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How to Install Floating Shelves

Updated February 21, 2017

Floating shelves can be an attractive addition to the decor of your home office, bedroom or family room. These cleverly designed shelves are built so that they don't have any apparent means of support -- they simply "float" out from the wall. Installing them isn't a difficult task if you follow a few steps.

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  1. Decide where you want the shelves to be. It may be useful to sketch out a map of the wall where you're going to locate the shelves. Plan on how much space you want between the shelves and place them on your map accordingly.

  2. Locate the studs in the wall. The best way is to use a stud finder, readily available at hardware stores (see Resources). Floating shelves slide onto brackets that are mounted on the wall. It's essential that the brackets have a secure mount or they won't be able to support the weight of the shelf and its contents. Following the instructions for your specific brand of stud finder, slide it along the wall to locate the studs. When you've found the studs with your stud finder, make a pencil mark on the centre of the stud location.

  3. Mount the brackets. Hold the bracket up to the wall, at the right height, centred on the mark you've made for the stud. The bracket will have one or two screw holes. Using your pencil, make a mark on the wall. Using a drill, make pilot holes for the brackets' mounting screws. Use a drill bit that's a bit smaller than the size of the screw you'll be using and drill through the wall and into the stud. Then secure the bracket onto the wall with the screws and your screwdriver. The screw will go easily into the hole and will sink itself into the wood of the stud, ensuring a strong connection to the wall.

  4. Slide the shelf onto the brackets. Line up the holes for the brackets and slide the shelf onto them. Your shelf is now mounted. Repeat the process for any other shelves you may be mounting.

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Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Screw driver
  • Floating shelf

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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