What is french cleat – and why it's perfect for floating nightstands

Updated: Dec 23, 2019



If you love wall-mounted furniture, like floating nightstands or floating dressing tables, you have probably heard about french cleat – one of the most popular mounting methods of these wall units. If not, this article is just for you: discover the advantages of this simple and sturdy wooden mounting!


French cleat is an invisible way of mounting


French cleat is actually a simple piece of wood, cut in 45 degrees. One part is assembled to the back of the furniture, while the other part is mounted on the wall. The floating nightstand or other wall-mounted furniture simply hangs on the cleat, while the wall provides the back support. Here is a drawing that helps to understand the technique:

French cleats are ideal for floating nightstands

French cleats can really make a nightstand floating. But what is a floating nightstand? It is a wall-mounted bedside table that does not have legs, instead, it has an invisible mounting. While regular shelf brackets are visible from the outside, french cleat hides in the back of the shelf and you cannot see how the furniture is mounted – creating a perfect minimalist look for floating shelves and bedside tables.

Can I use french cleat for my wall type?

Yes. The important question is not whether french cleat vs. any other method, but the way you mount it to the wall: the type of screws and wall plugs you use. French cleats are compatible with any wall types as long as you use appropriate wall plugs, designed for your wall material. Today, special hardware is available even for the most unique wall materials – from concrete, brick, drywall, etc. You do not need to go far, simply order online or visit the local tools/hardware shop.


How much weight do french cleats hold?

It depends on a lot factors, like how deep the shelf is you will mount, what your wall type is, etc. – but using the appropriate screws / wall plugs, the carrying capacity can be surprisingly high: sometimes dozens of kilograms. We, at mybettershelf, suggest putting no more than 10 kilograms on our floating bedside tables, to stay on the safe side (our cabinets hold much more, but the wall / screw / wall type is out of our control).

How to mount floating nightstands?


Using french cleats, it is the simplest task:

1. Mount the french cleat on the wall. Make sure to install it horizontally and using the mentioned appropriate screws and wall plugs.

2. Simply just hang the floating shelf on it. It's done!

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