10 Cool Ideas for Floating Shelves

Add floating shelves to a room to bolster an artful display or save precious space

Jess Chamberlain
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Keep it simple

Especially in the bedroom, minimize your shelf contents to maintain a peaceful vibe. Display small family photos and decorative objects. Group personal items (i.e., jewelry you take off before bed) on a tray or in a ceramic bowl.

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Think inside the box

In this snug living room, crates climb the wall as mini library, saving the floor space of a traditional bookshelf unit. Arranged with adjacent art and organized by book spine color, the gallery display feels artful.

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Create a still life

Set up an artful library by mingling books with decorative objects and found treasures. Keep heavier items on lower shelves for visual balance.

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Design with books

For open shelving without side walls, stack books horizontally. Group by subject or color and add objects or vases to bring a decorative touch to your little library.

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Insert a pop of color

Brighten up a nook by painting the walls and open shelves a bright color. Display objects in the same palette. Here, a persimmon-colored wall and shelves are a canvas for brown and orange hued accessories.

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Put things out in the open

In lieu of upper cupboards, this kitchen displays dishware as art. This way, items are within view—and within reach—so guests can help themselves. Besides, why would you want to hide that beautiful glassware?

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Get a window treatment

When kitchen space is cramped, you can put a floating shelf in front of a window. Store frequently-used cooking ingredients like flours and grains in glass jars for easy access. (Plus, this saves counter space.) Paint the shelf the same color as the window trim for visual fluidity.

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Keep it casual

Not ready to commit to holes-in-the-wall shelving? Prop art and objects on a stool or bench, flush against a wall, as a makeshift shelf.

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Provide shelf help

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Especially in small bathrooms where space is at a premium, use floating storage shelves to organize lightweight items like towels and soap.

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Control clutter

There's never enough space in a mudroom, so make those walls work hard for you. Wrangle like items (games, art supplies, sporting equipment) into organized labeled bins.