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Unique & Different Ways to Store Books

Bookcases: If You Build/Buy Them, They Will Fill

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Aug 10, 2006, 7:46pm Top

Since I live in a townhome-like apartment and not a full house, I sometimes have to rely on some less traditional methods of book storage - I simply don't have the wall space (nor cabinetry) for all of them. So I'm always looking for different ways of keeping them within sight, just not in massive stacks on the floor.

I found this online, and thought these "book hangers" were an interesting concept:


Aug 11, 2006, 9:35am Top

Ouch - that does not look good for the books I'm afraid!

When I get short of space (eg in the TBR shelves) I stack the books horizontally, as you get more in that way as no waste at the top of the shelf, above the books.

I also found great bookshelves in IKEA that are completely adjustable and have enough shelves that you can make spaces that just fit paperbacks - so no wasted space above the line of books.

Another option is to have a bookshelf just below the ceiling around your hallway or other room - you can fit loads round and it looks pretty cool. Depends how high your ceilings are, though.

Good luck with your search!

Aug 12, 2006, 2:51pm Top

For anyone looking for book storage ideas, I recommend Living With Books which has some interesting ideas about libraries large and small. The book, first published in 1968, may be a little dated, but some of the solutions are timeless.

Aug 16, 2006, 5:30pm Top

At the Makezine "Maker Faire", someone had a smallish set of shelves made from one sheet of plywood:


Aug 18, 2006, 10:03am Top

From experience, those will probably need more lateral bracing than just the one square. But they do look cool.

Edited: Oct 12, 2006, 5:56am Top

Bookhangers - arrgh they look a bit scary! I'd be worried that the books would suffer damage over a period of time. Also, the system wouldn't be able to bear accidental knocks like standard bookcases/shelves would. This design is a bit to messy for my tastes but hey, that's just me! Its quite innovative though.

I have problems with storing my books - I'm in rented accommodation so I don't really want to drill too many holes for shelves. I have some bookcases but I have to cover the lower shelves with plastic as some of the neighbourhood's male cats don't seem to like my taste in books and spray on them :-(

So, most of my books are in archive boxes in my attic...not ideal.

The answer - stop renting, I guess! Then I can line every wall with bookshelves.

Oct 12, 2006, 1:33pm Top

Until you run out of walls.

Oct 12, 2006, 5:28pm Top

Where did all the flags come from?

Back on topic: My mother once asked me, in a slightly sarcastic tone, "Don't you have any more walls you can put bookcases on?"

Oct 12, 2006, 5:56pm Top

I was wondering about those flags too! Must be mistakes I guess...or that flag graffiti person who seems to be sticking them all over the place.

Running out of walls...I guess I'd have to move to an even bigger house. Or build an extension. Or something like that!

Nov 3, 2006, 10:34pm Top

Regarding the flags - I seem to recall one user who takes exception to virtually any message that contains a reference to products or services. Looking at the posts with flags, most contain links. I could understand the objection if someone were posting links to totally unrelated web sites or making obvious spam posts, but it is hard to have a book forum without people giving and receiving advice on all manner of related products. We have a large and diverse group of folks on here who cumulatively represent the best book resource on the planet, and that's what I love about LT. So keep the links coming!

Nov 5, 2006, 1:23am Top

Regarding flags...

I certainly understand if one has a vested financial interest in the product being linked, but otherwise 'tis a very silly thing.

While I am interested in finding ways to make my own storage spaces, I also want to know what is available in the commercial marketplace. So unjustified flagging is just silly. My .02

- Jeremy

Nov 5, 2006, 10:17am Top

Can't help too much, as I'm one of those unfortunates who have: 1. Essentially run out of wall space, 2. Have resorted to double shelving (two rows of books on a shelf - not a very elegant solution), 3. Have many boxes of books lurking in closets, under tables, etc., 4. Have more boxes in storage, and 5. Despite all this, still have stacks of books everywhere.

But I can pass along a discovery: a legal-paper size Xerox box will hold two double rows of mass-market paperbacks very efficiently. In fact, one box will hold about six linear feet of paperbacks.

