Living Room

9 Elegant Ways to Decorate Floating Shelves Around a Fireplace

Stylish and versatile, floating shelves are a fantastic way to create visual interest and bring personality to your home. But what to put on them? Maybe you’re thinking of adding some floating shelv.

By Amy Booth Updated: March 10, 2024 5 mins read

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Stylish and versatile, floating shelves are a fantastic way to create visual interest and bring personality to your home. But what to put on them?

Maybe you’re thinking of adding some floating shelves to your room – or maybe you already have some, but you’re not sure how to make the most of them.

Worry no more. With these elegant floating shelves, you’ll soon be full of ideas.

1. Choose a Theme

Co-ordinating your decorative accessories within a theme will create a cohesive and elegant look. This calming, coastal living room brings in plenty of nods and tones of the sea with a range of accessories. Meanwhile, the navy colour block behind the shelves creates contrast and sets off the white shelves beautifully.

When choosing the objects for your shelves, take a look around and think about the colours, shapes and materials that would complement your space best. Selecting accessories in tones of the same colours will prevent your décor from jarring and leave you with an elegant finish.

2. Simple Lines

This contemporary games room by Meredith Hamilton Ranouil from MLH Designs takes an altogether different approach to shelving around a fireplace. The fireplace isn’t central, but by offsetting floating shelves above the fireplace and television, it helps to pull everything together in one space.

Enhance simplistic shelving with a few stylish accessories. Position for some small, framed prints along your shelves to create visual interest, along with some simple, neutral vases to create structure. Choose frames in shades that complement your shelving and interior for a sleek, elegant look.

3. Elevate Art

Elevate your artwork by placing framed prints on floating shelves. It’s a brilliant way to create extra visual interest around your fireplace.

Choose several prints in different sizes and position them to create symmetry and balance on either side of your fireplace. Look for prints in similar colours to ensure a cohesive look.

4. Go Minimalist

Although this dining area has a Victorian fireplace, it’s a beautifully contemporary room thanks to the minimalist, white floating shelves, mid-century furniture, and simple accessories.

It proves that just a few simple objects positioned on floating shelves can create a big impact on your space. Rather than filling your shelves with accessories, select just a few smaller pieces to display – such as bud vases or a few coffee-table books.

5. Rainbow Books

Is there anything nicer than a rainbow bookshelf? I don’t think so! Instead of organising your books by author, create a colourful display by sorting your books by colour.

This will make a gorgeous feature in any room of the house and bring a playful touch to your décor. It looks especially good in neutral spaces, where your books can really pop.

6. Create Balance

If you have floating shelves on both sides of your fireplace, it’s a good idea to balance the look by creating symmetry with your accessories.

This can mean choosing vases and accessories of a similar height for each side and positioning them on opposite shelves. Look for a range of taller and shorter objects to achieve this aesthetic and make the most of your space.

7. Illuminated Shelving

Illuminating your floating shelves is a great way to create a look that’s both elegant and inviting. The warm glow of strip lighting or fairy lights offers a cosy and calming ambience that’s perfect for snuggling up and relaxing.

These stunning floating shelving units light up the alcoves of this Chelsea townhouse by Juliette Byrne. The trick is to keep the accessories on your shelves to a minimum to get the most of your lighting.


8. Personalise Your Shelves

Floating shelves give you an ideal opportunity to add some personal touches to your home – especially in rooms where you and your guests spend a lot of time, like the living room.

Display some objects and accessories that are personal to you to bring your home to life. This might be your favourite coffee table books, trinkets from your travels, framed quotes, favourite records or even a musical instrument. Mix it up to achieve a look that is uniquely you.

9. Floating Shelf Above a Fire

Maybe your floating shelf is above your fire, rather than to the side. If so, this provides a brilliant opportunity to style your fireplace and create a super cosy vibe.

Think about adding a range of candles – both short and tall in a mix of candle holders – or you could even trail fairy lights across the shelf to bring warmth all year round. And take it up a notch with a statement garland over the holiday season.

How Deep Should Floating Shelves Be by a Fireplace?

Floating shelves are usually somewhere between 5 and 12 inches deep. If you’re using your shelves for books, you won’t usually need them any more than 8 to 10 inches deep, but if you plan to place other objects on your shelves, it’s a good idea to measure first.

Are Floating Shelves In Style?

Floating shelves are in style and growing in popularity. Both stylish and functional, they offer a sleek way to decorate your space and provide valuable extra storage options for any room in the home.

Amy Booth

Amy Booth is a freelance writer that’s passionate about all things home decor, art, literature, and nature. She lives in an Edwardian home in the North East of England, where her renovation adventures began with her husband and newborn daughter, Violet. Amy describes her home style as “traditional with a twist”, and in her spare time, she shares home decor tips and inspiration on her Instagram page, as well as her latest home updates. When she’s not obsessing over interiors, you can find her cooking vegetarian food or enjoying a glass of prosecco.

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