Shelves are a fantastic way to add storage and style to your home. There are various types of shelving available in all different colours and materials. You could install floating shelves with a few hanging plants and decorative features. Or, you could make a shelving unit for your kitchenware and spare linen.

Save yourself the hassle of hiring a professional and embrace your inner DIYer by installing the shelves yourself. Take out your tool chest and follow these steps to put shelves on the wall.

Check the wall

Choose a wall to hang your shelves on, and check whether it’s masonry or plasterboard. Knock the wall to see if it sounds hollow, like plasterboard or drywall. Weaker walls cannot withstand the weight of some shelves and all their fixings.

You also need to identify any pipes and cables hidden in the wall. You can use a digital detector to find any fixtures or look for the location of sockets on either side of the wall. Accidentally drilling into a pipe can cause major damage later down the line, and you may have to redecorate. Take time to double-check the wall and proceed cautiously.


Grab a pencil and mark where you want to place your shelves on the wall. A small dot will do. Use a level to draw a line between the two bracket positions and make sure it’s even. You don’t want a wonky shelf.

Prepare the wall

Use a counterpunch to make a small dent on each positioning mark and place some Sellotape over the drill hole. The Sellotape stops the plasterboard and paints from cracking as you drill. Remember, you want to hang these shelves with as little damage as possible to the rest of the room.

Start drilling and fixing

Use a drill to make a pilot hole in the wall – instead of using a screwdriver to install the screws directly. Fasten the brackets and make sure they are flush against the wall. Secure them tightly and double-check everything is stable.

Depending on the type of shelf, you might be done at this point – or you may need to install some additional screws to anchor the shelf.

Attach the shelf

Place the shelf on top of the bracket and use a ruler to measure the overhang on both sides. You want the shelf to be centred with the same overhang on either side. Mark the position of the screw holes under the shelf and drill some pilot holes into each mark. Do not drill through the shelf. Put the shelf back onto the brackets and line with the drill holes with the screw holes. Pop in your fixing underneath, and you’re done.

Double-check your work before adding anything to the shelf.


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