What are Floating Bookshelves?
Floating shelves are shelves that appear to "float" on the wall without the use of any visible support from underneath or above. They're actually supported from behind but we'll get into those details later in the article. Or you can check out this article which has pictures of a few different methods for supporting them.
They are usually made of wood and are often installed in sets of three shelves or five shelves, but since Probuk Studio does custom millwork regularly, we provide plenty of options and configurations for the creative interior designer or home builder.
We have some examples on the site of installations we have done for clients, but the beauty is they can be customized almost endlessly depending on what you need and what your sense of style is.
Style and Function for Small Spaces
Floating shelves are a great way to add storage space to a room without taking up too much space, especially in small apartments where floor space may be at a premium.
They can also be used to create a unique design element. Basic floating shelves can be an easy install (depending on the design) and can be found at most home improvement stores or built yourself.
And of course if you have a unique, creative vision for the installation (like using a specific reclaimed wood), want to explore uncommon finish options, or just want to consult an expert before you start drilling into your house, floating shelves can be custom fabricated at a millwork shop like Probuk Studio :) and the installation will be taken care of for you.
1. Floating shelves are a great way to save space and add functionality to your home
Floating bookshelves are a great way to save space in your home. Traditional bookshelves are bulky and take up a lot of floor space, so they aren't always the ideal option, especially in a small living area or narrow hallway.
But floating shelves on the other hand can be mounted on the wall or even mounted from the ceiling with special hanging hardware.
This means that they take up much less room, leaving you more options to enjoy the space or decorate with other furniture you love.
Floating shelves also provide a unique and stylish solution for displaying books that shows them off to guests. Rather than being hidden away on a traditional shelf, they can be artfully arranged on a floating bookshelf, creating a focal point in any room. You can augment the display with photo frames, small houseplants, or decorative knick knacks that show off your personality and culture.
Whether you're short on space or simply looking for a stylish design, floating book shelves are a great option!
Declutter a room effortlessly
The other important benefit of using floating shelves is that it makes decluttering easier. It's more convenient to store items you use frequently on the shelf where you'll be reminded of them rather than piling them in cabinets or closets where people tend to forget about things.
And this type offers a simple yet functional, minimalist design with plenty space for all your stuff!
How do you secure a floating shelf?
Floating bookshelves may look like a magic trick and people often wonder about their weight capacity. How much can they hold? If designed well and installation is done correctly, a floating shelf can be remarkably strong. Keep reading to learn more about how they actually work.
They're perfect no matter where one needs extra storage—whether at the office during work hours, in your child's bedroom, a small water closet where inches of space count, or in a luxurious, custom designed modern apartment.
2. Perfect solution for for book storage, family photos, wall art or any other items you need easy access to
Conversation Starters: Much More Than A Bookshelf!
One of our favorite design trends is not only to utilize the floating shelf as a way to display books but to intersperse the books you're showing off with artwork or other items that help people understand who you are or act as conversation starters for a commercial installation.
In other settings, such as a workshop, it might make more sense to use this as a place to store materials like screws, bolts, brackets, reams of paper or cloth, or even some of your tools, provided the shelf is anchored to the wall correctly and has sufficient weight capacity.
3. Floating shelves come in a variety of materials and styles, so you can find the perfect set for your home
There is a near endless number of variations of floating bookshelf styles, both vintage and modern. Some people may want a flat white finish, a dark brown finish, a natural stained wood pattern, or even a pattern or custom painted design. It all depends on what kind of decor fits and if you're trying to follow trends or go for a more timeless look.
Measuring the length of the wall space where you would like to install the shelves is important. Floating bookshelves can be the length of an entire wall for end to end storage in the room, or they can be as simple as a small platform that is just big enough for a single houseplant.
The reason this matters is because this will affect the options available to you when selecting a style for your room. If you're flexible and don't mind working with an off the shelf option that is prefabricated, options are nearly endless.
When To Customize
However, if you have a an odd size shelf (really big or really small for example) or you have a very specific setup you need (e.g. the floated shelf needs to be exactly 4 feet, 28.3 inches long) then you will most likely need to build them yourself or work with a fabrication shop like Probuk Studio (we got you wink wink) to custom build you what you need to make sure the shelves fit like a glove and will be strong for years and years to come.
4. Installation is relatively quick
A proper, robust and strong installation can be done as quickly as an afternoon, but you must have all of your materials ready to go. This includes:
The shelves you want cut to size and all internal cuts already made
The installation hardware needed like screws, brackets or rods, wall anchors
Essential tools including a drill, stud finder, hammer & level
How do you make a floating invisible bookshelf?
The coolest part about floating bookshelves is they appear to hover with no support at all. Like an amazing magic trick, right?
The way this is usually accomplished is by positioning screw holes over the wall studs and attaching sturdy brackets and rods directly to the wall. Some DIY guides advise using wall anchors when you are not able to hit a stud directly, but we would advise against this if you want adequate weight capacity for the shelf. You must be anchored into solid wood, not hanging on for dear life by a chunk of drywall!
How much weight can floating bookshelves hold?
The metal brackets can also be reinforced with extra metal rods for added strength. Here's the rule of thumb:
One quality metal rod is generally safe to support around 45lbs.
This isn't a hard and fast rule because this also depends on how deep the shelves go or in other words, how far the plank extends from the wall. A deeper shelf will need more support.
But if you want an example how strong they can be, here's an installation of a floating bench a whole family can sit on comfortably.
Once the internal structure is anchored to something strong, the wooden shelves are cut in a way that allows them to fit over the metal bracket that hides them completely inside the shelf.
If you've measured and cut everything correctly, they're actually quite easy to install. Like a lot of things in life, much of the effort is in the preparation.
Don't be cheap with materials.
There are many cheap off the shelf, prefabricated options where the wall shelf surface is made with a hollow shelf board or a cheap faux wood shelf like particle board or medium density fiberboard.
However, if you want to maximize both aesthetics and the strength (why put up shelves if you're scared to put stuff on them?) you ideally should be installing a solid wood shelf that has been painted or stained to match the decor and cut by a precision millwork shop with a router to accept the metal brackets snugly. Sometimes it is even necessary to tap the floating wall shelf into place with a rubber mallet.
No sense in going through the hassle if you don't install something that looks amazing. Many of our clients come to us after trying cheaper options, which is why we suggest just doing it right the first time.
5. Floating shelves are a great way to add personality and style to your home without breaking the bank
Once done, our clients absolutely love the final result. The increased storage space is practice and we think they will be on trend for a long long time.
To wrap things up, we hope this article has taught you a bit about why we think the invisible floating bookshelf will be around for a long time and