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In this post: Floating shelves are the perfect way to display home decor and they can be practical too. Here are 4 ways to make easy DIY floating shelves for any space. 

There is just something so satisfying about floating shelves. They’re so neat and tidy looking and they don’t take up any floor space and suit just about any style of decor. We recently made DIY floating shelves for our living room and we LOVE them! 

4 ways to make easy diy floating shelves for any space pin 1

4 Ways to Make Easy DIY Floating Shelves for Any Space

01. The Most Common DIY Method

With this method, you essentially build a three-sided box and slide it onto wood brackets you’ve also DIY’d. Shanty 2 Chic blog does this really well here

DIY-Floating-Shelf-Tutorial Shanty2Chic

It only requires basic tools, wood, and screws (plus your finish of choice) and you can make it in any size you need. 

  • Pros: Really simple to do, completely customizable
  • Cons: Uses more wood than other versions (which is a big con while wood prices are so high)

02. Ikea’s Lack Shelves

I’m still gonna call this a DIY since you have to hang it up to use it.

The Ikea Lack Shelves have hidden brackets that are already attached, so mounting these to the wall is a bit like hanging a picture. 

Unfortunately, I can’t see these holding up all our pottery and books though. 

ikea white floating shelf back showing attached brackets
© Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 1999-2021
  • Pros: Easy-peasy to install, no separate brackets
  • Cons: It seems to be out of stock in many locations, unable to find how much weight they can hold (but I wouldn’t think much based on design)

03. Wall Shelf with Brackets included in Package

Much like the Ikea shelves above, these aren’t actually a DIY. But these types of shelves are the easiest to install since they have everything you need in the package already. 

The big drawback is the limited sizes available. 

floating wall shelf

  • Pros: Super simple to install, easy to wipe clean
  • Cons: Cannot customize the size or finish, the 15-inch long version only holds up to 22 pounds (so be careful what you put on it)

04. Blind Shelf Brackets and 2×10’s

After looking at several ways to build shelves, we decided to go with these metal brackets from Amazon and 2″ x 10″ pine from the hardware store. 

blind shelf brackets made of metal for floating shelves

(We’re actually rebels and used 2×12’s but I can’t “recommend” that since the brackets are supposed to only work with up to 2x10s.)

Each set of two of these brackets can hold up to one-hundred pounds, which is what really sold us on them because I knew we’d be putting a good amount of weight on each shelf with all the pottery and books I wanted to style them with. 😉 

Tip: These brackets are apparently guaranteed to be straight, square, and of exceptional quality. We found them to be decent, with a few of the welds needing reinforcing where the post meets the wall bracket portion (the weakest part of the bracket). Since Dean works in a sheet metal shop, that wasn’t a huge deal for us. He just had them re-welded. But you want to make sure if you order them that the welds are strong when they arrive. If not, I suggest messaging the seller about exchanging them, because they may not hold up to weight. 

Muted Earthy Floating Shelves in Living Room

Dean began by marking the wall at the heights we wanted the shelves to be on each side of the cabinet.

Then he used his stud-finder to attempt to locate any studs we could attach the brackets to. Unfortunately, there were none in appropriate places, so we marked the best place to put the brackets given our shelf width. 

Dean then transferred those measurements to the shelves themselves so he could get them ready for the brackets. (This was simple for us because the shelf width is the full width of the space available.)

location of bracket marked in pencil
The vertical line in the photo represents where to drill into the shelf for the bracket post to go.

For this method, you need to fit the brackets into the wood by drilling a hole into the back for the bracket post to slide into, like the photo below. You will need a very long drill bit (6 inches) to do this. 

hole for floating bracket in shelf

And if you want the brackets to be 100% hidden, you can use a Dremel or router to create space for the bracket to sit flush with the back of the shelves, as shown in the photos below. 

using router to create space in wood for bracket

Attaching the brackets to the wall is as easy as drilling holes, popping anchors in, and then screwing them to the wall. 

brackets attached to wall
(Don’t mind the white on the brackets. That was the mess leftover from re-welding those ones.)

And of course, the best part of using these brackets is that you can then make the shelves completely custom.

Want white ones? Paint ’em! What them to be the same color as the wall? Paint ’em! Want them stained? Stain them (and seal them). Need them to be 31.25 inches long, no problem! (Just add more brackets if the shelves are longer than the manufacturer recommends.) 

We used our recent favorite, Minwax Early American stain, topped with furniture wax we had on hand to finish them.

shelves with Minwax Early American stain

Then just slide each shelf onto its brackets. 

sliding the diy floating shelves onto the brackets

And it somehow just happens to match our glass-door cabinet! Seriously, I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried! 

iphone shot of diy floating shelves on the wall empty

Pottery books and gold frames on floating shelves

  • Pros: Cost-effective, completely custom (size and finish) for way less, can hold up to 100 pounds per two brackets
  • Cons: Need to be decently acquainted with or comfortable using a few power tools (drill, router, saw)

Throw Pillows Deep Olive Green and Vintage Kilim Rug

Have you made any DIY floating shelves yet? Can you think of anywhere to put them in your house?