How to Hang Shelves (To Avoid Having Them Fall on Your Head!)


One of the best ways to maximize your living space is to hang shelves. You can use these surfaces as a display solution, for practical storage, or to open up counter space. 

When you decide to install shelves at home, you’ll want to use a sturdy item and correct placement on your wall. It should also be level.

This short guide will take you through the steps needed to accomplish these goals so that the shelf doesn’t fall on your head one day! You’ll need a few tools: a claw hammer, power drill, wood screws, level, tape measure, and chalk. 

Some shelves require brackets that you’ll need to install to support the surface weight of the unit. 

Steps to Follow When Hanging Shelves

You’ll need to gather all of your supplies before you get to work. If you discover that a tool isn’t available, you might need to start the steps of hanging a shelf over unless someone is available to hold the item for you.

1. Find the correct placement for the shelf.

Weight plays a significant role when finding the right spot on a wall to hang a shelf. You’ll need to consider how heavy it is, along with the items that will be kept on it.

If you have a heavy display or dense shelving to install, you’ll need to find the wall studs to support the items’ weight. When none are available, a drywall anchor serves as a suitable alternative. 

2. Mark the screw positions.

You’ll want to hold the shelf up against the wall. Using a standard level to ensure you have the items marked in a straight line. Where you see the brackets contact the drywall is where you’ll use chalk to identify the installation point.

If you’re using brackets to mount the shelf, please remember to mark the inside holes to have an accurate diagram to use.

3. Drill starter holes.

Once you’ve verified the places where the mounting screws will hold the shelf to the wall, it is time to drill a starter hole for each point. 

This step ensures that you can affix the brackets or shelf to the wall.

You’ll need to take this step if you’re using drywall anchors. If you don’t pre-drill the holes, you won’t get the weight distribution benefits of this item. 

If you don’t have a drill bit for this step, you can use the shelf’s hardware. Slowly wind the screw into the wall until you have about 30% depth. That’s when you can install the anchor. 

4. Install the brackets.

Once you have the anchors in place, you can finish installing the brackets. Place the shelving unit over the drilled holes and re-insert the screws.

Tighten each screw into the bracket until it is secure. Please remember to avoid over-tightening them because that will damage your wall. 

If you have any lingering chalk on the drywall’s surface, now is the time to remove it.

5. Install the support screws (optional).

If your shelf uses brackets underneath the surface for weight support, you won’t need to follow this step.

When your shelf floats on the wall, you’ll need to install the support screws that allow the product to stay on your wall safely.

This step is a lot like hanging a picture. You’ll need to measure the space between each placement to ensure the screws get installed appropriately.

You’ll need to transfer those measurements to your wall. Use the straight level to ensure the installation won’t be crooked.

Follow the same steps you took for getting the brackets installed. Once you have the screw in the wall at the appropriate depth, it’ll provide the supports you need to hang the shelf.

Some shelves use support screws instead of brackets to maintain their structure. If your product fits into that category, you’ll want to use anchors or go straight into your studs to ensure the shelf hangs safely.

6. Finish hanging your shelf.

Once you have the brackets and support screws in place for your shelf, it is time to hang it on the wall.

Place the shelf on top of your brackets. This step is the last chance you have to ensure it is centered and safe.

If your bracket has openings at the top, you’ll want to secure the shelf to the unit using the included screws. You’ll prevent it from toppling over with this final step.

Hanging a shelf only takes a few minutes, but it can provide a lifetime of spatial benefits! If you need any help with this task at home, be sure to give our team a call right away!


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