The Best Bookshelves You Can Buy Right Now
From floating styles to ones with built-in desks, interior designers share their favorite options on the market right now.
A good bookshelf can be a game-changer for any room of your home. Along with providing a place to show off your favorite reading materials, a reliable bookshelf can also offer up ample storage opportunity. "A bookshelf is meant to be functional, however it can play a decorative role, as well," interior designer Breegan Jane explains. "If you have a small space, a bookshelf can incorporate dual components and act as a desk or nightstand in addition to storing books and other miscellaneous objects, such as art and plants. If you don't have enough cabinetry space in areas such as your closet or kitchen, a bookshelf can act as a shoe rack or a place to store crockery."
Along with supplying extra room for storage, interior designer John McClain says bookshelves can work wonders for an open layout space. "In a large space or studio apartment, bookcases can stand in for walls or room dividers," he explains. "Additionally, shorter cases make excellent media stands or landing stations near a home's entry."
However, with all the beautiful bookshelves on the market, separating the quality from the so-so can be tricky. "There is nothing worse than having a bookshelf that is too flimsy," Jane explains. "Therefore, it's imperative that a well-designed bookshelf incorporates solid hardware and structural integrity." In the market for a sturdy and sophisticated bookcase that won't cost you an arm and a leg? We asked a handful of interior designers to share their favorite affordable bookshelves, and here's what they had to say.
When you aren't working with a ton of square footage, Jane recommends a wall-mounted bookshelf that won't take up any valuable floor space. "This floating bookshelf makes a great addition to any kitchen that's in need of extra storage," she says. "When styling, make sure to level out heavy objects evenly and always incorporate a pop of greenery."
Shop Now: West Elm "Floating Lines" Three-Tiered Wall Shelf, $250, westelm.com.
We love the geometric quality of this modern piece, which allows you to create a different vignette in each "box." "It also can be angled to fit into a small corner or expanded to double as a room divider," says Carneil Griffin of Griffin Direction Interiors.
Shop Now: Joss & Main "Maguire" Geometric Bookcase, $255, jossandmain.com.
When thoughtfully styled, an eye-catching bookcase can spotlight as a focal point in a room, says Lauren Wills of Wills Design Associates. "The lines of the Dallas Modern Storage Shelf make it an interesting piece in itself, so you don't have to over style it," she explains. "The taller sections can hold a lamp or plant, so you really can have fun when styling this one."
Shop Now: Urban Outfitters Dallas Modern Storage Shelf, $369, urbanoutfitters.com.
New baby in the house? McClain suggests purchasing a bookcase with a low profile that can double as a changing table in a nursery. "This versatile piece will serve for an entire childhood and beyond," he explains. "For the first year, add baskets, a changing pad, and a small lamp for late night sessions. As the child grows, you can swap out the supplies for toys, books, or even clothes."
Shop Now: Project 62 60" Loring 8 Cube Bookcase, $229.99, target.com.
Different Sized Shelves
The only thing better than a beautiful bookcase is one that provides ample storage opportunity. "This bookshelf is made of solid wood and can be used in different areas throughout a home, including a home office, bedroom, kitchen, or living room," Michelle Lisac says. "The different sized shelves are great for showcasing items both large and small."
Shop Now: West Elm Mid-Century 22" Bookshelf in Acorn, $399, westelm.com.
If you're looking for a bookshelf with a bit of flair, Sara Barney of BANDD DESIGN recommends a bookcase composed of various woods. "I love the contrast of the two different wood tones on the Stax Bookcase," she explains. "The shape is perfect because it's timeless, but also gives off a modern feel."
Shop Now: CB2 Stax Bookcase, $399, cb2.com.
The only thing better than a good-looking bookcase is one that you can customize. "You can install multiples of these side-by-side to expand storage space and pick from a few beautiful finish options," Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design says. "It's especially cool that you can mix it up and choose one finish for the shelves and another for the legs."
Shop Now: Blu Dot Hitch Add-on Bookcase, $499, bludot.com.
Anne Carr says you can always count on a tall, slender bookshelf to take advantage of vertical space in a small room. "This bookcase is sturdy and sleek," she explains. "Style with oversized books and modern accessories to balance out the slimmer profile."
Shop Now: Room & Board Slim Bookcase in Natural Steel, $449, roomandboard.com.
Why invest in a traditional bookcase when you can buy one that doubles as a workstation instead? "This bookshelf is sleek and simple with hidden hardware, and also has the dual function of an incorporated desk or nightstand," Jane explains. "Don't forget that books can be displayed vertically and horizontally with a decorative object placed on top."
Shop Now: CB2 Stairway White 96-inch Desk, $399, cb2.com.
A bookshelf with a serious cult following, the KALLAX is stylish, storage-savvy, and inexpensive, says Meg Lonergan. "You can fill it chock-block with books, decorative objects, mementos from travels, and photo albums," she explains. "You can even layer a mirror or art on top to break up the shelves. The best part is that you can stack multiples of these together to make it wider or taller—the sky is the limit!"
Shop Now: IKEA KALLAX in White, $119, ikea.com.