How to Create More Storage Using DIY Floating Shelves
It’s a common home decorating dilemma: we tend to have more books, framed photos, and decorative knick-knacks than we have the space to display them. And more often than not, we usually have a blank and unused section of wall somewhere in our home, calling out for some love and attention. So why not combine these two needs by adding some DIY floating shelves?
There are all sorts of shelving systems out there but the beauty of building your own floating wall shelves is that they are seamless. Meaning they appear to “float” on the wall with no visible hardware showing above or below the wooden shelf.
Timeless and contemporary, DIY floating solid wood shelves are easy to build and super affordable. They are a great woodworking project for even the most newbie woodworker to attempt! Be ready to display all those decorative accessories with these inspired floating shelf projects.
Easy and Budget-Friendly DIY Floating Shelves
Before any DIY home project, always start by cleaning your space. In this case, clean your walls by wiping them down and removing any dirt, debris, and all those kid-sized fingerprints. This may also be a good opportunity to repaint the wall, which will be so much easier to do before the floating shelves are erected. Once the shelves are up, touch-ups to the wall can be quickly done.
And now let’s build some floating shelves...
DIY Floating Corner Shelves
When your home is lacking in extra storage, or you just need to better organize all the stuff you do have, making the most of an unused corner of a room is a great place to put up some floating shelves.
One thing that makes DIY floating shelves such an affordable item to build is that they are a great excuse to use up any scrap wood you may already have gathering dust in the garage. Floating shelves can be as thin or as thick as your needs dictate so re-purpose and reuse those old boards!
Floating corner shelves can be built in two ways: the boards can be cut at a 45-degree angle to make triangle shaped shelves, or the boards can be cut with a straight edge that sits flush within the corner of the wall.
And that’s exactly what Zac Builds did when he built some fun and funky angled DIY floating shelves for a small, unused corner in his mudroom to hold shoes, gloves, and sunglasses. While the ends of the shelves sat squarely within the corner of the wall, the edges of each shelf were cut at different 30-degree angles using a track saw. (For those that are new to woodworking, a track saw allows you to make straight cuts in wood, even at odd angles.)
Zac cut channels within each board to insert the “cleat”, which is the part of the shelf that attaches directly to the wall. The cleats were cut to fit within these hollow channels. This results in totally hidden hardware that makes the shelf appear to “float” on the wall.
Mount the cleats to the wall using drywall screws and slip the shelves on. These fun floating corner shelves would definitely get any entryway organized!
If triangles are your shelf shape of choice, Hometalker Little Homestead in Boise built DIY floating corner shelves using a traditional triangle shape in an unused corner of a hallway. She mounted three 1” x 2” supports to the corner of the wall in the shape of a triangle, using a nail gun. These floating corner shelves were finished off with a plywood top and trim.
DIY Floating Wood Shelves with Hidden Brackets
One of the most common ways to make a DIY floating shelf is to build a wooden bracket with a plywood box to go around it. These shelves can be made for very little money and always look gorgeous in a kitchen to hold pretty glassware or in a powder room to hold towels and extra rolls of toilet paper.
Unlike wall cabinets, which are bulky and require many materials to build, floating wood shelves use very simple cuts and a handful of supplies. For less than $50, Hometalker OnBlissStreet, used white-wood and pine boards to build two floating shelves in her kitchen. These shelves were secured to the wall with supports made from pine boards the desired length and width of the shelf.
See post: OnBlissStreet | $20 DIY Floating Shelves
With the supports secured to the wall, use a whiteboard to build the top, bottom, and sides of the shelf. These pieces are nailed directly to the supports for a totally seamless look. This is an easy way to build floating shelves that will remain on the wall for the long-term.
See post: OnBlissStreet | $20 DIY Floating Shelves
But what happens when you want a removable floating shelf? Maybe you rearrange the room and the shelf no longer works in that space? Or, perhaps the room needs to be repainted and you want to take the shelf down. This was the forward-thinking thought Jacob had when he was building his floating wood shelves.
While his DIY floating shelves are built around the same wooden shelf supports (as shown above), Jacob instead constructed a box to sit upon the shelf supports. Using select grade plywood boards, Jacob built a flush hollow cavity to slide right over the wall supports. This made his shelves totally removable from the wall!
If the thought of using power tools makes you want to run out of the hardware store screaming, know that you can still build DIY floating shelves ...with wood glue! Oh yes, glue and painter’s tape will result in beautiful wall shelves. And this is the exact method the blogger at Love and Renovations used to create an entire wall of functional floating shelves!
Solid Wood DIY Floating Shelves with Metal Dowels
Any slab of wood can be transformed into a floating shelf; it’s really that easy! Reclaimed lumber, live edge wood or high-end pieces of wood, like mahogany, can add great aesthetic appeal to your home and instantly become the focal point of a room to display your most treasured belongings.
