Floating shelf

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Diagram of floating shelf from the side.
A room with a wall decorated with floating shelves.

A floating shelf is a form of shelf with its wall fixings hidden within the shelf board, with no visible supporting brackets.[1][2][3]


It is believed that late 1950s contemporary designer Magnus McCormick invented the term floating shelf, however it is unclear if he was the first to use them. Needless to say, floating shelves have become a timeless furniture icon in the 21st century.[citation needed]


Floating shelves are a good fit for a contemporary minimalist style interior.[4] They can be used to expand storage space, atop a radiator to double as storage, as overhead storage, or inside a hallway to double as a console table.[5]

Technical description[edit]

A floating shelf can be supported on hidden rods or bars that have been attached to studs. A thick floating shelf may be made of a hollow-core shelf glued to a cleat.[6] A floating shelf may have two or more channels open from the back towards, but without reaching, the front, into which slide fasteners attached to the wall, typically held in place by screws inserted through the bottom of the shelf.[7] There are also corner shelves, which may use different supports to make them "float".[citation needed]

Weight limitations[edit]

Floating shelves are often not suitable for carrying heavy loads, since the short vertical distance between their fixing points towards the wall gives a relatively large torque from the shelf loading compared to the holding power of the screws against the wall. As an example, one supplier of typical floating shelf supports (though other options are available) suggests that floating brackets with a diameter of 12 mm can support a shelf at least 22 mm thick loaded with (a relatively modest) 20 kg, and 18 mm brackets can support 30 kg on a 28 mm shelf.[8] For these reasons, floating shelves are typically not suitable for storing very heavy objects.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Le Van, Marthe (2005). Shelf Expression: 70 Projects & Ideas for Creative Storage & Display. Lark Books. p. 120. ISBN 978-1579906900. Archived from the original on 2022-09-29. Retrieved 2021-05-07. Free from distracting brackets, floating shelves seem to defy gravity by having no visible means of support.
  2. ^ Foster, Allen (January 14, 2021). "The best floating shelf". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 22, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  3. ^ "Are Floating Shelves Right for Your Kitchen?". kitchenstarhouston.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  4. ^ Brown, Grace (August 6, 2020). "20 Home Office Wall Decor Ideas For A Creative Workspace". squaresigns.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2022. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  5. ^ "Shopping Edit – 8 space-savvy floating shelves for modern homes". Ideal Home. September 23, 2021. Archived from the original on March 8, 2022. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  6. ^ Joanne Kellar Bouknight (2012). Taunton's All New Built-ins Idea Book. Taunton Press. ISBN 9781600853883. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  7. ^ Ettlinger, Steve; Schmidt, Phil (2017). The All New Illustrated Guide to Everything Sold in Hardware Stores. Cool Springs Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780760357736. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  8. ^ "Floating Shelf Brackets". Regalraum. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved June 10, 2018.