Project Guide

How to Hang Shelves

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Gather Tools and Materials
an empty shelf on a wall

Before you begin, gather the necessary tools and materials:

Determine the Placement
an empty wall
  • Before you start hanging a shelf, decide where it should be placed. Weight plays a big role in finding a suitable installation spot. Consider the weight of the shelf and the weight of each item you intend to place on top. 
  • For denser shelving or heavier display or storage items, you can use a stud finder to see if there’s stud in the area you want to hang the shelf. Wall studs offer additional support, but if there are none available, you can also use drywall anchors.

Mark the Position
measuring a point on a wall
  • Have someone help you hold the shelf against the wall. Use a standard level to make sure it’s placed in a straight line, then lightly mark the wall with a pencil on both ends.
  • Position the shelf brackets against the wall along the bottom of the shelf. Mark inside the holes so you know exactly where to insert the screws. 
  • Remove the shelf and the brackets from the wall. Review your markings to make sure everything is properly labeled. 
Drill Starter Holes
drilling a hole into the wall
  • Use a screwdriver or a power drill on the lowest speed to drill starter holes with the screws into the bracket markings. 
  • Do not twist the screws all the way into the wall.
Install the Anchors and Brackets
installing a shelf bracket
  • Remove the screws and put the first bracket into place. If the shelf is on the heavier side and you weren’t able to find a stud, install a wall anchor.
  • Re-insert screws into the brackets and tighten until each bracket is secure. 
  • When screwing the brackets into place, make sure not to over-tighten them. 
  • Take a moment to tidy the pencil markings and drywall dust. 

Tip: Review our complete guide on how to install stationary brackets for detailed information.

Hang the Shelves
hanging a shelf
  • Place the shelf on top of the bracket and make sure it’s centered.
  • If the bracket has openings along the top, secure it to the bottom of the shelf by inserting screws into the holes and drilling until they are secure. This will prevent it from sliding or toppling over. 

When determining how much shelving you need, don't guesstimate, calculate. Know exactly how much you need with our project calculators. Ready to find the supplies you need in your local store? Use The Home Depot app to locate products and check inventory. We'll take you to the exact aisle and bay.