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I'm currently living in an apartment that doesn't allow me to put anything larger than a finishing nail sized hole in the wall. I have a small bathroom shelf that I would like to put up that consists of a lightweight metal frame with three tempered glass shelves as well as a towel rack on the bottom.

Initially my thoughts went to the 3M command strips. I know they have picture hanging strips that essentially consists of velcro on top of command strips. But I have a feeling that this wouldn't hold up and the shelf would fall down. So I was thinking it might work out to buy the plain command strips and put them directly on the back of the shelf where it would contact the wall. I see that they're rated for around 5lbs each and I believe loaded the shelf wouldn't be more than 10lbs or so. I'm just curious if this would work or if it might end up causing more damage than just putting holes in the wall?

Does anyone have any experiences with hanging something of this nature without damaging the wall?

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landlords can't charge too much for spackling, paint, and "labor". – jberger Jan 19 '12 at 21:37
One of the apartments I lived in before charged me $75 to fill 2 anchor holes form a coat shelf. They weren't much larger than the diameter of a pencil. – Philter Jan 20 '12 at 17:04
you could have definitely challenged that. – jberger Jan 20 '12 at 17:08
@jberger: Not if it's in the signed rental agreement. – Doresoom Feb 3 '12 at 18:18
if it says in the agreement "any holes larger than a standard hanging nail will result in a total charge of $75" OR "$37.50 /large hole", then the challenge would surely fail. – jberger Feb 3 '12 at 18:25
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I would not risk hanging a glass shelf with those strips. They are meant for hanging things directly from (like a towel, hair dryer, etc.), not a shelf that sticks out. Instead of just pulling down on the strip, it will pull down and away, almost a guaranteed recipe for broken glass.

Unfortunately there is no way to anchor something to the wall without proper anchors. If you are able to get the shelf anchored into a stud then the hole should not be all that large - it's the drywall anchors that tend to make larger holes.

If the wall was concrete you might be able to glue it to the wall, but this will leave a larger mess (leftover glue that someone has to scrape off) than screws in drywall.

Perhaps you could offer to repair any damage you are responsible for? Otherwise you should get a free-standing shelving unit.

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I agree. Sink the screws into the stud and repair the damage on move out day. I always used toothpaste when I didn't have joint compound. ( white of course ) – Trout Jan 17 '12 at 19:40
I would never trust those strips for any shear type load either. – shirlock homes Jan 18 '12 at 11:01
I have a plastic ikea grocerybag holder hung in my utility room with them right now. It seems to be fine for that. But I was worried about heavier objects. – Philter Jan 18 '12 at 17:36
Velcro is good at handling loads that put an even force all along the surface. The moment you put a cantilever load, like a wall bracket on it, you generate the same sort of uneven forces you use to pull velcro apart (starting at one end, pull apart). The item would have to be very light so that it doesn't generate enough force to start pulling the velcro away at the top. Glass shelves and any glass on them aren't something you want hitting the floor in a bathroom so you can walk on the shards barefoot. Even tempered glass granules cut when trod upon. – Fiasco Labs Mar 22 '13 at 15:20

Step 1: Go to Home Depot or Lowes and raid the paint department for paint cards that look similar to the color of your bathroom wall.

Step 2: Take the cards home and hold them up to the wall one at a time. You may want to get a friend to stand outside the room or get as far away as possible and view the card from multiple angles. Turn the lights on and off, etc. The card that completely (or mostly) 'disappears' in all viewing circumstances is your match. Now that you know you can find a match for the paint:

Step 3: Mount the shelf to the studs with screws.

When you move out, go get a sample can of paint (usually only around $3) in the color you determined your wall to be. Mud over the screw holes, sand, and paint. I did this when I moved out of my apartment, and it saved me from getting hit with a ridiculous $50+ repair fee for a couple screw holes. Just make sure the paint samples are available in the same sheen as your wall. Most apartments are simply flat paint, since it's the cheapest option. Fortunately, most paint samples are available in flat as well.

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even easier, take a chip of paint to home depot and have them colour match it – Steven Jan 17 '12 at 21:54
@Steven: Good point. Although, will they color match for samples? – Doresoom Jan 17 '12 at 22:02
I'm not sure, but you can get relatively cheap paint at HD at for patching no one will know – Steven Jan 17 '12 at 23:06
It's a pretty generic apartment so the walls are white. I'm betting if I just put spackle over it, the match would be pretty close. I'm not a good judge of color though, due to my colorblindness. – Philter Jan 18 '12 at 17:32
I know Lowe's will match paint samples. I've taken a 2"x2" square from my wall to them and they matched it up perfectly. I'd have to assume Home Depot can match paint all the same since they're fierce competitors. I wouldn't attempt to match it with swatches, though, as you will never get it exactly right. – oscilatingcretin Feb 4 '12 at 14:07

I have a wooden wall shelf hanging up on my wall with Command™ strips. If you are planning to put heavy things on the shelf then it will not work. I have a plant on mine and it's been holding for at least 3 months. Make sure you get the Command™ strips that can hold the most weight possible, just in case.

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