11 Floating Shelf Lighting Ideas

Floating shelves are very much in trend right now. They look elegant, offer a sleek storage solution, and help us save space. However, even the most stunning floating shelf can look dull without adequate lighting.


Sometimes, the right lighting is all it takes to transform your ordinary floating shelf into a cool corner of your house. In this article, we’ll look at 11 floating shelf lighting ideas that will elevate the aesthetic of your floating shelf to a whole new level!

11 Floating Shelf Lighting Ideas 

1. Hidden LED Lights Strips

If you want your floating shelves to have a sleek and seamless look, LED lights strips are your best bet. They emit a soft glow that’s easy on the eyes. But there’s a catch. Not all LED strips lights are suitable to use on floating shelves. Especially the ones that have a plug-in adapter with a bunch of wires attached to them. 


If you are aiming for a clutter-free and clean aesthetic, hidden lights would be perfect for you. Ej Super Car Led light strip is a pretty good option to consider. These battery-operated lights come in pre-cut strips, making installation a breeze.

It will also allow you to change the ambiance at the touch of a button. Featuring a whopping 16-colors, you can effortlessly transform your space to suit any mood.

2. Fairy lights

When it comes to choosing lights for floating shelves, fairy lights are a cult favorite. These incredibly affordable lights will add a whimsical touch to your shelves, no matter how you use them. 


Whether you hang them from the top shelf, weave them around the shelves, or simply place them by the objects, you can never go wrong with fairy lights. 

Sterno Home fairy lights come with not just one, but two multifunctional remotes. And the best part is, with these lights you won’t have to worry about forgetting to turn them off. The adjustable timer function ensures that the lights stay on for 6 hours and then automatically switch off for 18 hours.

3. Recessed Light

If you want to add a contemporary touch to your floating shelves, recessed lights are the way to go. These lights emit a warm glow that spreads throughout the room, creating a cozy ambiance. 

If you’re planning to get your hands on some recessed lights for your floating shelves, Feit Electric lights are worth checking out. Compatible with Wi-Fi networks, you can easily control these lights from anywhere using the Feit Electric app. You can connect these lights with Alexa and Google Home Assistant as well!

All you have to do is give a simple voice command to adjust the brightness, change colors, or turn the lights on/off. Make sure to install the lights under the top shelf to highlight your entire floating shelf and showcase your treasured possessions or books.

4. Picture lights

If your floating shelves are filled with paintings, photos, tapestries, and other artworks, going for a picture light would be a smart idea. Hanging a picture light above your shelf can help accentuate your art pieces in the best possible way. You can also use it as an accent light to elevate the decor of your space.

When it comes to buying picture lights, there are so many options to choose from. The 14″ Picture Light from Westinghouse Lighting seems to be a popular choice among customers. Made with energy-efficient LED technology, this picture light aims to provide optimal lighting coverage.

With up to 35,000 hours of lifespan, you won’t have to go through the hassle of replacing the bulbs every now and then. The light is also backed by a five-year limited warranty, so durability is a given. And the antique brass finish of the light also helps it seamlessly blend into any decor.

5. Lightbox 

A motivating quote on your favorite corner of the house can brighten up your day in a second. And this is where light boxes come in! An LED light box on your floating shelf will allow you to spell out words, quotes, or messages that hold significance to you while lighting up the whole space.

Inspired by vintage Hollywood cinema,the Northpoint LED Light Box is one of the best options available on the market. The portability of this lightbox makes it a versatile tool for decorating floating shelves. Its lightweight design allows you to effortlessly move it around and place it wherever it’s needed.

With a wide range of 109 letters, the lightbox offers endless possibilities for creating DIY messages. The lightbox contains 10 super bright LED lights that allow the message to shine brilliantly and draw attention to the shelf. The best part? You can either run it on batteries or connect it to a USB cable, the choice is all yours! 

6. Lantern 

There’s just something magical about lanterns that makes them so timeless. When placed on a floating shelf with your collectibles, they have an out-of-this-world charm. An antique lantern, like the Stonebriar Antique Candle Lantern adds character to any shelf and becomes an instant focal point in a room.

7. Lamps

When it comes to choosing lights for your floating shelves, you can never go wrong with lamps. Lamps never go out of style, regardless of their design or size. 

This one from Limelights is a great example of that. This lamp combines fashion and functionality, just what you need for your floating shelves. It comes in a wide range of colors to suit your personal style. Whether you prefer the latest color trends or timeless color palettes, the options are limitless!

