I've got a couple of shelves that were manufactured to 120cm in length, which is slightly less than 48" (47.25"). Unfortunately, I discovered that the desired location has stud spacing of 24" rather than 16". This means that if I hang the shelf using two brackets placed on the studs, I'm going to have an overhang of around 11.625" on either side.

Is that too much overhang? Would it be better to use drywall anchors to space one or both (or more?) of the brackets out farther?

The recommendations I've found online vary as to how much overhang is safe, most suggesting no more than 6" but I've also seen 12". My gut feeling is it would be ok as long as I didn't put heavy objects on the ends of the shelves, but as a DIY noob I don't trust my gut.

Edit: The shelves are 1" particle board and weigh 10 pounds. They will be used for a reasonably light load - display objects, small potted plants and a few books.

  • We need a little more information. The thickness of the shelf and the weight and placement of the objects that go on the shelf will help. Moving the brackets further apart doesn't necessarily help support a load.
    – HoneyDo
    Feb 10, 2021 at 19:50
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    How thick is the shelving? What material is it made from? There exist charts which will tell you the weight limit. If you leave it empty then there is no worry.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 10, 2021 at 19:51
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    Particle board will not handle "much" of a cantilever load ; not many books. Feb 10, 2021 at 20:41
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    Adding a solid wood 1x1 under the front edge of the shelf would provide some reinforcement against sagging. You could do the same above the back edge, but you would lose some depth.
    – HABO
    Feb 10, 2021 at 22:46
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    I normally set brackets every 32" (every other stud) for 3/4" particle board shelves. Unless you're storing horse shoes that's fine.
    – isherwood
    Feb 11, 2021 at 13:49

3 Answers 3


The issues with shelves are sag and safety.

Given 11" overhang and the bracket spacing you are at extremely (maybe none) low risk for sag. Two feet isn't really a wide enough space for a board to sag unless it is really thin.

The 11" on each side, its nothing. The only issue there is tipping but that would be you adding a 40 pound anvil on the very very edge (I don't think a 40 pound anvil would but just for the sake of arguing). Also that is the kind of weight that would be needed to sag the outside and that would be based on the anvil's center of mass - if it were 10" wide your weight would only be about 5-6" outside the bracket.

So you have no issues. Also I would not worry about adding more support given you have screws into studs. If you add more than 2 brackets on a system - one of the 3 brackets ends up with the most weight on it. And if it is a bracket not on a stud it will sag carrying most weight.

Most important thing on the install is shelf is snug on the wall. The shelf being flush will keep it from bending out - which happens to some mdf shelves over time.

  • Thanks. The boards are fairly sturdy at 1" so I'm not too concerned about sag. The brackets are rated for 1000 lbs/pair in studs. The tipping is really what I was wondering about so I appreciate your answer. Feb 10, 2021 at 23:11
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    Most brackets have screw holes on both legs - screw through them into the shelves and tipping is a non-issue.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 11, 2021 at 0:38
  • Yup, definitely screw the shelves to the brackets and you'll be good.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 11, 2021 at 13:22

As long as you don't heavily load the shelf you should be fine. Make sure that you hit the studs when you install the shelf brackets. The brackets should have a load rating on them. Use properly sized screws and balance the load across the shelf placing heavier items above or between the brackets. If you get some flex in the shelf at the center you can always add a middle bracket using properly sized hollow-wall anchors.


I don't know how many brackets you have but I would just add some drywall anchors to the stud-less areas and attach brackets there.

You'll have to play around a bit to make things look evenly spaced.

I highly recommend watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHb-Tcvkn7M or just skip to the vertical strength results at https://youtu.be/lHb-Tcvkn7M?t=930

The worst anchor can withstand 77 pounds of downward force and 39 pounds of outward force. So if you keep your shelf load within limits then you should be fine.

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