I'm building a floating U shaped desk in my office that will go from wall to wall. This desk will need to support the monitors and accessories of two desktop computers. The towers will be on shelves closer to the ground out of the way.

I would like it to be 27" deep along back wall, which is 10' 7.5", and 24" deep along the arms, which will extend 4' out. The finish surface will likely be cabinet grade pine plywood, 1/2", sanded and stained a nice color. I will fabricate the surface using two sheets of plywood, cutting a 69.75" x 48" outside dimension L from each sheet.

I've spent hours searching for something similar to this, but common sense would dictate that the deeper the shelf, the harder it is to use small and concealed support. Another concern is preventing the plywood from warping under load. So far the best advice I've received is to use flanges and threaded pipes on every other stud all along the underside. Either that or spend $30 a pop for a few granite counter top brackets. I would like to avoid that.

Using an in-wall bracket is not an option as I rent an apartment. I have no problem patching holes from bolts but I can't go cutting into the sheet rock willy nilly. I would like to know if anyone has experience with this sort of thing or has any ideas that would work.

This is an idea i'm considering, using 3 different shelves. I would do the arms as 4' x 2' shelves flush to the corners of the wall, and a single middle shelf at 27.5" x 27". But I'm still worried that 27" is too deep for support.

  • 3
    You are renting. Floating shelves are not for renters, as they absolutely require deep structural tie into the joists. The best you can hope for is to use the fact that this structure will be U-shaped, you will need backs but can span most of it, you only need support at the ends of the U's. May 18, 2017 at 14:01
  • Ive looked at the related comments. None of them answer my question fully. I need to know if there is any possible way to support a 27" deep shelf with cantilever. Obviously the plywood would sag without some kind of support towards the outside edge. May 18, 2017 at 15:06
  • Brackets like this (shelfology.com/hd-square-floating-desk-bracket) would support up to 24", and likely 27" with the arms of your U helping out. But they require being bolted onto the face of the studs. In your situation, 20" shelf brackets (with diagonals), given the support of the arms of the U, might work. Anything less will likely bend or warp. May 18, 2017 at 17:05
  • I've looked into those, but sadly my girlfriend would murder me if I cut holes into the drywall. I'm barely getting away with screws. May 19, 2017 at 4:32
  • @Scipiothegreat The brackets i used support the plywood very well. There has been no sagging. The bolts are not much bigger than screws and are much better then screws for this application.
    – Alaska Man
    May 12, 2018 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


I built a floating desk with brackets like these.

It is critical to fasten the brackets in solid structure (studs). I used fasteners like these.


  • Nice job. Smart move with the cable holes. You've been around for a while.+1
    – JACK
    Jul 27, 2020 at 20:35
  • Good choice with the fasteners. Those things aren't cheap, but they are strong.
    – mreff555
    Jul 28, 2020 at 1:17

Put legs to the floor and keep your life simple. Why make a rocket science project out of something than can be a lot less bother.

  • 2
    The whole point of this project is to avoid "legs." I know I could put legs. I also could use shelves. I don't want to. May 18, 2017 at 15:03
  • But -- You also live in an apartment.
    – Michael Karas
    May 18, 2017 at 21:14
  • 2
    Yes, and I can patch dry wall. May 19, 2017 at 4:28
  • 7
    DIY SE PROTIP: If you live in an apartment and don't want people to ignore your actual question and prattle on about what they think you ought and ought not be doing, don't mention you live in an apartment. Sep 27, 2017 at 13:25
  • 1
    Small filing cabinets make excellent legs for projects like this. You need the storage space anyway. You could do something tricky with curve cut plywood at the corner. May 12, 2018 at 17:57

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