Tired of your boring, bracket-showing shelves? Consider floating shelves that use special hardware for a more elegant look. They’re perfect for any room, and still do a great job displaying your favorite items—and best of all, you have plenty of options to suit any home.
While a shelf is an admittedly simple piece of hardware, there are still a few things worth going over.
- Material: This comes to down a question of price and quality. While a thick, wooden shelf will be sturdy and less likely to bow, it’s going to be expensive. Cheaper materials, like particleboard or Medium Density fiberboard (MDF), will drive down the price, but may not last the test of time as well. We’ll mention the material each shelf uses when available, and how that ties into the price.
- Weight Limit: Loading up too much stuff on a single shelf can end in disaster. Therefore, it’s crucial to know just how much a shelf can support before purchasing it. So we’ll make a special note of the weight limit of each shelf, either going off of what the manufacturer says or customer testimony.
- Options: Shelves are not a one size fits all item. You might want a massive shelf that takes up a lot of wall space, or a little one hanging over your desk. Either way, we’ll mention the sizes each shelf comes in, alongside different color options as well.
- Design: Naturally, a floating shelf will be free of the exposed wall mounts normal shelves have, but there’s more to think about when it comes to how the shelf is made. Some go for extremely basic designs, while others may feature short walls for keeping items contained, fancier shaping, or fit into corners well. We’ll cover a variety on this list, so there should be something here that fits your needs and tastes.
To start off, InPlace offers a basic yet practical floating shelf that amounts to a flat piece of MDF. It comes with anchors for installing into the wall, although some customers have reported sagging issues, so you might need to pick up some stronger ones (or make sure you’re installing it into a stud). Stronger mounts will also help it support more weight, but out of the box, it can handle 17.64 pounds. Either way, it’s easy to install.
The main benefit of going with InPlace here is the variety of options available. While there are only three colors (white, black, and espresso), there are a lot of different sizes ranging from 23.3 to 60 inches long. This makes the shelf a safe bet for most cases—if you’re looking for a simple, no-frills wall shelf, then InPlace has the options to make sure it fits into your situation.
If you prefer something high quality though, Rustic Farmhouse offers some nice and thick wooden shelves for a higher price. This set of shelves measure 1.5 inches thick, can hold up to 25 pounds, and are available in three wood styles (walnut, white oak, and white wash). They look great, are sturdier than cheaper, particleboard shelves, and the fact you get three in one order means the value is still pretty good. The shelves are also available in three sizes—either 16, 20, or 24 inches long.
These U-shaped shelves from SRIWATANA are an impressive value. There are three shelves included with each order, a small (9.6 x 2.8 inches), medium (14 x 3.4 inches), and large (16.7 x 3.9 inches). The shelves are made out of paulownia wood, support to 17.6 pounds, and feature short walls to keep stuff like books from falling over. And the side pieces can also be placed above or below the shelf for a more unique look. These come in four colors: black, carbonized black, weathered gray, and white.
If you love the look of a rustic wood shelf but don’t want to pay the high prices for it, this MDF shelf from Sorbus uses a convincing wood-grain style while keeping the price affordable—they only support eight pounds per shelf though. Available in a two or three-pack, these shelves are 16.25 inches long and 1.5 inches thick. You can also get them in either grey or mahogany (color, not wood).
While the shelves covered so far have all been similar in design, this shelf from Greenco changes things up. It’s designed to fit snugly into a corner and provide a tiered shelf at the same time. At only 11-inches long (diagonally) it’s not massive, but it’s big enough to fit some odds and ends on. Just be aware, you do have to assemble the MDF boards into the tiered shape yourself. But that does allow you to combine multiple kits together into a taller unit if you want more space. The kit is available in espresso, grey, and “Natural” (pictured above).
Greenco doesn’t provide a weight capacity limit for this shelf, so it’s probably not going to be able to support anything heavy. Best to limit it to smaller items on this shelf.
Another abnormal shelf from Greenco, this time using a unique squared off design. These cube shelves allow for a lot of options in how to display items on the shelves, along with being a display piece of its own in a way. The unit must be assembled out of MDF pieces and measures 17 x 25 inches (length and height). Plenty of space for all your favorite knickknacks.
Once again, Greenco didn’t provide a weight limit for these shelves, but it likely won’t be able to support much so keep to smaller items on this shelf.
If you’re primarily concerned with storing books, then BAYKA has the answer for you. Its wooden shelves come with these subtle wall pieces that can be used to keep books upright without any additional equipment. The shelves can be made out of MDF, pinewood, or paulownia wood depending on your preference, and there are numerous colors available for each material type. You also get three shelves in one order; small (11.4 x 4.8 inches), medium (14.2 x 4.8 inches), and large (16.5 x 4.8 inches).
BAYKA doesn’t list a weight limit on the store page, but going off of customer reviews, expect it to be somewhere within the range of 10-20 pounds.