sorts of places you can put wood shelving.  For instance, while a traditional wood bookcase is one option, you could also elect for wall mounted shelving to display art, photos and decor.  The only place that wood shelves wouldn’t work so well would be in the bathroom or kitchen (anywhere where there is water or humidity).