How to secure IKEA LACK shelf to brackets

lack shelf external brackets

I needed a new bookshelf and love the design and look of IKEA LACK shelves. But I have never had a positive experience with the so-called “hidden” bracket that comes standard with the IKEA LACK shelf, no matter what the shelf length. 

And since this long shelf would be mounted high above the desk where I work, I especially would not — under any circumstances — trust a LACK shelf mounted with the hidden bracket (no matter how securely) to hold more than a few pounds without tipping down at the front edge or actually failing, especially here in earthquake country. 

So I decided to use 4 external metal brackets that together can hold a combined weight of 160 pounds, if installed into studs (as these are). A foot of books weighs about 20 pounds, so 120 pounds of books on this shelf is well within limits.

Lack wall shelf with external brackets and a line of books on top
IKEA item used:

IKEA LACK Shelf (74-3/4” x 10-1/4”)

To securely anchor the brackets to the underside of the LACK shelf (which isn’t solid but a paper honeycomb structure) I used these clever metal hollow door fasteners. These are also useful on the underside of IKEA LINNMON desktops. 

hollow door and drywall anchor

I’m quite pleased with the results. The LACK shelf itself is such a beautiful, simple, sturdy, environmentally friendly, and superbly designed product! 

external bracket in black metal

But I hope my experience gives IKEA customers who love LACK shelves an option to IKEA’s hidden bracket approach, which I think is flawed at best. 

~ by Bruce Williamson

You may also like this alternative way to install the IKEA LACK shelf brackets

Bino, reinforced his LACK shelf to take on double the IKEA recommended weight. He took it from 15 kg (the max. load specified) to 36 kg (about 80 lbs).

Lack wall shelf weight limit tested with 24 bottles of 1.5L water bottles

Testing with 24 bottles of 1.5 litre water bottles. And passed! Read more.