When to Use MDF vs Solid Wood

One of my most asked questions is, “hey, what material did you use to build the….”. So today I am breaking down all the basics of MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard vs solid wood). I am going to go through each one, the benefits of each option, where it’s most often used, and which I’ve used in my projects. Ready to become material experts? Heck yes!

Solid Wood

About Wood: First, you can always build with solid wood. This is a good choice if it’s something you want to stain, or want the real wood look.

Solid wood can include knots and imperfections. The boards may not be perfectly straight and they can contract or warp a little overtime. It’s also more expensive.

*Fingerjoint pine is another form of wood I sometimes use that is wood pieces spliced together to form a longer piece.

*Plywood is another form and is made up of sheets of wood veneer glued together into one solid piece. It comes in different grades and can be stained, but the edges are unfinished and can easily splinter.

Fingerjoint pine for wall stripes, solid wood for floating shelves, MDF for baseboards and window trim

MDF or Medium-Density Fiberboard

MDF is made up of wood! It’s actually recycled wood so it is also beneficial for the environment. To make MDF, the manufacturers take the scraps of wood leftover from the production of wood boards and beams that might normally end up burned or in a landfill, and turn it into MDF by adding glue and heat/pressure. Here is some more information about MDF.


-The result is a board that is smooth throughout with no knots or imperfections to worry about.

-It’s great for painting since the boards are perfectly smooth.

-MDF is very consistent throughout, so cut edges appear smooth and you can use router to get decorative edges.

-MDF is less expensive than solid wood and plywood.

Where it’s used:

MDF is used in so many spaces in our homes. You can find it in cabinets, furniture, moulding/trim work, door parts, and store fixtures.

What projects have I used MDF?

Remember those primed and smooth shiplap boards I used in the fireplace area? I used MDF here because I wanted a smooth modern look with no knots, and they were more affordable than solid wood.

I am currently trimming out my stairs in MDF. I looked at some solid wood options, but there were imperfections and I needed my boards to be perfectly straight. Also my boards came with a slight rounded edge so I didn’t even need to buy a router.

My barn door is made of a 3/4 MDF sheet and topped with MDF boards. I wanted it perfectly smooth and didn’t want it to warp over time.

Build a Modern Barn Door

My window trim and baseboards are also MDF

*If you plan to use MDF in areas with moisture (like bathrooms or around sinks) you can source moisture-resistant MDF, but just make sure you prime and paint all edges so there is a barrier the water can’t get through.

I hope that was helpful! Now go build something! Tune into @angelarosehome for more tutorials and projects.

Continue Reading

Fall Favorites Round Up to Make Your Home Cozy

This post is sponsored by Walmart.

Fall is officially here which in my mind equals cozy. I figured it was time to cozy-up our under the stairs closet playroom. Check out below to see how to add some cozy fall favorites, and the cool lights I added that change any space into magic!

How to add Fall in 3 easy steps

Continue Reading

How to Paint Your Tile Floor

This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum

Are you ready to see the craziest floor transformation…and just with paint? Everyone has boring beige tile somewhere in their house, or maybe just some linoleum or vinyl that isn’t your favorite? It’s time to change that with my all time favorite DIY tool…paint! Check out this before and after and tutorial so you can learn how to paint your tile (or any floor really) with paint too.

Continue Reading

Affordable Neutral Rug Round Up

This post is sponsored by Walmart.

Nothing quite completes a space like an area rug. It can make a room feel instantly finished, and bring a whole space together. So today I have rounded up some favorite affordable neutral rugs that would look good in any space!

Top Three Rug Questions:

I have carpet all over my house. Can I still use a rug? The answer to this question is a resounding YES!!! Rugs are an amazing tool over carpet and serve many functions beyond just being pretty! They can help protect the permanent flooring, OR they can mask carpet that may not be your favorite but isn’t the budget to replace. If you have a bedroom or living room and thought that you weren’t able to put a rug down…GO FOR IT!

Continue Reading

Update Old Furniture with Chalk Paint (and caning)

This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum

Who else is like me and has an old piece of furniture in a forgotten corner of the garage? That is the story of my sad nightstand. I have been wanting to work on my daughter’s room, but haven’t had a budget for it. But right as I was just about to donate this nightstand, I thought of the cutest affordable idea to transform it for her room! You are going to love this chalk paint PLUS caning transformation. Ready to see?

Continue Reading