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How to Choose Floating Shelves for Your Office

A dark home office with a brown leather chair and warm wood floating shelves

Austin Merrill |

Floating shelves aren't just for the home, the office can benefit from floating shelves. Whether you have a home office that needs a little customization, or you're in a corporate office building that just needs a little sprucing, floating shelves can be a great way to add personality and storage to your office space.

If your office needs extra display space, floating shelves can be a great solution here as well. We've seen some amazing front office displays crafted with just a few floating shelves and carefully placed products. Floating shelves can be used to elevate the front office from a design standpoint, too. If you’ve got a workspace that needs a homey touch, shelves are the solution.

Office Decoration Ideas

Floating shelves in a home office give you added storage and are a great intersection of form and functionality. And in a corporate office? They soften the space up and bring in more personality and charm.

A dark home office with a brown leather chair and warm wood floating shelves

Office Floating Shelves

Adding floating shelves to your office is the easy part, styling those shelves is where it gets tricky — but fun! When we’re stying office shelves, we like to make a pile of everything that definitely needs to be stored on the shelves. This could be anything from a diploma and pens to folders or documents.

Making this pile of shelf essentials first is important because those items have priority on the shelves, and sometimes we need to purchase organization bins or baskets to keep those items tidy and looking cute on the shelves. There are tons of great storage solutions for office supplies so that even that stack of essential documents can look great sitting on a shelf. Our go-to places to shop for office organization supplies are The Container Store, TjMaxx, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie.

After we’ve shelved the essentials, it’s time to add in the almost-essentials. In this category, we round up things like professional-based books or magazines, basic supplies like pens, pencils, or notebooks, and any other job-specific item that would be nice to feature on the shelves.

Lastly, and most importantly/fun, we add in the rest of the decor. Styling office shelves gives you a great chance to feature your personality and really solidify the motif of the room. We have a few go-to office decor items: clocks, plants, photos or framed projects, trinket holders, and candles. If you have a theme to your office, like dark academia or sleek Scandinavian, find decor items that compliment the essentials on your shelves and still bring the motif to life.

A well designed home office with floating shelves

Office Wall Design

They way you place the shelves on your office wall will help build out the final look of your office in a big way. Shelves taken wall-to-wall mimic built-ins, which instantly gives your room an expensive, high-end feel. Shelves placed symmetrically will balance the feel of your office, and will instantly give the space a classic look while staggared shelves pull more modern.

When you’re designing your office wall layout with floating shelves, try sketching the layout out, or using a computer program to create the layout to scale. This will give you a good idea of how the shelves will look in your space and function with your desk and other furniture. Mocking up your design will also help you pick the desired thickness of your custom open shelves. Thicker shelves make more of a statement while thinner shelves tend to blend in with the overall decor. Depending on your design, the thickness of your shelves is going to change based on the impact you want them to have in your space.

A DIY home office space with floating shelves

Home Office DIY

Have a room, or part of a room, that you need to turn into a home office? Here are a few tips that we learned helping more than a few people put home offices into their house during quarantine.

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of picking a space in your home, but if you do, try to pick a secluded room or space, far from the main gathering places and the kitchen. This will help your work space stay quiet and it will help you set boundaries. Working from home can be hard when friends and family members stop by and don’t quite understand that just because you are home doesn’t mean you’re not working. Having a space that’s a little bit removed definitely helps set those boundaries.

Once you’ve got a space selected, start by making a list of what the space needs for you to have it be functional and what it needs to have for you to enjoy working there. Our home office has a couch because sometimes you need to switch up the way we work. Make your list, and start to budget for what you want. You’ll also need to measure your space before you buy anything (trust us on this one). You don’t want to end up squished in a tiny office with a giant desk and a chair that’s too tall.

We like to mockup the layout of our offices before we bring any furniture in, but if you’ve got a good idea of how the space needs to be laid out, run with it. Bringing your office together is the fun part.

Make sure that the space is a place you want to be. If you work full-time, that 2080 hours in a year that you’re going to spend in your office — maybe more. Any place that you spend that much time deserves to be both functional and beautiful. Paint the walls a color you love. Add shelving. Bring in decor that makes you happy. Get a great chair.

We recoginize that home offices often have to happen on a budget, and that’s okay! We love thrift shopping and sourcing Facebook Marketplace for great finds on a dime. In a home office, you can get really creative. We just transformed a drab grey dresser into a stunning piece for our office for less than $70, and even though you don’t often see dressers in office spaces, we love it in ours.

Sprucing Up a Corporate Space

Sprucing up a corporate office is just as important as having a home office that you love. It a place where you spend a ton of time, and you deserve to love it. If you’re going to install floating shelves in your office, make sure you check with your building manager first. A lot of offices will let you install your shelves as long as you promise to patch the holes when you leave.

In a corporate or traditional office space, you may have some rules you need to follow in regards to how and what you can decorate with, but we try and look at rules as a way to truly get creative. Long days at the office are hard, so we make sure to spruce up our office with soft textiles and rugs, and fill our shelves with mementos that we love.

The front office or greeting area in a commercial office shouldn’t be overlooked either. Gone are the days when your office needs to feel stark and basic. If you have a customer-centric business, create a space that feels customer centric. Beautiful product displays, comfortable couches, and a complimentary beverage go a long way.

DIY Office Shelves

If you’re a DIY expert, then DIY office floating shelves might be something you want to tackle. Our studlock floating shelf bracket system can be used for DIY office shelves, and it makes the process of getting your shelves hung so much easier. Using this bracket system, you can build shelves that hold 50 lbs per stud that they’re attached to — which is essentual if you’re someone who intends to put a lot of books on your office shelves (like we did).

You’ll need some power tools to get the job done, but the Studlock bracket system does a lot of the hard work for you. Which means less time trying to figure out how to put a shelf on the wall and more time enjoying your home office.