Decorating the Foyer with a DIY Floating Shelf


Building a floating shelf

The wood used to build the shelf

First impressions… We all kind of want to make a great first impression. Not that I would care a lot about everyone’s opinion about me, but especially in situations when you like someone, it’s nice to feel you have left a good impression.

Translating that to house décor, we have been intentional when coming up with ideas, and taking care of details, to make our home an inviting and beautiful place to be.

That is the reason why it was irritating me that the very first impression in our house (our foyer) was basically nothing. We had put zero work into it, except for painting the walls, and it was definitely in our to-do list to take care of that.


We started by building (because it’s more fun for us if we build something) a floating shelf; similar to the ones we built for our living room.

The materials needed are:


Although the procedure is comparable to the one from the living room floating shelves, we made some changes in the design, in order to install it without the screws being visible, saving some materials in the process.

After deciding the dimensions would be (60’’W x 3’’L x 11’’D), we measured and marked the plywood. We then proceeded to use our saw to cut the pieces: 2 sides (11’’ W x 3”L), 1 top (60’’W x 11’’ L), and 1 front piece (60’’W x 3’’L). Three random poplar pieces, 20’’L (2) and 14”L (1) were perfect for the shelf support.

Building an easy floating shelf

The pieces of plywood and poplar ready for assembly



With the wood glue, our nail gun and 2 in 16 gauge nails we created the shelf, attaching all the pieces together (including the poplar supports). After this was done, we made sure the surfaces were very smooth using the sander and sanding sheets (not our favorite stage of the process, but completely necessary since, again, this was going to be the first impression of our home).

Wood to build a shelf

Applying glue to the shelf pieces


DIY Shelf Assembly

Nailing the shelf


The nail holes were then filled with our Blend-Fil Pencil (always remember to match the color with the stain or paint you will be using).

Finishing a floating shelf

Filling the nail holes with Blend- Fil


While building our living room shelves, we realized it was hard to remove the excess (the product directions state that it can be wiped off with a rag). Unfortunately this didn’t work that well, causing the stain to not penetrate the wood thoroughly in those areas, leaving a bit of a shiny look.

This wasn’t a huge deal back then, since those shelves were installed up in the wall, but we needed a more professional finish in our foyer shelf, so this time we decided to sand after filling the holes.

Although the manufacturer does not necessarily recommend this, it turned out perfect. The holes stayed filled with the product, while all the excess was removed.

Floating shelf DIY

Sanding the shelf



Our Dark Walnut stain can came up to the rescue again, to make our shelf match the ones in the living room, and also our office countertop. After 3 coats of stain (applied with a rag), we were satisfied with the finish. Again, this is a stage you can play with, applying as many coats of stain or paint as you want in order to obtain the desired results.

Do it yourself shelf

Applying the dark walnut stain



First, take some measurements on your wall to make sure the shelf will be installed in the exact position you want it to be. We decided we wanted the top to be 3’ from the floor and also to be centered in the wall (after opening our main door so it wouldn’t bump into it).

Mounting a floating shelf

Preparing for installation


Taking that into account, we used our stud finder to ensure we would screw it to the studs. That way we wouldn’t have to worry when placing heavier objects on it.

Using our pencil, level, drill and some screws, we marked the wall, and also pre-drilled the corresponding holes in the shelf. Then, we aligned these, and inserted the screws to fix it to the wall.

How to install a floating shelf

Drilling holes prior to installation to prevent wood cracking



Finally, there are some rules out there that can help you. I did check some of them, but in the end, we just went to the store, and played with the stuff we liked. You can use plants, vases, candles, baskets, blankets, cushions, mirrors, wall art, picture frames, etc.… the options are really way too many to mention here.

We started with wall art, and used it as our inspiration for the rest. I tend to put things together right there and then to get an idea of what they will look like in the same area. Yes, I will be the one taking things from one aisle to the other at the store, and placing them on the floor or on semi-empty display shelves. And yes, of course I ALWAYS put things I am not taking home back to their place. 🙂

This shameless and temporarily messy behavior is extremely useful, always giving me the guarantee I won’t be returning things later.

An area rug was the final touch. We chose it by using the less rich color in the wall art (I have no idea where I learned that, but it works!). You will end up with a great match without it being extremely obvious.

Foyer Decorating Ideas

The first impression from the entrance


Foyer Decorating

The view from inside the house


Remember to take in account the rest of your house décor, if you want everything to blend and flow smoothly… Hope you have fun working in your own foyer decoration process!


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