What is a Floating Wall Shelf?

So we get this question all the time. Since we are shelf geeks, this is an easy one for us. Here is the short answer: A floating shelf is a shelf attached to a wall with no visible means of support. They look like this:

You get it. However, since we eat, drink, and breathe floating shelves over here at Shelfology, lets go just a little bit deeper. I’m going to briefly line out how to build a good, strong floating shelf.

Like pizza, you need three main components to float an awesome shelf: the shelf, the wall, and a damn good floating shelf bracket. This post is a primer on just the shelf part of the equation. We will go deeper into the other two another time.

You can build the actual shelf part essentially two ways. The first is to use a solid piece of material, like a sweet piece of 2” thick hardwood lumber, and then drill or cut into it so the support member of the shelf—the floating shelf bracket —can recess into it and completely disappear. If you cut this type of shelf in half it would look like this:

The second method of building a floating shelf is to make it out of a thinner material, like plywood, and then essentially building a box around the floating shelf bracket . If you cut one of these bad boys in half, it would look like this:

If you need plans or how to's to build either of these shelves above, check out our video tutorials, or give us a call or email. Our contact info is on top of our website, here.

There are various pros and cons for each method, but you end up with basically the same thing in the end. The questions that determine which method you use are really about budget, access to tools, handiness, and a few about the circumstance the shelves will live in. We will go deeper into those later, too. The point I am trying to make here, is that regardless of how you build your shelves--if they are done right--they can be uber strong as well as look freaking awesome.

Take a gander at our collection of excellent examples on our Instagram feed if you crave inspiration.

--> xo Kevin,
Chief Shelf Officer start blog post indicator image end blog post indicator image another really cool svg