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Inspiration and Ideas

Harmony in Hues: Choosing the Perfect Natural Hardwood Color for Your Floating Shelves

Updated: Feb 18

To decide on the right type of natural hardwood floating shelves for your wall is to decide on the character of your space for years to come. Considering color is key to finding the right wood species for your project. The list below highlights areas to focus on as a guide to help make this decision more confidently.

Oakford Home Logo which displays 14 different shelving varieties in color tone and style.
Common Hardwood Shelving Varieties

1. Decide the Level of Impact:

The biggest decision to make is whether the shelves will only be a seamless and functional addition to your space, or whether they will be a focal point.. Should the shelves blend in with the rest of the room, or boldly stand out? This decision can immediately eliminate some wood options from consideration.

2. Consider your Existing Color Palette and Style:

The good news about floating shelves is that the same wood type can complement a variety of tastes. As a rule of thumb, if your walls and room follow a neutral palette, such as whites or grays, you have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of hardwood colors. That is to say that you have the option to either embrace neutrality and simplicity, or you could opt for a pop of color and statement wall lined with colorful exotic shelves. 

For rooms that could be described as anything but neutral, there are many more surprisingly bright and interesting wood types to experiment with!

3. Consider your Room’s Size and Light Level:

The size of your room and the amount of light in the room can determine how the color of the shelves will affect the feeling of your space. Lighter woods like oak or maple work well in small spaces, making them feel more open. Darker, richer wood tones can add a sense of coziness and intimacy to small rooms, or act as an anchor for larger rooms.

4. Explore Wood Grain Patterns:

As varied as the color tone of each wood type can be, the same can be said for the pattern of the wood grain. Any stained or colored piece of wood can be given away by its grain pattern.. For a more subtle look, woods with fine grain patterns like Maple or Cherry can be preferable to the more pronounced textures of Oak or Ash.

5. Think Long-Term:

While your current preferences are essential to consider, think about the longevity of your choice and its versatility in your specific space. Solid floating hardwood shelves can serve as heirloom pieces, and remain a focal point of your home for years to come.

Some woods are also more prone to darkening over time than others.

For example Cherry will become significantly darker and richer over the years, while Padauk will move from a brighter pink to a darker rich brown hue typically within a few months. Consider how the wood will age over time, adding to specific characters.

6. Consider Wood Samples:

Before making a final decision, it is always a worthwhile investment to obtain wood samples of your options. We specifically make ours to be a substantial 3”x3”x0.75” block, using the same detailed finishing method as the final shelf products. This allows you to get a true sense of the shelf options both visually and tactually.

If you need help making a final decision, please feel free to send us a message about your goals and photos of your existing space. We are happy to guide the selection of a few samples! We also offer custom samples if needed (ex: stains or paints).


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