A fireplace mantel shelf located other than above a fireplace can also be considered a decorative mantel shelf. A mantel shelf properly positioned and made from the correct material and sized correctly can enhance the decor of any room. The room design can be brought together often by the use of corbels or wrought iron brackets, so be sure that your brackets or supports are the proper size.
The biggest challenge in decorative shelves will be the shelf width (the front-to-back dimension at the top of the shelf.) Most often the shelf width of a decorative shelf is narrow and usually no more that six feet in length (the overall left-to-right dimension.) Locations for decorative shelves vary from behind the sofa in the living room to a kid's bedroom to display your child's favorite items such as stuffed animals.
Grouping together shelves, such as the box type shelf, will give the illusion of floating shelves. Keep in mind that these shelves are not designed to hold a lot of weight, more that a few pounds requires extra support with other hardware, braces or brackets. As with any shelf always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Remember that a mantel shelf doesn't have to be installed above a fireplace. They have more than one use and can be placed in practically any location throughout your home. It is a very low cost home improvement item which will turn into a design focal point in any room.