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Floating shelves are a great alternative to both wall art and bookshelves or etageres. With a little bit of a ledge, you have space to display artwork, books, sculptural items or even spices or mugs in a kitchen. They can turn a blank wall into a useful space and also be a way to fill a wall with art without investing in expensive large-format artwork.
The best floating shelves for your space will match your decor and fit on your wall. Before buying a floating shelf, make sure you know the measurements of the area where they will go and the material your wall is made of, paying attention to anchor points if they need to be mounted on studs. Also, you should have a rough idea of what you will be placing on top of it, so that you can be aware of how much weight each can hold — some floating shelves will secure your whole book collection, others are better for just a few lightweight items. Finally, be sure to read the instructions to mount them on your wall thoroughly to make sure they don’t fall down. Here are our picks for the best floating shelves for various uses.
01 of 07
Best Overall: Burnes of Boston Level Line 3-Piece Ledge Set
Available in a walnut, black or white finish, this three-piece ledge set offers a lot of versatility for creating an artful display. The style will work with traditional, transitional and formal spaces and will echo the look of molding along the ceiling and window trim to create a built-in look. The shelf set includes a 12” x 18” x 24”, each of which is 4” deep, a good depth for displaying artwork, books, and smaller decorative objects. The set includes a mounting bracket with a built-in level as well as all the necessary hardware to hang the shelves. The shelves are made of wood and laminate materials and can hold up to 10 pounds.
What we love best about these is they mount in an average of two minutes so that weekend project of yours could be an hour project when you factor in styling your shelves.
02 of 07
Best Picture Ledge Shelves: Walniture Modern Design Display Ledge
Ready to create your own Pin-worthy gallery wall? This clean-lined white picture ledge is 46" x 2.3" x 3.7", with a lip in front to keep your framed artwork, books and collectibles upright. Use it to display a rotating collection of books or art in a living room, kids room, kitchen or dining space. The shelf is made of MDF wood and laminate and comes with the hardware and instructions to mount it. The extra-wide ledge looks good alone or as a set of two or more if you’re trying to create a larger, bookshelf-style display.
03 of 07
Best Corner Shelves: Shelving Solution Corner Wall Shelf Set
If you’ve got an unused corner in your home, this could be your fix! Available in black and white, and both a clean-lined and molding style, this small shelf is just right for displaying objects or adding just a bit of storage in a dining area, living room or kitchen. The set of shelves includes two 16.3" x 8.1" x 1.75" shelves that taper into a right angle. Each shelf will hold up to 7.7 pounds when mounted properly. Place two above each other, or one in each corner of the room for a symmetrical display.
Just a note before purchasing this set — it does come with brackets and will only fit in corners that are 90 degree right angles so older homes might have an issue with this.
04 of 07
Best Clear Book Ledge: CloudZero Invisible Floating Bookshelf
When you’re displaying something colorful, like kids’ books, spices or magazines, a clear ledge lets the display be a star as it appears to be floating along the wall. This modern take on an art ledge is made of ¼" thick piece of acrylic and has a higher-than-usual safety lip to keep taller items from falling off. The overall dimensions are 16” x 3.5” x 2.34” (in front) and includes the mounting hardware. The acrylic shelf is lightweight but can hold up to 21 pounds, more than many comparably-sized shelves made from other materials. The taller lip also makes it easier for children to take items on and off the display without knocking over the other pieces.
This shelf has 96% five-star reviews, customers love the quality, practicality and most have used this in their child's room with great success.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best Invisible Shelves: Umbra Conceal Bookshelf
Wait — where’s the floating shelf? With a clever mechanism, this book ledge conceals itself completely when you stack books on top of them, making the books appear to be floating along your wall — which is probably why it has more than 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, many of whom comment on how amazed their guests are by these cool, design-forward shelves. The bookshelf is available in several configurations, including a small size, double-wide and vertical-mount version, and are available individually or as a set of three. The small shelf holds up to 15 pounds and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Pratt Institute as part of a program to help young design students, like the one who originally conceived of this shelf.
06 of 07
Best Rustic Shelves: Reclaimed Wood Floating Shelf
Add a rustic element to your kitchen, library or living room with this streamline rustic wooden floating shelf that works well in farmhouse-style, industrial or even modern spaces. It’s available in three sizes: 2’ x 8” x 2.9”, 3’ x 8” x 2.9”, and 4’ x 8” x 3.5”, and has a weight capacity of up to 66 pounds for the smaller sizes and 100 pounds for the larger ones. The deep shelf is substantial enough for larger vases, mugs or bowls, in addition to artwork, and the largest width would work well above a mantel over a wide piece of furniture like a TV console table. The shelf is made from sustainably sourced, FSC-certified solid reclaimed pine with a wax finish.
07 of 07
Best Cube Shelves: Melannco Square Wood Shelf Set
Part shelf, part picture frame, this set of three cube shelves turns anything inside of them into featured artwork. Available in white, black or espresso (a dark wood tone), the shelves are made of MDF wood. The set includes three sizes, 9” x 9” x 3.5”, 7” x 7” x 3.5”, and 5” x 5” x 3.5”, which will hold up to 12 pounds, 10 pounds and 8 pounds, respectively. The floating shelf set includes all the necessary mounting hardware and a level. Use them as a fun alternative to display collectibles, artwork and books in any room. Since the shelf space is small on these they are more decorative than utilitarian.