There's also possibility of adaptive furniture, such as the storage-trunk coffee table idea. For years we used one of those footlocker-type trunks with hardware at the corners as a coffee table. This may not be practical for those, like me, who tend to spill things. There are some types of benches with storage under the seat that might be purchased somewhere (or built). A friend of ours has one that is designed for a mudroom area, and holds hats, mittens, etc., though it could just as easily hold books. I think it's possible to buy ottomans that have storage space inside; not a lot of space there, but when you're desperate for book storage, this could help a little.

Another thing we've done in our house is to build some floor-to-ceiling bookcases on either side of a door, and extend a shelf over the top of the door frame (this must be securely connected to the shelves on either side, of course). Unfortunately, though, this is a do-it-yourself project, and not a very helpful idea for renters.

Nov 6, 2006, 1:44pm Top

I've already purchased and filled 3 "decorative" wicker trunks in my family rom -- with magazines. Then I bought a new coffee table and two end tables that have shelves under the table tops. They are also filled with piles of papers and magazines. I finally had to use my last resort -- the uncontained pile of magazines underneath a window. It never ends. Perhaps, when I die, I will be found in the center of a room surrounded by 6-foot tall piles on all sides. And the cats . . . .

Nov 14, 2006, 8:52pm Top

Having a small house and insufficient space for book shelves I stored most in boxes in the basement. This had the predictable result. So, recently I did the unthinkable and began culling my library, begining with those that were ruined. Books that were still in good condition and -- that I could bear to part with -- I took to the used book store (five boxes) and exchanged them for store credit, which quickly transformed itself into books. I still have plenty of books and not enough shelves.

Nov 15, 2006, 12:20am Top

Okay, don't laugh...I do this and it makes my husband cranky, but I only do it with MY books: I store them by cover color! Why? Two reasons actually. The first one is that I just really like the orderly way they look, so I challenge myself to get the colors to gradate across the shelf. To me the look of mixed colors and contrasts looks a lot more cluttered. I balance the chi feng shui this way, by placing the favorable colors where I need them. The other reason is that I actually can find them quicker. I don't remember titles or authors as readily as I remember what color the book is. Wacky? I know. Good Luck! ~Christine

Nov 17, 2006, 5:12am Top

Christine - I love the idea of storing them by colour - somewhere on a Librarything link - I can't remember where it was, I saw a photograph of a wall full of bookshelves and all the books were stored according to their colours - it looked absolutely amazing! One day, when I am able to have all my books on display I will probably do the same thing. Like you, I also remember books by their colour so for me, it would be much easier to find them if they were organised this way.

Nov 18, 2006, 1:21am Top

I changed the main group photo to the one of the bookstore that had the artist come in and help re-organize the books according to colour (which is what you referenced, IsobelH).

(Yeah, I'm speaking generically because I can't remember the specific town/store; but I have written about it before. I'll edit this post when I have a clearer recall of all of this!)

Nov 18, 2006, 6:33am Top

>17 abductee:

You might be refering to this LT Talk message :

abductee in Bookcases: If You Build/Buy Them, They Will Fill : Photos of Happily-Filled Bookcases (sep 18, 2006, 11:45pm)

(The Search Talk feature is your friend.)

Nov 28, 2006, 4:45am Top

Please oh please, don't anybody tell my husband about storing my books by color! He is a fiend for color and the minute I stepped out of the house he would do it! I have my books in a very strange sorting, but I can lay my hands on any one of them almost instantly.

Dec 6, 2006, 3:35pm Top

I once built a set of shelves floor to ceiling wrapped around a cinder block support. These were optimized for standard size paper back and used 1x4's as the shelves - so they were overly strong and did have the paperbacks slightly overhanging the shelves. They weren't especially pretty but completely full it was hard to see the shelves themselves anyway. I wish I had a digital picture but if I have a picture, it is a physical one in a box somewhere.

Which brought up the irritation that noone seems to sell shelves optimized for paperbacks - all standard shelves are way to deep. And book cases with movable shelves dont sell you enough shelves to fill with paperbacks (though I bought extra shelves for my storehouse bookcases in the past). I've considered using dvd shelves as an alternative. Has anyone done this? Has anyone found somewhere someone selling shelving/book cases aimed at paper backs (depth of 6" or less)?

