More Than Meets the Eye: Great Uses for Floating Shelves

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Image: Better Homes & Gardens

Some things are simply self-evident. The sky is blue, fire is hot, and shelves store stuff. Or shelves display stuff. Or shelves help organize stuff. My point is that—at least on the surface of the subject—there’s really nothing new to discover about shelves. Or is there? I started taking a look at shelves – floating shelves, specifically – and found that there’s actually more than meets the eye when it comes to the kinds of things you can do with floating shelves. Here’s what I discovered:

Provide Warmth
Let’s say you’ve got a perfectly swell kitchen, like the one above. It has sweet subway tile, great modern cabinets, even a bit of traditional style in the vent hood. But it’s all a bit black and white and needs something to help warm things up. Wooden floating shelves to the rescue! They do that stuff you know they’re going to (holding things) but they also bring some warmth and texture to the space.

Provide Usable Space
More Than Meets the Eye on The Interior Collective Image: Japanese Trash

Maybe you’ve got a terrific living room but you need just ten more places to put stuff. What’s great when it comes to needing a place to put stuff? Say it with me: shelves! Yes, but there’s really nowhere in the living room to put a big old bookcase… Floating shelves to the rescue! They help you create usable space out of available walls.

Maximize Your Use of Space
More Than Meets the Eye on The Interior Collective Design: Sand Studios; Image: Cesar Rubio on Dwell

It’s time for a kitchen renovation and you’re not sure how you’re going to maximize the space you have available for upper cabinets. Why not use floating shelves? You can easily fit more linear feet of shelving into the same amount of space when you use floating shelves. Plus, you can configure them however suits your needs.

Provide an Open Feeling

More Than Meets the Eye on The Interior CollectiveImage: Remodelista

Same situation as before: it’s kitchen remodel time but this kitchen is super-tiny. I mean, barely enough room to turn around in. More like a closet, than a kitchen, really—especially with upper cabinets making everything feel even more closed in. You know what to do! Floating shelves, of course. They’ll give you the storage you need while opening up the feeling of the space.

Now aren’t you glad you went with me below the surface to discover some great uses for floating shelves?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.