Customizable and versatile, floating shelves allow you to display your favorite items (or household necessities) in a unique way. They have many uses, from storing a variety of items—like plants or treasures from your travels—to doubling as a mini bar during dinner parties.
“Their inherent appeal lies in their minimalist aesthetic, flexibility in positioning, and their unique ability to open up the space, creating a clean, uncluttered look,” explains Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York City.
It’s important to consider both function and location when browsing different floating shelf options, Kropovinsky says. The shelf you use to store plates in your kitchen won’t be the same one you buy to show off family photos in the living room. We’ve rounded up the best floating shelves from a wide range of retailers based on materials, size, and more to get you started.
This set of two floating shelves from Gracie Oaks is made with reclaimed wood that’s been naturally distressed to create a more “worn-in” aesthetic. Customers can keep the wood raw or choose a black or white finish, all of which provide a warm, rustic appearance. We also love that these shelves, which are handcrafted, come in a variety of sizes (more than 10) to accommodate your exact vision.
You’ll need a drill and a screwdriver for installation, but the process is relatively easy. Though they look delicate, the shelves can hold up to 40 pounds each (that’s approximately 8 hardcover books, or 10 or more picture frames!). That makes it one of the highest-capacity shelves on our list, and it allows you to mix and match items with varying weights. Because of the reclaimed wood construction, your shelves may differ slightly from the product photos online in texture and hue. However, we think this detail only adds to their character!
Wallniture Nursery Room Wood Floating Wall Shelves
With Wallniture’s Nursery Room Wood Floating Shelves, you can put your little one’s wide board books on display or easily stash small stuffed animals, framed photos, and other nursery items within reach. The set is made with durable wood and has a relatively straightforward installation process, though you will need a drill to properly secure the wall anchors.
While designed for a nursery, these shelves’ slim profile and small size make them pretty versatile. Use them in the kitchen for spices, in the bathroom for medicine cabinet overflow, or anywhere else you need a narrow shelf. One downside to the set is that it only comes in a single color and size, but the white works well with most paint colors and aesthetics.
Ebern Designs River Ridge 6-Piece Metal Floating Shelf
Featuring a white or black finish, these metal modern shelves are so thin they nearly disappear, creating the illusion that your books are affixed to the wall. All six in the set can hold between 15 and 25 pounds, depending on the installation method you choose, so you’ll be able to display a good amount of books—just be careful not to overdue it and exceed the weight capacity of each shelf, as the metal bottom can bend or bow.
The shelves do lend themselves to a variety of different hanging configurations, meaning you can try out some clever floating shelf ideas. They’re also easy to install; a drill isn’t required, nor do you need to mount the shelves on a stud. While we do wish they came in more sizes, the size offered certainly makes an impact.
Sorbus Large Wall Mount Floating Shelf
These shelves from Sorbus are made with faux wood and can be purchased in a white, black, or natural finish. We recommend them for living rooms due to their simple design, which blends in seamlessly with most decor styles. The two shelves can be configured a few different ways, like stacked or side-by-side. Thanks to the shelves’ water-resistant exterior, these could also work well in bathrooms, where it tends to get a little, well, damp.
While these shelves are relatively easy to install, they do require a drill; however, beyond the drill and drill bit, the rest of the mounting hardware you’ll need is included.
Danya B Pristine Glass Floating Shelves
If you’re short on space in the bathroom, or simply need to store more items within arm’s reach, this set of two floating shelves from Danya B fits the bill. They’re available in two shades, clear or black, as well as two designs: a simple rectangle or a quarter circle that’s meant to be mounted in a corner. We like that the shelves are made from tempered glass (also known as safety glass), meaning the glass is heat-treated and will break into tiny pieces held within the frame rather than shatter if it ever falls. Glass is especially ideal for bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and won’t get damaged in damp environments.
The shelves can’t support a lot of weight (only up to six pounds), but it’s enough to carry bathroom staples such as rolled washcloths and jars of cotton balls, Q-tips, and the like. Installation is simple, with just a single screw required for each bracket. However, the brackets are a bit bulky compared to the sleekness of the shelves. They do, however, allow the shelf to sit flush against the wall.
- Maple Wood Floating Shelves for Wall Set Of 2: Display charming showpieces, Trophies, Photo Frames, decorative items, and other prized possessions while offering functional storage with the wooden floating shelves by Sorbus – Enhance home decor, bathroom decor, living room decor, and fill in empty wall space above a desk, fireplace, entryway, vanity, between windows, and so much more – Each floating shelf Measures approximately 23.75″ L X 9.25″W
- Free Up Space In Your Home & Kitchen: Reduce clutter and highlight decor – The Shelves for wall storage Gives the illusion of a larger space in your studio apartment, dorm room, home & kitchen, or small living quarter – Easily modify your floating wood shelf to fit your needs and Display succulent plants, collectibles, Trophies, Photos, Frames, book shelves
- Decorate & Display: Minor assembly required – Add character and warmth to any modern or traditional interior with these thick floating shelves – Contrast shelves at staggering heights on the wall or mount side-by-side or in the corner for a clean streamlined look – Compliments cottagecore decor, boho decor, farmhouse decor, over toilet storage shelf, wall decor living room and more
- Versatile & Functional Floating Wall Shelves: Install the Maple Wood floating shelves for bedroom or bathroom to hold beauty/hair products, place the wall shelf under a mirror in the entryway, or exhibit family photos gallery style in a long hallway – Use as book shelf for wall, wall decor for bedroom, over the toilet shelf, kitchen floating shelves, floating nightstand, kitchen decor, living room wall decor, display shelf, and more
- Easy to Install: Detailed instruction included – Our Wall floating shelves are made of beautiful faux wood Engineered Wood (Not Solid wood) with a smooth matte finish – Our Enhanced steel brackets attach firmly to the wall without visible support and are Sturdy enough to hold up to 22 lbs – Mounting Hardware INCLUDED The color of the Maple Wood floating shelf may be slightly different from the pictures due to the lighting and different screen settings
Using floating shelves in the kitchen can open up counter space and liberate frequently used items, like spices, from cabinets, making them more accessible. With the Keegon wood floating shelves from Gracie Oaks, a high weight capacity for each shelf (40 pounds!) means you can also use them to store small dishware like bread and dessert plates, glasses, and cereal bowls.
The set of two is available in a total of seven finishes, including brick red, gray, and dark brown. The grain patterns in the wood and semi-exposed brackets give the shelves a rustic yet modern feel, and the protective metal band around each one helps keep items in place. There’s also a detachable towel bar, which can be used for dish rags or hanging mugs and utensils. To ensure the shelves sit flush against the wall, you may want to enlist the help of a handyman or woman.
What to Look for in Floating Shelves
What size you choose for your floating shelves should really depend on their purpose, Jennifer Stephan, interior designer at Jennifer Stephan Interiors, says. “If it’s for books, you want something very sturdy and thick so the shelf doesn’t look skimpy or frail,” she explains. If you’re planning to use your shelves for large items, consider heavier-duty options with extra width and longer lengths like the IKEA Lack Wall Shelf or Ebern Designs Shelf Set.
“If you’re looking to add some accessories to fill a wall space, thinner is better so the accessories pop and it doesn’t look too heavy,” Stephan notes. A perfect example of this is the Danya B Pristine Glass Floating Shelves. Slim and meant for smaller items, these shelves won’t overwhelm the lighter or more decorative pieces you place on them–or your smaller bathroom essentials.