How to Install Corner Shelves
  • July 1, 2024
  • decoreloquent
  • 0

Corner shelves are an increasingly popular storage and decorative solution for making use of wasted space in home corners. Getting the most out of every inch of your home is key for organization and functionality.

There are several types of corner shelves to consider for your space including floating shelves, wall mounted shelves, and corner cabinets. Carefully measuring your corner and understanding the installation process for your shelf choice will ensure success.

How to Install Corner Shelves

This comprehensive guide will walk through the corner shelf options, required tools and materials, step-by-step installation, and decorating ideas so you can feel confident installing and styling shelves that maximize your corner real estate.

Choose Your Corner Shelf Type

There are a few varieties of corner shelves and cabinets to evaluate before deciding on the best fit. Consider the size of your space, your style, organizational needs and your budget.

Floating Corner Shelves

Floating shelves give the illusion that they are suspended on the wall since the mounting hardware is concealed. This looks light, modern and clean in aesthetics.

  • Materials – Typically made from wood, metal or glass.
  • Benefits – Easy installation using a cleat and shelf supports attached to the wall. Customizable to any size and configuration.

Corner Wall Mounted Shelves

Wall mounted corner shelves use visible brackets or braces underneath to provide support. This style works well for heavier storage needs.

  • Materials – Usually wood, metal or a combo. Glass also an option.
  • Benefits – Adjustable, space-saving, and weight-bearing for large items.

Corner Cabinet  with Shelves

For an enclosed storage look, corner cabinets occupy the space floor-to-ceiling. They can have shelves only or shelves with cabinet doors.

  • Materials – Usually wood or wood veneers for the cabinet box and doors. Glass door fronts optional.
  • Benefits – Hides clutter well and amplifies storage and display abilities.
Shelf Type    ProsCons
FloatingCustom sizes, easy to install  Less weight support
Wall-mounted Great for heavy items, adjustableVisible hardware
Corner cabinet           Enclosed storage, height       More costly, permanent

“We decided on floating shelves to match the modern aesthetics in our condo. Having open shelves keeps the small space feeling airy while nearly doubling our storage!” – Rebecca S.

Corner Cabinet with Shelves

Prepare Your Corner Location

Once you decide on the best corner shelf design for your space, prep the area by cleaning thoroughly and patching any uneven areas on the walls. Use the following tips for a smooth installation.

  • Remove outlet covers or other wall-mounted objects if needed
  • Wipe down walls to remove dust, oils or debris
  • Fill holes, cracks or uneven spots on walls with spackle/putty
  • Sand smooth once filler dries if necessary
  • Paint corner if needed to freshen it up
  • Use a stud finder to locate corner framing and wood studs
  • Precision measuring is key for a quality corner shelf installation

Measuring Tips

Use the highest level of precision possible when measuring to cut shelves and mark hardware placement.

  • Use a laser level and measuring tape for exact widths and heights
  • Note ceiling height at corner and width of each wall section
  • Identify corner angle – typically 90 degrees, but older homes can be less
  • Ensure you have room for the shelf depth and any items displayed
  • Account for baseboard trim depth if shelves will float above it

Having these measurements is key for cutting shelves to size as well as positioning any brackets or cleats straight. Rushed measuring can throw the entire shelving layout off visually so take your time.

“The stud finder and laser level were clutch for getting super straight shelves. Totally level shelves make the installation look so professional!” – Gary T.

Gather Your Installation Tools

There are a few essential tools for proper corner shelf mounting. Having these items on hand will make the process much smoother.

Tool Checklist

  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Laser level (optional but very helpful)
  • Drill
  • Assorted drill bits for pilot holes
  • Screws or wall anchors
  • Level
  • Pencil

For floating corner shelves specifically, you will also want:

  • Shelf cleat
  • Floating shelf brackets
  • Wall repair putty/filler

Gather tools before purchasing materials to ensure your shelves or hardware include the necessary fasteners, anchors, screws for your wall type.

Having an extra set of hands is also beneficial for marking, levelling and securing as you go.

Step-by-Step Installation Instructions

Each style of corner shelf will install slightly differently. Follow the specific directions included with your shelves or hardware.

Here is an overview of the installation process:

  1. Mark stud locations using a stud finder
  2. Use a laser level to determine shelf heights and mark with pencil
  3. Attach required hardware (brackets, cleats, etc.) securely into studs or with wall anchors
  4. Insert and install shelves according to instructions
  5. Secure in place checking for levelness
  6. Repeat steps for achieving multi-tier shelving if desired

Floating shelves have a slightly more complex install, but yield a stunning, modern look:

Installing Floating Corner Shelves

  1. Cut shelving boards to fit corner angle using a mitre saw
  2. Determine desired height spacing between shelves
  3. Mount wall cleat to both walls, ensuring levelness
  4. Attach floating shelf brackets securely to the cleat board leaving small gap
  5. Test fit shelf cut to size in brackets before permanently attaching
  6. Conceal cleat board using wall putty/filler for a true floating illusion

Installing Wall-Mounted Corner Shelves

  1. Locate and mark studs using a stud finder
  2. Select desired L-brackets based on shelving dimensions and weight capacity
  3. Mount brackets into wall studs using a drill
  4. Confirm shelves fit properly before permanently screwing into brackets

Wall mounted shelves are highly adjustable so you can rearrange to your storage needs over time by simply moving brackets.

Installing an Enclosed Corner Cabinet

  1. Assemble cabinet box securing together using nails or screws
  2. Mount secured cabinet frame directly into wall studs
  3. Install cabinet doors and shelves as needed per instructions
  4. Use shims between frame and wall to plumb if needed

Ideally have another set of hands for lifting and securing the cabinet straight and true to the corner.

Decorating Your New Corner Shelves

Once your corner shelves are professionally installed, the fun part begins – styling and decorating! Use the new organizational real estate for displaying books, plants, photos, art objects, collectibles and baskets.

Corner Shelf Styling Tips

  • Style in sets of three for visual harmony like three framed photos or art pieces
  • Play with height using taller lanterns, vases or books on lower shelves
  • Incorporate lighting sconces at eye level and up high to create drama
  • Coordinate items by color scheme for a cohesive collectors display
  • Rotate seasonal decor items to refresh the look
  • Add doors to open shelves later on for concealed storage

The options are endless when maximizing unused corner space with shelves. Use your unique creativity to implement corner shelves to organize and accent your home.

Hopefully this guide provided you with all of the information necessary for evaluating corner shelf options, preparing for installation accurately, and styling like a pro. Creating this functional and decorative focal point opens up walls that typically end up empty and overlooked in most homes and apartments. Enjoy!

You may also read: What to Put on Corner Shelves: 18 Clever Ideas

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