How To Order Custom Solid Wood Floating Shelves

four white oak open shelves installed in a white kitchen flanking the stove top vent hood

Are you are standing in a demo’d kitchen right now, dreaming about how beautiful it’s going to look in just a few months? Or desperately in need of storage in a tight bathroom with no counterspace? Adding open shelving in your house or apartment is a great way to provide sturdy storage in a stylish way. And the natural wood tones will help warm up any room, creating that cozy feeling of “home.”

How It Works

At J Thomas Home, each shelf is custom-made upon order, so your shelving will be crafted just for you and your space.

Select the size, color, and wood type for your project, or contact us to discuss any customizations needed. In just a few weeks, the shelves will be ready to ship to you for easy installation using our helpful videos. (No professionals required!)

Sounds simple enough… but if you’ve never purchased solid wood custom shelving before, you may be wondering how to get started. Or what wood type is best for your space? Not to worry! We can help!


In this blog post:

Types of Wood for Floating Shelves and Costs

Shelving Stain Colors and Painted Finishes

What Size Shelf Should I Order?

Lead Time for Handmade Wooden Shelves

How To Install Floating Shelves

J Thomas Home Shelf Reviews

two light wood thick shelves installed on a dark bathroom wall above the soaking tub near a window with natural light coming in


Types of Wood for Floating Shelves and Costs

At J Thomas Home, we regularly make shelving out of seven types of wood: pine, poplar, alder, maple, white oak, and walnut.

Best Wood Types for Rustic Farmhouse Floating Shelves

If you are designing a farmhouse kitchen or rustic bathroom, then pine, poplar, and rustic alder woods are ideal for shelves for your project.

Best Wood Types for Modern Contemporary Open Shelving

Superior alder, maple, white oak, and walnut shelves will add depth and richness to more modern or contemporary designs.

How Much Do Wooden Floating Shelves Cost?

From a cost-standpoint, if your budget is tight on your renovation, pine shelves, poplar shelves, and alder shelves are going to be more economical choices.

Maple, white oak, and walnut shelves are naturally gorgeous hardwoods, but do come at a premium price point.

What Are the Differences in Types of Wood for Floating Shelves?

Wondering what’s the difference between pine and poplar floating shelves? Or if white oak shelving can be installed in kitchens? Read more about the different types of woods custom floating shelves are made from, here.

three pine floating shelves light tan warm stain color installed between two vanities and mirrors in a bathroom
two white oak shelves installed in a white kitchen above a coffee maker style with a painting, small cake stand and other dishware and decor
two alder wood floating shelves installed above a work from home desk space with orange desk chair next to wall with ocean view painting hung

Shelving Stain Colors and Painted Finishes

You may be surprised to know that stain colors can actually come out drastically different on different types of wood. What may look like a rich dark brown tone on pine shelving may appear more muted on maple shelves.

We offer nine stain and paint colors for your custom shelving, including: unstained, Puritan Pine, Early American, Special Walnut, Pecan, Willowbend, Gray Wash, Carbon, and Shabby White.

 swatch of j thomas home stain colors on pine wood


Natural Wood Floating Shelves

Love the look of raw wood? We do, too! You can absolutely purchase unstained, raw wood floating shelves. This is perfect if you already have custom stain you’ve been using on other projects around the house and you want your shelves to match, too. Or – yes! – you can totally install your shelves without any stain on them at all.

If you’re purchasing shelves for a high-use area like dishes in the kitchen or towels in the bathroom, we can paint a clear coat on the unstained wood to help protect the shelves, extending the life of the finish.

unstained white oak thick shelf installed in an entryway with white oak slatted door and modern stair railing
maple floating shelves installed on either side of television with a hound dog sitting on the floor looking at the camera

 two white oak floating shelves with plants setting on them, with greenery flowing down the wall

Light to Medium Stain Colors for Open Shelving

If you envision light to medium stain on your floating shelving, from lightest to medium stains are:

  • Puritan Pine (light golden yellow)
  • Early American (light golden brown)
  • Special Walnut (light golden brown, warmer undertone)
  • Pecan (nice, rich, medium brown)

two floating shelves installed on modern wall paper with line design graphic puritan pine stain

floating shelves installed in kitchen over tile above dark green lower cabinets

Special Walnut stained set of two shelves with industrial pipe towel bar on green wall

two pecan thick shelves installed in laundry room above washer and dryer unit

Dark Stain Colors for Open Shelving

Darker stain options for your shelving include:

