How Much Weight Can A Floating Shelf Hold? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Floating shelves are a hot design trend right now. Not only are they beautiful and stylish, but they are very functional. However, there are some things you need to think about before you hang them. For instance, how much weight can a floating shelf hold?

In general, floating shelf brackets can hold 30 to 75 pounds. The maximum weight rating relates directly to the quality of the bracket, the depth of the shelf, and the way you install the brackets. The design of the bracket and the way it is attached to the wall are also big factors.

The type of floating shelf you hang also determines how much weight it can hold. We’re going to break down the most popular types of floating shelves below so you know how to hang them safely. We’ll also discuss the different types of brackets and their benefits. Let’s get started.

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Why Should You Care So Much About Weight?

Floating shelves seem strong and durable, so why should you care about the weight they can hold in the first place? The main reason is that putting too much weight on them can damage your walls.

Even if your shelf material seems strong, the screws will pop out of the walls if it is not hung properly. As soon as you put too much weight on it, it will collapse and leave tears in your walls that are not easy to repair.

Plus, it is unsafe to leave too much weight on a shelf for too long, and someone could get hurt. You also have to deal with property damage. For instance, if you put your TV on a floating shelf and it collapses, that is expensive to replace.

The bottom line is that you should also follow the guidelines. Never put more weight on a floating shelf than it can handle. Even if you try it and your shelf seems fine, over time the weight will overcome it. Stay on the safe side and save yourself major headaches instead.

How Much Shelf Do You Need?

What is your concept for your floating shelves? Will they hold collectibles or photos? Do you need space for books or magazines? A key consideration is knowing what you intend to display, how much it weighs, and how much shelf space is needed.

Having this information allows you to find floating shelf brackets that meet your requirements.

Types of Floating Shelves

Now, let’s look at the different types of floating shelves and how much weight each one can hold. The fun thing about floating shelves is that they can come in all kinds of designs. You can use them to display decor, books, kitchen items, plants, and more.

Here are a few types of floating shelves:

  • Simple wood plank floating shelves
  • Multi-tiered floating shelves
  • Floating bookshelves
  • Wire basket floating shelves
  • Wooden crate floating shelves
  • Industrial pipe floating shelves
  • Laminate floating shelves
  • Metal floating shelves
  • Floating storage shelves with drawers
  • Floating wood blocks
  • Glass floating shelves
  • And more

Another unique thing about floating shelves is you can make them yourself or buy them pre-made. Let’s look at some of the most popular types right now.

Simple Wood Plank Floating Shelves

First, the most basic floating shelf type is a simple wood plank. You can purchase a pre-made shelf or create your own by purchasing the wood and shelf at a store like Home Depot or Lowes. When you make your own, you can have it cut into any size you want.

You can also purchase brackets and paint to make it any color you want. This is a really inexpensive do-it-yourself project that can add style and dimension to your decor.

The size of your wood plant will determine how much weight it can hold. Keep these rules in mind:

  • The deeper the plank, the less it can hold
  • The thicker the plank, the more it can hold
  • A mahogany wood plank is the most heavy-duty shelf option

How many brackets you use also makes a difference, which we’ll talk about later. Using these rules, you can determine that smaller and deeper wood planks can only hold up to 25 lbs, while thicker and more shallow wood planks can hold up to 300 lbs.

Wire Basket Shelf

A wire basket shelf is a popular floating shelf option for the kitchen. It is typically used to hold smaller items like spice jars and fruit. It is a more delicate floating shelf that should not hold more than 20 lbs.

Two-Tier Floating Shelf

Some shelves come pre-made with multiple tiers that are connected with metal rods. For instance, you can get the Danya B industrial pipe wall shelf from Target for $89.95. At 31.5” x 24”, it can hold up to 60 lbs.

However, the shelf itself is made out of laminate and has a wood-like finish. If you got real wood shelves, they could hold more weight.

Glass Floating Shelves

Glass floating shelves are popular in bathrooms since they are an easy way to save space. They are great for storing towels, toothbrushes, and extra toiletries. You can also hang them in the shower for extra storage.

They are typically made by floating long pieces of tempered glass on metal brackets with a nickel finish. For instance, you can get the KES 20-inch glass shelf from Amazon for $29.99. At three inches wide, it can hold up to 11 lbs.

The Importance of Brackets

The type of floating shelf you hang has an impact on how much weight it can hold. However, it is even more important to factor in the brackets you use.

Brackets do not have to be big to hold a large amount of weight. It is more important that they are made with sturdy material. For example, two six-inch metal brackets from the brand Crates and Pallet can hold up to 350-lbs.

However, you have to factor in the weight of the shelf itself, not just what you are putting on it. That way you will not exceed the total limit.

You can also get 12-inch brackets from the same brand that can hold up to 100 lbs each. The more brackets you use, the larger shelf you can hang. As we said earlier, screwing your brackets into wall studs will make your shelf much sturdier, which also increases how much weight it can hold.

Depth Does Matter – Don’t Go Deeper Than You Need

Physics rules with floating shelves. The deeper the shelves, the less weight they can hold. It works like this.

If you put five pounds of weight on a shelf next to the wall, the brackets hold that weight easily. If you move the five pounds of weight to the outside edge of the shelf, the brackets experience a multiplied force.

The lesson here is to keep your shelves only as deep as you need and avoid putting loads on the outside edge.

Not All Brackets are Created Equal

If you intend to put collectibles or heirlooms on your floating shelf, it is best to find the highest quality floating shelf brackets available. Not all floating shelf brackets are created equal. There are some things to look for when selecting floating shelf brackets.

  • Look at the backplate – The backplate should be one-half inch narrower than your shelving material. Narrow backplates can support less weight than wider backplates. In general, we suggest that your shelf material be at least two inches thick, making your backing plate one and one-half inches wide.
  • What length rod do you need? – You can determine the length of the support rods you need by the depth of your shelf. Typically, Support rods should follow the lengths in this chart.
Depth of Floating ShelfLength of Rod
  • Finding Studs Is Critical – Make sure that the brackets are drilled properly for mounting to the wall. The holes for the screws should be on a sixteen-inch center to match the stud spacing in the walls. Floating shelves must be attached to studs. Never use sheetrock mounts, molly screw holders, or toggle bolts for mounting floating shelves. You risk the chance of the wallboard failing and your shelves taking a tumble to the floor.
  • Check the Welds on the Bracket – The welds holding the rods to the bracket are critical to the strength of the whole unit. Check the welds. Some cheaper bracket manufacturers use very mild steel or aluminum that bends easily. The welds on the bracket units are often below par and can fracture or tear away from the base metal.

Types of Bracket Designs

The great thing about brackets is that they come in several types of designs. Between the shelf type and the brackets, your floating shelf can look however you want.

Simple metal brackets can add a modern and minimalist look to your shelf. However, you could also use pipe brackets for an industrial style. Arched brackets can add an elegant look to your shelf.

If you want the shelf to look like it’s floating without any support, you can use smaller brackets that are completely hidden. Whatever you choose, you will love how easy it is to customize a floating shelf.

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Related Questions

How big should my shelf be to hold kitchen tools?

Most kitchenware, like bowls and skillets, is not bigger than 12-inches, so your shelf only needs to be one foot deep. It can be as long as you want as long as you use enough brackets.

How deep should a floating shelf be for books?

Most books are nine inches deep, so your shelf can be 10-inches deep.

How do I find wall studs?

Using a stud finder is the most accurate way to find them.

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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