How to Install Suspended Shelving: Part 1 of 2

What You'll Need
Ceiling-to-floor fittings, fixtures and hardware
10-millimeter metal cable (may vary according to kit specifications)
6-millimeter thick glass shelves
Stainless steel shelve supports
Power drill
Plumb line
Tape measure
Stud/joist finder

Installing suspended shelving provides ample space for books, keepsakes, audiovisual accessories and so much more. Moreover, it does so without taking up a lot of floor space, resulting in a clean-looking fixture that is entirely functional without sacrificing aesthetics.

With suspended shelving, less is more. A clean, sleek combination of stainless steel cable and hardware with glass shelves possesses an ultra-contemporary look and feel. You have some options in terms of installation method, but the variety of suspended shelving systems share a distinctively modern vibe. Suspended shelves may be of the ceiling-to-floor or wall-to-wall type. This how-to will walk you through the ceiling-to-floor method and provide some options at the end.

Step 1: Locate Ceiling Joists

With the stud/joist finder, locate the the position of the ceiling joists where you wish to install the suspended shelving. They are typically spaced 16 inches on center. The 2 joists into which you install the fittings depends on the length of the glass shelves. Shelves 16 or 32 inches in length are appropriate. Once located, determine the center of the joist by approaching it from both sides with the joist finder and indicating its outside edges with pencil marks. Split the difference and mark an X in the center. Along the same line, mark a second X on the joist at a distance required by the installation instructions or necessitated by the width of the shelves. Repeat this step for the opposite joist, making sure the marks are equidistant from the wall and from each other.

Step 2: Drill Pilot Holes and Fix Hidden Fittings to Ceiling

Into each of the 4 X marks, drill a pilot hole through the drywall into the ceiling joist. The pilot holes should be deep enough so that a wood screw will be able to sink deeply into the wood. Next, install the hidden fittings by mounting them to the ceiling with wood screws. The screws must be long enough to extend through the fitting, through the drywall and into the joists. The hidden fittings are threaded on the outside, over which the polished, visible fitting will fit. This step will differ if you are mounting screws into a material other than wood.

Step 3: Mount Visible Fittings with Cables Attached

Next, thread a metal cable through the opening in each visible fitting and bring it all the way through. The cable is prevented from falling out by a stopper. Into each of the mounted fittings, screw on the visible fitting. When complete, 4 cables should dangle from the ceiling and reach the floor with length to spare.

Step 4: Plumb the Cables

One cable at a time, run a plumb line from the mounted ceiling fitting to the floor. Let it hang freely until it finds its natural equilibrium. On the floor, at each point directly below its respective fitting, mark where the floor fixture will be installed.

See Part 2 of this article for the remaining installation instructions.