Choosing The Best Wood For Shelves

Wood for shelves? Add shelving to your décor so that you may arrange stuff in a creative pattern? Are you fed up with the books and objects packed around your house, waiting for a home that is more permanent?

Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or someone who’s never constructed anything like this before, building your own shelves is a smart idea that will save money and maximize the use of your home. Wood, in particular, is a time-tested and cost-effective solution. If you take good care of it, high-quality furniture made of solid wood may last for decades or even centuries.

But, how can you pick the finest wood for DIY bookcases or other wood shelving projects? If you know what you want your shelves to be able to hold, there are a plethora of choices available. So grab some hand tools from your toolbox and choose whatever wood is most appealing to make an attractive collection of shelves.

The Best Wood For Making Shelves

brown wooden dining table inside room


Indoor bookcases may be made from plywood, which is a fantastic choice. It’s a lightweight manufactured wood composed of density fiberboard that’s commonly used for low-cost DIY wood for shelves and cabinets.

A typical pallet of plywood is built from many of the woods on this list. Douglas Fir is the most frequent sort of plywood veneer (the layer that covers a particleboard core), although it may also be produced from Pine, Cedar, and even hardwoods like mahogany.

Although different types of plywood exist, they all have similar characteristics: they are made out of wood. Plywood is available in a variety of strengths and thicknesses, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. Garage shelving units constructed out of B/C grade plywood.

The drawbacks of plywood are usually linked to its benefits. In stores, cabinet-grade plywood is cheap and plentiful, but more specialized varieties might be hard to come by.


Koa is a term used to describe several different species of hardwood trees. Koa is also known as Tigerwood and is prized for its durability and strength. This rare combination of lightweight and incredible strength makes it a sought-after material.

Tigerwood is a highly sought-after wood that has a beautiful brown color and dark grain, resulting in a highly distinctive appearance. When looking for hardwood flooring, you may come across a specific species of tigerwood.

Typically, less hardwood is used in wood shelves and cabinets. A Koa shelf is ideal for most areas of your house, including outside patios and porches. It’s extremely water-resistant, so it can survive hot or cold weather without warping or bending.

Unfortunately, Koa is not a popular material for furniture. It’s most often used in other industries, so you may struggle to find any useful information on the internet. Koa is also difficult to work with and, as a result, it is not suitable for beginners.


You could construct a beautiful shelf for your books out of walnut. Walnut is a straight-grained, strong, and sturdy hardwood native to eastern North America. Its natural yellowish-brown tone provides an enormous variety of tones, with distinct hues frequently visible in a single board.

For shelves, many people construct walnut mantels to allow more sunlight to bring out the light chocolate tones of the wood. It is a far cry from most wood materials on this list in terms of appearance.

Walnut is a versatile hardwood that may be used for any type of sawing and intricate carving, making it easy to create your shelf. Some experts believe it’s easier to work with than other woods; you can save money on installation expenses by building your own bookshelf if you know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, the situation is reversed. Walnut is a very heavy and difficult hardwood to move, and installation may be challenging for newcomers. The price of walnut itself is also rather expensive, coming in at about $10 per board foot. Wood shelves constructed of walnut-trim plywood might assist to reduce the cost of walnut.

Additionally, this wood is easily worn and scratched. The walnut furnishings and construction components should not be placed outside for lengthy because they have little resistance to the elements.

silver pendant lamps turned on above white ceramic bowls


Pinewood is frequently used by builders to make lightweight furniture indoors. One of its major benefits is that it can be painted and stained quickly by inexperienced carpenters. It may be transformed into virtually any design or color scheme depending on how it’s painted. It’s a yellowish-white wood with brown knots that has never been painted on its own.

Pinewood is a wonderful alternative for individuals seeking a rustic atmosphere. Pine may also be used to create colorful children’s storage or as a complementing item to other pieces in your home.

There are a few drawbacks to utilizing pine for shelves, however. Pine is a softwood, like most of the woods on this list, which means it’s more prone to wear and tear with time. Pinewood shower time, especially if kids use them frequently.


Cherry wood is most often chosen for its appearance. These boards and side panels are lovely, and if they’ve aged properly, antique collectors frequently seek them out.

Cherry is a rich, reddish wood that has a fine grain and has an appealing appearance. Cherry wood cabinets frequently have clear, distinct lines. It appears in hand-carved chairs and other luxury furnishings, as well as in hardwood shelves.

Cherry is also a good choice for bookshelves due to its physical features. It’s simple to form and polish, making it accessible to beginners in the field of carpentry. It’s also one of the lightest-weight hardwoods on this list, and it can easily support books as well as other things.

The primary disadvantage of Cherry is, of course, the expense. Depending on density, six board feet of Cherry timber might cost as much as $100. Outside of its usual range in the southeastern U.S. and South America, this price rises considerably living will show many dents and scratches 


Paduak is a rare but adaptable hardwood for interior shelving. Shelves made of Paduak come in a variety of colors, ranging from pale pinkish-orange to deep crimson, and they look great in nearly any design.

The primary goal of Paduak shelf storage, like with many of the wood on this list, is aesthetic. This wood is ideal for a shelf unit in informal or modernist settings. In addition, it may be readily transformed into smaller artisanal pieces, such as liquor cabinets and jewelry boxes, by a skilled craftsman.

Paduak is highly durable, withstanding rot and termite damage. It can easily accommodate any screw, nail, or table saw blade you may have at hand.

Aside from its density, the most serious disadvantage of padauk is its noxious odor. When cut, padauk emits a particular aroma that may irritate individuals with allergic responses to it.

Cedar And Red Cedar

Western red cedar and eastern red cedar are two distinct varieties of cedarwood. Because of that, it is a popular and readily accessible kind of wood, although each species has its own set of characteristics.

Eastern red cedar is more weather-resistant than its Western relatives, making it more expensive and more popular in outdoor settings. Eastern cedar, on the other hand, has many characteristics with pinewood, making it perfect for bookshelves.

The primary distinction between cedar and pine is the former’s brighter, deeper hue. It requires little effort to treat, stain, or paint it, making it visually adaptable.

Eastern cedar is a popular choice in humid regions because while not as resilient to the elements as western red cedar, it is nevertheless considered stable. If you reside in a particularly humid environment, your cedar shelves will not warp over time.

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