8. Bonsai tree lights 

Bonsai tree lights look magical and enchanting when placed on a  floating shelf. Incorporating a bonsai tree with lights on a shelf is a great way to bring nature indoors. Bonsai tree lights typically feature a bonsai tree with fairy lights all over its tiny branches. But if you don’t have the budget to splurge, you can go for the artificial option as well. 

There are so many artificial trees on the market that resemble real bonsai trees. These battery-operated trees are compact in size, and come with tree branches with built-in LED lights. Whether you go for an authentic bonsai, or a plastic one, don’t be afraid to get creative with it. Add a bunch of ornaments or faux flowers to add a whimsical flair to your floating shelves. 

9. Flickering flameless candles

Candles are really cool, but they are safety hazards at the same time. Leaving them unattended often results in a fire. 

Not to mention, they burn out pretty fast too. If you are looking for a safer alternative for your floating shelf without compromising the aesthetic appeal of candles, flameless candles are your best bet. 

This one from Harmony Store is worth checking out. These battery-operated flameless candles create a flickering warm glow that is realistic and bright at the same time. These candles have an impressive battery life of 200 hours, which is 40 times more than regular wax candles.

10. LED Track Lights

Nothing screams more modern than LED track lights. If you are into contemporary decor, track lights would be a great option. Track lights are super flexible. Thus, they’ll allow you to point the bulbs to highlight specific areas or objects on your floating shelves. 

If you’re looking to create a well-lit and visually striking display on your shelves, this light from Globe Electric will definitely meet all of your needs. The sleek matte black finish will seamlessly blend into your decor and exude a chic vibe.

With four independently pivoting track heads, these track lights are super flexible as well. The canopy mounting plate also makes installation a breeze. Just install it above your floating shelves, and you’re good to go.

11. Wall Sconce 


There’s only a few lights as elegant as wall sconce. As the name suggests, these lights are designed to be mounted on walls, which makes it perfect to install on top of a floating shelf. 

Featuring a contemporary design, wall sconces can be a great addition to any walls. In fact, it wouldn’t be exaggerating to call these lights wall-arts, given they are arts in their own right!

Most wall sconces feature a glass mantle with a metal brass finish. As the subtle amber glow spreads throughout the floating shelf, it will create a magical ambiance that will surely leave you spellbound. 

Some Useful Hacks for Lighting a floating shelf

While choosing the right light that complements your floating shelves is crucial, sometimes toying with different hacks and tricks can take it to a whole new level. 

1. Try different angles: Different lighting angles cast different shadows. So, have fun experimenting with different lighting angles until you find the perfect shadow. Before settling on an angle, make sure the floating shelf is well lit and highlights your favorite objects on the shelf.

2. Bring nature indoors: Sometimes, just adding lights to your floating shelves might not be enough. Adding a touch of green to your floating shelves can go a long way. Indoor plants can help in this regard. When combined with fairy lights or strip lights, these trailing plants will add a pop of color and make your shelves look enchanting!

3. Get a plant terrarium: Speaking of nature, adding a mini garden to your floating shelves is always a good idea. And this is where plant terrarium comes in. Adding some short strips of LED light to the plant terrarium will not only light up your shelves, but also make the whole space look ethereal. 

4. Show off statement objects: Use the lit area of your shelves to display some of the statement objects you own. It can be photographs, art works, sculpture, or anything that will help your floating shelves and lights stand out. After all, there’s no point in splurging money on a floating shelf if it doesn’t serve as the focal point of your room.

5. Hang some polaroid string lights on the shelf: String lights can add a whimsical element to your floating shelves. But nothing beats the appeal of polaroid string lights filled with the picture of your loved ones. 

Hang them with your favorite polaroids along the edge of the shelves, and they will instantly uplift your mood every time you look at them.

6. Go for Led lights: It’s understable if you want to go all out when buying lights for your floating shelves. But fancy lights tend to consume a lot of electricity. Thus, opting for energy-efficient lighting options is always a smart move, especially in this economy. Using led lights will not only help you save up on your electric bill but also reduce your environmental impact. 


To sum it all up, floating shelves seem incomplete without ambient lighting. Adding some lights can make a world of difference and add a dramatic effect to your typical floating shelf. 

While there are a lot of factors you should take into account when selecting lights for your floating shelf, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun during the process. Explore different options, colors, and angles, and let your personal style shine through! 



About Annabelle B. Malcolm

Howdy, readers. This is Annabelle B. Malcolm and I’m a content curator. Don’t tell anyone but I low-key take pride in having a treasure of random knowledge. I co-manage this website with my husband Jamie who is a lighting technician by profession. The idea for this website stemmed out of boredom. Out of nowhere really, Jamie came up with the idea of having a website and since he is an authority on lighting fixtures, we decided to play to our strengths.

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