How to Build a Floating Shelf

So you can take the perfect shelfie.

At a Glance


  • You don’t need to be a DIY whiz.
  • But you do need to pick up some power tools.


  • The materials won't cost much—and they'll be free if you repurpose wood.


  • You'll spend some time waiting for the wax oil to dry.
  • But otherwise, your hands-on time is a couple hours.

To arrange an open shelf is to create a vignette, be it a collection of handcrafted ceramics in the kitchen or artwork, souvenirs, and plants in the living room. "I think there is interest in that—how can I surround myself with things that are beautiful and that I love?" says Keren Richter, co-founder and principal designer of Brooklyn-based studio White Arrow. "And a display shelf is an easy way to do that."

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