Can You Put Shelves Above Your Bed? (Thoughts And Advice)

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

11 mins read
Can You Put Shelves Above Your Bed

Ever wondered whether it’s allowed to install shelves over your bed? 

This can be a common question when attempting to maximize your bedroom space.

Shelves make our lives simpler by organizing and accessing items more efficiently. At all costs, you can find various storage options on shelves. 

In this post, we will share tips and advice! We will assist you in identifying whether or not you should install shelves above your bed.

Yes, you can put shelves above your bed. It’s advisable to position them about 3-4 feet above the mattress level for safety.

Shelves above your bed can be an eye-catching addition to your room. They provide a handy spot for books, lamps, and lightweight items.

You can also choose floating shelves for a modern, minimalist vibe. Perhaps opt for traditional brackets to add a classic touch. However, keep in mind to securely affix them to the wall.

Can You And Is It OK To Put Shelves Above Bed?

Can You And Is It OK To Put Shelves Above Bed?

Yes, you can put shelves above your bed, and it is generally okay to do so. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Advice No. 1

The space above your bed draws attention, making it an ideal spot for shelving. To maintain safety and aesthetics, opt for narrow shelves to prevent head bumps.

Keep the shelf contents minimal and clutter-free to maintain a balanced mood.

Advice No. 2

Lauren Monroy, Best Mattress Brand’s chief editor, states that headboards are about 14 to 33 inches taller than the mattress’s top. If you’re considering a headboard with shelves, position them about 15.74 inches from the bed.

For other support surfaces above the bed, mount them at 23.62 inches from the top of the mattress.

Advice No. 3

Floating shelves are safe when correctly installed. Ensure that the wall is securely drilled to the right size. Check if the brackets are tight.

See that the shelf is level and not placed directly above the bed.

Advice No. 4.

According to Feng Shui, place items like bookshelves outside of the bedroom. However, in the modern era, bedrooms often need shelving and storage for practicality. 

Things To Consider Before Putting Shelves Above A Bed

The size of your bed and the shelf are essential if you plan to install a shelf above your bed. At the same time, the functionalities of the wall should also align to achieve the look.

Here are some key considerations: 

Factor No. 1. Size Of Your Bed

Avenco California King Mattress 12 Inch, Hybrid Mattress Cal King Medium Firm, Cal King Mattress in a Box with Pocketed Springs CertiPUR-US Foam Mattress, Supportive, Pressure Relief, Edge Support

Avenco California King Mattress

The average American bed size is a California mattress that measures 72 by 84 inches. 

Therefore, your bed’s size—whether it’s a twin, full, or queen- will impact the shelves’ layout. Larger beds could be able to handle broader or taller shelves.

Meanwhile, smaller beds might need more compact shelf designs to maintain balance.

Factor No. 2. The Size Of The Shelf

BEUGAWHOO Floating Shelf Natural Oak Wood Picture Ledge Shelf Wood Small Wall Shelf for Bedroom, Living Room, Bathroom,Kitchen, Office,16inch

Natural Oak Wall Shelf for Bedroom

The perfect shelf height for storing books or lamps is between 48 and 60 inches. 

Be careful to place the shelf at a height that prevents bumps. Additionally, be sure it does not interfere when making the bedding.

Installing a shelf too high above the bed will make it appear out of place. Strive for equal spacing between the bed and the ceiling. 

Factor No. 3. Wall Functionalities

Examine the functionality of the wall where you plan to install the shelves. Ensure the wall is strong and can hold the shelves’ weight and contents.

Consider electrical outlets, switches, or HVAC vents on walls during installation. 

Factor No. 4. Shelves Usage

Shelves play a dual duty in your space. It provides order and plentiful storage for objects. Hence, it’s important to identify the items you intend to put before the installation. 

Those items can range from books to large industrial supplies. In compact bedrooms, maximizing wall space is essential for creating additional storage.

Factor No. 5. Weight of the Items 

When building shelves above your bed, it is critical to consider the weight they will support.

According to House Digest, a properly secured 2-foot shelf can support up to 130 pounds. 

  • Floating shelves – can hold 40 to 50 pounds each. 
  • Robust metal shelving – can support loads of up to 400 pounds
  • Plastic shelving units – each unit can carry over 600 pounds 

Overall, adding shelves over a bed can be both useful and pleasing. However, you should install it carefully and practice safety. 

7 Great Ideas For Above The Bed Shelves

Mix and match these 7 ideas to create a personalized shelving solution above your bed!

1. Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a great method to enhance storage without taking up any floor space. This is especially true in compact apartments with limited area.

In addition, you can use floating shelves to display artistic design elements. They are particularly appealing in cozy bedrooms because they effectively maximize the space. 

