Long Floating Shelves: Design Guide

Installing long floating shelves in your home is a great way to add style to your home while also providing valuable storage space for decorations, memorabilia, and other small knickknacks! Floating shelves can be an exciting DIY project that will allow you to get creative. In this blog post I will guide you through everything from designing your own unique shelves to getting them decorated with your favorite home decor items. We will also be discussing and showing examples of floating shelves to help inspire you as you get started on creating your perfect long floating shelves!

Designing Your Long Floating Shelves

Before you start designing and thinking about your long floating shelves, you need to have a clear idea of their intended use and where in your home the floating shelves will be installed. Knowing this information will guide you in designing your shelves.

There are several important factors to consider when designing your shelves, including their size, shape, material, color and location each of which are discussed below.

Long Floating Shelves Graphic

Floating Shelf Size

The first thing to consider is the size of your floating shelves. Measure the space where you want to install the shelves and decide how many shelves you want. Make sure to choose a size that will fit all the items you want to display. The length of your shelf is a design element by itself. One long shelf in a space will have an entirely different look and feel in a space then multiple smaller floating shelves.

Long Floating Shelves Shape

The shape of your long floating shelves are a vital part of your floating shelf design. Do you want a chunky wood shelf? Are you looking for a slim and modern shelf?  The shape of the shelf is the first thing people notice when they first see the shelves. It’s important they make a statement and getting the shape right is an important step in that direction.

Floating Shelves Material

Floating shelves can be made from a range of materials, such as wood, glass, metal, or even plastic. Consider the material that best suits your room’s decor and the weight of the items you want to display. By far the most popular long floating shelf option is wood and that what I focus on in this blog post.


The color of your long floating shelves is another important factor to consider while in the design phase of your project. Most floating shelves are made of wood so here are some design tips to consider when matching different wood patterns in your home.

Choose a Dominant Wood

When mixing different wood styles, it’s important to choose a dominant wood that will set the tone for the entire space. This dominant wood will be the main focal point and will guide the rest of the design decisions. For example, if you have a dark walnut dining table, you may want to choose long shelf pieces that complement the tables rich color and texture.

Use Contrasting Colors

Mixing different wood styles doesn’t mean you have to match everything perfectly. In fact, using contrasting colors can create a more interesting and dynamic look. For example, pairing light-colored oak floors with a dark stained long shelf can create a striking contrast that adds visual interest and appeal to the room.

Consider Texture

The texture of the wood is just as important as the color when it comes to matching different wood styles. If you have a rough-textured reclaimed wood coffee table, you may want to pair it with shelves that are as equally rough-textured to provide that cohesive look throughout your home..

Use Accessories to Tie Everything Together

 If you’re having trouble matching different wood styles, you can use home decor accessories to tie everything together. For example, if you have a mix of oak and maple furniture in a room, you can use decorative accessories like throw pillows, curtains, or an area rug to bring all the different design elements together. I already have complied an amazing shelf decorating guide you can use to assist you as you decorate your shelves.

Stick to a consistent style

Regardless of the various wood types you combine, it’s essential to maintain a unified design style throughout your room. For instance, if you have installed a modern-style dining table in the space, consider complementing furniture pieces with similar contemporary design asethetic. Your goal is to develop a cohesive look in the space and this idea can help you achieve that look.


The location of your long floating shelves is also an important factor to consider. Consider the room’s layout and light, as well as any potential obstructions that may affect the shelf’s appearance or functionality. In addition, you’ll want to make sure the shelves are installed securely so they can hold your items safely. Another thing to think about is the usability of the floating shelf, do you plan on using it for kitchen storage? If so you will probably want the shelves in or near the kitchen. Do you plan on using the shelves for purely decorative items? If so then a spot right at eye level on the wall might be best.

Long Floating Shelf Design Ideas 

Long Floating Shelf for Book Storage

The installation of long floating shelves in your home is a great way to store your books. If you are a book lover like myself and struggle with finding a place to store your favorites these long floating shelves are perfect for displaying and storing rows and rows of your favorite books.  Floating shelves are a great alternative to often times bulky bookshelves.

Staggered Floating Shelf 

You can also get creative with your long floating shelf design. A staggered floating shelf pattern is a great idea and adds an interesting look to the space. You can customize the shelves by adding different sized shelves in varying lengths, creating a unique and eye-catching way to display your decor.

Bar Floating Shelf

Adding floating shelves can also be a practical choice. In this application the shelves are perfect for storing your favorite liquor bottles and glasses. Long Floating Shelves can create an inviting and stylish look in any room while also being very practical, making them the perfect choice when setting up your home bar. This would also be a great organizing solution for a home coffee station as well.

Home Office Long Floating Shelf

This home office has plenty of storage for office supplies and home decor items. This really long floating shelf goes wall to wall and looks great in this space. This design could easily be incorporated into a bedroom (or any room of your house) if you don’t have a home office.

Chunky Wood Floating Shelf Idea

Kitchen Shelf ideas
Via Lewis Builders

Chunky wood floating shelves are a great way to bring some texture and warmth into your home. This chunky wood floating shelf is a great way to add visual interest in your kitchen.  Long floating shelves can also be used to store and organize your kitchen items like this homeowner who stores their dishware on this shelf.

Corner Floating Shelves

Corner Floating Shelves
Via White Birch Design

Don’t forget about the corners of your room. Long floating shelves can easily fit perfectly into an empty corner and provide extra storage for displaying items or simply storing away items you want to show off on open shelves. The possibilities are endless, so think outside the box and get creative with your corner shelf design.

Under Cabinets Floating Shelf

Under cabinet storage

These long floating shelves are built in underneath the bathroom vanity. The longer shelf design allows you to take full advantage of the horizontal space and gives you plenty of room for storing items like towels or other bathroom necessities.

Floating Box Shelves

Box Shelving Idea
Via Surfcoast Property Stylist

This shelving idea is a unique spin on the old classic floating shelf design. These box floating shelves double your storage space and are a great look for any space in your home. These shelves make for an easy DIY project. I DIY’ed a floating nightstand that was similar to a floating shelf and is worth checking out if you are interested in the tutorial for this floating shelf idea.

DIY Floating Shelf Kit

Floating Shelf DIY
Via Makinghomebase

In my previous home I had this small wall in the living room that I could never figure out what to do with. I had a small piece of art hanging there for a long time but I knew I wanted a statement piece there. I came up with the idea of adding these small DIY floating shelves there and ran with it. We used a kit since adding traditional floating shelves would have put too many holes in the wall and we knew we would be moving within a short time after installing them. These shelves ended up being a great spot to store some of my favorite pottery pieces as well as adding in some family photos.

Long Floating Shelves Conclusion

Floating shelves are a beautiful addition to any home. With a little creativity, you can design and build your own custom shelves that are both functional and stylish. Whether you’re looking for extra storage space or just want to display your favorite items, floating shelves are a great option. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can create beautiful and functional shelves that are sure to impress.

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