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How to Install a Floating Shelves [Easy 6-Step Process]

A floating shelf can be very practical for your everyday use. With that, it also brings an artistic touch in your home décor.

And knowing how to install you can save some cash as well.

In this guide, I will be discussing how to install floating shelves.

To install floating shelves on your wall, gather all the items first. Then locate the studs. Now measure the bracket with a leveller. Mark the points where you are gonna put the anchors. Next, pre drill some holes and set the anchors in. Then lay the support bracket and tightly screw them all in. 

Not sure yet? Do not sweat! In this comprehensive guide, I have clarified everything in a step by step process. So it is even simpler for you to understand.

Simply read on to find out!

How to Install Floating Shelves?

A floating shelf can be useful for you in many ways. You can keep a lot of daily use items on it. Thus it saves plenty of space in your house.

Not only that, you can even utilise the shelf to offer your home some artistic touch. That is, by using it to place items that enhance the quality of your home decor.

There are plenty of ideas for floating shelves. You can set it in your living room, maybe kitchen or even in your garage.

But, for all these you need to install one first. And you will be glad to learn that you can certainly do it yourself. 

Along with that, you are saving some cash that you had to spend to get it done.

And installing floating shelves is not that complex of a job. Certainly not the same as installing a floating deck.

But with proper instructions and tips, everyone can do it.

To solve your dilemma, I have brought you this guide. I will show you step by step how to install a shelf.

So, let’s start!

The Tools And Items You Will Need

Now before I start, let me inform you of all the stuff you are going to require. The tools you need here are different from the ones you need to install a baseboard. So, you can have all the things handy when you are working on it. 

It would save a ton of your time as well as hassle while working.

Here is the list of all the necessary items you will be needing:

  • A Shelf
  • Anchor plugs. It can be drywall or plasterboard 
  • A Hammer
  • A Stud Finder
  • A Marker or Pencil 
  • A Leveller
  • Measuring Tape
  • A Screwdriver
  • Drill

So, these are all the items you are gonna need. Make sure you have them nearby before starting the task. Here are a few of the tools for you if you want to purchase:

WORKSITE Cordless DrillCheck Current Price
HORUSDY Multi-Purpose ScrewdriverCheck Current Price

Now let’s move on to the step-by-step guide part.

6 Steps to Install A Floating Shelf

In this section, I will show you all the steps to install a floating shelf by yourself.

All the steps given here are very practical. So make sure that you are not skipping any part of it. 

Go through it carefully and follow the instructions.

Below are the required steps.

Step 1: Locate Studs

So first of all, you can start with locating the studs. 

You may use a stud finder to do this. In this case, I have used the Franklin stud finder. It is one of the best stud finders. It possesses LEDs and is very easy to use. It makes your job of locating studs way easier.

Now, try to locate all the studs in the area on which you are gonna mount it. 

Now after you’ve located the area for one of the studs, mark that as you go.

Step 2: Measure The Bracket 

In this step, you need to measure the bracket. 

So, with a straight edge, you have to mark out the place you are planning to place the bracket. 

You can make use of a leveller for doing this.

So your next job is to mark the spots where you are going to put the anchors. 

Mark them using a highlighter. 

Step 3: Set The Anchors in

Now you need to predrill holes in those marked areas. 

After pre drilling holes, simply put your anchors right through them.

And now grab a hammer and lightly tap the anchors using that. 

Keep in mind while hammering that you are not going too hard. Since, by doing so there’s a probability that they may break. 

Now you are just gonna repeat the same process as before. And perform the exact same procedure at the other side. 

Remember not to make the holes very big. Since it will cause your anchors to just wobble around.

It will then defeat their real purpose.

So, just work by gently tapping those in.

You can use drywall ones as well. But find out the way to fix the gap between baseboard drywall if it is needed.

Step 4: Lay The Support Bracket 

Now, it is time to lay the support bracket in.

For that, you will need to screw them on. But, at first, do it lightly as you are doing it temporarily.

You should not over tighten the screws. This is because you might have to readjust them in case they are not straight.

Now grab your leveller again. You have to place it on top of the bracket to check whether they are straight. 

