Ideas for Floating Shelves

Floating shelves, installed with concealed brackets, supply streamlined storage and display surfaces that update underused walls. Hang them wherever you want to stow necessities or stage exhibits of favorite finds and artworks.

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  • Artistically Align

    Hang floating shelves high and low to carry attention from floor to ceiling and around a room. These simple shelves subtly mimic the mantel beam's line and shape while beautifully filling a void with striking structures that showcase a vibrantly eclectic display of way-cool collectibles and abstract artwork.

  • Draw the Eye

    Give those who are passing through hallways something worth observing. Hang a long shelf deep enough to hold propped-up family photos and colorful artworks but shallow enough that the shelf won't intrude too far into the passageway. Look for ledgelike shelves that feature routed grooves designed for keeping propped items steady and in place. In passageways, go with narrow shelves so they are less likely to be bumped into.

  • Open Shelves for Pantries

    Beyond just display, floating shelves have a practical application, too. See why they work so well for pantry storage and why you should use them in your own pantry.

  • Build an Office Anywhere

    Move in a sturdy desk and a cushy chair, and you've got the makings for a functioning office. But hang some floating shelves and your operations are sure to run more efficiently. At this artist's workstation, shelves hold books, artworks, and other items meant to inspire creativity. If you plan on tackling less esoteric pursuits, outfit the shelves with baskets and organizers to hold office supplies and paperwork. 

  • Floating Above

    Floating shelves installed above nightstands, desktops, and bathroom countertops let you store bedtime, workday, and daily necessities close at hand while preventing surfaces below from becoming cluttered.

  • Extended Interest

    Floating shelves offer decorators plenty of accessorizing options. The shelves can stand alone, be grouped or stacked, or as seen here, be used to expand on a wall-hung art exhibit. Placed below and to the side, the shelves give the homeowners space to display more items and to stage complementary temporary exhibits that can be switched on a whim.

  • Shape Serving Stations

    Not only do floating shelves allow you to supplement kitchen storage, they let you place things exactly where they're needed most. In this off-the-kitchen service area, thick shelves stack-up as grab-and-go storage that holds everyday dishes, glasses, and serving pieces close to the eating area and a stretch of countertop that doubles as a buffet.  

  • Fashionably Fill Recesses

    Create the look of built-in bookcases by equipping alcoves, niches, and bays with floating shelves that span the recess's back wall. Consider proportion when selecting shelves. Large and deep recesses call for thick shelves finished in a high-impact hue that visually advances the shelves. Use slimmer wood, metal, or glass shelves to outfit shallow, narrow niches.

  • Dress Windows

    Stretch your storage and display abilities by outfitting a kitchen window's upper reaches with a pair of floating shelves. Paint or finish the shelves to match adjacent cabinets so the shelves recede to let your backlit displays take center stage. Use the shelves to hold decorative and often-used items that take up more than their fair share of cabinet space. 

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    Channel Creativity

    Use floating shelves to form a customized media center that fits your entertainment needs and equipment to a T. First make a list of the things you want to display and store on the shelves; measure the height and depth of all objects so you can select the proper size of shelves and space them accordingly. Use weight-appropriate wall anchors to ensure shelves don't tumble and destroy expensive gear. 

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    Go Euro

    Wrap a kitchen corner with white-painted or natural-finish wood shelves to shape European-style storage. Unlike solid-door cabinets, the open shelves keep kitchens from feeling top-heavy while still supplying generous storage for pantry staples and dishware. Take it up a notch by choosing shelves with beveled edges, decorative details, or crown-molding forms. 

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    Strategic Storage

    No matter the room, properly placed floating shelves make life easier. Set those used for storage within arm's reach of a desk chair or locate them so they can be accessed by someone in a standing position. Unlike storage cabinets or very deep shelves, which can become a muddled mess because items in the forefront hide items in the back, floating shelves allow you to immediately see and access what you need. 

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    Showcase Staples

    Floating shelves are ideally suited for showing off attractively shaped and labeled ingredients as well as glass jars filled with spices, rice, flour, sugar, coffee beans, and tea bags. Incorporate kitchen-related artwork, cookbooks, and pretty dishes to create displays that charmingly pay tribute to activities taking place in a favorite family gathering space. 

  • Next Slideshow Tips for Arranging, Organizing, and Decorating Bookshelves

    Tips for Arranging, Organizing, and Decorating Bookshelves

    Bookshelves do double duty as storage space for books and display space for accessories. Learn how to decorate bookshelves so they are both fully functional and pleasing to the eye.
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