  • Willowbend (dark brown with gray undertone)
  • Espresso (super dark brown with warm – reddish – undertone)
  • Gray Wash (dark gray, but a wash – wood still shows through)
  • Carbon (a dark smoky charcoal gray/black)

willowbend set of two shelves with industrial pipe towel bar bathroom

Espresso set of two shelves installed in a kitchen white wall white cabinetry

Gray Wash set of six wooden wall shelves with industrial pipe brackets holding several bottles of liquor each

Carbon thick box shelves installed over a toilet in a bathroom with a dark vanity white sink and light blue walls and oval mirror


Shabby White Paint for Farmhouse Floating Shelves

Want that shabby chic, farmhouse white finish? Our shabby white paint option is the way to go! Starting with a gray base coat, then white on top, light sanding allows the gray to peek through the overall white color, adding interest and dimension. Not too shabby 😉

Shabby white shelves set of eight installed on either side of fireplace decorated for valentine's day

Large shabby white painted shelf above a coffee bar with industrial pipe bracket supports on peach colored wall


Two shabby white thick pine box shelves installed on a light medium tan wall with candles flowers and small decor

Matching Current Stain or Custom Finishes for Solid Wood Shelves

Not seeing quite the right stain color? Or unsure of what color would be best for your space? Contact us to discuss custom stain options, or snap and send a few photos of the area. We’ll work together to find a finish that complements the room best.


burnt orange contact us button to message or call about stain colors for your shelving purchase



Swatches of Stain Colors on All the Wood Types for Floating Shelves

Most of our shelves will have a clear, water-based, polycrylic, Satin top coat painted on them after the stain has dried.

But there are a few wood types we prefer not to stain, and other shelves that get an oil finish, instead.

Click here to dive deeper into our finishing process, and see a comparison of all of our stain colors on all of the different wood types we offer.

 Every J Thomas Home standard stain color across all of the wood types comparison shot

 What Size Shelf Should I Order?

If you are wondering what is the best size of floating shelf to order for your space, grab your tape measure!

While we custom-cut each shelf and can make other sizes, there are five standard depths to choose from (in inches). Depth is the distance the shelf will come out from the wall.

  • 4
  • 5.25
  • 7.25
  • 9.25
  • 11.25

We offer seven standard lengths to choose from (in inches). Length is the distance left to right the wood shelves will cover on the wall:

  • 12
  • 18
  • 24
  • 30
  • 34 or 36
  • 40
  • 46* or 47*

Both the location of where the floating shelves will be hung and what will be stored on the wooden shelving should be considered.

Location of Floating Shelves

Are you installing open kitchen shelves in place of upper cabinets? Or ledge photo shelves in a hallway? Consider the location of your floating shelves for how far out from the wall the shelves will extend. For example, a narrower towel bar shelving set above the toilet – 5.25”D or 7.25”D – is best so the shelves are not bumped into when the facilities are… in use 😉

two floating wooden wall shelves installed on a white kitchen next to a white farmhouse sink with pink flowers soaking

photo gallery ledge shelf down hallway pecan medium brown

set of two shelves with industrial pipe towel bar above a toilet 5.25" deep out from the wall

What Will Be Stored on the Floating Shelves?

Do you already have an idea of what you’ll be storing or displaying on these floating shelves? If so, measure those items to make sure you purchase a shelf large enough for those pieces.

  • 4”D – 5.25”D:   picture frames, candles, wash cloths
  • 7.25”D – 9.25”D:   books, plants, hand towels
  • 10”D – 11.25”D:  dinner plates, full bath towels

More Shelf Size Tips

Want a (free!) bonus tip for finding the best-sized shelf for your space (before poking any holes in your wall!!)? Click here to read our blog post all about What Size Shelf Should I Order, with a handy hack at the end!

narrow hidden bracket shelves light stain installed over tile in kitchen with plants small dishes and decor styled on them

narrow hidden bracket shelves brown stain installed over couch in family room living room with plants candles and small decor styled on them
floating shelf desk with wooden folding chair in front of it

Lead Time for Handmade Wooden Shelves

You’ve done your research. You’ve picked out your wood type, stain color, and the perfectly-sized shelves, and placed your order.

Now what?

Good Things Take Time

Your shelves will be shipped to you as soon as possible via UPS Ground.

We do process all of our orders in the order we receive them, so there are a few folks who are excited for us to finish up their floating shelves, first.

