27 Stylish Floating Shelf Ideas That Add a Sense of Whimsy to Any Space

best floating shelf ideas

Ashley Montgomery Design

Both stylish and versatile, floating shelves are one of our favorite storage solutions. This design trend maximizes the size of any room by utilizing wall space rather than taking up valuable room on your tables, counters, and nightstands. Since floating shelves can be styled in so many ways, they can make your space feel more formal and elegant or enhance a casual environment.

Small rooms can always benefit from added storage—but whether you're decorating the bathroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, office, foyer, or even the garage, these hanging miracle workers can upgrade your storage in any room with open wall space. With so much potential for style and functional value, we decided to peruse floating shelf ideas to inspire our next home update.

Below, discover the best floating shelf ideas to display your favorite pieces and create new surface areas in any room of your home.

01 of 27

Stay Organized

best floating shelf ideas

Fantastic Frank

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. Floating shelves are especially transformative in tight areas where you need to use every last nook and cranny. With floating shelves, this tiny bedroom is still able to communicate a ton of personal character and style without looking crowded. 

02 of 27

Remember Less Is More

best floating shelf ideas

Michael Wells

Sometimes one shelf is all it takes. Case in point: In this chic living room, the floating shelf is understated and subtle while also creating a surface for various pieces (think speakers and other tech accessories) and décor. Since this living room is playing with proportion, it may have looked too busy with an eye-catching console. We love how unassuming it is, letting our eyes focus on the edgy, beautiful art installation and one-of-a-kind sculptural furniture.

03 of 27

Create a Statement Wall

best floating shelf ideas

Amy Bartlam; Design: 22 Interiors

If your space is mostly filled with neutral hues and clean, sharp lines, a great way to bring in dimension without compromising the minimalist aesthetic is by installing linear, neat rows of floating shelves stacked with your favorite décor. We love how this dining room features color-coded books that are laid flat rather than vertical. The subtle look breaks up the stacks with knickknacks, while even the top-shelf speakers work with symmetry.

04 of 27

Consider Going Camoflauge

best floating shelf ideas

Lucy Williams Interiors

To create the ultimate floating illusion, opt for shelves that match your walls. They'll blend seamlessly, and it makes the environment look more open. In this space, the shelves provide a designated area for photographs and books, while the blank canvas aesthetic makes the black-and-white photographs pop. 

05 of 27

Keep a Corner in Play

best floating shelf ideas

Sarah Sherman Samuel

Use your cupboards and drawers to tuck away cookware and appliances, then display your favorite pieces on an exposed floating shelf. Even if you conceal all of your kitchen goods, floating shelves can display décor to personalize an otherwise functional setting. The light wood finish of these small corner shelves contrasts perfectly with the glamorous gray marble backsplash, edgy black window frame, and gold handle pulls. Plus, they draw upon the wood-top kitchen island for cohesion: Now that’s material-mixing done right.

06 of 27

Display Your Best Finds

best floating shelf ideas

Ashley Montgomery Design

In this living room, floating shelves are placed on either side of the fireplace to add plenty of surface area for displaying favorite pieces. Rather than serving as storage space in a kitchen or bathroom, these shelves are all about the décor. A neutral color scheme helps various objects feel cohesive in a gallery-style display.

When styling shelves, arrange small objects of different heights together for a dynamic design that comes together as a balanced whole.

07 of 27

Style a Small Plant Shelf

best floating shelf ideas

Burchard Design Co.

A floating shelf doesn't have to be full of items to make a statement—and this bathroom is proof. With a natural light wood texture, this shelf creates contrast between white tile and white walls while warming up the room and complementing the light fixture. A simple plant styled on the end adds a pop of greenery with a minimalist vibe.

08 of 27

Lean a Gallery Wall

best floating shelf ideas

JC Design

Gallery walls are a timeless design staple, but once they're placed on the wall, they can be difficult to rearrange. Skip the commitment (and the holes in your walls) by displaying a gallery directly on your floating shelves. Not only does it allow for swapping out pieces whenever you desire, but it creates a look with clean lines between an array of various artwork.

09 of 27

DIY Your Own Mantel

best floating shelf ideas

Home by Polly

Fireplace with no mantel? It's not an issue at all in this stunning living room that puts a floating shelf front and center. As the focal point over the fireplace, this light wood shelf breaks up a large, open wall while adding surface area for décor. We love the way the oversized round mirror with a black frame complements the fireplace interior.

10 of 27

Go Maximal

best floating shelf ideas

Modern House Vibes

Maybe your kitchen isn't lacking storage space, but just needs a boost of personality. Floating shelves styled over patterned wallpaper in this room bring just enough character and contrast to the wall without distracting from its stunning textures. Small plants on the shelving help to draw the eye around the room when designed with floor plants and a central pot of fresh greenery on the island.

11 of 27

Decide on a Color Palette

best floating shelf ideas

Ashley Montgomery Design

If your space is designed with cool colors that need a bit of warmth, style wood floating shelves with natural wood and copper accents. On these open kitchen shelves, items like a textured cutting board and wooden spoons help tie the dynamic display together. The copper accents are a perfect touch to liven up matte textures, while simple ceramic dishes and a small painting bring in various shades of neutral hues.

12 of 27

Store Your Record Collection

best floating shelf ideas

Leaf and Lolo

Okay, maybe not your whole record collection, for the music lovers out there. This idea allows you to put your best albums on display: Add a few extra shelves that climb higher for larger collections of music, or interchange the artists you're listening to the most lately. It's a great way to make your way through all of your music if you switch them out each week.

