Interior Storage

How To: Hang Shelves

Sturdily mounted shelves can let us display a few of our favorite things or simply help us keep our junk off the floor. Whatever their intended use, shelves are a practical addition to any room, and installing them is a simple do-it-yourself project. Just see for yourself!
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How to Hang Shelves


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At some point in life, everyone wants or needs to hang shelves. Whether simple 2x4s or part of a store-bought kit, shelving stands unique among home enhancements. Unlike framed pictures, which perform only a decorative role, or sump pumps, which are nothing but functional, shelving can be simultaneously appealing to the eye and practical. No matter your experience level, you should be able to hang shelves with little trouble in one hour or less.

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Step 1

First off, decide where you want the shelf. Then consider the weight of the shelving as well as the weight of the items you are going to put on its surface. When there’s any considerable weight involved, it’s best practice to locate the wall studs and use them for support. If that’s not possible, the next best thing is to use drywall anchors.

How to Hang Shelves - Floating

Step 2

Choose a height for the shelf and mark with a pencil the position on the wall where you plan to install the initial bracket. Then use a level and measuring tape to determine and mark where the second bracket should be fastened. At a minimum, shelving installation calls for two brackets; in the case of a long or heavy shelf, additional brackets may be required to promote stability and prevent sagging. If you judge that more than two are needed, measure and mark now for the extras.

Step 3

Drill pilot holes to accept the screws to be used in fastening the brackets to the wall. Having done so, proceed to screw each bracket into place, being careful not to overtighten the hardware. Depending on the design of the shelving, either simply rest the board on the brackets or attach the shelf to the brackets via screws or another fastener.

Step 4

Before loading the shelf with belongings, test the strength of the installation and make any adjustments that appear necessary. Don’t be alarmed if you notice any slight wiggling; that’s to be expected. So long as the wiggling is not too pronounced, it indicates that the shelf will forgive shifts in the wall or floor.