How to Install Floating Shelves without Brackets

Nowadays, all modern homes want to include style, aesthetics, and usability, all at once. The idea of having large, bulky shelves installed in homes has become quite outdated. Especially the shelves that have large brackets attached to them are a strict no-go for many homeowners. This is because it takes up extra space and ruins their aesthetic vibe. Hence, a lot of people have been installing floating shelves in their homes.

The task to install floating shelves without brackets might seem a very difficult one. However, despite its unique style and modern design, it is pretty easy to install floating shelves without brackets.

Go over this article to learn everything about installing floating shelves without brackets.

What are Floating Shelves?

Modern floating shelves are a unique type of furniture that has been gaining a lot of popularity. These shelves are attached to a wall without showing any visible support such as external brackets. Hence, making them appear like they are floating in the air.

Things You Will Need to Install Floating Shelves

Install Floating Shelves without Brackets

Here are all the different tools and materials you will need to hang floating shelves. You can easily get them from any hardware store nearest to you.

  • Powered drill
  • Hammer drill
  • Assorted drill bits
  • Pencil or a marker
  • Spirit level
  • Scale or ruler
  • Studs
  • Cables
  • Pipe detector
  • Lag screws
  • Wall anchors
  • Drill guide or an eye hook and a square
  • Woodblock
  • Mallet
  • Shelves that you want to hang

Different types of walls have different requirements to attach floating shelves without brackets onto them. However, the initial steps are usually the same regardless of whether you’re hanging the floating shelves on a masonry wall, stud wall, or drywall. Here are the floating shelves’ installation steps explained.

Choose the Right Location

It’s important to know the exact location where you want to install your floating shelf before starting the installation process. Once you’ve decided where to attach the shelf on the wall, mark the spot for reference.

Use a pencil or a marker and a ruler to mark the exact position you want the shelf to hang. Using a ruler isn’t necessary, but it can help you ensure that your floating shelf is straight, centered, and not tilted on the wall. However, if you don’t have a ruler, you can eyeball the markings and still proceed with the installation.

Make sure to mark at least two points on the wall where you want to place the shelf. The marks should be made horizontally and at intervals. Remember that these marked points should align with the shelf’s horizontal center for straight and aligned placement.

Ensure a Straight Levelled Position

Once you’ve made the markings for the desired location, it’s important to double-check that they are straight and horizontally centered. Use a spirit level to match the marked points and ensure they are on a horizontal line.

This step will prevent any angles from being distorted during the marking process. If the angle is distorted, your floating shelf may tilt or slope down, which will give a poor look to the wall.

Keep in mind that any markings you make on the horizontal line should not be visible after the shelf is installed. This is because the back center of the shelf will rest on the horizontal markings and be hidden from view.

Mark Drilling Points on the Wall

After creating a central line, mark the spots on your wall where you want to drill the fixing holes. You must use a stud detector before drilling any holes in the wall. This tool will help you detect any electric cables or metal pipes behind the wall. Also, it will prevent you from accidentally drilling into them.

For marking drilling points on a masonry wall, avoid cables and pipes using the stud detector. Make sure the points are the same distance apart from each other. Also, leaving a space of about 12 to 18 inches between the points should suffice.

If you want to install the shelf on a stud wall, go for the points where the studs lie. Attaching the shelf to the studs on the wall is the best option as it will make it strong and steady. Just like on a masonry wall, you would also want to make the drilling markings equidistant. If the stud is not exactly where you want to install the shelf, you can adjust the marking points accordingly.

If you find studs by using a stud detector, mark your drilling point in the center of the stud. This is where you will attach the lag screws for the shelf. This would be the point where the lag screws would be attached.

Drill Holes in the Wall

Install Floating Shelves without Brackets

The way you drill holes for the shelf depends on the type of wall. However, there are some points to remember which remain the same no matter what wall type you are drilling the holes into. 

  • Make sure to keep the drill straight and horizontal. This would allow the protruding ends of the fixings to be leveled.
  • To help make this process easier, you can use a metal eye hook to ensure a perfect leveled drill. Place the metal eye hook on top of the drill bit and make sure it is placed centrally.
  • If the drill bit gets off-centered and does not stay horizontal, the metal eye hook would also get off-centered immediately. This would alert you and you can straighten up the drilling position.
  • By keeping the metal eye hook centered while drilling, you can ensure that your holes are straight and level.
  • You can use a carpenter’s square if you don’t have a metal eye hook

Installation in a Masonry Wall

If you want to attach a floating shelf to a masonry wall without using brackets, you’ll need to use special anchors that work with lag screws. Follow these steps to do it:

  1. Make a hole in the wall for the lag shield. Use a hammer and a 5/8-inch carbide-tipped drill bit to do so.
  2. Insert the lag shield into the drilled hole and push it in using the hammer to ensure a proper and tight fit.
  3. Finally, secure the lag shield into place by screwing lag screws into the shield.

Make sure that the lag screws are inserted at least 3 inches into the masonry wall.

Installation in a Stud Wall

fixing into a stud in a stud wall

To install a stud wall floating shelf without brackets, you shall have to attach the lag screws directly to the stud. Carry this out by first pre-drilling pilot holes in the wall studs. You can use an 11/64-inch drill bit for this step.