Dec 7, 2006, 10:11am Top

mjfmjfmjf -- I have significant numbers of both hardcovers and paperback books, including "trade paperbacks". There is really no uniform size any more. My shelving has no order to it so the same shelves harbor both hard and soft covers. With mass-market paperbacks, I simply double-shelve them. That hides the second row, of course, but that's okay with me. I would not want to have bookshelves that can house only paperbacks.

Dec 7, 2006, 5:15pm Top

kageeh - with somewhere in the vicinity of 5000+ books on at least 70 shelves I can easily separate into paper back only, mixed and oversized. What gets me more than height is depth - having shelves that are sized for 6" even rather than 8" to 10" would be nice... I don't typically double shelve or box anything...

Dec 7, 2006, 9:06pm Top

mjfmjfmjf - sometimes you can get shelves at places like K-mart that are designed for videos or DVDs but are about the right depth for paperbacks. Mind, they usually seem to be bad quality, and they're not very tall, but my sister's using several at her apartment right now and they haven't fallen down yet.

I also have a shelf designed for paperbacks, that came from a thrift store - it's the kind where the "shelves" are more like two rails, and hold the books at a slant - but I keep trying to wedge hardcovers into it in order to keep series together!

Edited: Dec 10, 2006, 10:57pm Top

Back before I got serious about book-collecting I worked in one of those larger (evil) bookstores ; it taught me that there are 4 basic sizes of books:
(1) hardcover, (2) trade-paperback, (3) mass-market, and (4) oversized irregular.

(Quick note: I realize that this dissection doesn't take into account the varieties of childrens' books and picture books - those are never the same size!)

But what is most perturbing, as stated in previous entries, is that bookcase makers have no conception of the measurements of the books they plan on encasing; those that are the most common to most book buyers.

(i.e. they manufacture bookshelves to hold a minimal amount of books and the rest is for showing off overpriced pretty glass objects.)

Too deep, too shallow, too much wasted space between shelves (usually this happens to me). I can't complain too much, as the dvd storage units are even worse than the book ones; ha!

Dec 11, 2006, 1:17am Top

I just read this discussion and, like you, I am so irritated that all bookshelves are too deep. I put up shelving I made myself with 6 inch deep shelves but that is not much of a help to renters. Since most are 12 inches, those room-dividers you sometimes see in IKEA-type shops (we have JYSK here) offer the possibility of putting books back to back and so available from either side. The problem is that usually the spaces are too high. You used to be able to get little white or wood-grain bookcases from Walmart and so on into which paperbacks fitted well, but they seem to have taken these off the market and we are back to 12 inch shelves. Is anyone listening out there?

Dec 11, 2006, 7:27am Top

msg 20 (mjfmjfmjf): I've considered using dvd shelves as an alternative. Has anyone done this? Has anyone found somewhere someone selling shelving/book cases aimed at paper backs (depth of 6" or less)?

Well, I actually considered buying lots of IKEA's "Benno" shelves. They are CD/DVD shelves, but would fit your requirements. They are, however, only 20cm in width, so one *would* need a tonne of them!

I will probably put a little box on the shelf for the second (hidden) row, so that one can at least see part of the title on the spine peeking out. Just hate to waste all that shelf space!

27zoeone First Message
Dec 17, 2006, 3:49am Top

I have given up on trying to store mass market paperbacks, and even trade sized, in shelves.
All go, with spine up and visible, in lengthwise plastic 'submarine' shaped storage units that I can either stack about five, or maybe six high, and at least 4 under the bed (two of which are childrens individual school milk carton delivery cases , not unlike the taller version, very sturdy) each giving me space for about 50 paperback books.
The trade paperback size, I also store on end, in very sturdy fruit boxes, with corners having added stress markers...
As for my regular large size paperbacks, I stack them tight as can be in several cases, and have at least 12 or so, large holiday themed plastic trubs, with locking brackets (like my low long ones) but the large ones I find leave the books 'swimming' when I attenpt to move them...
As for 'encyclopedia type sets. cardboard boxesm, and fitted tight on end, so I cna read what issue...

It's all a work in (daily) progress, and I appreciate, all/any help, as I spent 6 hours on it today....

more later, thanks, love this group!

Jan 18, 2007, 9:49am Top

I thought members might enjoy this article in the NY Times online today. Ah to dream!

If you cannot access by the link let me know and I will scan it in.


Jan 18, 2007, 1:50pm Top

That's an amazing house. The architect's website (www.officeda.com) has 10-15 beautiful photos of the house and a very nice drawing showing how the house is organized around that column of books.

Jan 18, 2007, 2:58pm Top

#26 - I actually used Benno in my home! I got two, put one on each side of my TV stand and then my husband cut a piece of pine the width between the outer edge of each shelf. We painted the new pine shelf the color of the Bennos and used IKEA metal brackets (that look just like the lamps we got from there) to extend across the top. It looks amazing! (I'll post photos once we finish our remodel this weekend.)

It worked so well that now we're building 6" deep x 7" shelves along the entire wall of our spare bedroom the exact same way.

Jan 18, 2007, 3:48pm Top

I'm in the process of cataloging all my books (over 600! YAY!) and in doing so have decided to gather them all and organize them some way other than "I think it might be there." In doing so, I noticed we had an empty VHS stand in the garage which holds mass market paperbacks perfectly. Even as a short term, sorting solution, it works great.

Once I know how many I actually have scattered around, I can think about how best to approach the future. Buying a house with 12'x8' built ins defiinitely has helped.

I'm still rather at a loss as to HOW to catalog them in a reasonable manner...

Did you notice in the architects pictures they STILL had books stacked on top of books? I find that odd since many, many shelves appeared to have plenty of space on them left for books, which may just be because the photographer came in and yanked them out for a better shot.

BTW, I laughed at the name of this group, because if there is one thing I am certain of, regardless of whether or not we build/buy/rig the shelves, the books will come. :)

Jan 18, 2007, 4:18pm Top

I've been lurking a while & have enjoyed all the great ideas & pics on shelves, and I would really love to get all mine out of boxes, etc. and onto shelves. I'm wondering, though, what do you all think about all the dust that collects on the books once they're on shelves. Do any of you have enclosed bookcases with glass doors - these are MY dream....someday maybe;)

Edited: Jan 18, 2007, 5:59pm Top

i am getting my books out of boxes now. This group has been a real help with all the ideas.

I have gone for the Billy bookcases from Ikea. As per one suggestion from this group, I have put 2 waist high billys back-to-back (b-to-b) at 90 degrees to the wall. this gives more bookshelf space and uses less wall space. The 2 b-to-b billys make a nice wall to section off an area. I have added a comfortable chair and now have a nice little reading area. I can put some art work/house plant/etc. on top the b-to-b's for a final touch. Thank you to who-ever put forward the idea initially.

I am adding Billy Byom doors (from ikea) to the Billy bookcases for dust proofing. I am so sick of dusting books. The Billy Byom doors come in wood or wood and glass so you can see the books. I will be using a combination. I have not purchased all the doors yet. Ikea was sold out of the wood and glass doors the last time I was there.

I have also used someone else's suggestion of putting 2 layers of paperbacks on each shelf with the paperbacks at the back of the shelf several inches higher than those as the front. Wow, what a difference it has made to accessing my books. I actually know what books I have, where they are located, and I can access them easily!!!. At least those books I have gotten out of the boxes. 80)

I have 4 Bennos for CDs, I bolted together side-by-side and attached them to the wall. 2 Billy Byom doors (wood and glass) will fit nicely on the 4 Bennos. No more dusting CDs either. Yaay!

Well, that is the plan. I am making another trip to Ikea to purchase more billys and billy byoms... if they are in stock.

The doors are not totally dustproof but it has to be better than no doors at all. Besides the doors make the room look much more tidy than it does with all the exposed books.

