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The Home Depot

Shelf Hanging Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > Shelf Hanging Installation Guide
Shelf Hanging Installation Guide

Shelving helps organize your life. Whether it’s a small shelf on which to place decorative knick knacks or a serious home entertainment system, shelves keep things neat and tidy. Hanging your own shelving is a great way to flex your home improvement muscle, too. That’s because, depending on how complicated your shelving will be, it’s not that hard to do yourself.


Shelving is just one part of decorating your home – but are you familiar with home decorating lingo? According to the website, TA (ready to assemble) and KD (knock down) furniture come unassembled in flat boxes and must be put together by the buyer. RTA and KD items, the site says, cost less than fully assembled furniture.


Chances are, your shelving did not come fully assembled. And that means work for you (or a contractor).

  1. 1.What do you need the shelf for?

    This is the kind of project that’s best done with two people. Find a handy friend and pair up.

    Think about what you need before you purchase your shelving. Are you looking for something that will make your home look pretty, or something that is strictly utilitarian? Will your shelf be exposed to or water? Will it need to be low to the ground or higher up? Shelving can be wood, plastic or even metal - what material would you like to use? This is also a good time to figure out how much you want to spend on this project.

  2. 2.What tools will you need?

    Once you have decided on your shelving, and are about to begin your project, make sure you have everything you need. You will need the shelf itself, a tape measure, a stud finder, a pencil, a drill and screws. A level is also helpful. Use the tape measure to make sure the area where you want to put the shelf is the right size. The stud finder will help you find the appropriate studs in the wall so that you’ll have something to anchor your shelf to. Use the pencil to mark off where the studs are behind the plaster on your wall. Use the drill and screws to attach your shelf securely to the wall. Sometimes, shelves will come with their own screws and brackets to make the shelf sturdy. If not, you’ll have to purchase those things yourself.

  3. 3.Have help?

    This is the kind of project that’s best done with two people. Find a handy friend and pair up – one person can hold the shelf and the other can drill it in. If you are all thumbs when it comes to any kind of handy work, a carpenter can do it for a relatively small fee. Look online or in the yellow pages for one.

  5. 4.Check it.

    Make sure your shelf is securely attached to the wall. A wobbly shelf could result in broken belongings and even injury. Check the screws to make sure they are tight. You could even press down on the shelf a bit to make sure it can tolerate weight on it. Use the level to make sure the shelf is parallel to the ground.


    Installing a shelf in your home is one way to customize it and make it more comfortable for you. Do the job right, so you won’t have to repeat it over and over again.

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