6 Ideas for Creating a Gallery Wall With Floating Shelves

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated February 8, 2022
Man and child chair books shelves
Photo: Cavan Images / Adobe Stock

Two major trends, one incredible impact

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While gallery walls show off your style, floating shelves offer a minimalist approach for adding storage to a room. But what if you combined the two trends for a unique look that’s beautiful and functional? Take inspiration from these gallery walls with floating shelves when styling your own home.

1. Include Your Favorite Art Pieces

Gallery Wall Floating Shelves Television
Photo: Eleanor Baker

When it comes to gallery walls, you might think of a wall full of photos, but the art of a gallery wall is that it can be filled with any decorative or functional items you can think of. These shelves in the home of Eleanor Baker are filled with decorative pieces full of neutral tones with metallic touches. The shelves are flanking the television, helping blend these elements into the decor, so it completes the wall rather than distracting from the artistic pieces.

2. Add Warmth With Earth Tones

Wooden Gallery Shelves
Photo: Ashley Whatley

For a warm, earthy vibe, consider combining brown tones and plants with floating wood shelves. The brass elements on Ashley Whatley’s charming shelves reflect the light and move the eye from shelfto shelf. Books are both a functional and decorative element, and the number of books per stack easily adds varying heights, which is the secret to styling shelves for maximum visual interest.

3. Bring in Texture

Gallery Wall Shelves Fireplace

The key to an impactful gallery wall with floating shelves is texture. Designed by the woodworking team at RHO FARM, these floating shelves and their contents create a cozy vibe. Wood shelves next to a brick accent wall and some potted plants add a variety of textures, while the varying sizes of candle pillars and picture frames bring contrast. Bright white tones against a dark blue wall also make every item on these shelves pop.

4. Make the Most of an Alcove

Living Room Gallery Wall
Photo: Jordan Potter

Alcoves offer a lot of possibilities. You could turn yours into a reading nook, a built-in coat and shoe rack, or a nook for your furry friends. Or turn it into a focal point of your living room decor with a small gallery wall with shelves like Jordan Potter did. Stacks of books, candles, family photos, and plants fill out the shelves. This DIYer also added a new fireplace mantel to match the floating shelves, tying the whole room together.

If you’re not sure how to transform your alcove, consult a local interior designer who can help you personalize your living room.

5. Keep It Simple

Minimalist Gallery Wall
Photo: Grace Tavendale

A gallery wall doesn’t have to be decked out from floor to ceiling to make a statement. Sometimes, minimalism is the best way to showcase your most sentimental pieces. 

This simple shelf in Grace Tavendale’s home is very narrow, making the framed art pieces really look as if they’re floating along the wall. Mix and match frame heights to add contrast, but consider keeping tones similar, like these neutrals. A few non-photo pieces, like a starburst mirror and a seashell, break up the line of art prints.

6. Stick to Photo Frames

Black Frames Gallery Wall
Photo: Claire Phillips

Just as you can add different types of objects to your gallery wall with floating shelves, you can also create a bold display by placing clusters of photos in matching black frames. Here, trios of photos arranged in different configurations create contrast, and the black frames stand out against a bright white wall. The finished look, by Claire Phillips, is clean, crisp, and calming to look at without being boring.

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