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How to choose a bookshelf

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A bookshelf can store a lot more than your favourite bestsellers. They can easily house entire collections of souvenirs and they can easily become sleek centrepieces thanks to a range of modern designs.

Your bookshelf can be a beautiful, ornamental statement in your living room, bedroom, home office or study. There are many different shapes of shelves to fit your living space and style.

When looking for a bookshelf, it’s important to consider the size and type of unit you’re looking for and, as always, you want to keep a careful eye out for quality materials. After that, you can explore all the creative features out there to make your bookshelf unique to you.

Size and style

You may be excited about your project, but before anything else, you must determine the size and style that best fits your room. Start by measuring the space you need to fill and be sure to leave room for surrounding furniture and other features, like wall art and windows. This strategy will keep your room from becoming too busy.


The traditional shelf bookcase is a popular option, but there are so many different styles to choose from with the latest concepts being produced. A barrister bookcase is designed to look like a stacked cabinet — a sensible design choice if you’re looking for a professional home-office look. Ladder bookshelves look thin and modern, which is a sleek look if that’s what you need.

If you’re looking for something more playful, modular bookcases can be stacked and connected to create a unique shape, or to fit in a tight space. Revolving and corner bookcases can be extremely unique and stylish, but they can save a lot of space.

Solid materials

After choosing your size and style, you’ll need to choose the most suitable material you can. The bookshelf you choose should be practical to place and suitable for the rest of your furniture.


Solid hardwood bookshelves can last forever, but they can be a bit on the bulky side. Moving these book shelves is not always easy, so choose your location wisely. On the upside, though, hardwood will last you a lifetime and will be handed down for generations to come because these pieces are timeless.

Common in modular bookshelves, metal is a very classy material. Many modern bookshelves use metal frames with wooden shelving. Weight is still an issue with quality metal shelves, but this isn’t always a deal-breaker. Metal leaning shelves in particular need weight to keep them from falling away from the wall.

Fun Features

Consider finding a bookshelf with different functions. Bookshelves can be as simple as the classic rectangular standing shelf, but they can also offer fun features that open new possibilities for display and furniture placement. For example, open back bookcases can divide rooms into sections while keeping a much more open feel.

Try wooden doors on your bookshelf to protect its contents, or glass doors for displaying collections while shielding them from dust. Conversely, doors can also limit outward space and are bulkier than an open bookshelf. You’ll also need enough space to open each door.

Choosing the features on your bookshelf wisely is important, as is having the right sized bookshelf made of the best materials. Not only will you find a quality bookshelf appealing, but you’ll use it more and display more things if it has the right features. Always consider how exactly you’re planning to use the shelf as you make your decision.