See if it is right in the middle. Do the checking for the other side as well. Just to be sure.

If you see everything is good and straight, now is time to tighten the screws down.

Step 5: Add Some Extra Support 

Now, this step is not a mandatory one. 

But, I recommend doing it. That is, if you are planning on placing a lot of stuff on that floating shelf. 

So you want your shelf to be completely secured. And this will be able to support the extra weight. And will make it even more durable.

What you need to do is drill extra holes on the places your studs are located. 

Now you have to put some additional screws for extra support in those holes.

You can use some extra dry wall screws for this purpose. And it should be enough to properly anchor the bracket down.

After you are done, you are gonna get something fine and sturdy. 

Step 6: Complete The Process

In this step, you are going to have to match your bracket up with the holes. The holes in your floating shelf, that is. So simply slide them right in.

Now, underneath your floating shelf, you will find a place where you can put a screw on.  

It is kept there so that it will not segregate from your bracket.

So, just put the screws on accordingly and tighten them.

So there you go! Now everything is nice and strong. And be sure it is not gonna separate from the bracket that easily.

Heavy Decor on Your Floating Shelf

You often do not understand just how heavy your shelf decor is. And when you do, your shelf might be on the verge of breaking. 

Although most times shelf decor is light enough and your floating shelf shouldn’t have a problem. But there will be some sneaky cases where the weight stacks on sooner than you realise.

Floating Shelf Piled up with Books

Weighing a lot of books is one of the major shelf decor culprits. 

At least once in your life, you have certainly carried a moving box filled with books. So you will know how much all of the paper together might weigh.

So, it can happen that your floating shelf is merely attached to one single stud. Then you have to ensure that the heaps of Shakespeare aren’t dipping the scales beyond 50 lbs. 

Book weight truly adds up more quickly than you would think. And this weight sometimes can be unbearable for your floating shelf. Leading it to wobble or break.

Keep in mind if you plan on using the floating shelves as bookshelves. Evaluate the weight of books before displaying.

Heavy Laundry Items

Your laundry room is one place where the floating shelf gets heavy. 

Most of us can’t help but put the laundry detergent inside a glass apothecary jar. Then put it on the floating shelf.

Now imagine how much stocking 55 lbs of detergent in a glass apothecary jar must weigh. 

And to make things worse, the floating shelf has one stud.

As laundry care items do get fat fast, it can make the shelf vulnerable to breakage. 

You may want to keep all the heavy items on the shelf. However, before you do, ensure that the brackets are secured well on the wall.

Storing Kitchen Items

Your kitchen is another place where the floating shelf piles up quickly.

It is nothing new to stock the baking goods on the shelf. For example, items like flour and sugar. 

These things often come in bulk 50lb bags. When purchased, they find their place on your kitchen floating shelf.

Next time, before doing that, secure the shelf with multiple wall studs.

Always take the floating shelf’s weight holding capacity into consideration. At least before you start using it as a storage and start piling heavy items. 

Remember that a typical floating shelf with one stud can only take up to 50 lbs.

So, if you plan on weighing it more, add a few more studs. Otherwise, you may end up damaging the wall or the floating shelf itself.


Do floating shelves need studs?

Yes, floating shelves do need studs. Some may say otherwise. And it is possible to do it without studs. However, I suggest you definitely use studs. Without them the shelf will not have the support it needs. And will not function like you’d want.

Why is my floating shelf sagging?

The one reason for this can be that the hardware gets damaged. And tend not to hold up overtime. When it begins to sag, stuff directly goes sideways. And begin sliding off the floating shelf. Or worst case scenario, it will fall right off.

How much weight can floating shelves hold?

For one stud, a typical floating shelf will hold up to 50lbs. It means if you have two studs attached to your shelf, it will safely hold 100 lbs. And then the calculation goes like this if you want to add more.

Wrapping Up

Hope I have resolved all your questions of how to install floating shelves.

So, now you know what you are to do. Thanks to this comprehensive guide and the step by step process given. Follow all the instructions carefully. And make sure that you do not skip anything. And you should be good to go!

That is all for now. Have an awesome day!