Are Floating Shelves Sturdy Enough to Hold Books?

books on floating shelve

When it comes to books and reading, which category do you fall into - 100% bookworm, casual reader, or haven’t touched a book since high school English class? We won’t make you answer that. But we will answer a question you may have - are floating shelves sturdy enough to hold books?

The simple answer is: Yes! When floating shelves are properly installed, they’ll hold a substantial number of books. Whether you’re looking for a place to house your 63 Stephen King novels, or you simply need a shelf to hold a couple of books that compliment the rest of your decor, J Thomas Home shelves have you covered. 

Use Your Wall’s Studs

The single, most important thing to remember when hanging floating shelves is to use the studs in your walls for maximum durability. Most homes have wall studs with 16-inch centers, while some have 24-inch centers. Depending on the stud spacing in your home, it may be impossible to use two studs when hanging a shorter shelf. When this occurs, it’s okay to use one stud and one drywall anchor to secure the shelf. For the best results, we recommend using heavy-duty anchors like toggler bolts.

If you're hanging longer shelves, it'll be easier to use multiple studs (and maybe a drywall anchor or two). J Thomas Home shelves come with hidden brackets made to fit perfectly with the length of your shelves. The brackets have screw spaces every inch, which will allow you to secure your shelves more easily - no matter what the stud spacing in your home is.

Consider the Floating Shelves’ Depth

Now it’s time to think about the depth of your books, hence the depth of the shelves. Most books are between seven inches and 10 inches deep when propped upright. Therefore, 10-inch-deep floating shelves are ideal for holding books. 

Think about where the strongest point of the shelving is: where it meets the wall. When placing your books, make sure they are as snug against the wall as possible so that the shelves can work in their favor. In light of this, a larger depth shelf may make sense if you intend to add more than just books.

    Material Makeup of the Floating Shelves

    It may be tempting to purchase a twenty-dollar shelf over a more expensive one because, at a quick glance, they look the same. But look deeper into the shelf description, and you’ll likely see that the cheaper shelf is made of pressboard or some other inexpensive material that will cause you heartache. And beware, many companies use fancy words for these inferior materials. Unless you see the words “solid wood” in the description, it’s likely the shelf is made of a softer, more pliable material that will warp. 

    If you only need your shelf to hold a few pounds of books (or any other items), you’d be okay using softer-constructed shelves. But, if you’re planning on loading it up with a number of heavy books, you’ll want solid wood shelves.

    Looking to add sturdy bookshelves to your home? Order online or contact us today! Still have questions? We love troubleshooting, answering questions, and offering tips and tricks, so email us at

    Locals interested in purchasing a collection of handcrafted shelves for a renovation can schedule an appointment with us to get started. 

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