Your Shelf Brackets Don’t Have to Be Resigned to a Supporting Role

Eight buys that make shelves shine.

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Until recently, the laundry room in my suburban home was outfitted with white builder-grade shelving, too high to reach at my diminutive height and too unlike the vintage decor in the rest of the house. Deciding to make a change, I visited my local salvage shop, where I picked up a pair of gorgeous reclaimed barn boards to use as shelves. I assumed that the search for accompanying shelf brackets would be easy. I was wrong.

I quickly learned that it’s remarkably difficult to find chic shelf brackets at a reasonable price. The nearby hardware stores only carried overly industrial brackets in way-too-glossy black or white. After digging, I found options online, but not as many as I envisioned.

After weeks of searching, I realized that if I wanted decent shelf brackets, I’d have to consider them an investment. I knew it would be better to pay for beautifully made brackets instead of walking into my laundry room to find my flimsy brackets on the floor along with the shelves.

Eventually, I ended up going back to the salvage shop and picked up some locally made steel brackets that I love. And you know what? Now that the shelves are finished, looking supported and stylish, I’ve realized the brackets were worth the time and money. Take it from me: These supports are a good investment. Find your perfect pair, below, along with some of the advice I was given in my search.

Do your homework

Giant online marketplaces like Amazon have plenty of shelf brackets, and you can find the ones that work best for your shelves by reading the reviews (lots of reviewers include helpful photos of how the shelves turned out), carefully looking at the dimensions, and searching for your desired metal finish. Amazon also gets bonus points for selling multipacks of brackets, so you can save some money.

Search for designer recommendations

Designers know where to find the best brackets around, so it makes sense to read their blogs and find out where they’re buying their brackets. Emily Henderson shared that she discovered these contemporary polished shelf brackets at Rejuvenation.

Be ready to invest a little more in ornate brackets

If you’re going for an opulent look, you may have to pay a bit more for those charming touches. Anthropologie carries plenty of glamorous brackets. Want Art Deco details? Crystals? Birds, perhaps? Anthro has them all—we particularly love this version with a rose quartz accent.

Measure, and then measure again

When it comes to design, there are few things more heartbreaking than gathering materials for a room refresh, only to find that you didn’t measure everything correctly. To avoid having your decor dreams dashed, measure, measure, measure, and think everything through before you buy brackets. You’ll need to consider the weight and length of each shelf and determine how many brackets are needed so each shelf is fully supported. These brackets are only designed to fit specific shelving widths and lengths.

Opt to buy a shelf with brackets

Maybe you’d prefer to skip a step and buy a shelf that comes with brackets. If you’re not planning to use barn boards or other materials to make your own shelving, you can be more efficient (and likely save money) if you purchase a shelf that arrives with its own brackets. This shelf is super-chic and comes equipped with powder coated metal brackets.

Shop Etsy for durable, handcrafted brackets

Etsy is a gold mine for brackets that have been painstakingly made by hand. If you’re searching for brackets that are one of a kind and incredibly strong, look through the hundreds of wrought-iron and steel options on Etsy. You’ll also be able to ask the seller questions before you buy.

Go totally timeless

Like most design choices, if you’re planning to invest in something, it’s a good idea to go classic and trend-proof. Since you probably want the brackets to hold up your shelving for years to come (and you might even take them with you when you move), consider choosing ones with a timeless feel, like these square shelf brackets that won’t look dated in a few years.

Match the style of your shelving

Consider the vibe of your shelving and choose your brackets accordingly. Rustic shelves pair up beautifully with iron; marble finds its soul mate in brass; and modern shelves look best when partnered with brackets in geometric shapes.

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