How to Use Floating Shelves to Decorate and Organize Your Apartment

Clever ways to use floating shelves for organizing and decorating every room in your apartment. Read our full breakdown here.

Apartment Advice

Floating shelves are an ingenious way to add storage without taking up floor space.

They are extremely versatile. With a little creativity, you can use them to organize and decorate your apartment in surprising ways.

One of the best things about using wall-mounted shelves as home decor is their ability to transform any room in your apartment and subtly represent your personal style.

Are you ready to be inspired?

How to Use Floating Shelves in the Kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is the hub of activity. Food draws us together, sharing a meal and some conversation while we all pitch in to clean up the aftermath.

Gourmet kitchens with tons of storage aren’t a regular thing in apartments. In fact, it can be a real challenge trying to keep a smaller kitchen free of clutter.

Try these four ways to use floating shelves in your kitchen:

A Dish Display

Many kitchens lack great cabinet space. Since cabinets are expensive, most homes will keep them to a bare minimum.

Adding floating shelves on the wall that connects to your cabinets can make it look like it was a part of the original design. This can be a perfect place to showcase your favorite dishes, and you can switch them up whenever you feel inclined.

Keeping your dishes within sight and easy to grab at dinnertime is also extremely convenient. You can stack plates, bowls, and cups on the top side while adding hooks for mugs and cooking utensils on the underside.


Build Your Own Coffee Bar

Coffee is the nectar of life for many. We just can’t live without it. The coffee maker deserves a place of its own. Create one with floating shelves!

A heavy-duty floating wall shelf system in the kitchen can keep all the coffee equipment handy and allow for easy access pouring your perfect cup. Add this system of shelves over a chalkboard wall, and you have yourself a mini cafe to yourself.

You can have several floating shelves dedicated to your coffee bar.

  • One for cups
  • One for the coffee machines
  • One with baskets for k-cup pods, creamer, gourmet coffee, and more
  • Bonus – If you enjoy a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day of work, this can double as a wine bar and make it twice as nice!

Frame the Range Hood

Symmetry is always pleasing to the eye. Keep your kitchen symmetrical by framing your stove with identical ledge shelves on both sides of the range hood.

Much of the space on either side of a range hood is often wasted. Use hanging shelves to reclaim some storage areas around the stove.

What would you put on these strategically placed shelves?

Do you need a handy place to keep your spices and oils for quick use while cooking? You could also keep frequently used recipe books right where they’re needed.

If you want to use the space to add some style, why not keep a collection of colored glassware or copper bakeware on display?

In a Narrow Corner

Corners are often used to stuff random things that you rarely use. Instead of making your kitchen corners a place where things go to be forgotten, make it a smart storage space.

Adding triangle-shaped shelves in the corner can be an excellent way to organize in the kitchen. Use them to keep your banana hook or fruit bowl off the counter.

Use your next free weekend to make an easy and inexpensive version of these shelves by following this DIY Instructables project.

Tight on space? Learn about getting your own personal storage unit here!

How to Use Floating Shelves in the Bathroom

Floating wood shelf

Often the smallest room in the house, the bathroom can be a challenge to organize.

Again, a good shelf set can save the day.

Above the Door

Using every available empty space is the superpower of floating shelves, even that small space above your bathroom door.

Adding a small shelf set over your door can allow for extra bathroom storage, such as extra bath towels.

This area can also serve as an extra visual attraction by adding some plants. Since the bathroom is such a humid environment, many plants thrive near the bath.

Which plants are the best choice?

Read this list of the best houseplants for your bathroom to find your plant match.

Next to the Mirror

Having everything displayed within reach will cut down the time it takes to get ready in the morning.

Install glass floating shelves next to the mirror to hold your toiletries and speed up your grooming regime.

Keeping things off the vanity will also make your bathroom look neater and make your actual cleaning routine a breeze.

Over the Toilet

Forget about those flimsy behind the toilet storage racks. Instead, keep your bathroom streamlined by adding sleek floating shelves above your toilet.

