Chrome-plated wire shelving is lightweight, durable and promotes air circulation, while wooden shelves are attractive, economical and easy to build. Chrome-plated shelving often leaves permanent marks on items. Wooden shelves emit harmful substances that can damage books and require sealant as a precaution.
Chrome-plated wire shelving is functional and strong, but some decorators consider the shelving to lack decorative appeal. Storage items should be placed in boxes to prevent the shelving from leaving marks on them. Alternatively, the shelves should be lined with a plastic or wooden insert to create a hard surface.
Decorators praise wooden shelves for their appearance, which can add a rustic quality to a room. However, wooden shelves,and those made with wood composites emit harmful fumes and acids, particularly when first constructed. Though the emissions diminish over time, wooden shelves emit harmful substances throughout the life of the product. Pine and oak release particularly harmful emissions.
Sealing wooden shelves with a water-based polyurethane sealant can slow their emissions. Paint is also effective at sealing wood shelves and is a good option when there is no need to retain the visual character of the wood. Using liners with wooden shelves when storing items can also protect items. Glass, metal and plexiglass liners are suitable lining materials for wooden shelves.