Using one piece of solid wood and a couple of store-bought brackets is probably the easiest way to mount a floating wall shelf. And that’s the exact process Hometalk contributor DIYTyler followed when he built a lightweight shelf from a piece of live edge maple wood. A wooden bracket, the length of the shelf, was mounted to the wall. DIYTyler then drilled holes into the back of the shelf to insert stainless steel dowels. Shelf = done!
DIY Solid Wood Floating Shelves with Visible Brackets
Let’s call these DIY shelves “faux” floating wall shelves because they have visible hardware, often in the form of metal brackets. These store-bought brackets make installing floating shelves beyond fast and easy! Once you determine where you want to hang the shelf, use a pencil to mark the drill holes within the bracket and drill into the drywall. Screw the brackets into the wall as well as into the wooden shelf for an unbelievably quick home transformation.
There are all sorts of creative options for shelf hardware. The most common form of shelf hardware is the L-shaped bracket, which secures the floating wall shelf from underneath. For an easy farmhouse touch, Hometalk contributor Vernichel used industrial pipes as brackets for her open shelves. The pipe brackets were mounted directly into the wall studs to hold the gorgeous stained shelves. It adds a great rustic charm to her kitchen!
Meanwhile, Amy checked floating wood shelves off her home To-Do list with an easy trip to the hardware store, picking up laminated wood boards and pretty wooden scroll brackets. After painting the wood scrolls to match the color of the shelves, she secured the brackets to the wall and the shelves to the bracket. She then “decorated the heck out of them with things sitting around my house.” Now that’s a successful Weekend Warrior project!
See post: Amy | DIY Floating Shelves
Influenced by Japanese design, Adrian used high-quality mahogany wood to make small solid wood floating shelves to display vintage collectibles. Within each shelf, he cut out two little notches to insert small shelf brackets, also made from the mahogany scraps. These small supports were placed perpendicular to the shelves and secured into the wall.
Check out Adrian’s helpful video on how to salvage warped wood for DIY home projects!
Affordable Rectangular DIY Floating Wood Shelves
There are some rooms in the house that can never have enough storage. And a bathroom is one of those rooms. Between towels, extra rolls of toilet paper and toiletries, there’s always a need for an extra shelf or two. But can you make floating wall shelves from one board? You bet!
Glen purchased one 2” x 8” spruce pine board to make two rectangular floating wood shelves at $7 apiece. This single board was cut down into eight smaller sections and assembled in the shape of a simple rectangle using wood glue and a wooden dowel. The shelves were hung to the wall using keyhole hangers, making this a great project for a newbie woodworker to attempt!
From cluttered to organized, these DIY rectangular floating shelves gives the appearance of a spa-like bathroom retreat.
See post: Glen | How to Make a $7 Floating Shelf
Ideas for Painting DIY Floating Wood Shelves
From paint to stain, there are just as many ways to finish off the wooden shelf as there as ways to build them. Remember those funky angled DIY corner shelves? Hometalk contributor, Zac Builds, gave them several thin coats of durable furniture paint while Love and Renovations blogger, Amanda, suggests using a paint sprayer for a fast paint job that ensures even coverage every time.
A stain is another popular finishing product and one that comes in many color options. OnBlissStreet blogger suggests Minwax stains applied with a foam craft brush. (And a friendly reminder to wipe off the excess stain as you go so you won’t wind up with gooey shelves!) Hometalk contributor Adrien used one coat of boiled linseed oil for a beautiful, rich finish on his mahogany floating shelves.
See post: OnBlissStreet | $20 DIY Floating Shelves
The best advice is to discuss your project needs with those knowledgeable employees in the paint department. They will give you the best paint or stain product for all your DIY floating shelf needs.
Decorating DIY Floating Shelves
Once those floating shelves are on the wall, the best part has to be decorating them! Not only do they revamp a room but they are a beautiful way to showcase pretty possessions. Floating shelves can stand alone or be grouped to form a collection. Many people use floating shelves as the perfect gallery for family photos, prints or their kid's art. Others style floating shelves with books, vases, and candles. Why not “shop” your house and find items that can work together, be it they are in the same color family or part of a theme, like travel or seasonal decor.
To ensure the floating wall shelves be the focal point you want them to be, keep things interesting. Vary the height of the items and find a few tall pieces that can lean against the wall such as a large frame, mirror or wreath. Remember to group items in odd numbers, layering objects as you go like a decorative orb placed on top of a small stack of vintage books.
Maximum Home Storage with DIY Floating Shelves
Floating shelves are modern, timeless and take up minimal space. They give you the practical storage you need without compromising on function. With minimal tools and basic woodworking knowledge, all you need to build your own DIY floating shelves is a blank wall space and a plan. From shelves that appear to “float” on the wall with hidden hardware to shelves that can be put up in a matter of minutes with the help of a store-bought bracket, there is a floating shelf for every style and taste. Build the one that provides you the most function or gives your home that needed touch of modern, farmhouse, or country chic.
For even more ideas on DIY floating shelves and other great DIY home projects be sure to check out Hometalk today!
Written for the Hometalk community by: Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled