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Bookshelf Design Tips to Make Your Stacks Stand Out


Who isn’t tired of boring old bookcases? Storage for all the novels you swear you’ll get to reading is key–but it doesn’t have to be without style. There are tons of unique bookcases and tons of ways to maximize their space. Whether you’re purchasing a new one or renovating an old one, here’s a list of bookshelf design tips to make your stacks truly stand apart!

Totally Unique Bookshelf Design Tips For Every Home

Redesigning your bookcase doesn’t have to mean buying a new one and ditching the old. Here are some crafty tips and tricks to make that totally boring shelf into a home statement piece.

Include Accessories Throughout

Bookcases can hold a lot more than cheap romance novels and your mom’s old set of dictionaries. They can be home to a variety of cool accessories, knickknacks, and even family photos that turn it into a multipurpose shelf. When layed out to your liking, your true style can shine through.

Choosing a theme is key; perhaps include collectible knick knacks from family vacations or a series of framed photographs that compliment one another. Or, you can choose one color and make all your added decor fit the overall pick. However you dot and design your old bookcase, wiping off the dust and providing a new purpose can totally change its look.

Color Code your Books

For those looking to fill up a Sunday afternoon, organizing your books can be both therapeutic and highly rewarding. Color coding your current books, to the best of your ability, can totally change the look of your shelf. Whether you go with a reverse rainbow, a light to dark scheme, or anything you please–it’s bound to bring new life to your bookcase.

Change the Layout of Your Books

Typically kept bookcases usually have all the novels in rows, standing upright. Choosing some books to highlight, or others to play horizontally stacked, can really change the bookshelf’s design. Think of the shelves at your local Barnes & Noble, where certain authors or texts are set apart from the rest. Doing this within your own home can not only change the look of your bookcase, but can show off your own personal tastes in authors, topics, and texts.

Paint Your Bookshelf

Painting your old bookshelf to match the room it’s in is a totally worthwhile investment. Whether you choose a bold color, or a muted neutral, it’ll breathe new life into the piece. Getting creative is key–and for those who want a theme, painting little images or adding quotes from your favorite novels can make your furniture speak for itself.

Totally Unique Bookshelves Worth Investing In


Ready to ditch the old bookcase? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few unique pieces totally worth the splurge.

Try a Nature Inspired Bookcase

For those with rustic sensibilities, a bookcase with a unique nature inspired shape can and will stand out in your home. These you can special order, or make for yourself, depending on your level of craftiness. This one, done by BespOak interiors, is entirely worth the cost.

Turn an Empty Wall into a Home for Your Books

An empty wall can hold more than family photos and beloved art. A floating shelf, like this one, can be a new home for certain books you want to highlight. While they may not hold every text you’ve collected, it’s certainly a place to start. Adding plants or knick knacks between the novels can also provide an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Purchase a Shelf Tailored to Any Corner

Corner shelves are an easy and effective way to maximize your space. Choose any corner in your home and purchase a bookcase tailored to that area. These bookshelves tend to be tall and thin—providing a decent amount of room for your novel collection while taking up the least amount of space. Choose one that matches any color scheme you prefer—and there’s tons available online. (Like this one, on Amazon!)

Choose Minimalism

Minimalism is in and out of style, but there’s no denying how it maximizes your space while matching nearly any aesthetic. The large, empty space between each shelf also allows a lot of room for decor—like larger plants or bigger picture frames to segment the books well. Take this one for example, which is too wide but certainly tall enough to adequately accommodate your collection.

Create an Arched Niche for Your Books

Cutting into your wall and creating an arched book nook is not only classy, but creates more space for books and items without the use of large furniture. This one may be a bit difficult to achieve on your own, but hiring an interior designer with a knowledge of your plans can make this dream a reality.

Purchase a Ladder Shaped Bookcase

Ladder shaped bookcases are unique in their appearance, yet serve the same purpose as any normal shelf. While some are angled, and some completely vertical, each adds a new design to your space. There’s tons of eccentric twists on the ladder shelf, like this one with a triangular finish, or this one with a true staircase appearance.

Choose a Bookcase With Closing Glass Doors

A bookshelf that, at first glance, appears to be a gorgeous glass cabinet has a classic aesthetic with a modern twist. Their antique appearance has a presence in any room, and as always—you can store more than just books within. They come in a variety of sizes, and you don’t have to commit to taking up half your living room to achieve your intended design. Take this one for example, with sliding glass doors, that can fit a bit more easily into any space.

Choose a Smaller Bookcase, With an Eccentric or Quirky Shape

Allow your true personality to shine with a bookcase that matches your eccentric side. There’s tons of options online. Here’s a few worth perusing. This one looks a bit like a shrub, in potentially the best way possible. This one can turn any home into your favorite local bookstore, appearing a bit like the display case for a series of Hallmark cards. For those with nautical sensibilities, or for those who wish they lived a bit closer to the open sea, this boat-shaped bookcase is perfect! A phone booth-shaped bookcase is ideal for fans of vintage decor; a total statement piece bound to be appreciated by family and friends.  For those with kids, or fans of cars, this automobile bookshelf is super cute.

Alright, I may have gotten a bit carried away. Still, there’s tons more where that came from. Here’s an article on unique and unbelievable bookshelves that may spark some creativity.

Try a Rotating Bookshelf

Rotating bookshelves are another way to make your home library feel like the stacks at your favorite local bookstore. They’re creative and unique–and move at your command, allowing visitors to peruse your totally excellent taste in modern novels and classic literature. Here’s one online worth checking out!

Have the bookshelf but not the books?

Here’s a list of local bookstores in NYC worth checking out!

The Strand

Location: 828 Broadway, Manhattan

The Strand is a classic pick for avid readers, and is actually a pretty famous destination in NYC! Tour the stacks inside or find bargain books in the bins out front!

Astoria Bookshop

Location: 31-29 31st St., Long Island City

Located in Central Astoria, this bookshop has tons of novels across a wide range of genres to pick from.

Bauman Rare Books

Location: 535 Madison Ave., Manhattan

For fans of rare and collectible books, this is the place for you. From first prints to signed editions, there’s tons to explore within.

The Book Cellar

Location: 1465 York Ave, Manhattan

Staffed entirely by volunteers, this is one of the best spots to find used books at great prices in NYC!

Logos Bookstore

Location: 1575 York Ave, Manhattan

Logos is a small bookstore full of unique postcards, old and new books, and quite a few live-in cats. Absolutely worth a visit!

The Bookmark Shoppe

Location: 8415 3rd Ave, Brooklyn

Now with a new “knitting knook,” the Bookmark Shoppe is a great stop in Brooklyn for books of any and all kinds!

Sweet Pickle Books

Location: 47 Orchard St, Manhattan

Not only does this adorable bookshop sell novels of all kinds, it sells its own jarred pickles too! A must visit in NYC.