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How Much Weight can a Floating Shelf Hold?

How much weight can a floating shelf hold? Personally, I would say anywhere from 10lbs to over 300lbs.

However, there are several factors that determine the amount of weight a shelf can carry. For instance, in our previous article, we talked about brackets for floating shelves.

Brackets play a very crucial role in determining the weight capacity of the shelves because they come in different sizes and designs, and are made from different materials. Other factors that contribute to the amount of weight a floating shelf can hold include the material of the shelf, its depth, and its thickness among others.

In this article, we shall look more into these factors and explain how they influence the weight capacity of your floating shelves.

How much weight can a floating shelf hold? 5 Factors to consider


Brackets make it possible for you to install your floating shelves on the wall.

They are designed to hold different weight capacities. This mainly depends on the material they are made of and their thickness.

In regards to material, brackets are usually made of stainless steel and cast iron. Both materials tend to be very strong; hence, they can hold a lot of weight.

The thickness of most shelf brackets ranges from 8 to 70 inches. The inches you choose should be determined by the length and size of your shelf and how much weight you want to put on them.

For instance, 24-inch solid steel brackets from Ikea can support anything you want up to 150lb since they are thick enough. Any weight above that may cause the floating shelf to fall.

The number of rods in the brackets also plays a significant role in determining the weight. The more the rods, the more weight your shelf can hold. This is attributed to the fact that each rod can support a significant amount of load so together, they make the brackets stronger.

The material of the shelf

how much weight can a floating shelf hold

Floating shelves come in different materials such as chipboard, MDF, plywood, acrylic, and wood.

Wooden shelves tend to more popular since they can withstand heavy-weight items.  However, their strength depends on the type of wood such as pine, mahogany, and red oak.

While some materials like pine and red oak, may be easy to work with, they may not be as resilient as mahogany. Mahogany is hardwood so it is ideal for floating shelves meant for holding heavy-duty items like in the kitchen and libraries.

See also: Best floating kitchen shelves 

Floating shelf thickness

Most people opt for thin floating shelves because they appear presentable than thick ones.

Floating shelf thickness
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However, as much as you want the shelves to be as thin as possible, it is important to note that thickness should depend on what you want to place on them.

Heavy items will definitely need thicker shelves than lighter items.

Depth of the floating shelf

The depth of the floating shelf also determines the amount of weight they will hold.

So, how deep should floating shelves be in order to hold as much weight as possible?

Depth of the floating shelf
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It has been confirmed that the deeper the shelf is the less weight it can hold but the shallower it is, the more weight it can hold.

However, you can place relatively heavy items on a deep shelf if you use strong brackets with enough rods to support them.

The depth of the shelves you pick should also be determined by the depth of items you plan to place on them. Most kitchen shelves, for instance, are 12 inches deep because most kitchen items are not more than 12 inches deep. Bookshelves, on the other hand, have a depth of 10 inches since most books are about 9 inches deep.

Dry versus solid wall

How much weight can a shelf hold in drywall? This is a common question especially since most houses have drywalls.

The fact is, where you install the shelf is a determining factor when it comes to how much it can carry. Drywall is not strong enough to hold heavy loads over a long period compared to a solid wall.

Therefore, if you plan to hold heavy items on the floating shelves, you may need to install them on a solid wall.

Alternatively, if you only have drywall, you may have to go the extra mile and install the drywall anchors into the studs. You can find the studs behind the drywall about 16 to 24 inches apart.

If you use the right drywall anchors and install them correctly into the studs, you can confidently place heavyweight items on the floating shelf.

Watch this video for more details on the weight capacity of floating shelves.


So how much weight can a floating shelf hold? To be honest, there is no definitive answer to this question. This is due to the fact that there are several factors that come into play in determining the weight capacity of a floating shelf.

The brackets, the type of wall, depth, thickness, and the material of the shelf must be considered. For instance, drywall will not hold as much as a solid wall, and plywood shelves will also not be as resilient as mahogany shelves.

Thick shelves, when supported with the right brackets and anchors, can hold a lot of weight compared to thin ones. Therefore, you need to consider all these factors so that you can determine how much your floating shelves will be able to hold without falling.