DIY Floating Photo Shelves

For the last year or so, I’ve been trying to figure out what in the world to do with our living room wall. Our living room is unique in that there is really only one big wall to decorate. We have a very open concept home and our living room feeds right into our kitchen on one side, with the front entryway and dining room on the other. We have one small angled wall that holds our fireplace and television, one that has three huge bay windows and the other is, well, a big empty wall that just stares back at me, begging to be decorated. 
A few months after we moved in, I started to fill the wall space with off-center/collage-like picture frames, but I just wasn’t digging it. It wasn’t filling the space like I wanted to and I felt like the photos in each frame were constantly out-of-date. Not to mention, I always wanted to add several new frames because I wouldn’t want to cover up the “old” photos, but I didn’t want a wall filled with tons of off-center frames. I also couldn’t go too low with the frames or else the kids would be taking them off the wall any chance they’d get. Oh the struggle.
So after spending some late nights on Pinterest and Google, I found some shelves that I thought would be perfect. The only problem was, the price tags weren’t very friendly and the shelves were super short, so I sat on the idea for a while. Fast forward several months later to a lunch conversation with my super creative co-worker about shelves. The conversation came out of nowhere, as if a sign from above, and centered around her having just built her own floating shelves! 
When I got home that night, I told my husband all about it and asked if he’d be interested in building us some. Thankfully, he is an angel and immediately obliged. He went to Home Depot the very next day and got all of the materials.

Because this was such an easy project (fun for my husband and incredibly cost efficient), I thought it would be fun to share with you all. The world of DIY isn’t something I’ve ever posted about on here, but there’s always a first time for everything, right? It’s not so much a step-by-step guide with photos, although we do list all of the steps in detail below, but it’s more of a “hey you can totally do this” post. If you have any questions at all, just comment below and I’ll get a notification right away!

Okay…. let’s dive in.

Since I had such a big space to fill, I chose to do two shelves. Scott picked up your average 1×4’s and 1×2’s at Home Depot, which come in a few different lengths. Ours are 8 feet long and we kept them that length. If you want shorter shelves, they will happily cut them for you there at the store.

What you will need:
– (2) 1×4 pieces of wood (we chose Pine Common Board)
– (1) 1×2 piece of wood (we chose Pine Common Board)
– wood screws
– small finish nails
– paint
1. To start, lay the wood out flat for the night to eliminate any potential bowing. We placed a few heavy items on top of the pieces to weigh them down overnight.
2. Form a 90-degree angle with your 1×4’s and drill pilot holes every 6-12 inches into the back of the 1×4 that will be flush with the wall. This ensures you have a straight shot when drilling the screws in.
3. Drill wood screws through your pilot holes to secure the two boards together. 
4. Attach the 1×2 to the front of the 1×4 that will be your base with small finish nails.
5. If you plan to paint your shelves, now is the time. We applied 4 coats to ours over a 2-day period.  
6. Using a drill, secure the shelf to the wall by going straight through the back 1×4 into wall studs – one screw on each side (far left and far right).

Most of my white picture frames are below: 
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As a note, these are very sturdy shelves and they are able to hold quite a bit of weight. Perfect if you’re looking to decorate them with coffee table books and heavier frames. You can certainly get creative with different widths and lengths. At the end of the day, this is such an easy way to spruce up any space on a budget.


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