Easy Weekend Project: DIY “Floating” Shelves

We didn’t realize that “high ceilings and lots of windows” really meant “your shit is going to look way too small in this place.” We chose to look past the impossibly high ceilings and wall-to-wall carpet because we love our town home’s abundance of sunlight, the lofted office, the breakfast bar and the open, airy feel. Nice tradeoff, eh?


But seriously, we are having a pretty hard time finding art that’s the appropriate scale. We’re trying.

Everyone has that wall, that one wall, and here was ours:


I looked into purchasing a painting to cover that non-functioning light switch (seriously, wtf) but narrow, tall, awkward-shaped art is somewhere in the $200 neighborhood, and I didn’t feel like investing that much money or time for the sole purpose of hiding a switch.


I had some leftover 1 x 4s from some tables we made, and I decided to put them to use and make a faux-floating shelf. Why not make an actual floating shelf? Honestly, the hardware for this method was cheaper, and required fewer tools to install. All I had to buy were a couple of “L” brackets  (I already had the wood and stain).

First, the outdoor part. I used my leftover walnut stain and some pretty badly damaged end pieces, which I think adds to the charm (note: you can get these at a discount at Home Depot if you ask nicely), along with a couple of 1 x 1 dowel rods that I had cut to size to be flush with the shelves. You don’t necessarily need the dowel rod “lip,” but I wanted my shelves to function as magazine racks.


Once your wine is done- I mean, the stain is dry, you can move indoors for the gluing process. I added a couple of nails (not pictured) for good measure.


Hang the brackets on studs (you can position your shelves around them) upside down so the shelf’s contents hide the bracket.


Arrange your artwork/magazines to hide the brackets (and that fucking light switch), and you have yourself a sturdy, almost-free floating shelf.

Total cost: ~$20 if you buy all the products new
Total time: 1 hour of actual work + overnight drying

I can now rest easy, and/or move onto other absurdly tall walls. Stay tuned!



One thought on “Easy Weekend Project: DIY “Floating” Shelves

  1. Sarah Grace

    I think we have something in common when it comes to our home, our house is surrounded by sliding glass doors and we have small walls that I really don’t know how to make it lively and impressive. After reading your article and seeing the images I finally have an idea on what I am going to do. I am also planning to add hanging shelves on our bare wall on the stairs.


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