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Floating Shelves: Bedroom Edition

A bedroom with floating shelves

Austin Merrill |

Floating shelves are great in any space, and more and more we are seeing custom floating shelves make their way into bedrooms. Once something reserved for the kitchen, designers, DIYers, and home decor hobbyists alike have been adding floating shelves to their bedrooms to elevate the design, increase storage, and add value to the home.

The placement of floating shelves in a bedroom is not as straightforward as it is in the kitchen. In the kitchen, you have limited wall space, and it's often pretty obvious where the floating shelves need to go in order to complete the look. In a bedroom, you often have more freedom with where to place your custom shelves, and that can be exciting and intimidating.

A bedroom with floating shelves
Image by @home.and.chaos

Where to Place Shelves

When deciding where to place your bedroom shelves, take a survey of the room and see if there is a natural nook or wall space that needs shelves. Avoid walls that doors swing into because you won't have the space you need to put shelves on that wall without putting a hole in your door.

As with any room, your floating shelves will need to be anchored by something if you're not planning to take them from floor to ceiling. In our home, we have two Walnut floating shelves over a long bookshelf that sit on the floor. These are all placed against a small feature wall in our bedroom and work together to create a cohesive moment.

Don't be afraid to use corners when you're looking for a place to put shelves in your room. We've seen so many fun designs with shelves starting in a corner and extending across one wall. We've also seen corner shelves in a room that extend across both walls from a corner, and that's a fun look too. Ultimately, your space is going to be completely different from someone else's. You're going to need to look at your space with your best critical design eye and decide where shelves look the best.

Get creative and don’t be afraid of trying out a new idea. Great design happens when you’re willing to take risks.

Floating shelves specs
Image by West Elm

Bedroom Floating Shelf Specs

Because you can purchase or make custom floating shelves, you have a lot of room to get creative and achieve the exact look that you want. 

In the kitchen, floating shelves are usually 11 or 12 in deep because that's the normal depth of a cabinet, and you want your shelves to line up with your upper cabinets. In your room, 11 or 12 in may be too deep. Our shelves in our bedroom are 9 in deep because that's the depth of the bookshelf that sits beneath them and we wanted them to match up perfectly. 

When you're trying to determine the depth of your shelves, think about everything you're going to place on them. If you want to put larger items, you may need deeper shelves, but for the most part bedroom shelves don't need to be more than 10 inches deep.

As far as the length of the shelves, that depends on where you'll be placing them. You can imitate built-ins by taking the shelves from wall to wall, or you can center your shelves on a wall and make them the exact length of the table that will sit under them. The sky is the limit with the length of your shelves, but make sure that you give yourself enough breathing room on either side of the shelf if it will be alone on a wall.

Consider all of the other decor in your room, especially what's on your other walls. Adding shelves should enhance your room, not clutter it. If you have a lot of decorations on your wall, you may want to opt for thinner and shelves that don't go from wall to wall.

If you are having trouble determining which wood type and stain to use in your bedroom, we recommend starting by looking at the tones in your bedroom. You can certainly mix cool and warm tones, but you want to make sure that your shelves match the predominant tone in your room. Look at your flooring, look at your bedding, and look at the color on your walls. If all of those tones are warm, opt for a warmer toned shelf. If all the tones are cool, off for a cooler tone on the shelf. Matching the tones will make sure that the shelves blend cohesively with your design.

Woman smiling in front of floating shelves
Image by @chloealysse

Bedroom Floating Shelf Styling Tips

We genuinely enjoy styling bedroom floating shelves because there's so much room to make them so personal. Open shelving in a public space may not be as personal as open shelving styling in a private space. We love coupling beautiful decor items with sentimental and personal items on our bedroom shelves. Your bedroom should be a safe place and a sanctuary and someplace filled with items that make you happy and you can achieve that by what you bring into your room as part of your decor.

When you begin the styling process for your bedroom shelves, start with everything in a big pile on your bed and begin adding decor items in clusters to your shelves. Once you have a look that you like, take a picture and then take everything down and try a new look. We usually have to go through two or three different styling looks until we find one that strikes the right balance for a bedroom. If you have a lot of shelf space to fill up, don't get overwhelmed. Take it a little bit at a time and if you need to, take a break and come back to styling the shelf later.

Remember, nothing is permanent when it comes to shelf styling. If you love it today and hate it tomorrow you can always take it down and start over.

If you are looking for a few ideas on where to start with floating shelf styling in your bedroom, here are a few go-to items we almost always use. We love color-coordinated books and often find these gems at thrift stores. We also almost always use framed art and framed pictures of the family and lots of plants. Vases and trinket holders are a good addition to a shelf and we love candles on bedroom shelves too. Small decorative objects, like a bud vase, are also always on our list because they help fill up awkward spaces.

When it comes to sentimental items, anything goes. We’ve seen everything from framed concert tickets to baby shoes on shelves and anything that gives a shelf a personal touch like that is always a plus. We love seeing the creativity and personality of the homeowners shine through this way.

Need help picking out shelves for your bedroom? Our team is here to help!