DIY – Install Wall Shelving and Add Storage Space

Vertical space is often the most underutilized spaces in the house, so why not turn this dead space into storage space by installing wall shelves? Anyone can install metal wall support brackets and shelving with just a few tools and wall shelves are perfect for adding storage or displaying your favorite collectibles. Follow these easy instructions and you will be making the most of vertical spaces in no time at all.

How-to locate wall studs:

To be sure that your loaded wall shelves will not come crashing to the floor, it is essential to locate at least one wall stud for each shelf. A magnetic or electric stud finder is a useful tool that will help you locate studs for secure mounting. Once you have determined the general location for your shelves, locate the stud and mark it lightly with a pencil.

What are standards and how are they installed?

Shelving brackets are held to the wall with metal brackets called standards which are installed vertically on the wall. The key to installing wall shelves is to attach the standards so that they are perfectly level. Use a drywall or deck screw to attach the first standard to the wall where the stud is located; however, do not drive the screw into the wall all the way. Keep in mind that the screw should be at least one-inch long to secure the shelf and its contents; shelves that are longer than thirty-six inches should be secured with three standards. Units that will hold more than two wall shelves should also be installed with three standards to prevent sagging or collapse.

After your first standard is held in place by a partially inserted screw, use a level to perfectly align the standard on the wall, then sink a screw into the next hole. Double check the alignment and drive the screws all the way into the wall. Add the remaining screws to each hole. Measure the distance to the next standard, based on the width of your shelves and mark the location for the second standard with a pencil. Be certain that both standards are hung at the same height. A laser level or carpenters level can help with this task.

If there is no stud behind the location of the second standard, use toggle bolts for security. Install them according to package directions; make sure that the toggle bolts will fit through the holes of the standards before installing. Plastic wall hangers can be used in some situations, but they are designed for lighter loads. Be sure to check the load capacity and determine which hangers are appropriate for your needs.

Install brackets and shelving:

Now for the easiest part of the job: Snap the brackets in to the wall standards and lay the shelves on top of the brackets. If the shelves are deeper than the brackets, mark the location of the tips of the brackets on the bottom of the shelves with a pencil. Use a saw to notch a slit in the board that will accommodate the bracket tips. However, do not use shelves that are much too big for the brackets, or the brackets will not support the weight of the oversize shelves and contents.

When shopping for shelves, you will find that laminate or finished wood shelving is more expensive than unfinished wood planks. However, you can save a few dollars by having the wood planks cut to your specifications at the lumber yard. Smooth the edges with sand paper and stain or paint them to match the decor.

This article was written by Jeanelle Deppner and provided by, a site featuring unique wrought iron candle holders and modern art wall clocks.

Related DIY Yard Decor Articles

Leave a Comment