Learn This One-Hour Project and Double Your Storage Space

published Apr 28, 2020
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Installed bracketed wall shelf styled with books, plants and art.
Credit: AT Video

The secret to every clutter-free home? Smart storage solutions, including wall-mounted shelving. Hanging bracketed shelves keeps your things—books, art, plants, dishes, and more—off your furniture and up where they can be both accessible and on display. Wall-mounted shelving looks intimidating to install, but this is a project you can do in an afternoon with just one power tool. The hardest part is measuring and making sure your shelf is hung level, so you’ll need a second set of hands—but actual work time is an hour or less. Here’s how to hang bracketed wall shelves.

Supplies you’ll need to hang shelves:

  • shelf
  • brackets
  • level
  • tape measure
  • drill, plus bits
  • drywall anchors
  • stud finder (optional)
  • screws
  • pencil

Directions for how to hang shelves:

Credit: AT Video

Locate and mark your wall’s studs

Use a stud finder to locate the studs in your wall, then mark with a pencil. Attaching your shelf’s brackets to the studs in your wall is the most secure option, and the one that you should take if you plan on filling your shelf with heavy items. But if you can’t find studs, and your filled shelf will weigh 25 pounds or less, then you can use drywall anchors to secure it instead.

Credit: AT Video

Choose your shelf location and mark with a pencil

Use a second set of hands if you can to hold the shelf on the wall so you can determine where you’d like it to go. If you don’t have a second set of hands, you can cut a piece of painter’s tape to the length of your shelf and apply it to the wall to give yourself a visual. Once you decide where you’d like the shelf to go, use a level to make sure it’s straight, then trace underneath with a pencil. (You can trace underneath your tape line, if you’re using one, after you use a level to make sure it’s straight.

Use a tape measure to determine where to place the brackets. They should be centered under your shelf, no more than 18 to 24 inches apart. Hold your bracket up to the wall and mark its holes with a pencil.

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Drill pilot holes and install drywall anchors, if needed

Use your drill to create pilot holes slightly smaller than your screw—if you’re mounting directly to the wall studs—or drywall anchor. If you’re using drywall anchors, install those per the manufacturer’s instructions. Some drywall anchors need to be tapped in with a hammer; others are screwed in.

Credit: AT Video

Use screws to mount brackets

Install your brackets with screws, using the pilot holes or drywall anchors you’ve already put in the wall.

Credit: AT Video

Attach the shelf to the brackets

Place the shelf on top of the brackets, making sure it’s level and even. Then, use a drill and wood screws to fasten the shelf to the brackets. That’s it! Your shelf’s ready to be filled with your favorite items.

Credit: AT Video