32> Bookbeat, Ikea also has all glass doors for the billy bookcases as well. Maybe you have an Ikea near you. Our nearest Ikea is 4 hrs drive away. We make a two day trip and drive up the night before. Makes for a long trip, but my books are worth it. ;o)

Jan 19, 2007, 2:28pm Top

curry - thanks, we have an Ikea about an hour & a half away. I'll check their web site......now to just find where in the house to put them. :D

p.s Would love to see pics of how you have them set up.

Jan 20, 2007, 11:59pm Top

I will supply pics as soon as it is organised. I am in the "bigger and better mess" stage of getting organised. Just got back from Ikea with another billy and the full length doors for the new billy and the bennos. I should have things organised in the next couple of weeks (she says with feigned confidence).

Jan 23, 2007, 11:32am Top

I love the back to back Billy idea! I'll have to see if there's any room in my house... I'm thinking about using it as a partition between the kitchen and living room.

Also, do your billy byom doors really prevent dusting? Mine haven't changed it a bit since they are not flush with the cabinet. There is about a 1/8" gap all the way around and even the glass shelves inside the Billy unit get dusty. It makes me crazy!

I recently invested in a new dirt devil mini-vac, and the crevice tool with a sock rubberbanded over the end works really well at quickly dusting the books and shelves. Next I need to figure out how to dust the glassware and glass shelves without taking everything off and Windexing it.

Jan 24, 2007, 3:25pm Top

I guess I wrote to soon. Sounds as if you have greater experience with the byom doors than I do. Your right about the gap around the doors. My books are looking better (dust wise) so the doors must be at least reducing the dust in my environment.

In Australia we can purchase narrow strips of foam designed to be installed around exterior doors on your house to prevent drafts around the door. Perhaps something similar can be added to the byom doors to fill that gap and block the dust. Admittedly it would not be pretty. But then it may only be visible when the doors were open.

I like your mini-vac solution. I will have to try that with our books. Thanks for the suggestion.

Jan 30, 2007, 9:21am Top

Since I can't find a price listed, I have to assume this is exhorbitantly expensive, but for a heckuva neat-looking design concept, I really lust for this:


Edited: Mar 4, 2007, 11:40am Top

The cd/dvd/video shelves are one alternative to the massmarket paperback dilemma. Here is Sauder's page for them. The widest style is about 4 feet wide (I think) & about the same high. They are a bit deeper at the bottom to prevent (a bit) falling. Put back to back & bolted might be a low wall solution to not having enought wall space.


I rent, too. My problem is that I strongly dislike having to move the full height bookcases. I would like something full height, but foldable. B&N used to have folding shelves that stack & there might be some other places that have them but the ones that I've see are too expensive for me.

I have three small folding bookcases in my bedroom for paperbacks & I have them (the books) stacked two deep. But I have the back row spines forward (regular) and the front row with spines up (laying "down"). This way I can look at both rows at the same time. I'm the only one who sees them this way... almost the only one... but it works for me.

I'm about ready to go the old "cinderblock bookcase" way. Except that I'm thinking of using glass blocks & (preferably old) wood shelves. Unfortunately, I'd have to have them deep enough so they wouldn't tip, but the benefits are that I can just take them apart & reassemble them on moving day. I'll probably also find another way to keep them steady enough to not tip forward... probably shims under the front of the shelves so they tip back a bit... which I do to my "regular" bookshelves already!! Carpeting has a tendency to make heavy bookcases tip in strange directions... shims help them lean against the wall.

I'm always open to new ideas on storing my books (& other stuff)... the only idea I don't like is the "suggestion" to get rid of my books.... you can imagine what my reply to that suggestion was.

Mar 9, 2007, 6:52pm Top

#3 BostonHistory, based upon your recommendation, I got Living with Books : 116 designs for homes and offices (except mine is the 118 version).

I've just paused in my drooling... yes, the designs are a bit dated, but still good... and there are rough outlines of how they have been built.... enough that if I really loved something, I COULD BUILD IT!!! YIPPEE!!

ok, now I'm going to recommence my drooling.

