How to Choose Shelf Brackets

Creating shelves is a relatively easy and simple DIY project. One of the most important steps is choosing the right shelving supports. By following these steps, you can choose the correct brackets for your specific project.

Shelf Bracket Size

Because the size of brackets depends on the actual shelf board dimensions, we recommend selecting your shelf first. In general, it helps to select what type and size of shelf board you’ll be using BEFORE ordering brackets. 

Common Shelf Sizes:

Shelf Location Shelf Size

Kitchen Shelves

11.25”- 12” 

Bathroom Shelves

5.5” – 8” 

Living Room or Display Shelves

5.5” -9.25”

Pantry Shelves


Laundry Room Shelves

11.25" -15" 


Choose Bracket Style

After determining shelf size and material, you can now select the best brackets for the job. Some styles work better than others for specific shelves:

L Brackets:

These are the most general, simple shelf brackets. These are also often called an angle bracket and the easiest to use. 

Because these do not have a front lip, they are a good option for uncommonly sized shelves. (General rule: the support arm needs to go at least ⅔ of the shelf depth)

L brackets are also the best option for live edge lumber as the uneven raw edge does not always fit will within a front lip. 

Z Brackets:

These shelf brackets have the most traditional, standard design. These brackets have a leg support under the shelf and the boards will sit flush against the wall with a front “lip” coming up around the shelf edge.

These are a pretty classic design and are good for beginner projects.

They also work well for pre-existing floating shelves that need additional support because they can be added on without removing the shelf. 

J Brackets:

This style of shelf bracket has more of ‘floating’ effect with the leg support above the shelf. The front lip comes around the shelf to hold it snug.  Because the metal leg sits behind the shelf, the board does not sit entirely flush against the wall.

J brackets are an excellent option to create sturdy shelves and still achieve the minimal, floating effect. 

Heavy Duty Brackets:

All of our styles are also available in a heavy duty option. Because these hold 100 lbs each, they are a good choice for shelves with especially thick shelves or if the shelf will be used for heavy items. 

Heavy duty brackets are made with a 2” wide steel which provides more of visual contrast and may be chosen for aesthetic purposes. 

Specialty Brackets:

For shelves made with glass or marble, we offer our Specialty L Brackets for Glass shelves.

Because glass or marble can have sharper edges that do not fit well into lipped brackets, we created these L brackets with silicon pads to keep the shelf from shifting. 

 Quantity of Brackets

Once you’ve selected the style of bracket you’d like, it’s important to consider how many brackets are needed to properly support your shelf. While our shelf brackets are incredibly strong, it’s important to also consider support down the entire length of the shelf. 

All shelves are different, but for shelves over 36” long, we suggest using more than 2 brackets. 

Here are our recommendations for quantity of brackets needed based on shelf length: 

Shelf Length Quantity of Brackets
 0" -36" 
37”-68” 3
69”-100” 4
101”-132” 5
133”-164” 6
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