How and Where to Add Floating Shelves to Your Home

Get inspired with these modern and functional floating shelf ideas and learn how to hang them yourself.

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As you make New Year’s resolutions for your home in 2015, ask yourself a hard question: do you really believe that you achieve your goal? Sadly, only a tiny fraction — eight percent, according to Forbes.com — successfully tackle their resolutions.

Home organization is always a popular theme for New Year’s resolutions. This year, as you plot out your post-holiday storage solutions and shuffle your belongings to find room for all of your new gear, maybe it’s time to skip the short-term goals. Instead, try adding permanent storage space to your home.

Whether you’re looking to declutter, create additional home storage or simply add a new look to a room, there is a single, viable answer for each of these situations: wall shelving. And guess what? You can do it yourself.

Shelves Add Storage Space, Eliminate Clutter

The American Cleaning Institute reports that getting rid of access clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home.

Shelves are a good place to start. Better Homes and Gardens’ Ann Wilson believes that adding floating shelves to any room help prevent clutter, saves space and makes life easier.

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

What are floating shelves?

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From Wikihow.com:

“This type of shelf uses a special construction to give the appearance that the shelf is extending directly out of the wall with no supports, hence the name “floating”. Floating shelves can be built from traditional solid wood or, alternatively, from a hollow-core construction. This flexibility makes floating shelves the perfect way to get rid of any unused wood – even an old door can work.”

Floating Shelves for the Kitchen

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Does your home have a small kitchen? Does it lack cabinet or cupboard space? Floating shelves can solve those problems.Not only can you supplement existing kitchen storage, you can place things where they’re needed most.

Floating Shelves for the Bedroom

Floating Shelf Ideas

Apartment Therapy’s Nancy Mitchell points out several ways shelves can work in a bedroom space. “Why not reclaim the unused space above your headboard to free up nightstand space?” she writes. “Hang shelves high and run the length of the room. You won’t lose any floor real estate and you’ll gain a ton of storage space.”

Floating Shelves for the Office

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One in five Americans work from home today, Forbes reports.That calls for a clutter-free workstation solution to help inspire creativity.


Floating Shelves: Do It Yourself

Even if you’re not a master carpenter or, for that matter, one hundred percent sure how to use a level, do-it-yourself shelving projects are within your grasp. Going DIY offers some real benefits:

  • You are the designer. You get to add exactly what you want, depending on how creative you are willing to get.
  • You make the final decisions, even when they’re not final. You can change the height of the shelves whenever you want. Easy-to-use track and bracket systems are available in myriad sizes at various retailers and home improvement stores.
  • You can afford the project. DIY shelving is generally inexpensive, ranging from $30 to $150, depending on how fancy you want to get — and an upcycled project can actually be free (there’s an entire Pinterest subculture dedicated to this topic, if you want to check it out). While you may think you’re limited by time, most projects can be completed in a few hours.
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The DIY experts from Family Handyman Magazine offer step-by-step instructions for inexpensive floating shelves. Their experts used only two parts — a hollow core door and a two-by-four — and spent less than $20. Granted, a circular saw was also involved, but it’s still a straightforward project.
“Without the brackets and clunky hardware you’d find with store-bought shelves or kits, they seem to be suspended in midair and help prevent wall damage if you’re a renter,” the experts wrote.

Should you choose to upcycle, you can save even more by using an old pallet, bin or shelf. Sometimes, there may not even be any construction necessary.

“Pallets are relatively easy to come by and they are so cheap,” writes Ashley Paige of The Nest. The great thing about these shelves is they’re quick and easy–you only need about three hours per shelf and you can stain them in any color to match décor.

Instructions to Create Your Own Floating Shelves

Ready to take on the challenge? Let’s create some quick and easy shelves for any room in your home!

Whitney from Shanty2Chic constructed a double duty floating shelf with hooks beneath.

Here’s what you need:

  • Wood: One 2 x 6 cut at 5.5 feet; one 2 x 8 cut at 5 feet
  • Nails
  • Wood glue
  • Wood casing (optional)
  • Hooks (optional)
  • Paint or stain

1). Attach the 2 x 6 to the top of the 2 x 8. If you choose to use molding or casing, attach these using wood glue and finishing nails.

2). Caulk edges and nail holes. Sand where needed.

3). Paint or stain shelf in your choice of color.

4). Using drywall screws, attach hooks to shelf.

5). To attach to the wall, use 3-inch long screws.

6.) Start using your new shelf for storage. You’re done!

Remember: DIY shelves can triple-function as space-saving storage, a new design or remodel and an affordable way to recycle old materials. As you decide what’s next for your home in 2015, create permanent storage solutions with floating shelf space.

Have shelf ideas or favorite home DIY projects? We’d love to hear them in the Comments section below or on Twitter — tweet us @LifeStorage.

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About the Author

Kristin Sullivan

Hey guys, I'm Kristin. I guest blog for Life Storage, and I'm always up for a new adventure -- whether it's redecorating a room, exploring the great outdoors or tackling my next DIY project. Connect with me on twitter @kristnsullivan!

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