This is a trick question, because the perfect place for any new DIY wall shelf is ... wherever it’s anchored to a wall stud! But, what if the perfect place doesn’t have a wall stud?
That’s the real question, because load testing a new wall shelf isn’t really the best option. Know what happens when your shelf doesn’t pass the test? Riiiiiiip! Your DIY project just got a little more complicated.
Part I: Wall Types & Anchors
Brick and wood walls are pretty easy to identify, of course, but telling the difference between plaster and drywall can be tricky.
Drywall comes in sheets that are nailed to the house frame (studs), which leaves hollow spaces behind the wall. Plaster, on the other hand, is a mix that is spread over lath that then hardens. They end up looking a lot alike, but the similarities end as soon as you try to nail something into them.
In any case, you’ll likely want to use an anchor, toggle or wedge if you’re hanging a shelf.
- Drywall: Anything but a masonry wedge will work here, but a simple anchor is best.
- Plaster: Try a toggle bolt but, more importantly, drill a pilot hole first rather than hammering directly into the plaster. Before you drill, apply painter’s tape to further lower the chance of chipping the plaster.
- Brick: Use masonry wedges.
- Wood: Nails or screws – your choice!
Part II: The Perfect Place
Once you have the trick of mounting them, you’ll find all kinds of places you’ll want a new shelf. But, there are a few locations that can make life infinitely easier.
- Above the sink: SO MUCH STUFF will go on this shelf. Start here first if you don't have one already.
- Next to the bathroom sink: Hopefully, you’ve already got one shelf here, but have you thought about adding another?
- Above your bed: It’s true. You’ll be shocked at how much junk (important things!) starts to accumulate on it once it’s up there.
Give these ideas a try, and always remember to use a level before you drill your pilot holes. Good luck!