Floating shelves are really simple to install yourself – here's how

Putting up floating shelves is an easily achievable DIY project. Just follow our step-by-step guide and video tutorial

Hanging floating shelves is an easy DIY job
(Image credit: Future)

Floating shelves are practical but pretty. They're also really simple to install and you don't need loads of tool. Whether you are looking to create book storage in your living room, picture display space in or bedroom or storage for your home office, follow our simple step-by-step guide to easily install floating shelves.

Be aware though, before you get started, that instructions may vary depending on the shelf you are installing, so always check the manufacturer's guidelines first. 

Looking for more decorating advice and inspiration? Take a look at our dedicated decorating hub page.

You will need:

1. Check the construction of the wall

Before starting, check the construction of your wall, this will determine what type of fixing you need to use. For a solid brick or masonry wall you will need wall plugs and for a plasterboard wall use worm-style fixings. 

2. Ensure the wall is free of cables and pipes

Before drilling any holes, run over the area with a digital detector to check it’s free of any pipes and cables. 

3. Mark out your fixings

Hold the shelf bracket on the wall at the height you want. Make sure it is straight using a spirit level. Then, using a pencil, mark the fixing hole positions. 

Again, double check your pencil markings are straight with a spirit level. Use a counterpunch and a hammer to make a small dent in the centre of each mark, this will stop your drill or screwdriver from slipping. 

4. Add your wall fixings

This step may differ depending on the shelf you are using and the wall material you are mounting it on to. If you are using a drill and wall plugs to mount your shelf, drill a hole in the centre of each pencil mark and then tap into your wall plugs with a hammer.

If you are using  a worm-style fixing (as can be seen in our video above), cover the marks in Sellotape to stop plaster cracking and screw in your fixings.

5. Fix the bracket to the wall

With all the holes drilled into the wall you can now screw on the bracket. Hold it into position and, using either a drill or a screwdriver, insert the screws where they are required, making sure the bracket is tight to the wall. 

6. Slide the shelf onto the bracket

Once your base is fixed securely, slip the shelf onto the bracket. 

7. Secure the shelf to the bracket

On the underside of the shelf there will usually be fixings to ensure the shelf doesn’t slide off the bracket. Insert screws into these holes, screw upwards and the installation is complete. 

Top tip: Remember not to overload your shelf – floating shelves are fairly sturdy but they do have limits so read through the manual that came with your shelf to check what weight they can take. 

Feeling inspired? Check out more of our DIY tips:

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer after working as a social media co-ordinator for a luxury boat title. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.