Why buy floating shelves?
Like regular shelves, floating shelves can hold and display many different items. You can use them as spice racks in the kitchen, as places to keep extra toiletries on hand in the bathroom, as makeshift bookshelves, as display places for novelty mug collections, houseplants, or framed photos—the possibilities are nearly limitless.
The nice thing about floating shelves is that they add more display and storage to your home without taking up extra floor space. Sure, you can buy a new cabinet or bookshelf for your home, but if you have limited available floor space, you may not have the room for more furniture. Since floating shelves are installed right onto the wall, they give you the space you need without cluttering the room’s layout. Plus, you can arrange them on the same wall, on different walls in the same room, or in several different rooms altogether.
What should you look for in floating shelves?
- Quantity: How many extra shelves do you want or need for your home? Will one single shelf be enough, or do you need more? Sets of two, three, and four floating shelves are the most common; if you need more than four shelves, you may have to invest in multiple sets. Individual shelves are harder to find, at least in the standard horizontal shelf design.
- Size: Be sure to check the length, height, and depth of the floating shelves you’re considering; they won’t do you any good if they’re too long for the stretch of wall you want to install them on or if they aren’t deep enough to hold your belongings. Don’t forget to check the max weight capacity of the floating shelves, either.
- wood is the most common material for floating shelves. It’s almost as durable as metal, not as heavy, matches more interior decor styles, and can be painted whatever color you want. Engineered wood is pretty common since it doesn’t weigh as much as natural wood. However, real hardwood is more robust and has a higher weight capacity; oak, pine, maple, and walnut are all good options. If you want greater durability, stability, and weight capacity, look for wooden shelves reinforced with metal. Material: Whether real or engineered,
Are there any other factors worth considering in floating shelves?
There are several other valuable features to keep in mind when shopping for floating shelves. For instance, consider the design and shape of the shelves. While simple horizontal shelves are the standard, there are other options. For example, some floating shelves are meant to fit into corners. Honeycomb and geometric-shaped floating shelves are fairly common, too.
Another factor worth keeping in mind is the shelves’ weight capacity. Weight capacity is crucial since it helps determine how many and what kinds of objects the shelves can support. Be sure to look for a floating shelf’s maximum weight capacity in the product listing or description. And if it comes as a set, double-check if that weight capacity means that the shelves can support, say, 25 pounds each or 25 pounds as a whole, as this is a small but key difference.
Finally, you may want to keep an eye out for floating shelves with some bonus features that may come in handy around the house. For instance, some models have safety bars on the sides to prevent your items from falling off if jostled. Other bonus features you can look out for are towel racks or hanging hooks along the bottom.
Willow & Grace Floating Shelves
This pair of classic wooden floating shelves will look great with almost any home decor style.
Pros: A lot of floating shelves are MDF or engineered wood, but not this pair. They’re made out of 100% real, solid pinewood, which is much stronger. This allows for a weight capacity of about 40 pounds each. Yet the solid wood composition doesn’t weigh them down, as these shelves weigh just over 3 pounds each. They’re also equipped with a special smart bracket mounting system that ensures the shelves sit flush up against the wall. The simple rustic style will work with mid-century modern and farmhouse decor, and the shelves come in six colors. There are also two alternate size options and a three-shelf option. Note that both shelves are the same size unless you buy the trio, in which case all three shelves are different sizes.
Cons: These floating shelves are a bit more expensive than most. They may not be deep enough for items like large plant pots or thick books like dictionaries unless you’re willing to pay for the longer, deeper version, which is even pricier. Some buyers also had issues with the mounting hardware, so you may end up needing to buy extra brackets or drywall anchor-style hardware for more support.
Bottom Line: These are great, functional, and sturdy shelves. Though not quite thick enough for super bulky items, they’re strong for their size and are made of durable, authentic materials. And thanks to their range of color options and rustic yet modern style, these floating shelves should look great in pretty much any room and decor style.
Melannco Floating Wall Shelves
Understated yet elegant, these contemporary floating shelves come in four different sizes.
Pros: Thanks to their simple, understated design, these floating shelves won’t go out of style. Your living space and style may change, but these shelves will still blend in. It’s fortunate they’re so timeless because the shelves are both tall and deep, providing plenty of room for all sorts of different items. All the hardware, screws, anchors, and instructions you need for installation are provided with your purchase, including a level that makes it easier to hang the shelves evenly. This adds further value to a set of four shelves in four different sizes that is already quite affordable.