13 of 27

Put Your Dishes on Display

best floating shelf ideas

Emily Henderson; Photo: Sara Tramp; Design: Velinda Hellen

Floating shelves aren't just for extra storage space—they can even replace your upper cabinetry when styled well. Here, simple white kitchen shelving hovers over the countertops, styled with white dishes to blend with the room's light backsplash. Wood accents like the coffee and sugar jar lids, knife holder, and small wooden bowls on the shelves add a hint of depth for visual interest.

14 of 27

Create a Functional Entry Space

best floating shelf ideas

Home by Polly

The entryway tends to be the catchall for items like keys, sunglasses, hats, and more, but it can be difficult to find room for daily necessities in small spaces. In this narrow entryway, a floating shelf saves the day: As an attractive spot for small items and décor, it gives guests a great impression of the owner's style when they walk through the door while serving as a functional storage space.

15 of 27

Create an Above-the-Bed Display

best floating shelf ideas

JC Design

This floating shelf looks like it could be built-in to the rest of the room with its light wood style and warm hues. White backgrounds in the artwork help balance the colors of the bedding, while plants bring in plenty of texture. With woven baskets, a wooden statement corner, and neutral hues on the rug, the shelf serves as the final touch for a completed design.

For a cohesive, minimalist look, style your shelf with photos in frames that match the same tone of wood as the shelf itself.

16 of 27

Show Off Your Best Cookbooks

best floating shelf ideas

Cathie Hong Interiors

Along with dishes, spices, and other essentials, floating kitchen shelves are also a great place to display your favorite cookbooks. Keep your best recipes handy and easy to find when it's time to pull them out and whip up a delicious meal. These books, stacked sideways, help add clean lines to the shelving's dynamic décor.

17 of 27

Stack Up the Library

best floating shelf ideas

Afro Bohemian Living

If you're an avid reader, a floating shelf may be the perfect place to save room on your standard bookshelves and keep your favorites handy. By stacking books backward, the designer created a blend of neutral hues that work with the rest of the space. Simple wooden picture frames tie the colors together.

18 of 27

Upgrade Your Bathroom Storage

best floating shelf ideas

Milk and Honey Life

No vanity, no problem. This designer created a DIY vanity by styling a floating shelf above a vintage sink. With plenty of space for bathroom essentials, the additional storage makes the unique sink stay functional—plus, who could get enough of those twin brass faucets?

19 of 27

Style a Functional Laundry Corner

best floating shelf ideas

Cathie Hong Interiors

The laundry room always seems to be a place where there's never enough storage. Between towels, linens, and detergent, it can be hard to find a place to fold clothes. Here, floating laundry shelves tucked in the corner save valuable surface space on top of the appliances.

20 of 27

Create a Hanging Effect

best floating shelf ideas

Becca Interiors

While these floating shelves are still technically floating, we can't get enough of the way the designer added metal hangers to give them the effect of dangling from the ceiling. It's a simple touch that makes all the difference in style. Bonus: The shelves match the open-rafter ceilings.

21 of 27

Make a Lively Woven Wall

 best floating shelf ideas

JC Design

This woven display space is a boho lover's dream. Natural materials like jute and rattan come together on floating shelves styled with lively plants, glasses, and books. The simple, neutral color scheme makes the variety of items feel intentional and put-together.

22 of 27

Upgrade the Office

best floating shelf ideas

Emily Henderson; Photo: Tessa Neustadt

If you're lacking space for photos on your desk, take the design up a notch by moving them to floating shelves on the wall. We love how these shelves are matched to the color of the desks and create contrast against white walls. A plaid rug adds a pop of personality while incorporating the statement colors and completing the theme.

23 of 27

Save Your Walls by Leaning the Artwork

best floating shelf ideas

Cathie Hong Interiors

Leaning artwork is reminiscent of Parisian style, and it's also a great way to prevent making multiple holes in fresh walls. Here, white floating shelves blend seamlessly into the walls while creating space for abstract artwork. Simple wood frames and black accents create depth against a bright background.

24 of 27

Blend It In

best floating shelf ideas

1215 Design Studio

This all-black statement wall with floating shelves is a great lesson in designing with dark colors. The shelves feel like they're a built-in part of the wall: Matte black hues coat the entire space for a sleek, bold finish.

25 of 27

Add a Pop of Contrast

best floating shelf ideas

Rush Me Home

With minimal décor, this above-the-bed floating shelf was styled for contrast. Small touches like black photo frames and a simple black line on the duvet add depth to a mostly-white room. A few bright colors come out in the curtains and throw pillows, and we love the geometric patterns in black and white.

26 of 27

Work With Clean Lines

best floating shelf ideas

Modern House Vibes

This designer painted a clean-lined accent directly on the wall, but the floating shelves hovering above it help bring attention to the unique detail. Hung at just the right angle, the shelves play off a white cabinet placed below them, while lush greenery and woven décor bring a laid-back vibe to the chic space.

27 of 27

Style Over the Sofa

best floating shelf ideas

JC Design

We've been there: The entire house is decorated, but it feels impossible to commit to décor on that beautiful open wall above the sofa. This spot is a focal point in the living room, so it's only natural to take extra care when styling it. If you can't decide on just one thing, use a floating shelf to easily change up your décor anytime you please.

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