Chose hardware for your adjustable shelves according to whether the shelves will be open or encased, what's going to be stored on them, and the look you desire.
Open shelving, often called utility shelving because it plays an important storage role in a basement, garage, or laundry room, is shelving attached directly to a wall rather than built into a case. But it can be dressed up for interior use too. Getting the look you want begins with shelf standards. These metal tracks are made in various styles and finishes. They're either fastened directly to the wall or mounted in wall-attached wood channels. To carry heavy loads, mount them to the wall studs with heavy screws or lag bolts. For lighter loads, you can use hollow-wall anchors or toggle bolts.
Some styles of standards only accept metal shelf brackets. Others are designed for decorative, wood, corbel-type brackets. Another type, usually used in cabinets, takes only metal clips. Dress your shelves up or down by selecting the appropriate design and finish.
When building adjustable shelves inside a bookcase or cabinet, you can support the shelves where they meet the sides of the piece in one of three ways: with surface-mounted standards, standards flush-mounted in a groove, or pin supports.
Wood dowels can be used as pin supports, and there are dozens of metal and plastic varieties available as well. All pin supports require two rows of evenly spaced 1/4-inch or 5-mm holes on each side of the cabinet or case.
If you plan to add doors and drawers to a bookcase, you'll have to get to know other types of hardware as well. Door catches, hinges, pulls, and drawer slides are numerous in configuration, finish, and style. Start by learning the basic types.
Lipped doors -- doors that partially cover the cabinet's frame -- generally require one of two hinge types. An offset hinge fastens to the face frame and the back of the door. A wraparound hinge is attached to the back of the door and the inside edge of the face frame. They're used on doors that overlap the frame, too.
For doors without lips that either cover, partially cover, or fit flush with the cabinet face, you have several options.
A cylinder-style hinge mounts to the face frame and into a recess cut in the back of a door. Pivot hinges, attached to the back of an overlapped door and the face frame, are concealed. A semiconcealed hinge attaches the same way but to a partially overlapped door. For a flush door, use a butt hinge that folds between the door and face frame. Growing in popularity is the Eurostyle hinge, which fastens to the door back and cabinet side.
Handles come in many forms, colors, and finishes but fall into only two categories: pulls and knobs. Both require drilling through the door, then attaching the hardware with screws. Catches tightly hold doors closed and are available in several common styles, including friction and magnetic.