Make sure to get the height right to keep your shelving out of the way — you don’t want anyone suffering a bump on the head. The suggested height is at least two feet above the toilet tank. If you want to be able to store towels, be sure to hang them at least 15 inches apart.

Between the Toilet and the Wall

Another often wasted space is the small area between the toilet and the wall. This is actually a handy place to put things. You can keep magazines, air fresheners, extra toilet paper, and wipes.

Need help with installation? Learn about Handy’s in-home installation services

How to Use Floating Shelves in the Living Room

Floating shelves in living room

The living room is usually the biggest room in the house and where most of us like to express our individual style. This is where we come to unload after a hard day.

Floating shelves can really make this room come alive and help declutter a living room — adding space and simplicity.

Gallery Wall

You know that empty wall space in the living room? Consider creating a gallery wall to display a collection of art or favorite family photos.

Try adding these shelves in a geometric pattern with black and white photos for a modern twist. If that’s not your style, add a pop of color and variety by having an eclectic mix of patterns and textures.

A gallery wall should be an expression of your favorites, and shelving makes the perfect canvas. Floating shelving units allow you to display different pieces without putting more holes in the wall.

Related: 5 Unique Approaches to Get More Organized [in Under 10 Minutes]


Replace Your Entertainment Center

The days of bulky entertainment centers that collect dust and take up space are over. Floating shelves framing your TV are a streamlined substitution.

Since TVs have evolved into thinner, sleeker machines, it only makes sense to add a thin wall-mounted shelf next to the TV to make it the focus of attention.

You can do this in a variety of ways. Try hanging three shelves on both sides of the TV. Or you could put one shelf to each side and one above and one below.

Lastly, you can just have one long wood shelf under the TV, the length of the wall, acting as a drop spot for remotes and devices.

Add a Library

Is your space a little small for a full-sized bookshelf?

Investing in a couple of bookends turns any floating shelf into a beautiful library. The number of shelves needed depends solely on how deep your love of books is.

Add an interesting reading nook with a comfy chair and a side table to spend an afternoon lost in your favorite story.

Libraries also seem to have a sense of mystery. Add some magic to yours by adding a hidden compartment in your decorative shelves. This DIY video will show you how.

Behind the Couch

Adding wall mount shelves behind the couch is a great way to make that space come alive. You can add decoration for added style or make it a more functional space by adding coasters and candles to increase the chill factor.

If you don’t own a coffee table, short decorative shelves behind the couch can allow for some table space at every seat on the sofa.

How to Use a Shelf Set in the Bedroom

Floating shelves in bedroom

Our sanctuaries of sleep deserve some style as well. Make sleepy time the best time by using a wall shelf in the bedroom.

As a Night Table

Wood floating shelves make great night tables because you can select the exact size you need. Often, fitting a night table beside your bed can be a challenge if you don’t have a spacious bedroom.

For a minimalist bedroom, you can add a thin shelf just above the bedside. You can jazz things up by adding a double floating shelf to make it more like an actual nightstand.

Over the Bed

Shelf brackets above the bed can be a super space saver, with or without a headboard. Placing a shelf high enough so that you don’t hit your head can give you a place to stack some art that gives you a calm feeling.

If your room is too small for a nightstand, this wall decor is an excellent alternative space for a lamp and your little box of keepsakes.

In a Corner

Add some storage space and visual interest to your room by adding a wood shelf in an empty corner.

You can add triangle shelves, L-shaped corner shelves, or make a descending pyramid for a unique take on a corner shelf. Stack plants, picture frames, or keep extra linen on these shelves.

Create a Charging Station

Bedtime also means charging time for our devices.

Easily convert a floating wall shelf into a charging station by hanging it above an outlet with brackets for each of your devices. Keep your cords organized by adding notches into your shelf to clip in the cables to your individual devices.

