How High Do You Need to Hang Floating Shelves in the Kitchen

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Last updated: April 8, 2023

What is the recommended height for open shelves and upper cabinets in the kitchen? What should be the height between the shelf and the countertop? Many questions that require some answers. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake with out some key guidelines. Read on as I discuss how high you need to hang floating shelves in your kitchen.

Adding a floating shelf to your kitchen is a great way to keep your needs at good eye level. Aside from kitchens, floating shelves also look great in your living room and can be used as an excellent bookcase structure. This avoids the need to go to a hardware store to find a piece of furniture with cabinet doors that takes the place of a bookcase.

Some people replace old cabinets that in a workspace or living space to add a second shelf which is a great spot at the top of the desk. This empty space provides easy access to work supplies or becomes an excellent way to dress up and decorate your desk area for those important Microsoft Teams meetings. Think of it as the easiest way to upgrade your kitchen, living room, or any other place in your home. Neutral colors go a long way to keep things clean, crisp and modern. Look to colors like white, gray, taupe, brown, cream and beige. These are popular colors that will outlast trends for a long time.

But before you put these shelves in their designated spots using a wall stud, there are necessary measurements that you need to remember.

Table of Contents

Floating Shelves and Standard Height Measurements

Here are some of the numbers to help you make the right choices when constructing the floating longer shelves in your kitchen.

Country kitchen with eco interior design in organe and floating wooden shelves

Placement of Open Kitchen Shelves on the Wall

The recommended shelf height between the upper and lowest shelf should be 15 inches, while the height between the lower shelf and the counter must be 23.5 inches.

Dimension of Shelves

The total distance of the space between the upper and lower shelves must be 17 inches, while the best height of the counter to the lower shelf should be 21 inches.

Distance above the Kitchen Counter to the Shelves

From the counter to the lower shelves, the distance should be 13.5 inches, while the space between the upper and next shelf must be 12 inches.

Height of the Exposed Kitchen Shelves

The space between the upper and lower shelves should be 11 inches for exposed kitchen shelves, while the lower shelves and counter must be 16 inches.

Height of Hanging Shelves in the Kitchen with Three Shelves

There should be a space of 12 inches between the upper and lower shelves, and I recommend an 18-inch distance between the counter and the bottom shelf.

Dimensions for Open Kitchen Wall Shelves

The good average spacing between the upper and lower open kitchen wall shelves should be 12.5 inches, while the lower cabinets and the kitchen counter must have a space of 18 inches as a general rule of thumb.

How Much Weight Can Floating Shelves Hold?

The weight capacity that floating shelves can hold will depend on the shelf bracket. For example, a 24-inch floating shelf bracket gets designed and built to support shelves 24 inches or higher. These heavy-duty brackets often have a weight capacity of 150 pounds and can provide additional support for anything you plan to put on them, including oversize books.

What Can You Put on High Floating Shelves?

If the height of the shelves is too high for daily use, you might consider styling them for design and functionality.

If you have a high floating shelf and high ceilings simultaneously, you can use this shelf for glass pitchers, artwork pieces, and other serving items that you don’t use every day. Dry goods can add a rustic style if your home and kitchen is farmhouse style. Think sugar, flour and coffee and depending on the containers or glass jars, you can really work on adding other knick knacks with an abundance of color or just a little bit of decorative color – not just white. Don’t forget everyday items like coffee mugs which use shelves appropriately as decorative objects in a small kitchen.

Just keep in mind pounds / lb weight capacity with any open shelving unit. If you’re planning to add some heavier items, such as books of all different sizes, consider heavy duty brackets for support. Either way, this is better than having an empty wall space. Any empty wall space is a great opportunity for practical items with the addition of new shelves to store a large collection of your memories and useful items.

Industrial Floating Shelves Wall Shelf - Floating Shelves Wood Wall Mounted, Hanging Shelves, Floating Shelves Rustic, with Pipe Hardware Brackets (Set of 3) 1.5'' X 7.25'' (Espresso, 24'')

What Can You Put on Open Kitchen Shelves?

The items you put on your open kitchen shelves are a matter of personal preference. Many view them as open storage which can help hide a domestic imperfection on the entire wall. For example, if your open shelves are on the traditional cabinets that holds your cups, you can load the lower bracket with mugs and glasses. The glassware pieces and dinner plates can be placed on the middle shelf, while the top shelf is perfect for knick knacks and decorative items. You can also add a pop color to each shelf using small plants and other more comprehensive things.

