I searched Pinterest for something else, and I found floating shelves! I loved the look of this one so I decided to follow her instructions (click on the link for the detailed instructions and the cut list). My dad helped because I needed his help to figure out how to get it straight (planning on putting them in my dining room as well), and it is much more fun to do home improvement projects with my dad! He decided to add the back piece including the support beams to the wall, then screwed the top to it and last the bottom. Word of caution, I would stain the wood before you attach it to the wall, makes the whole process a lot easier.
The stain I used is Minwax Classic Gray (you can get the little can, that will be more than enough). If you get commonboard, the project shouldn't cost more than $25. I used a more expensive wood for the front piece, so my project was a little more expensive.
I love the way I turned out!! Added some Christmas light because I love how whimsical they look. This was so simple to put together and really broke up the white apartment walls. Let me know if you make one, I'd love to see how yours turns out!!