How to

Install Ledges and Shelves

at Home


It may not seem like it just to look like it, but hanging up a wall shelf or ledge is only a little bit more complex than hanging a piece of artwork on your wall. You’ll need more tools than just a hammer, and it will take a little bit more time, but not much. Even if you aren’t particularly handy around the house, this is a home improvement project that just about any adult can successfully take on. Your Pottery Barn shelves will come with all the hardware you need to get the job done. You’ll need to supply some tools and a can-do attitude, and that’s all there is to it.

First, scout a location for your shelf, and consider that location carefully. Wall shelves add a lot of decorative value to a room, so it makes sense to select a location that will allow your favorite picture frames, sculptures and decorative objects to stand out. You don’t want your shelf to be in the way of doors or in a high-traffic area where things might get knocked down.

Our wall shelves use a simple mount system to ensure simple, sturdy installation. Your hanging kit will include several pieces, including a small bubble level. You can feel free to use a full-size level tool in addition to this small level if you have one on hand, but do not discard the included bubble level. It will come in handy during installation even if you have your own level. In addition to the supplied hardware, you’ll need the following tools to install your wall shelf or ledge:

• Stud finder
• Phillips head screwdriver or drill bit/drill
• Tape measure
• Pencil with working eraser

If you aren’t sure about the placement you’ve selected, you can use our room planner tool to brainstorm other ideas for your room. Once you’ve decided on a specific location, hold the shelf up to the wall where you want it to go and mark the top lightly with a pencil. You may need another person to help you hold the shelf in place as you make your mark. Make the mark dark and large enough for you to see against the wall. It may be necessary to use a piece of chalk or another easily removable marker to mark your placement if you have dark walls that obscure the appearance of graphite pencil marks.

Next, use your stud finder to locate the wall studs in the wall where you want to install your shelf or ledge. Mark their location using your pencil. You likely will not have to move your desired shelf placement based on the location of the studs; rather, this step lets you know what kind of fastener you need to use. However, it is important to have your shelf attach to at least one stud. The installation kit that comes with your shelf or ledge includes fasteners for installing into studs or drywall.

Slide the included bubble level into the specially designed level-holding channel in your wall-mount bracket. Then place the bracket against the wall with the level side facing downward. Slide the bracket across the wall until it becomes even with at least one of the studs you located earlier. When the holes are properly place so that at least one is over a stud, use the bubble level to adjust the bracket until it becomes level. If the bracket isn’t level at this point, your shelf will not be even, and it may look crooked.

Make marks to indicate bracket placement and stud location, then set the bracket down and use your drill or screwdriver to install the drywall toggles into the wall at the marked locations that are not over wall studs. Place the bracket on the wall again, and use your drill or screwdriver to drive screws into the studs and toggles. Attach your ledge or shelf to the bracket and double check for security before adding decorative items to the shelf.

After you’ve successfully installed your shelf, use the techniques you’ve learned here, including stud location and level placement, for future home improvement projects. You can use a similar process to install other weight-bearing objects into your wall, including storage hooks or racks.