Floating Shelves


I started a DIY project for the house and set out to build two sets of 3 “floating” shelves for our bathrooms (both the master and the half bath). The shelves are a white stained wood with white painted L-brackets. Both bathrooms majorly needed the extra storage!

First, the shopping trip. I went to Lowe’s by myself (always interesting) and attempted to buy everything I needed on my own. I did cave and call Rob once but that was a dud so I just braved through and found all the crap on my own. Except I can’t count and ended up having to go back for one more bracket (smh). For this project you need…


  1. wood for the shelves (I used 2x10x10s – 6 shelves, 24″ each)
  2. stain (I used white minwax)
  3. polycrylic (I used the spray kind)
  4. short wood screws for joining the bracket to the shelf (mine are 3/4″)
  5. anchors to join wall & bracket
  6. spray paint for the screw heads and brackets (I used white)
  7. brackets (2 per shelf)


  1. sand paper
  2. foam brushes
  3. gloves
  4. electric sander (awesome)
  5. table saw
  6. tack cloth

For the project the Lowe’s guy cut the shelves to 24″ for me so that part was already done. It took FOREVER to wait for him to come and cut them but it was a necessity since the massive piece of wood would have been a pain to put in my car. Anyways, after they were cut, at home I was able to cut them to the right depth. I went with the 10″ wide board so I could custom cut the shelves to the maximum depth I could get. One set it 8.5″ deep and the other is 8″.

Once I got everything home the first step was cutting the shelves to the right depth (8.5″ or 8″) and getting them all sanded.


I totally recommend using an orbital sander if you have one. We have this one and use it for everything. The electric sander saves so much time! I was able to sand, wipe off all the dust, and get some stain down in my first evening. To wipe off the dust I’d recommend a tack cloth as they’re awesome but – if it’s not a big deal – a brush down with a dry paint brush will do the trick. For this project I brushed them off with the paint brush to get the dust out of all the nooks and crannies. I wanted to use wood with more knots and holes for a more “rustic” look. You’ll see some of the cracks and knots I’m talking about in later pictures.

love the one with the big crack down the center!

I applied the stain generously with a foam brush and let it dry overnight in between coats. Since the wood really drank up the stain I was painting two coats in one sitting (go around and paint them all once and then once more before letting them dry overnight). Be careful around the edges to not let any stain drip as it will dry as a drip if you don’t wipe it. I had a drip on one of my edges (I’ll just put this side against the wall) but it’s definitely something to be careful/mindful of so you don’t ruin a side you need to expose!

You can see where the stain dripped over the edge and I didn’t know it. This part won’t be exposed as I’ll put it against the wall but a good reminder to pay close attention!

While the stain set I laid out all my brackets on some cardboard and sprayed them white. I’m lazy and didn’t perfectly peel off each bar code sticker so the sticker sides will go against the wall! The spray painting was super quick and easy but important so the brackets go unnoticed and help to create that “floating” look.

Once the stain was dried and all 6 sides of each shelf were painted I moved to the top coat. Since the stain is white and water based polycrylic is my go to. Polyurethane would make the white appear yellow. The polycrylic spray is super easy and, since these shelves aren’t going to be super high traffic, it’s a great fit. I did two coats of poly on each shelf.

To hang the shelves we marked and measured each shelf/wall. The brackets we did a foot apart and then we centered the shelves above the toilets. It seemed about 19 inches above the toilet was comfortable so that was what we went with. Each shelf we did 11.5 inches apart. Measuring and hanging the shelves was totally a two person job so I was super happy Rob was able to help me for that – yay husband win!

so ready to see this go!

For the first set we hung up the ones in our master bathroom. The original cabinet was super ugly so I couldn’t wait for it to go. Plus our master needs all the extra storage we can scrounge up! We still need to come back and paint/patch the walls from the old shelf but – since we’re going to totally redo this bathroom at some point – I’m letting all that slide.

Once all of the things are on the shelves you get the “floating” look but the brackets are nice and sturdy and hold a good amount of weight *bonus*.

Plus there is still so much room left to be used!

Next up were the shelves downstairs in the half bath. I love how they both came out!

Yay for not only bathroom storage but also a nice easy upgrade to each bathroom! I love how versatile the shelves are and how much storage they add. Definitely a fun DIY project that’s actually really simple!