classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
5/18/24 7:18 p.m.

Hi guys, looking for advice so I don't over complicate or over do installing floating shelves in my kitchen. We are planing to tear out/replace the backsplash here all the way around our kitchen, but for this wall my wife would like some floating wood shelves. It looks like there are kits you can buy, but it's a 63" wall so I'm wondering if there's a way to GRM this and still come away with a really strong set of 3-4 kitchen shelves. 

Any advice from those who've done it?


Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
5/18/24 7:54 p.m.

Big steel bracket bolts to studs.  Shelves bolt to wooden cleats.  Shelves are boxes that slide on.  Nothing bolted to side cabinets. Wife happy. 

She changes decorations and I gotta move stuff on top - move birdhouse over 1"......

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/18/24 7:56 p.m.

I had to look it up: Kitchen Floating Shelves

Are you sure on that wall height? 75" (6'-3")? Sound like grease and dust collectors. You have to be able to hang off of any cabinet you ever install (200 lbs) so 200 divided by number of shelves. (every plate or lots of glasses. Maybe every can in your house.) (That's what real carpenters do anyway).

Typical distance between T.O. (top of) counter top to B.O. (bottom of) cupboard is 18" but you can cheat it shorter by a coupe of inches if necessary (16"). 

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/18/24 9:11 p.m.

To make evenly space cupboard shelves, subtract the thickness of the floating shelves from the distance between 18" above the t.o. counter top to the ceiling (top of the bottom shelf). Divide the difference by the number of shelves you want. This is the top of shelves spacing distance. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/19/24 10:10 a.m.

I've done it.  I used IKEA shelves, but they no longer make the beefy ones.  I think the only ones they have now are for things like a picture frame and a pot of fake flowers.  They used to make some that were 2.5" thick and used heavy steel pegs on the wall that were intended for dry goods and pots and pans.

They are grease magnets.  You know how your cupboards and range hood get all sticky?  Atomized oil spray from everything you cook is bad enough on vertical surfaces, but on horizontals, it makes a gooey paste mixed with dust that is worse then cosmolene.  Just make sure the finish on the shelves is something hard and solvent-resistant, because it's not coming off with a cloth and some spray cleaner.  Think more like oven cleaner or acetone and a scraper or scotchbrite pad.  If I were doing mine again (now it's my ex-wife's problem) I would cut some plexi or tempered glass to put on top of the shelves.  Easier to take it off and scrub.

Having said that, they're beautiful, and I LOVE the clean look.  Just be sure you hit a good stud, and either use the manufacturer's hardware or upgrade to something like headloks or timberloks.  That will just make you sleep better at night knowing they're sturdy after stacking 5 cast-iron skillets on them.

If you're cutting them to your own size, just be sure to cut the end that butts up against the wall so you have a pretty edge facing the room.  The brackets can be cut with a cutoff wheel or hacksaw if needed.  Just be accurate with your measurements, because the shelf usually doesn't have the option to be left-right adjustable.

You can also purchase just the brackets and make your own shelves if you feel so inclined.  I have done that before with some 2" walnut slab I had.  I bought the brackets from Amazon and measured the angle of the pegs (something like 3 degrees).  I set up my drill press for a 3 degree bed and made holes in the slab.  A few passes through the planer and it was a lovely piece.  That would at least give you control over the substrate and finish for future scrubbing.  I gave that one a pour-over countertop epoxy (much harder than it sounds, and I had ugly results, but durable) so I knew I could set a wet plant pot on it and not worry about stains.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
5/20/24 6:19 p.m.

Awesome, thanks so much for the feedback. These would be for heavier stuff, so Curtis is spot on with some of the concerns on weight. 

sounds like I should start with brackets and work backwards to digging and finishing the actual shelf part. 
Of course, all of this follows tearing out and replacing the backsplash too, so a little more time to figure it out. 

STM317 PowerDork
5/21/24 6:17 a.m.

In reply to classicJackets (FS) :

The brackets seem like an easy way to get decent results. For a more GRM approach, the same thing can be achieved by running some lag bolts into studs, and then cutting the heads of the bolts off. You just have to measure twice and cut once.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/21/24 8:20 a.m.

In reply to STM317 :

Lag bolts are a really good idea

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/21/24 9:15 a.m.

Another vote for cabinets instead of shelves. We have a range hood and the top of it is constantly nasty. Could not imagine that crap all over my dishes and wares. We debated this exact thing and ultimately went with cabinets.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/21/24 10:48 a.m.

Floating shelves look better on Pinterest.  I'm installing floating shelves in the house I am renovating to flip. 

Cabinets are better at hiding stuff.  That's both good and bad. 

We will be doing our kitchen soon, and my partner thinks she wants floating shelves. Because floating shelves look better on Pinterest.

(Her current cabinets are stuffed with crap.  Not sure she can be organized enough for floating shelves, but it might be useful to try as a manner of forcing decluttering.  You know... for science)

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/21/24 1:22 p.m.

True. If you have floating shelves, your stuff better be worth displaying. No mis-matched stacks of bowls, random pieces of tupperware, etc. Like Paul said, a good and bad thing. 

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