Putting up a shelf is a great way to optimise your space. It can give you somewhere for additional storage or to display items, without impacting on your floor space. And, on the surface, it’s a pretty easy task to complete. However, if you get it wrong, you could end up with a shelf that is wonky, unstable and, at worst, completely unusable. Luckily, with this handy guide, you can complete the task safe in the knowledge that your shelf will be safe and stable for years to come.

1. Measure

Before you start drilling holes in your wall, make sure you know exactly where you want the shelf to go. Measure the height from the floor to ensure you aren’t placing the shelf too low and have plenty of clearance beneath and that the shelf will fit within space available, particularly if you are installing the shelf in an alcove. 

2. Locate the studs

Use the stud finder to locate where the studs are in your wall. Mark these locations with your pencil. If you do not have a stud finder, the stud can be located by knocking on the wall and comparing the sound; a hollow sound will indicate there is no stud, while a solid sound will indicate the presence of the stud. You may also be able to identify dimples in the trim which would indicate there is a stud beneath the wall.

3. Drill into the stud

Drill your first hole using a 64mm length drill bit. Once you’ve drilled a small hole, switch to a 130mm length drill bit to widen the hole, taking care not to drill too deep. Tip. Measure the bracket’s length and mark the drill bit with tape to make sure you don’t drill too deep.

4. Secure the bracket in the hole

Screw the first bracket into the hole until you meet slight resistance. Keep turning it until it is secured. 

5. Place the second bracket

Combining your level with your tape measure, make sure the second bracket is level with the first and that it is spaced at a distance not greater than the shelf itself. Mark with your pencil and then repeat the above steps for your second bracket. Once the second bracket is secure, use your level again to make sure the brackets are correctly aligned. 

6. Measure between both brackets

Using your tape measure, measure the distance between the two brackets, then mark with a pencil on your shelf where the brackets will fit into the shelf. This measurement needs to be exact so check it two or three times to be sure.

7. Drill bracket holes into your shelf

Again, using your level to make sure the holes in your shelf are level, start drilling into the shelf. Again, mark the depth of the bracket onto your drill bit to make sure you don’t drill too deep.

8. Slide the shelf onto the brackets

Finally, slide the bracket holes in the wood onto the brackets. If you have followed the above stages correctly, you should have a good, clean fit. Check the shelf one final time with the level to make sure it is flat, and then start enjoying your handiwork.