Learn the easy way to make easy DIY kitchen floating shelves for the perfect country style in your kitchen. With so much versatility, floating shelves are an excellent, affordable option to traditional cabinets in your kitchen.
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As my husband and I began renovating our small galley kitchen, we realized one way to open up the space a bit more was to remove upper cabinets from one side and replace them with some DIY kitchen floating shelves.
This quick project can be altered to fit your space and budget and is easy to customize in color and style, which is why I love it so much!
The one downfall is that you really have to either style the shelves well or leave them simple for a rustic, minimalist style. Regardless, you will need to keep them tidy and appealing.
Despite this one drawback, I was excited to jump on board with floating shelves in the kitchen. I was initially ready to take the leap with the entire kitchen, but I decided on testing it out on one side first.
These shelves can look sleek and modern or rustic and simple. They can be filled with practical items you’re constantly grabbing without having to open and close cabinets. Even other artistic or nature-inspired pieces can be added in as fillers in empty spaces for a clean, aesthetic look.
I absolutely love them and you won’t change my mind.
Quite frankly, the only people I know who complain about these shelves are usually those who’ve never even had them… And we can’t forget the folks who only prefer cabinets because they just love shoving random things to hide in their kitchen cabinets in complete disarray (I see you!).
But seriously. If you’re like me and keep things organized and tidy, you’ll have absolutely no complaints about floating shelves in your kitchen. Practical, beautiful, and very cost effective.
What are floating shelves?
Technically, floating shelves are shelves that show no brackets, which give the shelves a floating effect. However, there are also shelves that show brackets as well—some more decorative and other more industrial and subtle.
We started making true floating shelves using posts (with no brackets showing), but because of the long length of our shelves it was very difficult to get four holes lined up perfectly on both the shelf boards and the studs in the wall.
We ended up switching to floating shelves with brackets supporting the shelves underneath (that were still pretty discreet). I recommend using floating shelves with hidden posts only if your shelves are shorter in length, requiring only 2-3 supports per shelf. These are much easier to match up to studs in walls.
Should I switch to Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves?
- Food items and cookware are in plain sight where you can grab them easily on the fly
- Shows off beautiful glassware, plateware, china, glass jars of food, etc.
- Opens up small spaces
- Gives room to decorate with plants, art, and more in your kitchen
- Affordable to make (as little as $50 on an entire wall)
- Customizable (size, color, sheen, number of shelves)
- Lends a rustic country home style to your kitchen (perfect for a cottage or farmhouse)
- You’ll need to dust them off quickly a couple of times each month (though it takes only minutes to do this)
- Need to keep items organized and tidy so that even the practical items serve an aesthetic purpose
How to Style Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves
I have a few great ideas for styling your new floating shelves in your kitchen. Some I’m going to apply myself eventually (once we get the rest of the kitchen together). The others I’ve seen in other online spaces and found inspiring.
- Framed art prints
- China, wooden cutting boards, glass jars filled with food
- Vases with or without flowers
- Ironstone cake stands, crocks, or other antique pieces
- Matching mugs or stemware
- Spice containers in matching glass jars
- Bowls of fruit
- Blender, stand mixer, or other lesser-used appliances
- Vintage or modern kitchen scales
- Large, decorative serving bowls or platters
Now that I’ve convinced you, let’s get into all the nitty gritty details for making Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves.
Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves
Tools and Materials | Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves
Tips for Installation | Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves
After locating studs be sure to check that the brackets aren’t too wide to fit over narrow studs. If they are too wide, the brackets I’ve linked HERE do come with drywall anchors that can be used instead. This will make them heavy duty if you can’t drill straight into studs.
Double check work with a leveler before securing wood to brackets. Lay the board flat over the brackets without securing it and then check with a leveler.
Check local codes to ensure the shelves are hung high enough above the stove if you are installing them directly above a cooktop. Some recommendations require up to 36” of space between stovetop and shelves.
Steps | Easy DIY Kitchen Floating Shelves
1. Find studs and mark on wall.
Use a stud finder to find the studs on the wall (usually 16-24 inches apart). With a pencil, mark where these are so you can line brackets up correctly to secure later. Use a yardstick to ensure the marks are all in line with one another.
2. Measure space and cut wood.
Accurately measure the space you want the shelves located. Cut the board to length and check that it fits before moving forward.
3. Secure first bracket to wall.
Starting on one end, secure the very first bracket into the first stud (or measure a few inches in from where the wood shelf will extend out to if you’re using anchors). Using the drill, add the two screws into the stud so the post is at a 90º angle from the wall.
4. Use a yardstick to line up the brackets with the first to get a straight, even line.
Check the levelness of the brackets before moving on to adding each additional bracket. You can lay a yardstick over the brackets and place the leveler on top to quickly check this before moving forward.
You will need to add a bracket about every 12-16 inches, depending on how much weight you need the shelves to hold and the overall aesthetic. Be mindful of both when deciding on how many to use. We used 4 heavy-duty brackets to support each almost 5’ long shelf we installed.
5. Sand, stain, and seal the wood boards.
Use 120-grit (or higher) sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish. Sanding also helps the stain adhere. Then apply stain to all sides and ends with a rag (rubbing in and wiping away as you go) and let dry. After this is dry you can apply the polyurethane. I use a water-based polyurethane spray that is really easy to use, but you can also brush it on from a can. (It just may take longer to dry and cure if you use an oil-based option from a can.)
6. Start securing wood boards to brackets.
Now that the wood boards are finished it’s time to secure them in place to the brackets. When you begin, have someone hold the board in place as you start on one end. Drill pilot holes first, then drill screws directly up until each one is secured. Move to the opposite end and repeat this step as someone else olds it in place.
After this point you should only need to secure center brackets and it should be secure enough on both ends to finish the job yourself. Repeat previous steps with making pilot holes and drilling screws into place.