Drilling the pilot hole would allow the lag screw to get attached to the stud easily and more strongly. Hence, eliminating the need for any additional anchor.

Once again make sure that the lag screws are inserted at least 3 inches into the stud wall.

Installation in a Drywall

If you cannot find any studs in the wall where you want to install your drywall floating shelf without brackets, do not worry. Use drywall anchors of a premium quality that would ensure a strong and stable attachment for the shelf.

You will find various kinds of drywall anchors. Choose the one that is of the best quality and can hold the weight of the shelf easily.

Ensure the Fixings are Levelled

Once you have screwed in the lag screws, make sure they are level. Use a spirit level to check for a straight and centered position.

Trim the Bolts

Use a grinder to trim the bolts. The hexagonal-shaped bolt end present at the lag bolt must be trimmed to ensure a clean and smooth finish.

Drill Holes in the Floated Shelf

Next, you’ll need to drill holes into the back of the floating shelf in the spots where the fixings will attach to the wall. Make sure the holes you drill match those made in the wall. Position the rear edge of the shelf to the wall fixings and make marks on the shelf. Ensure all the markings you make are in line with the floating shelf’s back edge.

Drill holes in the back of the floating shelf. Make sure the holes are perfectly aligned and in a straight line. Use a drill press to ensure a straight and finished aligned drill.

Hang the Floating Shelf

Hang a shelf

To complete the installation, you can now place the shelf on the wall by hanging it on the lag screws attached to the wall. Slide the shelf onto the lag screw fixings on the wall.

Apply some pressure to the shelf against the wall to ensure a strong and stable fixing.

This is how you can easily install a floating shelf without brackets.

Styling Floating Shelves at Home

The versatility of floating shelves allows you to decorate and style them easily at home. They can complement almost any place in your house. In fact, it can enhance the area’s beauty.

There are numerous ways you can style floating shelves at home. Some ideas are given below.

Storage in Kitchen

Floating shelves are a great way to make the most use of your kitchen space. They can be attached to any wall in the kitchen and do not consume additional space as well. Not only do the shelves provide a great storage option in the kitchen, but they can also complete the overall look of the room. You can use the shelves to store cups, plates, utensils, trays, etc. Spices, condiments, canned foods, etc. can also be stored on the floating shelves.

The underside of these shelves also provides additional storage. By adding hooks underneath the shelves, you can hang different spoons, cups, mugs, as well as pots, and pans. This would help you make the kitchen more organized and keep it well-maintained throughout.

Pop of Style

Empty walls around the house can make the dead space live again. You can put your family portraits, flower pots, small plants, etc. on the shelves. This would bring character to your home and give a positive feel to the overall area.


Floating shelves can be a great solution for book lovers who have a lot of books, magazines, and journals scattered around the house. They offer an excellent way to store and display your books, freeing up valuable floor space and creating an attractive focal point in your room. These can be used as bookshelves, helping you keep all your reading material organized and stayed put in one place. 

Advantages of Floating Shelves Installation

Install Floating Shelves without Brackets

Floating shelves can offer numerous advantages to any space in your home they are installed in. Some of these benefits are given below.

Makes your Home Aesthetic

Due to their sleek finish and stylish build design, they can make your home look very modern. They also give it an aesthetic feel. They can easily complement any theme of the house. In fact, they can enhance the beauty of the room they are attached to. Hence, anyone who sees the shelves would surely look twice to appreciate its beauty.

Saves Space

These shelves save space compared to traditional shelves that stand on the floor or need large brackets to hang on walls. You can install several floating shelves on top of each other to maximize your space.

Great Functionality

Floating shelves are not just great in looks, but they are also great when it comes to functionality. These shelves are very versatile and can be used in many different places around your house. For example, kitchen floating shelves can be used to store dishes, different utensils, or spice jars. Bedroom floating shelves can accommodate your special picture frames, small flower pots, and even makeup supplies, etc. You can store bottles and glasses on floating shelves in your home bar. This will make your bar look stylish while providing a great storage option.

Easy to Install

Another major advantage of having floating shelves around your house is that they are very simple and easy to install. They are also light in weight, making their transport a piece of cake.


Is it possible to hang floating shelves without anchors?

Yes, it is possible to hang them without using any anchors for support. When you attach the floating shelf and its complementary brackets to a stud in the wall, the need for anchors is eliminated.

However, if you are installing them on plaster or drywall, you would need anchors to provide additional support. The anchors will ensure that the foundation of the shelves is sturdy and would be able to handle the weight properly.

Can you use glue to install floated-shelf?

You can use glue it onto a wall, however, not many people use this method. Glue does not ensure a permanent and steady attachment and hence, the shelf may fall from the wall due to added weight and gravity.

How much weight can a floating shelf hold?

It can hold approximately 40 to 50 pounds of weight for every wall stud it is attached to. This also depends on the size and built quality of the shelves and whether the shelves are attached using brackets or anchors.

For example, a shelf of 3 inches which is attached to 2 wall studs can hold approximately 100 pounds of weight. Similarly, a shelf of 2 inches which is attached to 2 wall studs can also hold approximately 100 pounds of weight.