1.1. Rustic Floating Wooden Shelves

Rustic floating shelves add a warm and cozy touch to a room. Oak rustic shelves offer durability, which makes them ideal for supporting large loads.

Meanwhile, you can go for walnuts if you prefer an elegant and warm aesthetic.

1.2. Floating Glass Shelves

Glass shelves that are ¼-inch thick have a weight capacity of around 70 pounds at most. You can use it as bookshelves, wall-mounted entertainment centers, and display cases.

If you plan to load them with heavy items, it’s advisable to opt for custom tempered glass shelves. 

1.3. Geometric Floating Wall Shelves

Hexagons, triangles, or polygons are geometric patterns you can use as floating shelves. In this image, small planters serve as chic decorations.

Another delightful idea is to place decorative candles on these shelves. 

2. Shelves Built-in Into A Headboard

A built-in headboard is commonly attached to the wall, providing a small shelf above your bed. 

In the above image, the headboard extends from the shiplap wall that comes with touch lights. The concept here is to maintain simplicity by building shelves as an element of storage. 

Traditionally, storage headboards have been a smart approach to optimize space. 

3. Adjustable Shelving Unit 

Anyone will appreciate these versatile metal shelves for their bedroom. They provide storage variety and are simple to maintain. 

This strong carbon steel shelving unit is suitable for use over your bed. The nicest part is that it is simple to handle, remove, and adjust. 

4. Ceiling-Mounted Shelves

 Ceiling-mounted shelves go beyond the conventional storage units. They are space-efficient and a striking element of your room’s decor. 

Unlike stationery shelves, you can install them in various locations. Preferably on a wall or suspended from the ceiling. As advised by Shelfology, do not hang items heavier than 15 lbs. This is to prevent potential damage to your drop ceiling grid.

5. Box or Cube Shelves

You can also consider stacking your storage cubes along your baseboard. This arrangement creates a more spacious and larger room. 

Cubes provide an organized and systematic approach to storing your belongings. It also prevents disorder and clutter in your apartment.

They enable you to arrange your items with easy access whenever you require them. 

6. Wall Shelving 

Consider using the full wall space if your bedroom has a large vacant wall. You may want to make shelving the focal point of your interior design. 

Stop selecting a standard shelving design across the full wall. Combine these playful shapes in your kid’s bedroom for a more engaging aesthetic!

7. Suspended Shelves

You can apply suspended shelves above your bed if you prefer to display artwork on your walls. These suspended shelves come in various designs.

You can choose from chains, ropes, cables, or rods. 

However, remember that suspended shelves may not be as secure as shelves with wall brackets. They might sway slightly if bumped.

But you can enhance their stability by opting for a rod-based suspension system.

How High Should a Shelf Be Over a Bed?

BAYKA Floating Shelves, Wall Mounted Rustic Wood Shelves for Bathroom, Bedroom, Living Room, Kitchen, Small Hanging Shelf for Books/Storage/Decor with 22lbs Capacity (Rustic Brown, Set of 3, 16in)

Typically, you can hang shelves above a bed between 3-4 feet above the mattress level. 

Consider the desired outcome when determining the height of shelves above the bed. 

  1. If you aim to create a bed headboard with shelves, position them approximately 15.74 inches from the bed. 
  2. If you want to install surfaces above the bed’s headboard, mount them at 23.62 inches from the mattress.

In cases where a bed lacks a headboard, shelves can be an ideal solution to fill the empty wall space. 

Here are some general guidelines for shelf placement in different parts of your home:

  • To place shelves above a sofa, measure about 10 inches above the back.
  • When installing shelving on a hallway wall, estimate a height of 5-6 feet from the ground.
  • For shelves above a dining table or in a lounge room, measure about 4-4.5 feet from the floor.

How Do I Hang Shelves Above My Bed?

You can hang shelves above your bed by determining the height above the bed and, at the same time, securing the support using a stud finder.

Then, place the shelf across the brackets and organize your items.

Here are steps to guide you through the process of hanging shelves above your bed:

Tools Needed

  • Battery-Powered Stud Finder
  • Level
  • Screws 
  • Hammer Handle or Rubber Mallet 

Step 1. Determine the desired height for your shelves above the bed. Then, ensure you attach the wall studs for stability.

Step 2. Use a battery-powered stud finder to locate wall studs, typically 16 inches apart. Ensure the vertical supports are straight using a level.

Step 3. Secure the supports to the wall with screws. Also, make sure they are properly aligned with the wall studs.

Step 4. Position the next standard directly above a wall stud and secure it with screws.

Step 5. Attach the numbered brackets to the standards at your desired height. Use a hammer handle or rubber mallet to secure them in place securely.