Cons: Handy as they are, these floating shelves are made of MDF rather than real wood, so they’re not as tough or sturdy as they could be. Be careful about testing their weight capacity. Also note that the paint is a bit thin and may chip, so they’ll probably require occasional touch-ups.
Bottom Line: Not all home furnishings need to be detailed and intricate. Sometimes you just want something simple yet effective that gets the job done without much fuss. These floating shelves fall into that category. They’ll blend in seamlessly with pretty much any home, especially if you have crown molding inside. Just be careful not to place anything too heavy on top of them.
Love-KANKEI Corner Shelf Wall Mount
Make the most of every inch of available wall space with this unique corner floating shelf unit.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about this corner floating shelf unit, not the least of which is its unique, attractive look. The finished wood looks in each of the six color options. The leaf-patterned, anti-rust metal between each of the five tiers reinforces the shelf while adding more decoration. Since this shelf is tall, vertical, and designed to fit into corners, it’s very space-efficient, allowing you to utilize and harness space that often gets overlooked and goes unused. And it has a nice weight capacity, supporting up to 44 pounds (5.5 pounds per tier).
Cons: While this is an undeniably space-efficient floating shelf, the individual tiers aren’t very wide. This does limit the number and kind of items you can stash on them. And while this shelf isn’t crazy expensive, it does cost a little more than classic horizontal floating shelves. You may also find it a bit trickier to install.
Bottom Line: Corners are often overlooked as a place to put shelving, but thanks to this attractive floating shelf designed specifically for corners, you can easily fill in those awkward gaps with some decorative items. Its narrow tiers and wood and metal design make it an especially great choice for a space-efficient spice rack in the kitchen or for displaying small pictures and plants in studio apartments where space is held especially dear.
Greenco Decorative Cube Floating Shelves
These geometric floating shelves make a unique accent piece while providing plenty of shelf space.
Pros: Unlike most floating shelves, this geometric model made up of overlapping squares is available in several color options. They make for a great statement piece. It’s very easy to put them together; the squares come fully assembled, so all you have to do is place them together in the clearly marked, pre-cut slots in the back. The holes are also pre-drilled for your convenience. And if you currently live in a rental home where you aren’t allowed to drill holes in the wall, you’re in luck—this floating shelf is lightweight enough to hang with Command strips.
Cons: This is another model that is a single shelf rather than a set of individual ones. This may suit some needs just fine, but if you want to add several floating shelves to two or more different rooms in your home, you’ll have to look elsewhere. And the reason this shelf is so lightweight is that it’s made of engineered wood rather than hardwood. Thus it’s not as strong, scratches easier, and doesn’t have a listed weight capacity, so you’ll have to be careful about what you place on it.
Bottom Line: If you have a big wall space to fill, want some eye-catching shelves, or have a retro-style home, this geometric floating shelf unit will suit your needs well. Thanks to the four interlocking squares of different sizes, you can fit items large and small on them. And since it can be hung with Command strips, it’s perfect for those who don’t want to drill holes in their walls.
ZGO Floating Shelves with Metal Frame and Towel Rack
Perfect for bathrooms and kitchens, these floating shelves feature protective guards and a hanging rack.
Pros: These floating shelves come with two handy bonus features. One shelf has a convenient towel rack along the bottom edge, and both are equipped with metal guardrails that better secure your decorations or items. If the shelves are jostled by accident, your spices, toiletries, etc., won’t go tumbling to the ground. The shelves themselves are made out of real pinewood, one of the best hardwood options for shelving since it’s solid and durable. And they’re available in eight possible color combinations, so you can better match the wood and metal to your bathroom or room of choice.
Cons: While all the hardware and instructions you need for mounting are included with your purchase, you may still want to invest in a more secure set of wall anchors. The ones that come included are reported as being a bit flimsy and finicky. Also note that the towel bar requires separate installation, and you will need an electric drill in order to mount these shelves properly.
Bottom Line: While you can hang these floating shelves in any room you want, they’re an especially great choice for the bathroom or kitchen, thanks to the built-in towel rack. You can hang towels or washcloths over the rack and then mount the shelves wherever it’ll be most convenient. Or you can hang hooks from the rack and use them for mugs or multiple smaller towels. The guardrails are an added bonus in high-traffic areas of the home, too, since they keep your belongings from falling off.
Floating shelves can make an excellent addition to just about any home, from tiny studio apartments to large-scale mansions. Whether you’re looking for a new place to display your new plants, show off souvenirs from family vacations, or simply add more storage space, floating shelves are a versatile and functional home furnishing worth considering.