Storage Solutions with Style: Floating Shelves

Ahh. The floating shelf. It’s a shelf that floats, just… like magic. What’s not to love?

I’ll be moving this year so I’m in the predicament of knowing what a pain it is to fill those kinds of holes, so I can’t use floating shelves until I’m gone and it’s too bad. I could free up some floor space, and one would be perfect over my couch.

There are a lot of tutorials you can Google that’ll teach you the finer points of a safe floating shelf install, but you’re not limited to the ordinary. Get creative on the floating shelves.

Things to Think About

First, are you doing this because “that wall needs something,” because you found something that would be neat as a floating shelf, or because you actually need storage that doesn’t take up more floor space? If it’s the latter, then you probably need to consider function over quirk. If it’s somewhere in between, then remember that surface area counts, and so does the depth of the install in the space you have available.

Next, if you’re planning to get funky and repurpose things, make sure they can take the strain, and can be securely mounted. I’ve got a would-be-horror story from my own kitchen where an improperly-installed shelf (hey, I was 19) came down on my head after I put the flour jar back up.

Beyond that, you’re really only limited by your ability to wield a few tools and get creative. If you have an idea, probably someone on the web beat you to it, and a how-to’s somewhere on the big wide web.

Some Funky Floating Shelves

When researching for this piece, I came up with some funky designs that’ll have me keeping an eye out for collectibles I can reinvent for my next home. It’s time to reclaim some wallspace.

Creative camouflaging of shelving spaces make any kid’s room a delight. She had great results by designing her decor in conjunction with homemade mini floating shelves built onto little clouds painted on the walls. Cute? Understatement.

Source: via Elizabeth Terrigino on Pinterest

An upcycling favorite of mine is the always versatile wooden pallet. You’re only limited by creativity, really, with these often-discarded shipping platforms. Here one is converted to provide narrow shelving for an assortment of framed family photos.

Source: via Taalor Nakol on Pinterest

Another upcycled cast-off I love for floating shelves are old wooden crates. This is a nice linear installation by Annie McElwain, but a variety of sizes of crates all installed in a cluster would be fun too. The rustic, rugged boxes are likely to be easily installed with a stud-finder and some screws.

But  upcycling ideas don’t stop there. If you have an old chest of drawers you hate or no longer can use, but there’s nothing wrong with the drawers, there’s no reason they can’t become shelves. Whether you put them flat on the wall or extend them straight out, they offer a neat architectural dimension.

When floating shelves shine is when you want to get stuff displayed but you don’t want to sacrifice even more floor space. They’re also a world of help in weird little spots where we’re often cheated on usable space.

Take this spot for example. This shows how offset floating shelves in an awkwardly narrow wallspace between two doors can offer invaluable custom shelving while looking cool. An expensive standing unit might not use enough of the space either vertically or horizontally.

Source: via BuildDirect on Pinterest

It’s funny, though. These folks in this situation have wasted this regained space by making it for DVDs, which anyone in a storage crunch putting all the discs in binders and tossing the cases. (I put 6×6 feet of my DVDs into two little binders. Best way to regain space in a hurry!)

At a time when homes serve more functions than ever before and space is at a premium, floating shelves are more popular than ever. When you’re running out of space, the only place to go is vertical.

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