HOOBRO Floating Shelves, Wall Shelf Set of 2, 15.7 inch Hanging Shelf with Invisible Brackets, for Bathroom, Bedroom, Toilet, Kitchen, Office, Living Room Decor, Rustic Brown BF40BJ01

Have a look at this excellent set of floating shelves on Amazon. Made of solid pine, it is heat resistant and supports wider items you may want placed on a kitchen shelf for example; such as, cook books and other accessible items. If you’re artistic, you can look for reclaimed pine for a kitchen corner shelf that will add flare to your kitchen design fi a beautiful art piece is added to it. For some ideas and best results, start with West Elm.

Where to Install Floating Shelves in the Kitchen

Don’t let the microwave waste the countertop space. You can hang a pair of floating shelves on the area right on top of the countertops and put your microwave in the middle.

HOOBRO Floating Shelves, Wall Shelf Set of 2, 15.7 inch Hanging Shelf with Invisible Brackets, for Bathroom, Bedroom, Toilet, Kitchen, Office, Living Room Decor, Rustic Brown BF40BJ01

Many homeowners are big fans of floating shelves, and they are considered the smooth operators that magically hang on the wall with no visible nails, brackets, or unlimited support.

This particular type of shelf is also a great option in kitchens as they fill in gaps in design and solve storage space issues with ease and style. Many also love using these shelves as a picture ledge that creates a spacious feel.

I have also seen some unique designs where a kitchen island has added space feel under the countertop with floating shelves and the lowest shelves serving as open storage for kitchenware.

If you are wondering where to put a floating shelf in your kitchen or dining room, here are some of the ideal spots you can consider:

In a Pair Above your Countertop

Don’t let the microwave waste the countertop space. You can hang a pair of floating shelves on the area right on top of the countertops and put your microwave in the middle.

Right Below your Upper Cabinets

Floating more extended shelves that hang closer to your upper cabinets will appear like they are still a part of the cabinet.

In Narrow Wall Areas or Corners

Giftgarden 24 Inch Floating Shelves Wall Mounted Set of 3, Rustic Large Wall Shelves Picture Ledge Shelf for Bedroom Living Room Bathroom Kitchen, 3 Different Sizes

These are the areas where floating shelves shine the most. It is also the easiest to create several additional storage inches from a blank wall area or narrow corner.

In the Center of a Backsplash

Let your backsplash perform double duty by installing a hanging shelf between the upper cabinets and countertop. Narrow backsplash shelves are an excellent spot for keeping items you regularly use, such as spices and oils.

In the Center of a Painted wall

You can also install white floating shelves in a dark painted color to create a high-contrast and ultra-chic appearance.

On the Side of your Cabinet

Do a semi-DIY project by adding three tiny floating shelves to the side of your kitchen cabinet. They will seem like the floating shelves have always been there.

Above a Backsplash

If you have a tiled backsplash without upper cabinets, you can seamlessly install a floating shelf to transition to the wall.

On Top of a Low Freestanding Cabinet on the Wall

Install three floating shelves on the wall on top of a low freestanding cabinet. These shelves must have a similar width to create a single tall piece for storage.

Above the Cabinets

It might look menacing to have too much space on top of your cabinets, and you can hang a floating shelf in the area to solve the problem.

On Top of a Window and in the Middle of Two Cabinets

You can also install a shelf on top of the kitchen window. It will also be great between two kitchen cabinet sections because the shelf will join them seamlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions

A depth of 12 inches for floating kitchen shelves often works because most cabinets and the bowls, cups, and plates they contain are also 12 inches or less deep. Make sure you also choose a bracket suitable for the project’s dimensions.

Are Floating Shelves Durable and Robust?

Yes, floating shelves are solid and quick to build, made from just two parts without visible supports. These shelves are also cheap and look handsome. Floating shelves are strong despite the lack of visual support. Based on their name, these shelves seem to float on the wall without clunky wall anchors or hardware.

How to Secure Floating Shelves?

You can use floating shelf brackets to secure your floating shelves. You can find wall studs using a stud finder. Drill into the stud where you want to hang the shelf using a drill. Proceed to secure the bracket in this hole. Place the second bracket utilizing a level. Use a drill for installing the second bracket and make sure that it is tightly secured.

Can Floating Shelves Hold Books?

Wallniture Minori Floating Shelves Set of 4, Small Bookshelf Unit for Bedroom, Office, Bathroom, and Living Room, Natural Burned Rustic Wood Wall Decor with Metal Floating Shelf Bracket

Yes, you can display your books on floating shelves if you don’t have enough room for adding a bookcase. Using hardwood solids and thick materials can create an opulent look of craftsmanship that can complement your book collection.

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