Step 6. Lastly, place the shelf across the brackets and start organizing your items. This should help declutter your bedroom and create a more organized space.

However, when it comes to floating shelves, they do not require the installation of wall studs. Yet, they should be securely fastened to the wall using appropriate anchors. When anchored correctly, they can still support the weight without relying on studs.

Are There Any Reasons Not To Put Shelves Above the Bed?

Are There Any Reasons Not To Put Shelves Above the Bed?

The primary reason to avoid placing shelves above your bed is safety. 

Let’s determine the other reasons why putting shelves above a bed is not advisable.

Reason 1: Risk of Falling Objects

These shelves can risk objects falling, especially in earthquake-prone areas. Therefore, it must be securely installed and not overloaded to prevent collapsing.

Reason 2: Improper Installation

Improper installation increases the risk of shelves detaching from the wall. Oftentimes, it has the potential to fall while you sleep. 

Reason 3: Dust Accumulation

There can be dust accumulation on these shelves. As a result, it can be problematic if not cleaned regularly.

Reason 4: Home Renovation

When it comes to home renovation, these shelves may become an obstacle. Thus requiring removal for wall painting and general cleaning, which can be inconvenient. 

Overall, installing shelves above your bed depends on your location. In most cases, it depends on how alert you are when you wake up. Living in an earthquake-prone area may make it less advisable.

However, if you’re confident you’ll remember the shelves are there and you won’t accidentally bump your head into them, then it could be acceptable. 

Other Places Where Shelves Should Be Placed In a Bedroom

In addition to shelves above the bed, there are several other places where you can place it in a bedroom.

1. Above Work Desk

Shelves serve as excellent space-enhancing solutions in and around desks and study areas. It facilitates organization and convenient access to essentials.

As Good Housekeeping suggested, you can use a pegboard as a wall backdrop behind your desk. This setup allows you to hang small shelves, wire baskets, and artwork.

As a result, you can craft a creative and practical storage solution. 

2. Above Drawers or Dressers

Installing shelves above dressers offers convenient storage. You can easily access items like hairdryers, curling irons, and makeup. All your grooming essentials are within arm’s reach for a swift morning routine. 

Furthermore, this practice contributes to maintaining a tidier bedroom. It prevents clutter from your countertops.

3. Wall Opposite Bed

Another fantastic way to place your shelves in the bedroom is opposite your bedroom wall. Shelves can elevate the aesthetic appeal of any wall.

Plus, you have the freedom to choose your preferred style.

Sometimes, you can achieve the most striking effect through a minimalist arrangement; however, if you desire a grander display, place it on trophies to enhance the aesthetics. 

4. Next To The Bed

According to Forbes, consider placing a bookshelf if you have extra space next to your bed. This bookshelf can be a home for your reading materials and decorative boxes. They are ideal for storing personal items such as earplugs and eye masks.

Opt for shelves that match size and style for the best visual effect. Then, ensure that you mount it at the same height as the top of your mattress for a harmonious look.

5. Above Nightstand

Adding shelves above your nightstand is a great way to tidy your bedside space. These shelves can hold books, lamps, remote control, and eyeglasses.

To achieve a minimalist appearance, consider installing a single shelf. Then, position it approximately a meter above your nightstand. 

6. Window Shelves

Bedroom window shelves are versatile and serve as typical shelves. They can hold books, flowers, or items you plan to use later, providing a convenient way to stay organized. 

Placing a shelf before your window allows light while adding valuable storage space. These window shelves are typically divided into three parts for easy installation.

They transform your window into a focal point without obstructing the natural light.

7. Bedroom Corner

The optimal areas for placing a shoe shelf in your bedroom are the west and southwest corners. 

If your bedroom has more space, consider dedicating a corner to store your shoes. At the same time, you can also organize your bags and boxes all together.

Storing your shoes on your bedroom shelves helps maintain their cleanliness and organization. This way, you can prevent it from cluttering the hallway or mudroom. 

8. Book Case Door

You can gain extra storage within a bedroom by installing a shelf on your door. This door shelf provides convenient storage for items that are often hard to locate.

Of course, you can also utilize this shelf for decorative purposes too.

Whether you want to conceal a safe or create a hidden room, a bookcase door offers a storage solution; these doors don’t have conventional knobs or handles.

However, they are typically hinged to open in one direction. Thus forming a passageway between two areas. 


Jaimee is an experienced writer, and Home Improvement is one of her favorite topics. Home improvement isn't just her niche; it's her passion. Jaimee's on a mission to empower readers to squeeze every drop of potential from their living spaces. Jaimee's not just your average writer—she's your go-to guide for all things home-related, ready to turn your house into the ultimate dream home. 🏡✍️🔧

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog