Floating shelves in front of windows can be a beautiful and functional way to decorate a home. The airy, open look allows natural light to filter into the room while also providing display space for plants, photos, artwork or other cherished items. With some strategic planning, floating shelves can enhance the aesthetics of any room with a window.

Benefits of Floating Shelves in Front of Windows

There are several benefits to incorporating floating shelves in front of windows:

Allows More Natural Light

The open design of floating shelves does not obstruct the path of sunlight streaming in through the windows. The transparent nature helps maintain an airier feel in the room and cuts down on shadows.

Creates Display Space

The shelves add functional space to showcase decorative items against the backdrop of the window. Plants, vases, framed photos and artwork can be tastefully exhibited.

Provides Design Interest

The shelves bring visual interest and layers to the window area. They can be stained, painted or finished to coordinate with your existing decor. The shelves also add depth and architectural appeal.

Flexible Placement Options

Floating shelves offer flexibility in where they can be installed. They can be hung above, below or flanking the sides of the window. You can place them high to draw the eye up or low for a more grounded look.

Choosing the Right Floating Shelves

When selecting floating shelves for your windows, there are a few important factors to consider:


Shelves come in a variety of materials like wood, metal or glass. Wood can be easily stained or painted to match your decor. Metal and glass tend to have a more modern, sleek look.


Make sure to measure the width of your window to determine the best size shelf. Shelves that are too short won’t maximize the space sufficiently. Avoid overwhelmingly large shelves that obstruct too much light.


There are many stylish options when it comes to shelf design. Bracketed shelves have a more industrial vibe. Ledge or wall-mounted shelves can create a cleaner, floating optical illusion.

Weight Capacity

Ensure your shelves can handle the weight of whatever objects you intend to display. Plants, books and larger items require shelves with higher weight loads.

Installation Method

Understand the installation requirements before purchasing. Some shelves attach via brackets screwed into studs. Others use adhesive and can adhere directly to the window surface.

Ideas for Styling Shelves in Front of Windows

The styling possibilities are endless with floating shelves in front windows. Here are some inspiring ideas:

Artistic Display

Create an art gallery effect by mounting colorful paintings, prints or photographs in matching frames. Add sculpture or pottery for 3D appeal.

Urban Jungle

Make an indoor garden focal point with shelves holding a mix of leafy green plants, air plants and trailing vines. Use ceramic or concrete planters in earthy tones.


Show off travel souvenirs, seashells, vintage cameras or any other curated objects. Try sorting by color, texture or theme for a coordinated look.

Reading Nook

A set of shelves with books, a cozy chair and warm throw blanket creates a perfect reading area bathed in natural light. Add a cup of tea for ultimate enjoyment.

Spa Corner

Establish a tranquil spa-like vibe with shelves holding candles, aromatherapy oils, zen decor objects and folded towels for a spa-like environment.

Executing the Installation Process

Installing floating shelves in front of a window involves careful planning and execution. Here are some tips:

  • Measure window area and shelves to ensure proper fit before installing. Have helper hold shelf in place.
  • Determine ideal height. Generally 30-40 inches above window frame maintains visibility.
  • Locate studs for secure mounting. Use a stud finder to detect wood beams behind drywall.
  • Select proper anchors for screws to embed in studs or wall surface. Ask at hardware store for recommendations.
  • Use a level during installation to keep shelves straight. Recheck with level after securing.
  • Follow all safety procedures on ladder or step stool when working at raised heights.
  • Take care not to crack window panes when drilling anchor holes. Place tape over glass for protection.

With proper planning and care, the installation process can safely yield beautiful shelf displays. The end result will enhance natural light and provide prime decorative real estate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight can floating shelves hold?

It depends on the material, size, and type of floating shelves. Generally smaller floating shelves can hold 15-30 lbs, medium sized shelves can hold 30-50 lbs, and heavy duty shelves can hold 50-100 lbs or more. Always check manufacturer weight limits.

Should floating shelves be centered over a window?

Not necessarily. Floating shelves can be placed asymmetrically over a window for a more dynamic look. Shelves on just one side of the window can also work well depending on your room layout and display needs.

What is the best way to hang floating shelves?

Locating and mounting into wall studs provides the most secure base for floating shelves. Heavy duty anchors and screws specifically designed for shelving should be used. Follow all manufacturer instructions.

What should I put on floating shelves in front of windows?

Anything you want to showcase! Photos, art, plants, books, and collections are commonly displayed. Just be mindful of the shelf weight capacity and size objects appropriately. Also use non-heat generating decor over windows.

Should I get glass or wooden shelves?

Glass shelves have a lighter, transparent look to maintain views. Wooden shelves can be stained and painted to match decor. Consider where they will be installed and what will be displayed when choosing.


Installing floating shelves in front of windows provides a gorgeous way to accentuate natural light while creating display space. With an array of styles and creative decor options, the possibilities are truly endless. Just be sure to properly measure, select quality shelving, and follow safe installation practices. Once installed, the shelves will provide an ideal platform to artistically showcase cherished items against a bright backdrop. Let the sun shine in and illuminate your beautiful shelf styling.