How to Install Wall Mounted Shelving
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How to Install Wall Mounted Shelving

How to install adjustable wall shelving in your home.

Wall mounted shelving is an easy do it yourself project that can improve the functionality of a room or add a design element. This article lays out the steps involved with installing metal standards and brackets. The shelving material can be pre-made or you can cut your own custom shelves to the desired length to fit your space.

Adjustable shelving systems are an excellent choice for children’s rooms, home offices, or utility rooms such as in the garage, pantry, and laundry room. This type of shelving is not for formal rooms such as living or dining rooms since the exposed metal standards and brackets may not match the architectural style of the room.

Some shelving systems can be purchased in kits or a la carte where you can select the standards, brackets and shelves of your choice. The standard, which is the metal bar attached to the wall, can be cut to the desired length if you want a larger shelving system. The shelf brackets come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different shelf widths. Shelving can be stock particleboard melamine or pine shelves.

Tools and Materials4-foot level


Phillips screwdriver

Tape measure


Drill-driver with ½- inch-diameter drill bit

Stud sensor


Shelf standards

Shelf brackets

2 1/2-inch screws for standards

1 1/4-inch wood screws shelves


Before you start this project you start this project you need to consider the amount of weight each shelf will be carrying as well as the combined weight of all the shelves in the system. Purchase a shelving system that can carry this load. It is always better to attach the shelf standards to a stud or some other framing member, but the standards can also be attached to the wall with drywall anchors. Some kits come with these included and are designed to carry the load for the system. The best alternative are toggle bolts as they are fairly easy to install and carry the most weight or any other anchor. Molly bolts and E-Z anchors are good choices as well, but are more difficult to line up properly. For most shelves you can install the standards up to 32 inches on center to provide enough support, but depending on the load, you may have to use a thicker shelf, such as ¾ inch.

E-Z Anchor

Toggle Bolt

Molly Bolt


1. Locate the wall studs by either tapping the wall with a hammer or by using a stud finder. Mark each edge of the stud with a pencil. Measure 32 inches from the left edge of the stud to find the other stud. Use the stud finder to confirm the location of each edge of the stud.

If you have plaster walls you may have to adjust the setting on the stud finder to the metal setting. You may also need to use a 4d finish nail to poke through the plaster to locate the stud. You should do this along the bottom of the wall near the top edge of the baseboard. Once you have located the studs, transfer the location by measuring from the corner or the wall or with your 4-foot level.

2. Hold one of the standards on the wall between the marks for the stud edges and mark the top edge of the standard with your pencil and the top screw hole.

With an 1/8-inch-drill bit drill a pilot hole into the stud at the pencil mark.

3. Hold the shelf standard in place and install a 2 ½-inch-long screw through the standard and into the pilot hole. Use a cordless screwdriver or drill to install the screw. The screw should just start to press the standard to the wall, do not overtighten it. The standard should hang freely and with your level, align the standard so that it is plumb and mark the edge with your pencil.

4. Mark the bottom hole on the standard; slide the standard over and repeat the process for drilling a pilot hole and install the screw into the stud.

Note: If the screw is difficult to secure into the stud you can try rubbing the screw with some soap or candle wax.

5. The best way to hang the second standard is to insert a bracket into both standards at the same position. Hold the second standard against the wall on the stud that is 32 inches away from the first stud. Place your 4-foot level across the two brackets and slide the free standard up or down until it's level with the first and mark the top screw hole location.

Secure the second standard to the wall as described in the previous steps.

6. Once all of the required standards are installed and the screws now fully tightened, install the shelf brackets at the desired heights. Place the shelves onto the brackets and drill an ?-inch-diameter hole about half the depth into the shelf.

Insert a short screw, 1 or 1 ¼-inch long, up through the bracket and into the shelving.

If you are placing a heavier load than expected, you can always add another shelf standard between the first two so that they are 16 inches on center instead of 32 inches on center.

If you are concerned with safety, you can purchase and install safety brackets with locking cams that help keep the brackets from coming off the standard.

Safety Cam Lock Adjustable Bracket

Additional resources:

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Comments (2)

Very helpful !

Ranked #2 in Home Repairs

An excellent tutorial that even a first time DIY person will be able to follow without any problem.