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How to Hang Shelves in an Apartment

This post shares all about how to hang shelves in an apartment, including how to install floating shelves without brackets and the best way to hang floating shelves without damaging the wall too much. High & Mighty provided the shelving for this project.

How to hang shelves in an apartment

Today I am sharing a review of a really fun product that would have come in handy a few years ago when we lived in an apartment: High & Mighty floating shelves! I’m installing them with my brother’s girlfriend in their apartment.

As many apartment dwellers know, holes in apartment rental walls are sometimes frowned upon. It’s one of the things that can make personalizing a rental so difficult. Nail holes are usually fine, but larger holes like screws and drywall anchors are often no-gos. 

When I learned about High & Mighty’s floating shelf options, I immediately thought of my brother’s girlfriend. They just moved in to an amazing rental apartment, and she loves to decorate. She has great taste. I thought these shelves would be super helpful for them.

high & mighty floating shelves mounted in an apartment

How do High & Mighty Floating Shelves Work?

One of the great things about all the High & Mighty products is that they are designed to be used on drywall–specifically ½” or thicker drywall. (They can be used with thinner drywall, but the weight capacity might be reduced.) This helps you avoid the issue of having to drill large holes for drywall anchors and screws.

The flat floating shelves have a weight limit of 15–25 lbs depending on the length you choose. We’re working with the 36” black flat floating shelf, so 25 lb gives us a lot of room to add things. You might be wondering how the tiny pins can hold so much weight—it’s because they have a curved shape that helps distribute the weight. They are also hardened, unlike a lot of decorative nails and picture hangers. 

I was skeptical about how these shelves could hold so much, and I spoke to the company about it. They said that they are 100% confident in the weight ratings they’ve provided because their shelves have gone through extensive testing. Actually, their shelves meet or exceed the weight ratings of most competitor floating shelves that require anchors or stud mounting.

The shelves are also made of a wood-plastic composite, which makes them more resistant to water damage than traditional MDF shelves. This makes them great for plants. (I have an MDF drawer unit that I love, but I’ve already had some bubbling on the top of it from drips while watering plants.)

high & mighty floating shelves mounted in an apartment
high & mighty floating shelves mounted in an apartment

How to hang floating shelves in drywall

These shelves are a true DIYers dream. They require no tools, though you can use a hammer to gently tap the pins into the wall if you have trouble pushing them through. This is especially great for renters who don’t want to accumulate too many tools with more frequent moves. Each shelf also comes with its own sticky level to ensure everything looks straight when you’re finished. 


Browse reviews for all High & Mighty low-damage, renter-friendly hanging solutions on Amazon!

Here are the 3 easy steps to hanging your shelves in your apartment’s drywall.

Step 1: Peel the backing off of the level. Stick it to the wall exactly where you want your shelf to be, ensuring it is level. This isn’t just part of making sure the shelves are level, though—it also shows you exactly where to hang your steel pins.

removing the sticky backing
space above the TV
measuring where to mount the shelves
mounting the level

Step 2: Push the steel pins into the drywall. You can use a hammer to tap them in if you need to. I did need to use a hammer—wasn’t strong enough to get them in on my own.

adding the shelf supports

Step 3: Line up your shelf and slide it down onto the wall mounts.

Since plants can get heavy with wet soil, consider smaller plants or plants that need watered less frequently. Faux greenery and air plants would also look great on this shelf. Just be mindful of what your total weight limit is—15-25 lbs depending on the length of shelf you get.

mounting the shelf
high & mighty floating shelves mounted in an apartment
high & mighty floating shelves mounted in an apartment
screenshot of instagram account

Looking for ideas of what to put on these shelves? Check out the 15 chic pieces I’ve spray painted black, white, or gold; my tiny teacup planter; an upcycled tea tin planter; my modern mini painted plant pots; and my tiny faux succulent planter. You can also check out my DIY photo ledge shelves.

Removing the floating shelves with minimal damage

Many shelving options out there require the use of drywall anchors. At the very least, you’ll need to use wood screws if you’re screwing directly into studs. Drywall anchors leave BIG holes in the wall, while screws leave smaller but still noticeable holes.

The steel pins that support the floating shelves leave holes barely bigger than a pin. This makes the damage very minimal and very easy to repair. Just grab one of those little nail hole repair kits from Home Depot or Lowes and fill the holes.

To remove these shelves from your wall, simply remove the shelf piece. Then use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry the hanger pins out. Easy as that.

removing the shelf with minimal damage

More renter-friendly hanging solutions

High & Mighty also has a bunch of other low-damage, sturdy, renter-friendly hanging solutions to check out. Their wall hangers can hold anywhere from 20–125 lbs (yes I said 125!), and their decorative hooks range from 15–25 lbs.

They have hooks in a variety of styles, including both traditional and modern. I’ve used the hooks in my home, and they look very nice. Hook rails and key rails are also options. The different styles range from 5–50 lbs.

If you like what you see and want to enter a giveaway to win these shelves, head over to Instagram and check out how! We’re giving away two of any of the floating shelves—both beveled and flat styles, to one lucky winner!

Pin my tips about how to hang shelves in an apartment! 

collage that says hanging floating shelves with minimal damage including pictures of the process
apartment living room with text that says hanging floating shelves with minimal damage
Brittany Goldwyn
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