Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Display and Organize Dishes with Floating Shelves in Your Kitchen

5 minute read

Is your kitchen cabinet space already brimming with pots, pans, and appliances? Do you need more room to neatly display and organize all your dinnerware? Installing floating shelves is an excellent way to free up storage and prevent a cluttered cupboard catastrophe.

Floating shelves add a handy space to artistically arrange pretty plates, stack practical bowls, and line up elegant glasses.

Choosing Materials for Floating Shelves

The first step is selecting a material for your new floating shelves. The building material affects the look, durability, and weight capacity for housing dishes.

Wood Shelves

Wood is a popular choice for DIY custom shelves. The warm, natural material pairs nicely in any kitchen. Opt for a solid unfinished wood like pine boards and stain or paint to match your cabinetry. Distressed reclaimed barnwood also provides a cozy rustic vibe. Make sure to properly seal wood to prevent moisture damage over the sink.

floating shelves for kitchen dishes

Wood is easy to drill and shape as needed during home projects. Pick a hardwood like oak for maximum strength to hold stacks of stoneware.

Metal Shelves

For a sleek, modern look, metal floating shelves add an urban industrial feel. Matte black, stainless steel, or galvanized iron shelves complement contemporary styled kitchens.

Metal wire shelf brackets often come with pre-drilled holes for fast installation. Sturdy metal shelves can handle the weight of piled dishes, chunky mugs, and heavy platters.

Glass Shelves

Tempered glass shelves provide a light, airy aesthetic. The transparent material illuminates serveware displayed on it. Accent with under cabinet lighting for dramatic dish presentation.

Smooth glass shelves are super easy to wipe down and keep clean in a busy kitchen. Check weight limits before loading up glass shelves with your heaviest ovenware.

Shelf Styles for Every Kitchen

Floating shelves come in an array of materials and designs to mix and match with your kitchen’s decor. Here are some trendy and classic shelf style ideas.

Rustic Wood Shelves

Reclaimed wood sliced from old barn beams or salvaged floorboards make eye-catching rustic shelves. Distressed paint techniques like whitewashing or chippy Farmhouse style enhance the weathered patina. Rustic wood floating shelves add cozy flair to country kitchens and farmhouse spaces.

Sleek Metal Shelves

For contemporary cook spaces, lean into sleek industrial style with metal wire shelves in matte black, stainless steel, or galvanized metal. Iron pipe brackets provide an urban loft accent. Or combine wood boards with black metal supports for crisp contrast.

Modern Wood and Metal

The blend of warm wood shelves with cool steel or iron brackets strikes a modern balance. Minimize visual bulk with floating shelves made from thin solid oak or walnut boards. Mixing materials adds depth while black metal ties in stove and sink hardware.

Sizing Your Floating Shelves

Scale your new floating shelves to suit your kitchen’s footprint and storage requirements. Measure flatware and dishware to visualize proper proportions.

Small Shelves (12-16 inches)

Compact floating shelves around a foot wide work great above a kitchen sink. Display pretty plates and saucers in a single line. You can also stack coordinating mugs with their handles facing forward.

Narrow shelves maximize space in a small kitchen. Install two or three small shelves vertically for a clean look.

Medium Shelves (24 inches)

Two foot wide floating shelves allow you to organize dishes and glassware by category. Stack plates and arrange bowls. Line up rows of coffee mugs and water glasses. Medium shelves can hold a couple items deep.

Floating shelves mounted 16-18 inches apart create usable space to tuck serving trays and cutting boards.

Large Shelves (30-36 inches)

A wider three foot shelf provides ample room for stacking dinnerware sets and serving pieces. Display platters, pitchers, and large bowls commonly used for meals and entertaining. Maximize storage for oversized ovenware and bulky items.

Extra wide designs accommodate more dishes stacked in rows. Float over a kitchen workspace or sink.

Strategic Shelf Placement

Picking the optimal wall area is key to reap the benefits of your new floating shelves. Map out a smart spot to promote efficiency.

Near the Sink

Installing floating shelves near the kitchen sink is highly practical. Storing dishes, glasses, and mugs close to the sink allows you to easily grab them while washing up.

Try placing shelves above a draining rack to house clean wet items. Just make sure to waterproof wood shelves.

By the Stove

Floating shelves mounted near the stove keep serving platters and pots within arm’s reach while you cook up dinner. Display pretty bakeware and microwavable dishes for quick access.

Just position shelves away from heat sources to prevent damage from steam and splatters.

Open Wall Space

Scan for a spot on your kitchen wall away from cabinets, appliances, and work areas. Check that you have solid studs behind the drywall to securely mount shelf brackets.

Avoid plumbing and electrical lines hidden in walls too. But open wall space grants you design freedom to install multiple shelves in various sizes.

Arranging Dishes and Servingware

Once you’ve installed floating shelves, it’s time to artfully organize your collections for an Instagram-worthy display. Avoid clutter with these tips.

Group Similar Items

Arrange matching plates and bowls in unified stacks. Group mugs and drinking glasses together. Separate formal dinnerware from casual everyday sets.

Keep things tidy looking by only displaying daily essential pieces you regularly use. Store extras in cabinets below.

Face Mugs Outward

Angle mug handles facing forward so you can easily grab them one-handed. Prevent damaging fragile rims and decorative details by avoiding mug bottoms touching.

Allow breathing room between mugs to neatly corral the collection. Floating shelves keep mugs accessible for quick morning coffee.

Style Decoratively

Incorporate decorative touches like trailing ivy, mini succulents, herb garden planters, and driftwood. Floating shelves allow you to highlight favorite cookbooks, pottery, and kitchen tools.

editing the shelves periodically refreshes the look. Rotate seasonal pieces or new finds into the mix.

Installation: DIY vs Premade Shelves

For newbie DIYers, premade floating shelves offer hassle-free installation right out of the box. But experienced craftsmen may want to build custom shelves tailored to their kitchen’s footprint.

Premade Shelves

Purchased floating shelves come with mounting hardware like steel braces and brackets. Most brackets have pre-drilled holes for accepting screws anchored in wall studs.

Just carefully measure and level your wall marks to ensure shelves mount straight. Watch online tutorials for guidance. Premade shelves are beginner-friendly.

For woodworkers, building your own floating shelves lets you customize the look, wood type, stain, and dimensions. Purchase boards and cut them down to size with a circular saw, then sand edges smooth.

Installing DIY shelves requires carefully marking stud locations, pilot holes, and securing beefy brackets rated for the shelf’s weight capacity.

DIY tutorials walk through steps but building custom shelves takes more skill. Plus, you’ll need woodworking tools.

Whether you purchase or create your own floating shelves, utilizing vertical wall space is a brilliant way to expand kitchen storage. Minimal floating shelves free up cabinet congestion and provide a place to artistically display your collections. Follow this guide to install gorgeous and functional shelves that make meal prep a breeze.