Ben Kuhl - April 4 2022

Designing a Perfect Space with Floating Shelves

It’s an easy choice to go with floating shelves for your home decor. They’re just right in almost all areas, they don’t take up a lot of extra space, they look amazing, and they produce virtually no clutter. What’s not to love about floating shelves? But now that you have them (or are planning on getting a few), what should you do to make the most of them? 

White shelves on white wall

Image credit: Kei Scampa

We've seen our floating shelves used in a lot of different ways by people with unique styles all of their own. The shelves can work as an excellent design element and really add something extra. Below are some of our favorite methods for incorporating floating shelves into a space. Let them guide you in creating your own custom look. 

Display Art

Wall shelves are great for storing away things that would end up covering tables, stacked on the floor, or forgotten about at the back of cabinets and closets. But that’s not the only thing they’re good for. Highlight recent artwork of a child in their room, display your favorite paintings, or have your own personal exhibit of pottery and sculptures right where guests can see them. 

Floating Shelves

Image credit: Pavel Danilyuk

Handmade floating shelves are works of art that also act as an excellent choice for displaying art without the constraint and hassle of each item needing to be hung on the wall. This is especially helpful if you have a mix of articles or like to rotate through art pieces, change things up now and then, or display different items depending on the season. With smooth edge floating shelves, it’s as simple as placing items exactly where you want them and where they look the best. 

Fill The Space

Hanging a wall shelf can help to fill an otherwise blank wall. Space them apart evenly or unevenly to break up and fill an empty wall. Shelving units can work as a design element that brings energy into a room and makes it feel more like a home. 

Shwlf

Image credit: Mehak P. via Shelf Expression

An organized space can feel super organized and professional with white oak shelves that are lined up perfectly.  In contrast, a bedroom, living room, or kitchen can feel more comfortably chaotic and unique with an uneven spacing of maple shelves

Make it unique

As we know, there is no rule that every floating shelf has to be the same distance apart or that they all have to be placed in neat rows. The same thing holds true when it comes to the size and depth of shelves. Mix things up a bit to create something that is truly your own. 

Use different size shelves along with different spacing to create a unique and custom-created area that feels anything but predictable. Also, keep in mind that there are many great options for stain color as well as the type of wood a shelf can be made of. Walnut shelves will make any area feel richer and give it more depth, while pine or cherry wood will bring a feeling of airiness and color into a room.  Make it unique. Make it your own. 

Shepf

Image credit: Shelf Expression

Window Shelves

Shelves aren’t just for walls! Floating shelves can be installed across windows for a unique look that is popular in kitchens but can work amazingly in other rooms as well. The shelves make an excellent place to place plants for extra light, glass and crystal objects to capture the sunlight, and other items that look and do their best in natural lighting. 

Window Floating Shelves

Image credit: Décor Pad via Pinterest

Don’t skip out on considering this possibility. It’s an often-forgotten area where traditional shelving fails, but floating shelves rule.  

Media center shelves

A media center can take up a lot of space and weigh down the feel of a room. Floating shelves can break up that same space and cover more area with all the functionality of a traditional media center plus some. In addition, everything can go at the level it works best at - and if you need more shelving, just add it! 

Media Center Floating Shelves

Image credit: Karen H. via Shelf Expression

One of the best parts is that the shelving can be custom installed based on your needs, with deeper shelving for larger items such as speakers. With Hovr brackets, floating shelves can hold an astounding amount of weight, so even heavier equipment won’t be a problem. Get wood shelves with a wood stain that contrasts with the wall to help it stand apart from the room for an added bit of emphasis that will really make it pop. 

Floating Nightstands

Skip the nightstand and go for hanging shelves instead. The floating design creates a more modern effect. The shelves create an effect that frames a bed nicely if two are used. They also give you as much or as little space as you might need to keep things uncluttered while still useful and easily accessible. If one shelf is enough, keep it simple. Otherwise, consider additional shelves above or below the main one to provide extra space for items such as plants and spare pillows. 

Floating Nightstand

Image credit: Wit & Delight via Pinterest

Make use of corners

One of the great things about floating shelves is that they can fill a corner space without looking messy or stacked together. Get the use of two walls plus the corner without creating a cluttered eyesore. Instead, the shelves naturally flow to take advantage of the space. 

Floating Corner Shelves

Image credit: Janet R. via Shelf Expression

One of the great things about floating shelves is that they can fill a corner space without looking messy or stacked together. Get the use of two walls plus the corner without creating a cluttered eyesore. Instead, the shelves naturally flow to take advantage of the space. 

If you would like the shelves to line up, installation is as simple as measuring to make sure the shelves on both walls are placed at the same height and snuggly against each other where they meet. It only takes a measuring tape, a pencil, and a level to get it right. Or go with a staggered look…

Floating Corner Shelf

Image credit: Marco M. via Shelf Expression

Use The Underside, Too

It makes sense to place things on a shelf. After all, that’s what they’re there for. But don’t forget about the underside as well. Adding a few well-placed hooks or hardware underneath can double the use of a shelf while creating an interesting design element to a room.  Hang artwork, plants, cups, cooking utensils, or any of a variety of other items. Your imagination is the only limit. 
Hang artwork, plants, cups, cooking utensils, or any of a variety of other items. Your imagination is the only limit. 

Floating walnut Shelf with gongs

Image credit: Shelf Expression via Facebook

Hallway Shelves

Hallways are often forgotten when thinking about interior design, but they’re useful for more than hanging one photo and forgetting about it. Run a long shelf along the length of a hall or a short one at the end of a hall, and you’ll have a utilizable space for displaying and keeping books, knickknacks, photos, keys, plants, and anything else you can think of. 

Fill Up Spaces With Shelves

This can be a great solution for the wall beneath stairs, in small spaces or alcoves, or in bathrooms and closets. For unusually shaped spots, choose shelves of different lengths to fit. For small spaces, run shelves from wall to wall to create the impression of recessed shelving. 

Walnut floating shelf

Image credit: Shelf Expression

Change The Shape

Don’t settle for the ordinary. With custom options, shelving can be created to fit the space that you need to fill. Triangle shelving looks great in a corner and will never get in the way. Shallow shelving can work perfectly in a small space or when small items need to be displayed. Box-shaped shelves can keep bulkier items from falling over and keep everything neatly contained while creating a unique look for a room. 

Skinny floating shelf with bird

Image credit: Shelf Expression

Floating shelves offer a great opportunity not just to get a home organized, but also to add an extra design element to a space without the need for more stuff. It solves two problems simultaneously – where to put things and how to make a space really stand out to leave a lasting impression. There aren’t many other things that can do that. 

Hi, I’m Ben! I’m a woodworker, shelf creator, stain matcher, and general DIYer who blogs about all things woodworking and current custom floating shelf design trends.  I'll even try my hand at non-shelf topics.  Anyone can be an expert these days as long as they sound authoritative, right?  I may even add some humor here and there (my wife thinks I'm funny, sometimes).  Here's my story:  Learn more.

@shelfexpressionnc

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Black heavy duty floating shelves with flower
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Black heavy duty floating shelves with flower
Black Floating Shelves With Heavy Duty Hidden Bracket
Black heavy duty floating shelves with flower
Black heavy duty floating shelves with flower
Black Floating Shelves With Heavy Duty Hidden Bracket
Black heavy duty floating shelves with flower
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Live Edge Walnut Custom Floating Shelves With Heavy Duty Hidden Bracket

$82.00