While floating shelves are a versatile design solution that can be used to display many different items in your home, they’re not all created equal when it comes to the amount of weight they can hold. The best floating shelves for heavy items are made from strong, heavy-duty materials (both the shelf and the brackets to support it) that are super sturdy when installed properly. Beyond practicality, aesthetics play a factor when choosing floating shelves as well, so choose one that vibes with your space.
Ronnie Collins is a professional woodworker and the founder of the blog Electro Garden Tools, which shares useful woodworking-related tips, as well as product reviews to help readers make informed decisions about tools. Collins is also passionate about gardening, and he has a degree in botany from the University of Maryland.
Based in Bulgaria, Ivo Iv is the founder and CEO of Decor Home Ideas, a blog that provides DIY inspiration, ideas, and guides for its readers.
Andi Morse is an interior designer and the founder of Morse Design, which offers interior design services in Atlanta, Georgia.
What To Look For When Shopping For Floating Shelves For Heavy Items
In order to determine which floating shelves will be sturdy enough to effectively hold heavy items, take these factors into account:
- Shelf material: For displaying weighty items, interior designer Andi Morse recommends specifically looking for shelves that are made from solid wood or metal. “Remember, the heavier the material is the heavier the items it will hold,” she explains. “If a shelf is made of compressed cardboard, it’s not going to be able to hold more than lightweight decorative items. If it’s made of metal or solid wood, you’re going to be able to stack books, put artwork on it, etc.”
- Brackets: When on the hunt for floating shelves, you’ll likely come across picks that are hung using just a couple of screws (no brackets). DIY blogger Ivo Iv notes that these products will not be able to support the weight of heavy items. Instead, you’ll want to look for a shelf that utilizes sturdy metal brackets to hold it in place. As Iv puts it, the brackets are the “bones that hold your shelves in place and keep your valuables from crashing to the ground.” That said, brackets that are made from metal with horizontal rods will offer the most support.
- Design elements: A true floating shelf is one with no visible brackets — hence the name. However, most of the experts that Bustle confided in note that you could stretch this definition a bit to include picks that have visible brackets. So if that’s of interest to you, then go for it!
How To Install Floating Shelves For Heavy Items
Sometimes manufacturers list the maximum weight a floating shelf is designed to hold. This information should be used as a starting point to determine which product is best for the items that you want to display. However, the experts also stressed that how you install the product is also an important part of the equation in determining the shelf’s weight capacity. Best case scenario? Attaching the brackets to studs in the wall. “Installing shelves with wall studs is the best way to ensure they are safe, stay put, and can hold heavier items,” stresses Morse. Iv notes that as a general rule of thumb, each stud can hold around 45 to 50 pounds of weight, so use that as a guide to determine the weight capacity of your shelf.
If studs aren’t possible, try installing the brackets with wall anchors. “If there are no studs in a place where you need a shelf very much, you need to install anchors that can support the shelf firmly enough,” explains woodworker Ronnie Collins. If the shelf you choose comes with plastic anchors, Collins recommends swapping them with steel toggle anchors for better support.
Shop The Best Floating Shelves For Heavy Items
In a hurry? These are the top picks for the best floating shelves for heavy items:
- A Pair Of Floating Shelves In 7 Finishes: Willow & Grace Floating Shelves
- A Set Of Floating Shelves That Are Water-Resistant: BAOBAB WORKSHOP Wood Floating Shelves
- A Pair of Unfinished Floating Shelves You Can Paint Or Stain: Homeforia Floating Shelves
- A 3-Pack Of Floating Shelves That Can Hold Up To 100 Pounds Each: BATODA Floating Shelves
- A Pair Of Sleek Stainless Steel Floating Shelves: Wallniture Stainless Steel Floating Shelves
- A Floating Shelf With A Unique Live Edge: Table & Bloom Live Edge Floating Shelf
- A Set Of Pine Shelves With L-Shaped Brackets: Sortolly Wood Floating Shelves
Install these floating shelves to display heavy items in your home — they’re all made from solid wood with heavy-duty brackets to support them. If none of these options pique your interest, there’s also a set of ultra-sturdy brackets at the end of this list that you can pair with any shelf of your choosing.
