How Often Should You Space Brackets on a Shelf?

Heavy Items

Shelf brackets function to hang the shelf and to support shelf weight. Place brackets closer together for heavier weights. Not enough support can cause shelves to fall or bow in the middle. Space brackets one-fourth the entire shelf length. For example, a 1-foot shelf would have brackets every 3 inches.

Light Items

Space brackets one-half the length of the shelf length for lightweight items. For example, a 1-foot shelf would have brackets at each end and in the middle of the shelf. Too many brackets can cause shelves to buckle in the center.

Bottom Line

Proper spacing of brackets requires knowing how much weight the shelf will support. Heavier weights require closer bracket spacing than light weight support. Incorrect spacing can cause the shelves to buckle, bow or fall.