Best Wood for Shelves

If you’ve never made shelves before, you’ll have to research plenty about the different types of woods before you start. Ideally, it’s better to use hardwoods as they’re durable and offer top-notch quality. Hardwoods don’t decay too quickly, so they’re so sturdy.

Also, you’ll have to select a piece of wood that looks aesthetic. Apart from the types of woods, you’ll have to gather the required tools to build a strong shelf. If this is your first time building a shelf, we recommend you speak to a contractor or a wood specialist first to know what you’re getting yourself into.

The 9 Best Woods for Shelves

Below is a list of the best pieces of wood to build a solid and long-lasting shelf.

Best Wood for Shelves


You should know many people use mahogany to build different furniture pieces, and one might say it’s one of the most demanded pieces of wood, given its strength and durability. A mahogany shelf is an excellent choice if your budget is flexible.

It may cost a little more than usual, but it’s undoubtedly worth it, given its classy look and finish. Also, mahogany looks antique after the final touches, so it’ll automatically make your room look majestic. Hence, mahogany is an excellent choice for the correct wood to begin shelf-building.

Red Oak

Another piece of wood that many people opt for is red oak. It has a beautiful red color, making it look classier than it actually is. Red oak makes any piece of furniture stand out as it enhances the room’s vibe and feels. Also, a shelf made from red oak will last pretty long, given its durability.

Many people choose red oak to build their shelves as it isn’t that expensive, making it easy to afford. Additionally, red oak is super resistant to scratches, allowing it to stay prone to many damages. However, it can’t protect itself from water, so please ensure to keep your shelf away from any moisture.


If you have a thing for building shelves that look antique, a shelf made from cherry wood is undoubtedly for you. The red color it brings makes shelves look quite royal, with the refined grains adding more sophistication to them. Cherry wood is a favorite amongst wood lovers as it offers excellent durability and tremendous sturdiness.

Also, you should know cherry wood is pretty manageable regarding shining and polishing. Cherry wood shelves are pretty portable since it isn’t that heavy compared to other wood pieces. So, you’ll be delighted to have a shelf made from cherry wood.


If you’re a beginner at shelf-building, you should probably work with a piece of walnut wood as it’s somewhat forgiving compared to other woods. Some call it “beginner’s wood,” as it’s hands down one of the most accessible woods to work with.

Walnut shelves have a dark brown color, giving them a rich and rustic vibe. A walnut wood shelf will look like an antique, automatically adding grace to whichever room it’s placed in. You should also know that shelves made from walnut wood are highly long-lasting and sturdy, making it an excellent option to go with.


Birchwood is considered one of the ideal pieces of wood to build furniture pieces like shelves and cabinets with. The quality of this wood is undoubtedly top-notch, as it has excellent finishing properties. However, one thing about birch wood is that it doesn’t come too cheap, so only go for it if you have the resources to purchase and maintain it.

If you don’t keep up with your birchwood shelf, it’ll quickly dry out and ruin its texture. Although one excellent quality of birch is that it absorbs paint reasonably well, making your shelf pretty open to different colors. Hence, birchwood is a wise option if you want to add more substance to your shelf.


Maple wood is a pretty refined piece of wood that offers excellent benefits; style and class are a few. A maple shelf is a beautiful addition to your furniture collection as your room will automatically scream majesty and sophistication.

This is why people mainly choose maple as their choice of wood when building a shelf. Maple, however, isn’t the most inexpensive wood, so only invest in it if you have the funds to. Overall, maple wood is a substantial wood that offers more longevity than other wood pieces.

African Padauk

You may not have heard of this rare wood before, but it’s no less than any other wood. African Padauk is one of the most versatile pieces of wood, making it a must-have for indoor shelves. If you like collecting rare things, building a shelf made from African Padauk is for you.

The best part about this wood is that it can come in different styles, colors, and designs, allowing you to customize it the way you want. However, since it’s a rare wood, you may find difficulty acquiring it. But once you do, you’ll have a beautiful-looking shelf with an excellent finish.


Many refer to this wood as “tigerwood”; however, this wood isn’t very common similar to its name. Surprisingly, this piece of wood is pretty lightweight, making it the most accessible wood to work. Its lack of heaviness makes it more accessible to carry around.

However, the downside to its lightweight is that it’s equally destructible. Koa wood has a unique overall finish, making it look pretty different than most woods. One of Koa’s qualities is that it’s water-resistant, so no amount of moisture will ruin your shelf made from Koa.

Douglas Fir

You may not find Douglas Fir in many houses, making it a unique wood for shelf-building. People who genuinely know and appreciate unique pieces of wood use them to build shelves for their indoor areas. However, you should know that Douglas Fir has an attractive design, so your shelf will look more aesthetic than you think.

Also, Douglas Fir isn’t that expensive to afford, making this the perfect wood if you’re on a budget. Please note not to put too much weight on your Douglas Fir shelf as it can’t carry so much weight and will probably break.

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