Again, these shelves are all custom-made, upon order. We do not have any pre-made shelves already cut and stained, ready to ship out. There are just too many wood types, stain color, and size options for us to pre-make them ahead of time.

Most of our shelves will take 10-15 business days from your order date to have ready for shipment, but a few take only five to 10 business days.

All-in, your shelves will arrive between three to four weeks from your order date, at the latest. Thank you for your patience for these high-quality, handmade, custom solid wood shelves.

Pine Wood Shelves: Five to 10 Business Days

Any of our pine shelves are on a five to 10 business-day processing time. This includes:

Premium Wood Shelves: 10-15 Business Days

Shelves made from any other type of wood, other than pine, take our team 10 to 15 business days to make. This includes:

Shipping Custom-made Floating Shelves

Once your order is boxed and ready for shipment, most orders ship FREE!* via UPS Ground shipping, leaving our woodshop in Kansas City (Olathe), and usually arriving at your door within three to four days.


two light tan pine thick box shelves installed over shiplap in white kitchen

two alder shelves stained special walnut installed over white subway tile in kitchen offset from gray cabinets with gold rectangular pulls

 How To Install Floating Shelves

When your shelving arrives, now it’s time for install. Not very handy? No problem. We include the hardware you need to install your wood shelves, and have a helpful and quick video installation guide to walk you through the process. No professionals required. YOU CAN DO IT!

Written Instructions and Video Instructions

Grab your phone and scan the QR code on the back of the Thank You card included with your order. You’ll be directed to our installation instructions page on our website.

The video links are quick and simple instructions that are easy to follow.

For more details, click the blue links on the page for thorough step-by-step written instructions.

Or, use both!

Final Thoughts on Purchasing Custom Floating Shelves – Common Questions

Floating shelving is a wonderful investment you can make for your home or business. Solid wooden shelves can be a focal point of a newly remodeled kitchen, provide storage in a small bathroom, or create space to display awards, artwork, books, or photos of beloved family and friends.

These treasured items need to be kept safe! And we want you to be confident in your shelving purchase.

  • Our shelves are sturdy, and with proper install, can easily support 40-50 pounds each.
  • These floating shelves can also be installed over tile.
  • Our installation bracket is designed to help you align with studs in your wall most-every time!
  • We have not experienced delays in deadlines due to Covid and are shipping orders on time.

Please review more answers to common questions like this in our Frequently Asked Questions page, or feel free to contact us directly.

J Thomas Home Shelf Reviews

We understand purchasing floating shelving online can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of companies selling a lot of different style of wooden shelves. And add in all of the different types of wood, with several stain colors for each one (plus computer screens…), and picking out the perfect shelves can quickly feel confusing.

At J Thomas Home, shelves are what we started with back in 2016 in our garage. Since then, we’ve made over 1 million shelves! There is a J Thomas Home shelf in every state in the US (plus Canada, Puerto Rico, and Hong Kong!!).

We have both award-winning products and customer service, including earning Etsy’s first-ever Star Seller Badge that requires +95% proficiency in orders shipped on time, 24-hour response rate for all initial incoming questions, and five-star reviews (the highest possible rating).

Please peruse our over 6,000 five-star reviews between Google, Etsy, Amazon, and J Thomas Home.

We’re a trusted company backed by experience and a highly-skilled team.


About J Thomas Home

josh and emily owners of j thomas home standing in front of their shop sign

J Thomas Home started in our two-car garage in 2016. Newly-weds Josh and Emily began making and selling shelves, starting at 4am before their “real jobs,” and finishing late into the evening hours after work, plus every weekend. After going all-in, we’ve purchased a wood shop and shipping facility here in Olathe, KS (a suburb of Kansas City), and employ a small, but mighty team of craftsmen (and women) who daily cut, sand, stain, and ship orders to every state in America.

You can find our shelving available in our Etsy Shop, Amazon Handmade, and our very own J Thomas Home website.

For local Kansas City residents and businesses, we also create solid wood furniture, and semi-custom and custom cabinetry.

Visit our website to schedule an appointment in our showroom today! Or follow us on any of our social platforms:


*Since Covid, we’ve capped our shelves lengths to 47”L and under for pine and 46”L for all other wood types.

*Orders on our Etsy shop ship free at over $35. Orders on our J Thomas Home site ship free over $99.

*Orders ship free within the contiguous United States. Alaska, Hawaii, APO, and international orders require additional shipping costs. Please contact us for a quote prior to purchase.

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