1. A Pair Of Floating Shelves In 7 Finishes
- Comes in a seven finish options
- Iron corner adds an extra design element
Available in a wide range of finish options — including dark walnut, natural, white, and more — these floating shelves from Willow & Grace would vibe well in many different spaces. And the best part is that they’re designed to hold a good amount of weight, so you can display books, plants, knick knacks, and the like.
The manufacturer notes that each solid pine wood shelf can hold up to 40 pounds when installed with the included plastic anchors. But remember: Experts recommend swapping to steel anchors or using studs to make the shelves even more supportive.
One reviewer wrote: “I love the way these shelves turned out. They can bear a lot of weight — I use mine for photos, knick-knacks, and plants — and look very classy. No wobbling whatsoever. Really high-quality, and the wood looks gorgeous.”
Shelf material: Pine wood | Bracket material: Steel | Available shelf sizes: 24 x 6 x 1.5 inches; 36 x 6 x 1.5 inches; set with 12-, 24-, and 36-inch-long shelves | Available finishes: 7
2. A Set Of Floating Shelves That Are Water-Resistant
- Shelves feature a wax coating for water resistance
- An impressive 4.7-star overall rating on Amazon
With a solid 4.7-star rating overall on Amazon after 4,500-plus reviews, these floating shelves are well-liked on the site. Made from 100% solid pine wood, the shelves are a white color with a wax coating that provides moisture resistance. Plus the brackets are constructed from stainless steel. Reviewers have praised both their style and function, with many shoppers installing them in their bathrooms. When not utilizing a stud, the manufacturer indicates that each of the shelves can support up to 30 pounds’ worth of items.
One reviewer wrote: “Beautiful solid wood shelves. Easy to install. […] If you plan to put heavy items in the shelves, wall anchors aren’t the best solution, but they do provide screws to fasten to studs or blocking. Great instruction video. Very happy with these!!”
Shelf material: Pine wood | Bracket material: Stainless steel | Available shelf size: 24 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches | Available finishes: 1
3. A Pair of Unfinished Floating Shelves You Can Paint Or Stain
- Easy to customize
- Available in three different lengths
These floating shelves come unfinished (though they are already sanded), allowing you to paint or stain them to your exact liking. Some Amazon reviewers even chose to leave them as is — it’s really up to you! The shelves are made from pine wood, and the included metal brackets are welded for sturdiness. The manufacturer notes that when installing the brackets into studs, each shelf can support up to 50 pounds. And should you not be able to find studs, the shelves can hold up to 35 pounds each when utilizing the included anchors, according to the manufacturer.
Not up for a DIY? This pick comes in four finished options as well. Choose from three shelf lengths based on the available space in your home.
One reviewer wrote: “These shelves are fabulous! We ordered 2 sets of the unfinished shelves so we could paint them to match our newly installed cabinets and trim. Installation was easy, the size was perfect for my needs and they’re extremely sturdy.”
Shelf material: Pine wood | Bracket material: Metal | Available shelf sizes: 16 x 6.5 x 1.77 inches; 24 x 6.5 x 1.77 inches; 36 x 6.5 x 1.77 inches | Available finishes: 5
4. A 3-Pack Of Floating Shelves That Can Hold Up To 100 Pounds Each
- Less than $10 each
- Manufacturer indicates each shelf can hold up to 100 pounds worth of items
The manufacturer of these floating shelves claims that when mounted to a stud or brick wall, each shelf can hold up to a whopping 100 pounds worth of items, so you can display practically anything with them. The shelves come in three lengths and each one is made from acacia wood. The steel brackets feature a powder-coated finish to prevent rusting.
One reviewer wrote: “These shelves are beautiful. They’re thick and heavy and REALLY well constructed. They’re super easy to hang and look great in our camper. […] We’re very happy with these and I would absolutely recommend them to anyone who is interested.”
