What are Shelf Brackets?

15 Minute Read

Alongside the rest of our range, we’ve been creating two types of shelves here at Ben Simpson Furniture for years now – our floating shelves, and our bracket shelves. Because they have such an important part to play in our shelves, we thought we’d take a dive into what shelf brackets are, how we make them, and look at the important details, such as how many brackets you need for a shelf, what else you need to install a shelf, and how else you can make use of those shelf brackets.

What are they?

Shelf brackets are simply the pieces that support a wooden shelf, and allows them to be attached to the wall. They are usually made from metal for strength, but they can sometimes be made from wood. For the shelf brackets that we use for our range, we only use the highest quality cold-rolled steel. This gives added strength and a perfectly industrial aesthetic finish which complements the rustic wood.

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How do you make a shelf bracket?

We source all of our industrial metal brackets from our skilled steel fabricator. They’re based close to our workshops in West Sussex, (which helps us to minimise the effect of transport) and they’re all made by hand to an incredibly high standard. We’ve worked closely with our fabricator to ensure that our shelf brackets fit our exact specifications, including bracket holes of 6mm diameter, and they are deburred to get rid of any sharp edges. We’ve thoroughly tested our shelf brackets with heavy loads and in different places, to ensure that they’re up to the job.Because we source our shelf brackets direct from the fabricator, before we send out an order, we clean each bracket by hand with lithium grease, to ensure that they are free from any remaining dirt from the manufacturing process. You don’t want them to mark your hands or walls, and neither do we. 

Our range of shelf brackets

Our Lipped Brackets, Non-Lipped Brackets, and Inverted Brackets are made from raw steel for an industrial style effect, and can be used on both solid and plasterboard walls. However we only supply the fixings for solid walls as the construction of a plasterboard wall can vary massively, requiring difference styles of wall plug fixings.

Rustic Country Bedroom Decor

Lipped Bracket

This is our most popular type of shelf bracket. It sits below the shelf, and has a small lip that sits to the front of the shelf, with the lip giving the effect that it is keeping the wood in place.

Each Lipped Bracket shelf can hold up to 35kg. 

Inverted Bracket

Our final raw steel option, and our most recent addition to our range of shelf brackets are our Inverted Brackets. Rather than supporting the shelf from underneath, our Inverted Brackets cradle the shelf.

As with our other shelves, our Inverted Brackets can hold up to 35kg. 

Rustic Country Bedroom Decor
Rustic Country Bedroom Decor

Non-Lipped Bracket

Also made from raw steel, our Non-Lipped Brackets are designed to be seen from underneath, but not on the front of the wood on the shelf – they don’t wrap around the outer edge of the shelf.

Each Non-Lipped Bracket shelf can hold up to 35kg. 

Floating Bracket

We use our Floating Brackets for our range of floating shelves. They’re designed to be completely hidden inside the shelf, so that no fixings are on display. This gives a clean, minimalist, look to a space, compared with our signature rustic industrial effect.

Our floating shelves and their brackets have a maximum weight capacity of up to 35kg, but it is important to know that our Floating Brackets are only suitable for installation on solid walls. 

Rustic Country Bedroom Decor

How many brackets do I need for a shelf?

It very much depends on how long the shelf is, and how much weight the shelf is required to hold. However anything up to 140cm in length will only need 2 brackets. Anything over 140cm we tend to suggest 3 metal brackets just to be sure. The longer the shelf, the more weight and more items to hold. We are always here to help and advise.

What do I need to put up a shelf?

In addition to the brackets, there are a number of other items that you’ll need – but not as many as you might think. 
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  • Power Drill
  • Wall plugs
  • Hammer
  • Fixing screws
  • 3mm Drill bit
  • Screwdriver

When you buy a shelf from us, you’ll receive a pilot drill bit include with every metal bracket order. In addition, you’ll also receive our black carbon steel screws with each order, which are designed to be the perfect match with our raw steel brackets, and wall plugs for installation in solid walls.

Rustic Country Bedroom Tips
Rustic Country Bedroom Design

How else can I use a shelf bracket?

If you love the look of our raw steel shelf brackets, you might look at how else you can make use of them – and if you’re even just a little bit creative, there are plenty of ways to make use of shelf brackets. Although we’re sure you can find loads of other projects on websites like Pinterest, here are some of our favourite uses for shelf brackets.

  • Using Lipped or Inverted brackets to mount bicycles on – this is ideal for storing bikes in garages or sheds
  • Create a hot-desk using a 30cm shelf – perfect for temporarily holding small laptops or tablets
  • Repurpose shelves to hold plant pots for herbs in a kitchen garden
  • Make use of brackets to create alternative clothing storage
  • Short on space? Create a half-size vanity unit, or console table in your hallway
  • Reuse a shelf bracket for suspending a hanging basket, or a plant from

Final Thoughts

The shelf bracket is often not thought about – for the most part it is a functional piece that we don’t think about once the shelf is installed – but there are definitely reasons to think about the bracket. There is the way it looks, as well as the weight that the bracket can hold, as well as how it can be repurposed at the end of the shelf’s life. Luckily, if you’re considering buying one of our shelves, we’ve already thought about strength and aesthetics, and we include everything you need to fix your shelf, and your shelf bracket to the wall, so you can install your shelf quickly and easily.

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