What’s the Best Bookshelf for You? 4 Great Designs to Consider

May 4, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

The bookshelf is an essential piece of furniture for any home. Whether it’s for practical reasons or primarily for design, the bookshelf is ubiquitous in most homes. 

Its ubiquity, in fact, ensures that we don’t really think too hard about it. “It’s a bookshelf,” they would say, “just get one that can hold all the books.” Especially if you’re a person who doesn’t have a specific affection for books, you would think of bookshelves as just a way of keeping things in order, making sure they’re not on the floor or the table.

But bookshelves serve a two-pronged reasoning for us. It’s not just for the neatness of the home, but it also serves as an aesthetic way of displaying your knowledge and interests. 

A person asleep with a book on their face. Photo by cottonbro studios. Source: Pexels.
A person asleep with a book on their face. Photo by cottonbro studios. Source: Pexels.

Visitors will look at the books and wonder about your choices: your Hemingways and Atlas Shrugged and Jane Austens put up on a shelf. It’s a great conversation starter. Bookshelves become a shorthand for telling others who you are as a person and the principles you value. 

With that in mind, let’s get creative in how we showcase the books in our lives.

Bookshelves as Room Dividers

Shelves in Pear Tree House. Photo by Art Department Creative.
Shelves in Pear Tree House. Photo by Art Department Creative.

For open plan communal areas in your home, consider bookshelves as room dividers. If the layout of your home or apartment doesn’t have a separation between the living room and dining room, for example, a bookshelf in the middle solves the problem well. It’s a way to display your books for a specific portion of the room—the book spine can face towards your preferred area—while the rest of the books can provide privacy for the other side. 

Floating book shelves

A novel trend happening in book-related social media is the floating bookshelf. The design contains similarity to the bracket bookshelf or the glass bookshelf. The difference, however, is that it gives the illusion of the books floating in mid-air. The books are held together by near-invisible mounting that holds your book up.

Of all the shelf designs suggested here, floating shelves are the most aesthetically minimalist. It also lets you arrange your books in different ways, whether upright or sideways, to best complement the furniture in your space.

Cubes

Cubes as shelving. Photo by Locabiotal. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Cubes as shelving. Photo by Locabiotal. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Another interesting minimalist design is using boxes or cubes as shelves. This works well for a lot of homes without clashing too much with the established decor. The advantage behind cubical shelves is that they take up less space, and can be easy to work the shelves around other furniture. 

The square shape also keeps the books inside it steady, and a lot less likely to fall off. And because they’re more secure, you can put it closer to other, more fragile pieces around your room. You can pair it easily next to your TV just as much as you can stack it in a corner. 

Cube shelving in an office. Photo by Medhat Ayad. Source: Pexels.
Cube shelving in an office. Photo by Medhat Ayad. Source: Pexels.

Floor-to-ceiling Shelves Around Your Door

Another idea that could work for your home, especially if you have a lot of books on your shelf, are shelves built around your doorway. These tend to be custom-built, because it encircles the door from the floor to the ceiling. It doesn’t just add bookshelves to the sides of your door, but on top of it. 

A bookshelf with a secret door compartment. Photo by agmk. Source: Flickr.
A bookshelf with a secret door compartment. Photo by agmk. Source: Flickr.

Compared to the rest of the shelves here, this one can be used if you want to overwhelm visitors with the amount of books you own. It sends the message that you are a well-read individual, and that you want to flaunt it so much that you created a custom built shelf around your door to showcase it.

Books Peer into Our Soul

Private book office. Photo by Max Vakhtbovycn. Source: Pexels.
Private book office. Photo by Max Vakhtbovycn. Source: Pexels.

The bookshelves we suggested here aren’t just practical. They’re also for aesthetic purposes, as a way of allowing visitors to peer into your soul and see what’s important to you. The bookshelves can be compared to curation: these books are cared for, well-loved, and important enough to have a prominent place in your home.

Whether your book collection is mostly best-sellers or archaic French philosophers, it grants your friends, family—or anyone really—to get to know you better as an individual.

Related reading: 10 Ways To Divide Your Tiny Condo Without Installing Walls

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