Looking to further decrease clutter in the bedroom? Specifically in your closet? Check out these 25 Closet Hacks and get organized.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Give Your Bedroom a Chill Vibe

How to Use a Floating Wall Shelf in the Dining Room

Floating shelves in dining room

Many people prefer to have traditional storage options in the dining room. But this room isn’t exempt from the benefits of a shelf set (or even corner shelves), especially when you have limited room.


To be the ultimate host, you need to have a mini-bar. If you don’t have a designated space for this, you can always use a shelf set to double as an ultimate drink making space.

Whip up any cocktail at a moment’s notice by having your favorite liquors, a shaker, and some fancy glasses handy on your wall ledge for a makeshift mini-bar.

Wall Art Display

Are topics of conversation challenging to find at dinnertime?

Why not provide inspiration?

How? Through carefully chosen wall art displayed on an equally artistic wood shelf. If you’ve been on any trips recently, display photos or keepsakes from the experience.

Interested in a fun little DIY project?

Paint your shelf to complement your decor and top it with a display that matches the theme of your dining table accents.

Related: The 53 Kitchen Essentials for Your Brand New Apartment


A well-designed buffet often caps a stylish dining room. The downsides are they can be expensive and take up a lot of space.

Some wood floating shelves can replace the need for a buffet. Keep all your entertaining ware and special utensils nicely displayed on deep floating shelves out of the way of seating.

Desk or Work Area

A designated area for your laptop and paperwork is nice, but it may not be feasible to put an entire desk in your dining room.

Using floating shelves for a space-saving work area makes this a possibility without taking up too much space.

You can even extend your desk space by adding drop-down or pull-out shelving to the existing bookcase.

For more home office organization, read these 7 Productivity Tricks.

How to Use a Wall Shelf in the Entry


Entryways are often left bare and cluttered as people come in and out of the house in a hurry.

Keep this area more organized and clean by using a few floating shelves as a functional but pretty storage area.

You can even use storage shelves in your entryway closet since they never seem to be big enough.

If closet space is a problem for you, check out our tips on five proven ways to maximize small closet organization. 

Use a Floating Shelf as a Catch-all

The first thing we do when we get home is empty our hands. If we have a designated area to put our keys, mail, umbrellas, and wallets, we can save the clutter on the kitchen counter for things that actually go there — like food!

A small but unique floating wall shelf conveniently placed in the entry can be a great drop center for these random but necessary items. When you have a home for your keys and wallet, the chances of losing them will diminish.

To Bring in Some Green

Near the door is a charming place to have a little greenhouse if your door has windows. A wall shelf with cute little houseplants will help bring the outdoors in and brighten up the home.

Some houseplants even improve the air quality so that you can breathe better, even without the fresh outdoor air.

Under a Mirror

Place a floating wall shelf under a mirror in your entryway with a few grooming supplies to help you look your best before you walk out the door.

One last check in the mirror before you leave can save you the embarrassment of having spinach in your teeth or a less-than-perfect hairdo.

With Hooks

If you do install a wall shelf near your door, hooks are a necessity. These hooks can hold keys, hats, purse handles, canes, and umbrellas.

If you are a sports enthusiast, use the hooks to hold your tennis racket, jump rope, or resistance bands.

Hooks — often underused — are organizational wonders.

Our Favorite Hanging Shelves that are For Sale Right Now

  1. This handmade rustic wood wall shelf (2x)
  2. This 60″ drifted gray entryway shelf
  3. This rustic floating shelf with rails (2x)
  4. This coat wall shelf with 3 hooks and mail holders
  5. These floating metal shelves (3x)

At first glance, you may feel the opportunity for storage in your apartment is limited. This article proves there are many smart ways to use floating shelves to decorate and organize every room in your apartment.

A floating wall shelf can be made in any size, shape, or material. They can be used to match anyone’s style from industrial to bohemian.

Get creative and put your own personal spin on floating shelves.

The longer you have them, the more you’ll find new and great ways to use them. You’ll also realize that floating shelves help make your apartment feel bigger and more stylish.

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