Of the myriad types of shelving available to install, standard and bracket is the most space-saving design. Instead of taking up space on the floor like a book case, this shelving option features long metal rails, called standards, which are secured to the wall. Metal brackets are slid into slots within the standards and locked into place. The brackets act like arms on which you will put your shelf and no floor space is taken up.
Standard and bracket shelves are also highly desirable because of the customization allowed. Brackets can be slid into any space along the rail, allowing for as many or few shelves as you’ll need. Many shelves can be added to hold books, picture frames or other decorative items, or fewer shelves can be placed upon the brackets to make room for taller items like storage bins or decorate vases.
Standard and bracket shelving can be found in many colors, though white and black are the most common. Though a good option for most any storage need, these shelves are not the most decorative. Keep this in mind when deciding on storage options for more public areas of your home.
Determine where you want your shelves to hang on the wall. Now, take your stud finder and slide it along the wall until you reach a stud. Mark this spot, as you'll want to install at least one standard into a stud for support. Next, consider both how high you’d like your top-most shelf and how low you’d like your bottom-most shelf. Note that when finished, the shelf will stick out on each side of the standard, so don’t affix the standard to the wall too near a corner, another wall, window or piece of furniture.
Take the first standard (sometimes called a rail) and hold it on the wall where you’d like it to hang. With a pencil, mark the drill holes in the rail onto the wall. If the hole in the rail is not large enough to put the pencil through to mark a hole, use an awl or screwdriver to hammer a small indentation into the wall. Set the rail aside and hammer an anchor into each spot, if you can. If your walls are plaster, or if you cannot hammer the anchor in, drill a pilot hole and then hammer your anchors into the spots you just marked.
Place the standard back against the wall and realign it with the marks you made. Align the holes in the rail with the anchors you just placed in the wall. Drill one screw through a hole in the middle part of the rail into its corresponding anchor in the wall. Use your level to ensure the rail sits completely straight on the wall both horizontally and vertically. Complete these steps for each anchor you drilled into the wall, checking for level after each one. Now you’ve securely mounted your first rail to the wall.
Measure how far apart you want your second rail to be from your first and install it exactly as you did the first rail. Note that the rails will ultimately be secured to the wall exactly parallel to one another. If you have very wide shelving (shelves more than four feet wide), consider installing three rails along your wall for added support. Typically, standard and bracket shelving rails are installed anywhere from 24 inches to 36 inches apart, but consult your shelving component directions for any variations or specific instructions on placement.
Slide your brackets into the rail where you’d like your shelves to sit, ensuring they lock securely into place. Make sure each bracket is placed in the same spot in both the left and right rail.
Set your shelves atop each pair of brackets and check for stability and aesthetic appeal. The beauty of standard and bracket shelving is that they are completely customizable, allowing for a lot or very little space between shelves. Changing your mind is easy, too, because you only have to remove the shelf and reposition the brackets.