Adding A Floating Shelf To A Window


while sharing some videos of our bathroom Recently on Instagram, many of you noticed an easy update we added: a wooden, floating shelf in the window. This was a very simple DIY project we did on a whim a while back (and it was super cheap too!) so we wanted to show you the easy steps to make it yourself.

Modern white bathroom with mint chevron floor and floating wooden shelf in the window

For reference, this is what it looked like when we first showed you the window before and after this place In 2020. We’ve always used the deep window for some decor and greenery, but adding an extra shelf gives us room for more things, and adds some nice interest to a typically formerly nondescript window.

simple modern white bathroom with green chevron tile floor

The steps for this depend somewhat on your specific window, but here’s what we used for ours:

equipment and materials

*You can also get the boards cut to size at Lowe’s or Home Depot, in which case you won’t need a saw and can use a small hand saw or hack saw for thin quarter round supports.,

We had all these supplies available – even a scrap piece of butcher block – so we only needed $2 at cove molding To make this project come true!

Why was this window a good place for the shelf?

This project won’t work on every window, but ours was a great candidate for a few reasons. First, it has a deep threshold (about 4″), which means we can add a 4″ shelf without taking out room. Anything that’s shallow enough can be hard to fit most things in there (though our wooden hands from Mexico only needed about an inch of wood to balance). Sure, we could have glued it out of the room a bit (you can do that if your sill is narrow), but we personally liked how the shelf is level with the window casing since it’s already It was so deep that what could be put in it we wanted to go up there.

Frosted bathroom window with floating wood shelf in sill

other thing, This window has frosted glass – meaning it does not require blinds or roller shades to provide us with the privacy. Most window treatments will interfere with a shelf like this, so any window that needs covering (bedroom or bathroom) should be a no go. Although it can be wonderful in the kitchen window! Even if it is not frosty and has a good view. It’s also worth noting that this window came with our house, but we have frosting film added to windows in many of our earlier homes – so here’s a tutorial for that If you want to remove your bathroom shade, add window frosting, and then add this shelf.

Frosted glass detail in bathroom window with plant and floating wooden shelf

Finally, since this isn’t a sleeping space, we didn’t have to worry about exits—i.e. when the bedrooms needed a viable escape route in case of emergency. The bathroom doesn’t need to meet the exit door, but we were confident setting up our shelf that way let the window behind it open,

floating shelf in bathroom with open window behind it

We also opted to hold the shelf in place with some small finish nails (as you’ll read about in a moment) so that it Can be easily moved out of the way in case of a real emergency, All of these are good things to consider before adding a shelf in front of an opening window.

How We Built the Window Shelf

This project was so fast that we didn’t stop to take a single progress photo, but I think you’ll find the process pretty clear from the after pictures. It’s basically a piece of butcher block that rests on two smaller pieces of cove molding!

floating wooden shelf in simple white bathroom with plants

the wood we used this butcher block because we had a piece of scrap left over This built-in storage project, It’s pretty pricey if you want to buy it just for this shelf, so there are definitely other options – even a basic 2×4″ can work! But, depending on the internal span of your window (our window is 28″), you will probably want something sturdier than a standard 1″ thick board. Something that can get flimsy over time without support in the middle, especially if you plan on placing heavy objects on it.

Detail of Pothos Plant on Butcher Block Floating Wood Shelf in Bathroom

Since we knew butcher block was very sturdy, we just had to find a way to make it stand in place. We didn’t want big obnoxious brackets, so we decided to try this low-profile Cove Molding Insteadthat blends in well with window trim, About Giving us the effect of a floating wooden shelf.

Right side of bathroom shelf in butcher block window

So with that plan in mind, the steps themselves were simple:

  1. Cut Your Wood Shelf to Size Using a saw (ours measure 4″ deep and 28″ wide) or pre-cut it
  2. Cut Two Pieces of Cove Molding to the depth of the window trim (ours was 4″)
  3. Measure and mark the desired location of the bottom of your shelf on each side of your window trim
  4. nail the cove molding to the window trimUse a level to make sure they don’t tilt forward or backward.
  5. Add Your Wood Shelf And check again for level.
  6. Nail Your Shelf to the Cove Molding (We went from below) to put it in place.
  7. caulk nail holes and paint them to match your trim

The nails we used were just the simple 1.5″ finish nails in our nail gun – not super heavy-duty nails at all – because the shelf really isn’t that heavy. You can also see the divots where we put the nails (guess they could use another coat of caulk!).

Close up of butcher block shelf resting on cove molding in bathroom window

Again, this was actually a quick, super simple DIY project that we did on the spur of the moment with some leftover butcher block, but we like how it turned out, and if you have a room that could use some extra interest, We highly recommend it if you can use it.

Modern white bathroom with floating wood shelf and brass mobile

Oh, and in case you’re wondering more about what’s on the shelves—besides the two plants—they’re Milagro charm-covered wood hand-picked by Sherry Our Mexico Family Vacations Last year. We like to joke that from the outside it looks like the hands are reenacting that scene from Titanic.

Outside view frosted bathroom window with wooden shelf

Other DIY Shelf Projects

If you’re looking for some more DIY shelf projects, we have plenty of them:

Grid of Four Shelving Projects Built in Pantry Laundry Shelf

*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you when you make a purchase through links on our site.,


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