14 Must Know Pros And Cons Of Floating Office Shelves

With many people constrained by limited space in their home and office, floating shelves can be a space saving solution with a multitude of uses. But just how practical are they? Read on to discover the pros and cons of floating office shelves. Let’s find out what advantages and disadvantages of folding desks are and get you the answers once and for all!

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Pros and cons of floating office shelves

Floating office shelves are a good solution for rooms where space is limited. Floating shelves can be used for multiple purposes other than just storage. Since they are more compact than standard desks, they can also be more easily transported. Their compact size also makes them easy to store. Some floating desks, known as Murphy desks, can even be folded up against the wall and therefore consume a negligible amount of space when they are not in use.

However, floating office shelves they tend to be less durable, especially if they are not correctly installed with the proper parts. Furthermore, they have a lower average weight capacity than standard desks. Their weight limit ranges between 44 – 280 pounds. This weight capacity should be sufficient for storage, office work or light activities. However, this lower weight capacity can make them less suitable for storing items or activities where more weight is involved. Floating office shelves also tend to have a small surface area. This may be restrictive if you intend to use it as an office desk.

Advantages of floating shelves

  1. Consume a small space
  2. Cheaper than office desks
  3. Easy to store
  4. Easy to transport
  5. Useful for multiple purposes
  6. Easy to install
  7. Disadvantages of floating shelves
  8. Less durable
  9. Lower weight capacity
  10. Small surface area

Disadvantages of floating shelves

  1. Floating office shelves are less durable
  2. Floating office shelves have a lower weight capacity
  3. Floating office shelves have a small surface area

Open office shelves can be an invaluable asset to practically any work or home area. However, they’re not without their limitations. So, do they offer enough surface area, or can they hold much weight? Plus, are they suited to your particular needs? Let’s dive further into the pros and cons of floating shelfs to see if they are worth the money and a good match for you!

Pros And Cons Of Floating Office Shelves - Floating desk with chair

Advantages of floating office shelfs

1. Floating office shelves consume a small space

Floating wall desks, murphy desks and floating shelves, or whatever name you choose to call them, are all excellent compact desk solutions for a small area. Their surface area tends to be relatively low. Plus, they lack legs, which means you tend to be less restrained by storing items underneath.

One of the smallest floating foldable desks measures 23.6 inches (L) × 15.6 inches (W).

Plus, with these and even Murphy desks, you can simply fold them up and they’re out of your way in seconds!

Tip: Wall mounted floating desks are excellent for utilizing that awkward recess in your room.

2. Floating office shelves are cheaper than office desks

Floating desks have a price ranging between $20.89 – $1271.20. In comparison, office desks have prices starting at $17.86 and ranging all the way up to $8799.

From this perspective, wall desks are a more budget-friendly option than standard desks.

Furthermore, if you calculate shipping costs, then this is generally going to add even more expense to a desk compared to a shelf.

In some instances, desks may need to be installed by professionals, however, shelves are something that most people are capable of doing.

Tip: You can save even more money by creating a DIY floating shelf with videos from YouTube.

3. Floating office shelves are easy to store

With a standard desk or table, you generally have to accept that it’s a permanent fixture in a room. This can consume a sizeable amount of valuable floor space. With floating shelves and foldable desks, they tend to be lightweight and more compact. Thus, they tend to be easier to move and store.

Furthermore, the fact that they are foldable means that they become more compact and can be transported and stored with ease.

Say goodbye to dismantling tables to get them to fit through a door or into a storage area!

4. Floating office shelves are easy to transport

Standard tables are generally larger in size than floating desks. They are generally also designed without foldable or removable legs which further adds to their footprint. If they are large in size or not sold as flatpacks, they probably won’t fit in your car.

This possibly means that you may have to get the shelf delivered to your home or office and pay for shipping fees.

Furthermore, when moving a desk within your home or office, this furniture usually need to be dismantled to get them to fit out the door. In addition to that, they’re usually rather heavy which means you will probably need to recruit some help for lifting it.

This can restrict and discourage you from moving the desk to another area of the home or office.

Thankfully, those problems are less likely with floating shelves.

Floating shelves are generally lower in weight and smaller in footprint than standard office desks.

In many cases, you’ll even be able to pick it up and bring it home from the store with you without having to pay for delivery.

5. Floating office shelves are useful for multiple purposes

Floating shelves can be utilized for a variety of purposes, especially if they’re in a room that’s not a dedicated office space.

Firstly, it can be used as a desk for working at, whether it’s completing computer-based activities for work or study or completing paperwork.

If you’re not using the wall mounted desk full time, it can also double up as a storage shelf, provided there is enough space to store your parts on.

You can even split it out into work activities and home or leisure activities.

For instance, you could use it for working on your laptop during the day and for knitting, reading, cooking, eating or even gaming during the evening or weekends.

Plus, if you’re only using the floating shelf for periodic intervals, a foldable floating shelf is a space saver as it can be folded up when not in use.

