There’s arguably no chicer or more versatile storage solution than floating shelves. They maximize space by utilizing wall space to create more surface area rather than having to take up table/counter/nighstand surfaces, and they suit just about any space, whether you want to keep things formal and elegant or enhance a casual environment.
And even the smallest of rooms are floating shelf–friendly. Seriously, these hanging miracle workers operate well in a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, bedroom, living room, office, foyer, and even a garage—pretty much anywhere else that has a wall. Since they clearly contribute a lot of style and functional value, we decided to come up with six different floating shelf ideas. Each tip speaks to different aesthetics, design traditions, and sizes. Scroll through the six floating shelf ideas below to see how you can get the most out of this timeless trend regardless of your style.
Create a Statement Wall
If your space is mostly filled with neutral hues and clean, masculine lines, a great way to bring in dimension without compromising the minimalistic aesthetic is by installing linear, neat rows of floating shelves. Then, stack them your favorite décor items in a hyper-organized manner. We love how the dining room above color-coded the books and laid them flat rather than vertical.
It’s a subtle yet unconventional look, especially since the book stacks are broken thing up by random knickknacks like a clock and potted succulent. Even the two speakers on the top shelf create symmetry that looks like it’s a part of the design rather than just valuable functionality. This floating shelf idea is perfect for anyone who wants to make a statement and let functional pieces like a dining table take a backseat.
Remember Sometimes Less Is More
Sometimes one shelf is all it takes. See the living room above? Case in point. In this example, the floating shelf is super understated and subtle while also creating a surface ledge for less sightly essentials (think speakers and other tech accessories) and a couple decorative objects. Since this living room is playing with proportion/oversize pieces, it may have looked too busy with an eye-catching console. We love how unassuming it is this way, letting our eye focus on the edgy, beautiful art installation and one-of-a-kind sculptural furniture.
Stay Organized in a Small Space
Just because you don’t have a lot of room in your home doesn’t mean you can’t adorn your walls with your favorite artwork or keep your beloved books nearby. It just means you’ll have get a little more creative with how you make room for them while also staying organized and clutter-free. Floating shelves are a stylish storage solution in any space, but they’re especially transformative in tight areas where you need to use every last nook and cranny. With the shelves, the tiny bedroom above is still able to communicate a ton of personal character and style without looking overly crowded. The color scheme of the bedding is also perfect. Specifically, the throw pillows draw upon the bolder colors in the book collection, and the neutral, oatmeal-hued linens open up the space.
Consider Going Camouflage
To create the ultimate floating illusion, make sure you opt for shelves that match your walls. This way, they’ll blend together seamlessly, and your objects will look like they’re suspended midair. Okay, not quite, but it does make the entire environment look a lot more open. In the space above, it makes room for photographs and books on a shelf and makes room for a large indoor plant in the corner, where otherwise a bulky dresser or another storage item might sit. Plus, the blank-canvas aesthetic really makes the black-and-white photographs pop. It’s the perfect backdrop for the clean white linen sofa and artful, surfboard-like coffee table. Between that and the high A-frame ceilings, you’ve got yourself the perfect living room.
Try Them With a Casual Vibe
Though floating shelves can look chic and elegant, they’re particularly well suited to more casual environments like this one. We love how they complement the low-to-the-ground sofa and surfboard décor slouching against the wall as well as the glass orb that’s sitting on the glossy white floors as if it just turned up there. It makes for a totally cohesive design and maintains a level of organization amid the room’s intrigue and whimsy.
Keep the Corner in Play
Perhaps there’s no room better for floating shelves than the kitchen, where you likely have countless items to store. Use your cupboards and drawers to tuck away your less attractive cookware and appliances, and then put your favorite bar/serving ware on display with an exposed shelf. Even if you prefer to conceal all your kitchen goods, floating shelves can still be a great option as they allow you to display décor items to formalize and personalize an otherwise casual and functional setting. The light wood finish of these small but mighty corner shelves contrasts perfectly with the glamorous gray marble backsplash, edgy black matte window frame, and gold handle pulls. Plus, they draw upon the wood-top kitchen island for cohesion. Now that’s material mixing down right.
Click through affordable shelving units below to try the aforementioned floating shelf ideas in your own home.
This wooden wall shelf looks like it’s suspended by a clean, metal frame. We imagine it in a kitchen or bathroom to provide you with some extra space.
These sculptural, raw-iron gallery shelves are perfect for an industrial space. Arrange them in a geometric cluster or scatter them throughout your home. Display or your favorite items, or just let them function as an art piece.
This black wooden floating shelf from IKEA gives us chic farmhouse feels but with a moodier, elevated twist.
Don’t forget to decorate your corners! Not only will this clever set help you create more usable space, but it also allows you to decorate every last nook and cranny.
We imagine these interlocked, cascading white shelves in a small bedroom, nursery, or bathroom.
Birchwood shelves can accommodate and elevate pretty much any environment. Timeless, understated, and endlessly versatile.
What’s your favorite floating shelf idea? Make your case in the comments below.