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Six Things to Consider When Incorporating Floating Shelves

You can change the whole dynamic of your living space and home by incorporating floating shelves. Decoration enthusiasts everywhere have been taking notes from celebrity home remodelers about how to pretty up their homes and apartments by installing floating shelves. In a world full of shelving options, why not make them float?

The first thing to consider is where these floating wall shelves will be… floating. You won’t necessarily want the same items being displayed on the floating shelves in your foyer as the ones being displayed above the toilet in your bathroom. This is an example of when you should try to, “read the room.”

Before you get started – presuming this is a DIY project – ensure that the wall you are mounting the shelves on can withstand additional weight. This should be considered before mounting anything on your walls.


Consider the following:

  1. Shape
  2. Material
  3. Color
  4. Size
  5. Placement
  6. Subject

Shape

When it comes to home décor, think outside the box (literally). A very trendy floating shelf shape right now is the hexagon, also called ‘storage honeycombs.’ This hexagon example is displaying all sorts of knick-knacks, like books, a toy Ferris wheel, and some faux plants.

Triangles are another fun shape and unique way to display some of your belongings and other fun décor.

Image from Walmart

Get more bang for your buck with an ‘open concept’ rectangle floating shelf design.

Image from Etsy

If you don’t want to be constrained by more commonly known shapes, consider adding an abstract floating shelf. Abstract shelves are perfect for displaying photos and books.

Image from Home Depot

Material

Try considering the look of the actual shelf. Are you going for more of a contemporary modern look with clear glass floating shelves or an industrial look with bare metal piping finished in black? Perhaps you’re looking for more of a farmhouse feel with solid wood floating shelves.

Find some inspiration from materials in the rooms you’re adding wall mounted shelves to so that you can make each room aesthetically conducive to the furniture and décor within it. For instance, does your living room have a fireplace with a striking wood mantel above it? Can you match the floating shelves to it? Or, perhaps you can contrast the material enough to point out how unique each display is.

Image from Wayfair

Maybe you found that one material is too boring and you’re looking to mix and match your materials. Check out this bold industrial look that has incorporated both manufactured wood and bare metal piping.

Image from Wayfair

If you prefer, another option is solid wood over manufactured wood.

Image from Wayfair

If you’re a minimalist, a clear floating shelf will likely suit your fancy. Clear acrylic shelves are most commonly seen in the bathroom, but who are we to stop you from installing them wherever you like.

If bursts of color are your love language, then that’s likely obvious in your furniture and decoration selections. There’s no harm in also displaying your love of color on your walls, outside of your paint color choice.


Size

Go big or go home… or maybe, go small or go home? How much space are you working with? If you’re a lucky human who has lots of space to work with, then you can consider large accent pieces to act as your floating shelves. Mounting wooden crates, for example, is one way to fully display some of your knick-knacks, plants, and other decorations.

Are you shoebox-living in a tiny NYC apartment? You can still mount mini accents.

Image from Green Grass Design

Smaller floating shelves are also common in foyers, hallways, and bathrooms as these spaces tend to have less square footage.


Placement

Ever hang something that doesn’t look quite, right?

This is a real thing! It happened in our home office recently where our photos were hung slightly too close to the ceiling line… no worries, it has since been fixed! Or, if you’ve ever seen the meme where the too-tall-husband hangs the mirror for his petite wife…

The same awkward concept applies to floating shelves, believe it or not. This is where your hand dandy level and a second set of eyes should be considered. If you’re hanging multiple shelves above or below their sister shelves, consider the objects you’re going to be storing there.

Use the largest item you’re displaying as a gauge for how far apart to install each shelf. The last thing you want to do is add more holes into your wall to fix an issue that easily could have been avoided.


Subject

It’s likely you took the necessary steps to install DIY floating shelves because there are a few items you’re considering on displaying. The subjects in question could range from something vintage and meaningful to something fun and corky that highlights your personality. Either way, you’ll want your shelf to match the theme.

Did you become an anthopile, or a lover of plants, during the pandemic? All of sudden you’re a plant parent with a green thumb and plants are your calling! Popular subjects featured on floating shelves are plants, all of sorts and sizes.

According to Garden Pales, a blog for houseplant lovers, houseplant demands surged 18% during the Covid-19 pandemic thus creating more opportunities for anthopiles alike to display their new favorite hobby.

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