How to Install Shelf Brackets

Installing our metal shelf brackets and other hardware is probably easier than you think. With a few tools and a little preparation, open shelving is an easy DIY project. Many of the same tools and tips work for installing our other hardware like metal hooks, coat racks, towel bars, and other projects (see below for specific tips). 

Shelf Bracket Installation

As a general rule, it's always ideal to install shelf brackets into wall studs. However, it can be difficult to install brackets directly on a wall stud  In that case, we recommend using a toggle anchor (which are available for purchase here). The installation directions are similar.  *If installing into tile, brick, or extra thick dry wall, please read below for further recommendations. 

Recommended Tools for Bracket Installation:

  • 7/16" Wrench or Socket
  • Stud Finder
  • Level  
  • Electric Drill
  • Pencil & Masking Tape
  • Lag Bolts (we include these with each bracket order but also available at your local hardware store)  OR necessary bolts for specialty installation into concrete or brick installation*
  • Electronic stud finder can be helpful


    1. Before beginning, confirm the bracket and shelf are the correct size and fit together. Identify necessary bolts and hardware needed for specific project. Note: if you are using a J style bracket, we include a flush mount screw for bottom hole in case shelf interferes.

    2. Determining where you'd like the shelf. Place a long piece of masking tape horizontally along the wall, spanning the length of your piece of wood shelf.(this also givs a great visual of how your shelves will look before making the commitment!)Using a level, mark a level line along the tape.

    how to install shelf brackets
    3. Locate the studs in the wall and mark the studs along the level line(Not able to locate studs? Use recommended toggle bolt anchors instead) 
    4. Pre-drill a 3/16" hole where your level line and your studs intersect (pre-drilling also helps the lag bolt go in smoothly and reduces likelihood of bolt head breaking)
    5. Remove all masking tape from the wall.
    6. Install the brackets with the provided bolts using a wrench or socket. (If using J brackets, flush mount screws are included for bottom bolt hole if needed)
    7. Place your wood onto the brackets. (L brackets require wood screwed directly onto bracket arm)


    Installation Without Wall Studs:

    When wall studs are not available, we strongly suggest using toggle bolts. They are an expandable anchor that grips the back side of the drywall. They are easier to use than they look! We have them available for purchase that match our other hardware, which is preferred if you are mounting some brackets into studs and others with the toggle bolts. They can also be found at any local hardware store. For our toggles, use a 5/8" drill bit to pre-drill the hole. 

    This video also provides a great visual to using toggle bolts.


    Installation on Other Surfaces:

    Mounting Onto Tile Backsplash

                      install brackets on tile

    When it comes to installing brackets onto tile we suggest drilling out the tile with a 5/16" masonry drill bit to prevent cracking of the tile. You can then use typical lag bolts (provided with each order) into studs or toggle bolts if studs are not an option.

    Mounting Onto Brick, Concrete or Stone

    To mount onto brick, mortar, stone, concrete or any other solid masonry surface, drill a 1/4" hole hole in the brick/mortar with a masonry drill bits.  Then secure the brackets with engineered bolts which are for use with masonry. We also have masonry bolts available for purchase.