Decorative Shelf Brackets

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Just about the only time decorative shelf brackets aren't used is perhaps in the garage or garden work shed. One-piece angled aluminum brackets for $1.79 have their place in the world. For most of us, though, more decorative shelf brackets are what we're looking for. A shelf is a shelf is a shelf. Decorative shelf brackets are what make it decorative as well as functional.

What's Available in Decorative Shelf Brackets

Shelf brackets are available--most simply put--in metal, wood and plastic. While the varieties of these materials make that description close to useless, it's still a starting point in deciding what you want. The metal might be wrought iron, stainless steel, brass, or some combination of metals or metal and wood. The wood might be painted or oiled. Choosing is largely a matter of your decorating preferences.

The fundamental shape of all shelf brackets is a simple right angle, with one side longer than the other. The shorter length is fasted to the shelf, the longer to the wall for maximum weight distribution of the load on the shelf. The bracket is usually placed under the shelf rather than above it for maximum support.

The joint between the bracket and the wall can be visible or hidden. This will depend solely on the aesthetics of the brackets themselves, not on any functional consideration. The most important thing about installing shelves is to ensure that they are fixed as securely as possible to the wall. Ideally, you'll use two-inch wood screws into wall studs. If the dimensions of the shelf do not permit that, be sure to choose fasteners appropriate to the wall type--usually plaster or wallboard--and the load the shelf will be bearing.

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