Every year you hear of at least one or two tragedies involving a piece of furniture tipping over and causing a serious injury. If you’re a parent, the thought of your curious toddler climbing on an open dresser drawer can shake you to the core.
Heavy pieces of furniture that aren’t stabilized by a wall anchor present a hazard not only to small children, but to older adults, pets, and even an adult in their prime who haphazardly pulls too hard on a drawer. Furniture tip-overs are completely unnecessary, and it’s easy to make sure they never happen in your home.
Modloft designers work tirelessly to create beautiful, modern pieces that look elegant and sophisticated in your home. However, our number one concern is your safety and the safety of your family and guests.
As such, we can help you understand how to properly anchor your furniture, so you never have to worry about your favorite piece causing an accident.
We’ll cover which pieces of furniture should be anchored, how you can anchor them, and give you some suggestions for repairing any damage left behind by anchoring methods.
What Do I Need to Anchor?
Not all of your furniture needs to be anchored to your walls, but the larger pieces, especially pieces that contain drawers that could topple, definitely should be. Here's a breakdown of pieces that should be anchored and why.
Dressers are the number one furniture item that tips and causes injury and death in the U.S. They are second only to televisions in terms of tip-over-related injuries and deaths. There is currently no standard of safety testing for dressers before they can be sold to the public; however, some companies adhere to voluntary testing and standards to ensure safety.
If you have children or pets in your home, or if you just want to take extra precaution that no one is ever injured with a dresser that tips over, it’s best to anchor it to the wall against which it sits.
Bookcases are another furniture piece that can cause injury if not properly anchored to the wall. Bookcases are generally tall and provide multiple shelves that can be tempting for small children and pets to climb. Even if your bookcase is open on both sides, the chance for injury is high, especially if the bookcase is home to lots of books or glass objects.
Some media consoles are only knee-high and seem like they’d be safe from tipping. However, if you place a large television atop them, they can become off-balanced and present a greater tipping risk.
Additionally, media consoles usually have lower, cupboard-style drawers, which can tempt small children and animals to crawl inside.
Storage Cabinets and Chests
Much like media consoles, cabinets, drawers, armoires, and other storage-type pieces can present a tip-over risk, especially if they have lower handles and drawers that can easily be opened with little hands. The best and safest way to ensure there are no injuries is to anchor every large piece of furniture to your walls.
How to Properly Anchor Your Furniture
You know you need to anchor your furniture for safety, but you also don’t want to damage your furniture, your walls, or anchor a piece improperly. Here’s how to anchor any piece of furniture correctly.
You’ll need to buy an anchoring kit for each piece of furniture you plan to anchor to your walls. Generally, an anchoring kit consists of three parts:
- Bracket for the furniture. This bracket attaches directly to the back of your piece of furniture with screws.
- Bracket for the wall. This bracket attaches to a stud in your wall.
- Anchoring strap. The anchoring strap is generally a sturdy nylon strap that attaches the bracket on the furniture to the bracket on the wall. It is usually adjustable, so once the furniture and wall are connected with the strap, you can pull to tighten it and bring the piece of furniture closer to the wall.
You can purchase other types of anchoring kits, but be sure they have been tested to ensure the safety of your furniture.
Anchoring Your Furniture
Most homes have drywall finishing in the interior. Anchoring to drywall can be a challenge, but with the right tools, you can do it quickly and easily.
- Find the stud. To anchor your furniture to drywall, you will need a stud finder. Make sure you don’t attempt to anchor your furniture to drywall only; the screws will not stay in, and the anchor can fail. Pro tip: Most studs are 16” apart and can be found on either side of an electrical outlet for a frame of reference.
- Locate the studs on the wall where you’d like to place your furniture. Position your furniture in front of the wall with the studs. Mark the studs on the wall, and mark the top position of the furniture. Follow the anchor kit instructions to properly measure the distance between the wall bracket and furniture bracket to ensure you place both brackets correctly.
- Attach both the wall bracket and furniture bracket, then insert the strap and adjust according to the instructions.
If you will be anchoring furniture to concrete or brick, it’s best to have professional help, unless you have the proper experience and tools (like a hammer drill) to get the job done.
How to Repair Anchor Damage
Eventually, you will have to remove your furniture anchors to relocate furniture or replace them. If you’ve properly attached the furniture to your walls, you’re going to be left with holes in your drywall that will need to be patched. This is a simple process.
- Carefully remove the furniture tethers from the walls by removing the strap first. You can leave the bracket in your furniture if you plan to anchor it to another wall. Using a screwdriver, remove the anchor bracket from the wall.
- Using a putty knife, gently scrape debris away from the area where the hole has been left in the wall ensuring the surface is smooth.
- Using spackling paste, fill the hole in the wall, using your putty knife to ensure a smooth surface. Continue to use the spackle until the hole is fully filled and smooth.
- Sand the surface you’ve spackled, and touch up the entire area with paint.
If you don’t plan to anchor your furniture again, you can remove the anchor bracket from the furniture and repair the holes in the back, although it should be noted, this is a more labor-intensive process, and ultimately, the holes in the furniture are in the back, out of eyesight. It may not be worth your time to repair them.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of anchoring all your furniture to the wall. Remember, not all pieces will need anchoring. Smaller items like console tables and benches may not need tethering straps. You should consult a professional childproofer to determine what needs to be anchored and what doesn’t.
Before you start the process, here are a few helpful hints.
- When attaching the bracket to the back of your piece of furniture, always attach to solid wood when possible. Never attach the anchoring bracket to thin pieces of particleboard sometimes found on the back of dressers or storage units.
- Your screw length matters. Always aim to use 2” screws when you are anchoring your wall brackets. Shorter screws may not fully penetrate the stud.
- The bracket on your furniture doesn’t have to be centered on the piece of furniture, but it does need to be attached as high as possible.
Anchoring your furniture to the wall is a job that can quite literally save lives. Large pieces of furniture like dressers and bookcases always need to be anchored to the wall to ensure safety. If there’s any question in your mind of whether or not another piece of furniture would tip over, it’s best to go ahead and anchor it.
It’s also a good idea to perform routine safety checks of your furniture and their anchors every few months. This is the best way to ensure the straps and brackets are still tight and haven’t wiggled free from their original position.
You can have beautiful furniture and peace of mind at the same time when you choose to anchor your pieces to the wall. Your family’s safety should never have to be compromised, and at Modloft, our pieces are both beautiful and fully capable of being wall-mounted for security.
CR's Ongoing Furniture Tip-Over Investigation | Consumer Reports
F2057 - 00 Standard Safety Specification for Chests, Door Chests, and Dressers | ASTM
How to Anchor Furniture to Help Prevent Tip-Overs | Consumer Reports
How to Repair an Anchor Pulled From Wood Furniture | Home Steady