Install Floating Corner Shelves

Floating, corner shelves with storage boxes and a houseplant.

Floating shelves can add some needed storage, fill in wasted corner space, and offer a visual pop with their gravity-defying, invisible fastener installation. Basically, you’re building very narrow boxes and fixing them to the wall.

Step 1 – Measure and Cut

We’re building two shelves, so we need enough materials for both. Cut 4 1x12 boards to 24 inches each. These are the tops and bottoms of the shelves. Cut 4 lengths of 1x1 square dowel to 24 inches, mitered at 45 degrees, and 4 lengths at 11 ¼-inches (the actual width of a 1x12), mitered to match the long lengths.

Step 2 – Build the Boxes

The boxes will each be open on one end and in the back. For one shelf, glue the front and side 1x1s into a right-handed "L," and the other into a left-handed "L." Secure the right angle with a brad. Sandwich each "L" between 2 2x12s and secure with wood glue and brads. Now you have two shelves, one open on the right and the other on the left.

Step 3 – Hang the Ledger Boards

In the corner where the shelves will hang, attach the other 1x1s to the wall. One bracket will face to the right and the other to the left, to match the empty ends of the boxes. Drill pilot holes in the 1x1s. If you don’t, they’ll split. When you screw them to the wall, the screw that goes in the corner will probably hit a stud, but as you go out from the corner you may need to add wall anchors if you’re just going into bare drywall. Use a stud finder to make sure.

Step 4 – Paint

Now’s the time to add color to the shelves. Before they’re installed you don’t have to worry about getting paint on the wall or covering any hard to reach places. Fill the gaps between the 1x1s and 1x12s with wood putty and let it dry. Sand everything smooth and paint in any color you like.

Step 5 – Attach the Shelves

When the paint is dry, spread wood glue over the tops and bottoms of the brackets. Slide the shelves over the corresponding brackets and secure with brads.

Now you can fill up that unused corner with books, art or anything else that will fit on your new installation.