Shelf material: Acacia wood | Bracket material: Steel | Available shelf sizes: 17 x 6 x 1.2 inches; 15 x 6 x 1.2 inches; 13 x 6 x 1.2 inches | Available finishes: 1
5. A Pair Of Sleek Stainless Steel Floating Shelves
- Modern look
- Made from all stainless steel
With their clean, chic look, these Wallniture floating shelves would make a great addition to any modern home. Hang them in the kitchen to keep spices, mugs, or other practical items within reach. Or mount them in your bathroom to display different trinkets — there are endless ways to utilize them. The shelves are made from stainless steel (both the shelves themselves and the mounting brackets) with all smooth edges for safety. When mounted using the included anchors and screws, each shelf can hold up to 12 pounds. And when attached to studs, each shelf will support around 25 pounds, per the manufacturer.
One reviewer wrote: “These shelves exceeded my expectations. I placed them on either side of my range hood with dishes for easy [access] and they do the job.”
Shelf material: Stainless steel | Bracket material: Stainless steel | Available shelf size: 15.8 x 7.9 x 2.8 inches | Available finishes: 1
6. A Floating Shelf With A Unique Live Edge
- Gorgeous live edge that makes each shelf unique
- Nearly 2 inches thick
This Table & Bloom floating shelf is seriously gorgeous — it boasts a live edge for a rustic-inspired look, and it’s thick (nearly 2 inches!) to make a big statement in a room. Made from tightly grained mango wood, the shelf is available in two different lengths (16 or 24 inches), and the brackets are made from steel. The manufacturer doesn’t list a max weight capacity for this pick, but Amazon reviewers have confirmed it is able to support weighty items.
One reviewer wrote: “This shelf is well designed! A bit more heavy duty than I expected. I love the smoothness of the real wood. The color is just like the photos.”
Shelf material: Mango wood | Bracket material: Steel | Available shelf sizes: 16 x 6.8 x 1.8 inches; 24 x 6.8 x 1.8 inches | Available finishes: 1
7. A Set Of Pine Shelves With L-Shaped Brackets
- Less than $10 each
- Brackets can be installed two ways
At less than $30, this set of three shelves is definitely a great value. The set comes with solid pine wood shelves in different lengths — 16.5, 14.1, and 11.4 inches. And the sturdy L-shaped brackets can either be installed with the longer edge above or below the shelf, depending on the look that you desire. Keep in mind that if the brackets are above the shelf, the items you display could even block most (if not all) of the brackets for more of a floating look. The manufacturer indicates that each shelf can hold up to 40 pounds.
One reviewer wrote: “Fantastic value for money, excellent quality! […] Very attractive and expensive-looking shelves.”
Shelf material: Pine wood | Bracket material: Stainless steel | Available shelf sizes: 16.5 x 6 x 1 inches; 14.1 x 6 x 1 inches; 11.4 x 6 x 1 inches | Available finishes: 1
Also Consider: These Heavy-Duty Brackets For DIY Floating Shelves
- Allows you to choose your own shelves
- Weight capacity of 150 pounds per pair
If you’re looking to go the DIY route, these Starunder floating shelf brackets are an incredibly heavy-duty option — a set of two can support up to 150 pounds worth of items. Pair them with any shelf of your choosing, and you’re all set. The matte black brackets are available four sizes to support different shelf depths, and they’re made from super strong, thick steel for stability. Since they have no lips, they’ll be hidden under a shelf for a true floating look.
One reviewer wrote: “Set these up in my office, two shelves over my desk and these things can hold a ton of weight. I did make sure to place them on studs and they’ve been holding a good amount of books, and other items with out any problem and they also look good.”
Bracket material: Carbon steel | Available bracket sizes: 6 inches; 8 inches; 10 inches; 12 inches | Available finishes: 1
Ronnie Collins, professional woodworker and founder of Electro Garden Tools
Ivo Iv, founder and CEO of Decor Home Ideas
Andi Morse, interior designer and founder of Morse Design