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Inspiration and Ideas

Finding the Perfect Fit: A Guide to Choosing the Right Size Floating Shelves When Considering Your Personal Aesthetics & Practical Storage Needs

Updated: Jan 29

Floating wood shelves are not just practical storage solutions; they're also powerful visual additions that can transform your space dramatically. Whether you're looking to display family heirlooms, care for plants, or store an entire kitchen on your walls, determining the right sizes for your floating shelves is crucial.

While it seems simple on the surface, the number of customization options available can be overwhelming when you are trying to figure out how to outfit a larger space. Have you considered staggering the shelves on the wall? Have you considered that multiple shelves can be ordered in different sizes? The guide below is meant to help walk you through the practical considerations of floating shelves while also honoring the aesthetics of your unique home.

Walnut floating shelves next to a Christmas tree.
Walnut Floating Shelves w/ Rounded Edges

1. Assess Your Whole Room:

Before diving into all of your customization options for floating wood shelves, take stock of what you plan to store on them and what room they will be living in. Storing your dinner plates is the job of thicker, deeper shelves equipped with a protective finish. Displaying your vinyl records is better done by thinner, very shallow shelves, possibly with a short lip.

Next, assess the wall that the shelves will be living on, and consider using all of your available walls. A corner shelf can maximize space. Determine how many walls you want to use, and how much wall space on each.

Lastly, take stock of the items that are already in the room that you would like to store on the shelves. Consider creating a mock display to help you visualize how your items will look on the shelf and measure the area they take up. This can help solidify your choices for length and depth.

2. Consider Weight Capacity:

Before designing your wall layout with the information that you have gathered, consider the needed weight capacity, and determine a minimum thickness for your shelves. While our floating shelves can be made as thin as 1.125”, you might need the 55 lb. weight capacity found in our 1.75” shelves instead.

3. Design Your Wall Space:

Measure the exact size of the wall space where you intend to install your floating shelves. These numbers will help you estimate what sizes of shelves would work best.

For example, if you have a wall that is 6 feet long and would like a shelf that goes halfway across the wall, a 3 foot long shelf would be needed.

Sketching different configurations to compare against one another is a completely optional step. Using a basic rectangle to represent the wall and simple lines to represent the shelves, this can do wonders to help you make decisions and let your imagination shine.

When you are sketching, do not forget to play around with:

  • How the shelves could stagger/overlap one another

  • How shelves may differ in length. Varying the lengths of your shelves can also help develop a focal point, guiding the gaze if there is something special on display.

  • How the height between shelves may differ

  • How they might flow across one wall to another

  • How much height they will need between them to display specific items

  • How thick the shelves might be

Walnut floating shelves in a home office.
Walnut Floating Shelves w/ Rounded Edges

Thinner shelves provide a more minimalist and modern look, while also creating a sense of openness. They allow the shelf décor to really stand out, and are great for smaller rooms. These are best for more modern spaces.

Thicker shelves strike the hard to find balance of being a statement piece while also adding to the cozy comfort of a space. They add visual interest to any room with relaxing natural wood grains.

One of the best ways to showcase your style is to mix and match different wall positions, shelf thicknesses, and even wood types!

4. Test with Mock Layouts, Consider Wood Samples:

Before committing to any specific sizes, one great option is to create a mock layout using cardboard or paper cutouts. You can even use painter’s tape! This helps refine your choices and ensures a seamless integration into your space.

While each shelf is unique in its exact tone and wood pattern because each tree is different, it can be helpful to order a wood sample if you need help making your final decision. This can be physically compared against existing furniture in the room.


Our samples are substantial at 3" x 3" x 0.75" so that you can really get a feel for the wood and finish.

Conclusion: We’re Here to Help

Our hardwood shelves are meant as permanent fixtures to your space, and it is worth the time it takes to think through the best option for you. It is never too early to include us in the conversation if you have questions or need help deciding!

Explore our collection of floating shelves to order fit for your living room, kitchen, bathroom, or any space in your home. We specialize in custom orders!


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