Floating shelves are shelves that, when hung, appear to be "floating" on the wall due to the fact that you can't see any external support systems. They create a sleek, modern look in any room and can be used and decorated in a great number of ways, from the practical to the purely aesthetic. Use floating shelves to store items, display works of art or even as a substitute for furniture.
In the Kitchen
Floating shelves in the kitchen are a great way to display favorite dishes. Stack white plates next to a white pitcher full of wildflowers, or hang a shelf above the coffee pot and display some colorful, hand-painted coffee mugs. Floating shelves come in a wide variety of lengths, so you can even use one to bridge a gap between two cupboards, or install one in a previously hard-to-fit empty space in your kitchen. Place your spices on floating shelves for easy access, or hang one next to the sink and use it to store soap and dish-washing supplies.
In the Family Room
Hang several floating shelves, one above the other, from floor to ceiling to create an inexpensive but striking display on one wall. Fill the shelves with DVDs, books, candles, plants and family photos for a casual but attractive look. If you have a wall-mounted flat-screen television, try hanging a black floating shelf on either side of it to extend the look of the TV. If you have a beautiful sculpture you would like to show off, try placing it in the middle of a wide floating shelf hung in the center of an otherwise empty wall.
In the Bedroom
Floating shelves make great nightstands when hung on either side of a bed, especially in small bedrooms where space is limited. Place a small lamp on each shelf and you will still have room for a clock or some bedside books. If your bed does not have a headboard, consider hanging a long floating shelf in place of a headboard. Line the shelf with short, fat candles for a romantic and modern look, or place several black and white photos of your wedding on the shelf. In a child's room, use floating shelves to hold books, toys or stuffed animals.
In the Bathroom
Space is always at a premium in small bathrooms. Instead of a cupboard, try hanging a floating shelf on the wall near the sink. Roll up some towels and place them on the shelf, along with a whimsical rubber ducky and an incense diffuser. Hang a floating shelf in the shower for an attractive way to hold your soaps and shampoos, or hang one above the bathtub. Place a few candles and some bubble bath on it for those times when you want to enjoy a relaxing soak.