Corner shelves add a finished look to any room while providing additional storage and preventing built-up clutter. Floating shelves are composed of a combination of cleats attached to the wall along a stud strip and a hollow shelf that encases them, giving them the appearance of “floating” elegantly against the wall without any visible fixtures. While making hollow shelves can be a difficult carpentry task, using hollow door panels for the shelves can simplify this process and make floating shelves accessible to even the least experienced DIY homeowners.
Plan the Shelves
Determine which corner you will use for your floating shelves. Measure the space available to you, along both walls from the corner horizontally, and from the ceiling to the floor. Choose a number of shelves that provide even spacing to create a more visually appealing result. For the same reason, make sure that each shelf is the same length; if you want a variety of lengths, increase them in size in a symmetrical way, from largest to smallest or vice versa.
Cut the Doors
Using hollow interior doors can save on time and money for this project. Fabricating shelves involves measuring the thickness of the shelf and its depth, cutting the wood, and gluing and nailing the finished cuts. Using a material that is already hollow prevents this problem. 18-inch hollow doors are inexpensive and easily available at local hardware stores—they are usually used for closets and other small space applications. Take a narrow hollow door and cut in half vertically using a circular saw; this will create two shelves. Cut each of the two shelves into two sections for the two parts of the shelf that will meet at the corner, using a clamped on straightedge guide to ensure that the material isn't damaged in the process. Make the cuts longer or shorter depending upon your desired shape and size, but make sure that the finished ends are facing outwards, where the shelf ends will be. Take the rough open ends and measure a 45-degree angle on each, then cut them so that they will join at the corner.
Measure the inside of a shelf cavity to determine the size of the cleats. Create cleats from a 2x4 using the circular saw. Mark the shelf location using a level and a stud finder to determine where the cleats should be attached and ensure that they are even. Drill screws through the cleats to attach them to the studs. Place the shelf panels over the cleats to be certain that they fit properly.
Install the Shelves
Put a thick coat of wood glue on the edge of the cleat and the inside edge of the shelf, as well as along the seam where the shelves will meet. Press up the shelf over the cleat, and nail the shelf in along the cleat, spacing the nails every six to eight inches, along both the top and the bottom of the shelf. Paint the shelves as desired.