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Floating shelves offer a stylish way to save space and create a unique accent in any room of your home. Floating shelves are available in a variety of styles and sizes – from small accent shelves, to sturdy and practical storage shelves. 

In this article, we’ll answer the most common questions about floating shelves so that you can decide whether they’re right for your home.

What Are Floating Shelves?

Floating shelves are a unique style of shelf that are mounted to a wall with no visible means of support. As the name suggests, floating shelves appear to “float” in the air. However, the shelves are actually secured to the wall, typically to wall studs, with carefully recessed mounting brackets attached to the backside of the shelf.

What are floating shelves?

Benefits of Floating Shelves 

Floating shelves offer several benefits to any room of your home.

Add an eye-catching accent

Floating shelves create a unique, and eye-catching, look. Their floating appearance and minimalist design make them an excellent complement for a range of interior design styles.

Functional storage space

While they offer a one-of-a-kind look, floating shelves also provide functional storage space. They can be used to store dishes in a kitchen, movies in a family room, or even bottles and glasses in a home bar. 

Simple installation

Lastly, floating shelves are simple to install. All you need is a level, a measuring tape, and a drill. We provide more detailed installation instructions later in this article. 

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How Do Floating Shelves Work?

A floating shelf is made from two main components: the shelf, which can be made from a range of materials, and the mounting bracket. 

The shelf is the flat surface that serves as the storage space. The mounting bracket is the important part; the bracket is what both bears the weight of the shelf and creates the floating look. 

Floating Shelf Brackets

There are several varieties of floating shelf brackets. Some types of brackets are more effective than others.

Rod Style Brackets

One common method is to drill into the material and insert the support member into the shelf. These are known as rod brackets. 

However, this type of bracket is generally unstable and can’t hold much weight. In addition, rod brackets often make it difficult to position the shelf flush against the wall. The shelves may also slide forward on the rods if shelves were improperly drilled.

Low Profile Shelf Brackets

Alternatively, the shelf may rest atop of the brackets for support. In this case, the shelf can hold much more weight. Urban Legacy’s handmade low profile shelf brackets are designed to allow for better support and a deeper shelf with minimal bracket visibility.

What are low profile shelf brackets?

This design offers added support for sturdier shelves that can bear additional weight while maintaining a floating, minimalist shelf appearance. Urban Legacy’s low profile shelves can hold up to 50lbs per bracket when installed into studs. 

Flush Mount Floating Brackets

Unique among floating shelves, Urban Legacy’s Flush Mount floating shelf brackets are designed to offer stability and a true floating shelf appearance. 

Special routing to the back of our shelves allows the Flush Mount brackets to rest flush against the wall while providing added support. 

What are flush mount shelf brackets?

Because of their design, the Flush Mount brackets also prevent shelves from slipping forward, which can happen with traditional mounting brackets. When installed properly, Urban Legacy’s Flush Mount brackets can support 10-12 lbs in addition to the weight of the shelf.

Mounting To Wall Studs

In most cases, floating shelves should be mounted into wall studs. Most shelves are designed for standard stud spacing. 

Generally, studs are spaced at 16 inches. Most floating shelves are built with 16 inch spacing for brackets; however, always measure your home’s wall stud spacing before ordering your shelves. If your wall studs have a different spacing, then you may need to order custom shelves.

How To Properly Hang Your Floating Shelves

Installing floating wall shelves is a straightforward process. There are only a few simple steps to follow.

1. Find your wall studs

Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs you plan to mount your shelves to. Mark this area of the wall.

2. Decide where to place your shelves

Once you’ve located and marked your wall studs, place your shelves against the wall and determine where you want to place them. Use a level to ensure that the shelves are leveled against the wall. Once you have them in the position you’d like to mount them, mark this area on the wall using the level. 

3. Trace the shelf brackets

Next, place your shelf brackets against the wall, mark their placement, and trace where the screw holes will be drilled. At this point, it helps to double check your measurements: ensure that the brackets are the correct distance from each other for the shelf, and double check that the brackets are level when you hold them against the wall.

4. Attach your brackets to the wall

After tracing the brackets, drill a starting hole for the bracket screws. This makes drilling the brackets in much easier. Be sure to use a drill bit that is a size or two smaller than the screws. After drilling the holes, place the brackets flush against the wall and use your drill to secure them with screws. 

5. Attach your shelves to the brackets

Lastly, attach the shelves to the brackets. Follow the instructions provided with your shelves to properly attach them to the type of bracket they were designed to fit. 

And it’s that simple! You now have beautiful, new floating shelves ready to be used as storage or to decorate.

How To Decorate And Style Floating Shelves

One of the great things about floating shelves is that they complement almost any home aesthetic. There are so many different ways to decorate with floating shelves. 

Kitchen Storage 

Floating shelves make a wonderful addition to any kitchen. They can be used to easily store dishes and cups. Because of their minimalist design, they can be added almost anywhere in the kitchen that is convenient. This makes them great for adding additional storage in lieu of cabinets. 

Remember that the underside of the shelves can also be used! Consider adding hooks to hold mugs, cooking utensils, or even pots and pans. But always ensure that you’re not exceeding the weight capacity of the shelves.

Statement Piece

Not all uses have to be functional. You can use floating shelves to create a statement piece. They are great for displaying family photos, smaller house plants, nick knacks, and even collectibles. 

Try using varying sizes of shelves to create a bold look and call attention to certain parts of the room. Floating shelves can make an impressive statement as part of a home office backdrop. 

A Simple Hallway Addition

Floating shelves can be used in a hallway, particularly hallways with dead space at one end. The shelves can be used as a decorative touch, or as extra functional storage for household items and bedding. 

Consider pairing your shelves with bins for easier organization of items. 

A Unique Bookshelf 

Floating shelves also make effective yet simple book shelves. If your books are similarly sized, multiple shelves can be placed at equal distances vertically and used to store books. Bookends or other heavier objects can be used to prevent the books from falling to either side of the shelf. 

This is a versatile way to add book storage to any area of your home. Consider creating a pair of floating bookshelves close to your desk in a home office, or near your beside if there is available wall space. 

Shop For Floating Wood Shelves at Urban Legacy

Are you ready to add a unique touch to your home? We have you covered.

At Urban Legacy, we take pride in the craftsmanship and beauty of our hardwood products. Our shelves are handcrafted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from genuine reclaimed barnwood and modern hardwoods, like maple, oak, and walnut. Shop our online collection of shelves and find the perfect addition to your home.

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