Related: How To Choose A Folding Desk – 7 Simple Steps!

6. Floating office shelves are easy to install

When investing in a floating desk, a key priority is ensuring that they are correctly installed. Failure to execute this properly could result in a weak or unstable work surface.

Fortunately, floating shelves are relatively easy to install.

There are hundreds of videos online demonstrating how you can install a floating office shelf in your home or office.

Once you have the tools and the proper brackets and materials, then it’s relatively straight-forward.

Basically, you’ll need to:

  1. Identify the location where it will be installed
  2. Ensure it fits the area
  3. Use a stud finder to locate and mark the studs in the wall
  4. Attach the brackets to the wall and ensure it is level
  5. Add the shelves and secure in place with screws

You might also need someone on hand to help you balance the shelf while you measure it and install it.

The below video goes into the precise details of what’s involved.

Disadvantages of floating shelfs

1. Floating office shelves are less durable

Due to the lightweight nature of foldable desks, they can be less sturdy than standard solid desks. Furthermore, if they are poorly designed or installed, it can make them more liable to wobbling and even breaking if they are put under too much force.

Therefore, they may not be suited to environments and activities which require durability.

The material that the desk is made from will primarily dictate how durable the desk is.

If you do need a durable floating shelf, then the type of brackets that you use and the wall it is being attached to should be considered. These will also play a significant role in how well the floating desk can withstand work.

Plus, if the floating desk is not correctly installed, then they are liable to becoming damaged.

Related: Are Folding Desks Good? – 7 Important Pros & Cons!

2. Floating office shelves have a lower weight capacity

The average weight capacity of a floating desk ranges between 44 – 280 pounds. This is considered slightly low when you compare that to an average office desk which can hold an average of 100 – 800 pounds.

However, not everybody needs a desk or shelf with a high weight limit.

Often, a desk with around 150 pounds weight capacity will be more than sufficient.

There are some floating desks which have a weight limit of as much as 280 pounds!

If you can get a floating desk with a higher weight capacity, then this is always the preferred option.

For normal office and study activities, this lower weight capacity tends to be adequate.

That small floating foldable desks that was mentioned above holds an impressive 52 pounds. Considering the small size of it, that’s quite a lot!

The average office desk carries around 15 pounds of equipment, between a laptop, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Let’s add a bit extra weight for the force of your body typing or resting on the floating desk.

When it’s all added up, a 45 pound weight limit on a floating desk will probably suffice for fairly average office duties.

Therefore, if you’re only performing tasks which involve light equipment, such as a laptop, then a floating desk will probably suffice.

However, if you use heavy equipment that must be stored on the desk, then they might not be suitable for your needs.

On the other side of the scale, a 24 inch deep floating heavy duty desk with heavy duty wall mounting brackets has a weight capacity of 280 pounds.

This should be more than enough for the majority of heavier duty activities and equipment.

Tip: Best practice is to opt for a floating office shelf which offers about 20% more weight capacity than you need.

3. Floating office shelves have a small surface area

Wall mounted desks tend to be small in nature. You’ll notice this especially for floating desks which attach to walls.

If you’re concerned that you won’t have enough space while working, then you can try measuring out how much space you’d need for your equipment and for your activities.

So, what is the minimum size floating desk that you would need for a laptop?

For laptop activities, you’ll need a minimum depth of 18 inches to fit the laptop while having enough space to type. If you can get a deeper floating desk, then do!

I measured out the minimum depth that I need to be able to fit my laptop (15.6 inch) and Logitech MK710 keyboard with wrist rest (9.5 inches wide).

To fit a laptop and keyboard, allow for a floating desk with a depth of at least 22 inches and a width of 30 inches.

A desk that’s 30 inches wide allows me to fit a water bottle, keyboard and mouse with some space for manoeuvring the mouse around.

Bear in mind that this space will be compact, and you won’t have any space for documents or ancillary materials.

Realistically, for most people, you will have more space to work with than that, the above example is simply giving you the smallest footprint you could be expected to work with.

A standard office desk will be around 48 inches wide or more and 24 inches deep or more.

If that’s not a possibility, then you might just have to opt for a larger desk.

The size that you choose will ultimately depend on how much space you have in your room and the amount that you are willing to pay for the floating shelf.


Floating office desks have their strengths and weaknesses. For the majority of people, a medium sized floating office shelf will be more than sufficient for performing regular day to day activities.

The type of floating desk that you opt for as well as the activities that you perform will ultimately dictate if they’re a good option for you or not!

While you might think that all floating shelves are too weak to hold office equipment or support you while you perform your activities, then think again!

Choosing a good quality Murphy desk or floating desk with a weight capacity greater than 50 pounds will pay off in the long run for most people.

However, opting for the cheapest or smallest ones available may leave you lacking in durability and comfort.

So, avoid those cheap as chips floating desks at all costs!

Do you own a floating desk or floating shelf?


With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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