Liven Up a Dull Wall with Floating Shelves

Floating wall shelves are perfect for decorating a blank wall without spending a lot of money!

InPlace Floating Wall Shelves by Lewis Hyman
InPlace Floating Wall Shelves by Lewis Hyman

My wife and I had a huge blank wall above our couch that needed decorating. Our first instinct was to put some paintings in that space, but after hours of browsing online and in stores, we couldn’t find any paintings that we really loved.


As you can see, we had a very neutral-colored room that badly needed some jazzing up!

Living room with blank wall

Floating Wall Shelves to the Rescue

Then I had the idea to put up some narrow floating shelves where we could put decorative items and plants, forming kind of a living wall. My wife loved the idea!

It turned out that it was actually kind of difficult to find floating shelves that were long and narrow enough. Many are too short and stick out too much.

Take One: White Floating Wall Shelves

Finally, I found what I wanted online! had these Lewis Hyman 60 inch by 4.5 inch wide white floating wall shelves for a little less than $60 each. These were perfect – very long and not too wide. the also have a slight lip at the end so that things like books don’t slide off.

On Amazon, they’re only $34.55 each, but unfortunately they were out of stock of the size I wanted in white. But, with that kind of price difference, you might want to wait for new stock to arrive. Check out the InPlace Floating Wall Shelves by Lewis Hyman on Amazon. You’ll need to select your desired length and color, black or white.

Note, if you go with white, it’s best if your wall is painted a different color in order to get some contrast.

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The shelves were shipped pretty securely in long boxes with styrofoam padding.

The 60″ long versions are held to the wall by four screws.  The instructions say that at least two must go into studs, while the other two can go into drywall.  The holes are 16″ apart, which matches most homes’ stud spacing. So, you’ll need a stud finder to install these shelves.

Other than that, all you’ll need is a drill and a screwdriver.  Oh, and a level!

After you’ve located a stud, mark the first hole location. The, use the shelf itself as a template to locate the other holes, making sure the screws will engage at least two studs total.

For the other screws, I don’t recommend screw-in drywall anchors they provided. I prefer regular drywall plastic anchors which require a smaller-diameter hole and are less likely to pull loose.

Shelves right after installation showing screw heads

The shelves came with some white stickers to cover up the screw heads. Unfortunately, these were scored on the wrong side, so I ended up with worthless round backing pieces instead of round stickers. A minor annoyance and our items will cover the holes anyway, so I left them off.

The Results

Floating living room shelves create a living wall
Our living room after installation

We were thrilled with how the shelves came out!  We had some plants, but no other decorative items so we just put books and some items from the kitchen there.  Even with those impromptu items, the wall looks fantastic!

Lewis Hyman floating wall shelves
We put random colorful books and bottles on the shelves, in addition to plants

Inspired by the improvement, my wife went out and bought some bright colored pillows to complete the look!

White floating wall shelves
Bright pillows to complete the look

So, instead of buying an expensive painting that we’d eventually get tired of, we have these hanging shelves for less than $200 which we can re-decorate throughout the year!

Take Two: Walnut Shelves

As much as we loved our white wall shelves, we fell in love with walnut shelves that we saw at Room & Board (Sill Picture Ledges). They matched perfectly with our walnut coffee table. So, I made the difficult decision of buying them and swapping out our white shelves.

At $179 each, they were significantly more expensive. And unfortunately, the holes did not line up with the old shelves, and I had to drill new ones and patch the old ones. It was a real pain.

But, here’s the result!

Walnut floating wall shelves from Room & Board
Our living room with walnut wall shelves from Room & Board
Walnut floating wall shelves from Room & Board
Walnut wall shelves, matching our coffee table

As much of a pain that it was to swap out, we really love the more upscale look of these walnut shelves.

What do you think? Do you prefer the white or the walnut? Please comment below! – Brian

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Rachel D.
Rachel D.
5 years ago

Thank you for sharing!! It looks great! I have a big empty wall and I’d like to get some of these and put picture frames on them. This really helps me envision how it will look. I was trying to decide between the Home Depot, Amazon and CB2 versions of these shelves and I think I’ll go with the Home Depot. Now I just have to decide if I do 2 or 3.