Mar 10, 2007, 6:46am Top

Apropros drooling: What do you think of this?
I need a place to put my current reading and library books (at the moment, I only have one small 50x50cm coffeetable in my living room).
Alternatively, this one.

Mar 10, 2007, 6:53am Top

I like the cube. It's compact, looks like it holds quite a few books, plus has that flat top to set things on (I always need more places to set things on). The other looks like a library cart, for shelving books. Not very homey.

Mar 10, 2007, 7:58am Top

Since I got the picture of the library cart, I'm guessing that you really meant the "Beistelltisch quadratisch" which I cannot translate with my extremely limited German language skills....

I've seen similar cases to this. There used to be one that was about 4 feet high (1.25 meters). This one could be more practical since you could use it as a coffee table as well as an end table... or any number of other places without restricting "line of sight"

But I do like looking at book storage ideas & I would love to see things that others have found. I currently live in an apartment & so cannot install anything permanent... but when I finally get my house, you can be assured that I will have lots & lots of bookstorage... but there can never be enough room in a home for books!!

Mar 10, 2007, 8:37am Top

I like the cube better for an 'at home' solution but you could leave the wheels off the other and it would look less like public library furniture and more like home furniture.

Mar 10, 2007, 8:59am Top

Warning: This link will cause EXTREME jealousy & drooling


**why do I put myself through this??**

Mar 10, 2007, 9:05am Top

skittles - would you spin them for a quick change of decor? ;)

Mar 10, 2007, 10:41am Top

no, I would spin them to hide books that I don't want others to see.... like the expensive ones & the ones that "disappear" if I leave them out.

or to show my "intellectual" books as apposed to my "trashy" novels.... not that ANY book is really "trashy" .... ;)

Apr 3, 2007, 12:34am Top

Msg 41: I like the cube-looking coffee table bookshelf thing (Beistelltisch quadratisch)... and don't know German either.

I do know building materials. If you expand the pic it looks like they're made of plywood. If so, they could probably be stacked at least 5 or 6 high, depending on the height of your ceilings.

For 549 Euros, I'd hope they're well built AND come with good quality lazy-suzans (for stacking and spinning each level).

Apr 13, 2007, 3:58am Top

Our solution for paperbacks depends on one of two things: Either a) you own your house and are handy, or b) you have an understanding landlord and are very handy and neat.

We have several hundred paperbacks. DH collects Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms (Dungeons and Dragons. Don't ask me why. I can't explain it.) When I was doing some rewiring of a switch, I noticed that the space between the sheets of drywall was JUST RIGHT for a paperback. So after some fiddling, we built shelves to inset into the walls. They anchor to the studs with screws and have a moulding facing. We use 1/2 x 4 poplar to build the shelf frames and back them with 1/8 inch masonite for added stability. (I'll have an instructible up about this very soon -- I'm still trying to get the right photos.)

So instead of wainscotting, we have books on some walls. Obviously, you have to pick which room gets shelves between which walls, and you have to have drywall for this to work -- there's no way to do it with plaster and lathes. However, they're far better sound insulators than empty space, and you can size the height of the shelves to suit your purpose. (I also have them in the kitchen, as spice and can shelves.) They also must be interior walls; exterior walls have insulation and you don't want to mess with that.

Alternately, and assuming you have a table saw and drill or can borrow them, you can cut the MDF/melamine bookcases that the big boxes sell in half and make 2 paperback cases. (You will also want a box of screws, a sheet of 1/8 inch masonite and a roll of matching iron-on melamine veneer edging.) Before putting the case together, mark and saw all of the boards in half (the long way). Your cuts do need to be very close to perfect so a hand held jig or circular saw is not enough. Iron on the veneer tape on the cut edges of one of the halves of each piece. Assemble the two halves per instructions, remembering that shelves will not be stable. Now drill a 1/8" pilot hole where a screw should go to stabilize the shelf, then screw the boards down tight. (Use screw caps to cover screws if desired.) Be careful and go slow -- MDF can be picky about compression. Glue in all of the holes makes these a lot stronger.

Finally, cut the masonite to size and screw the masonite to the backs of the cases like you would with the flimsy cardboard back.

Dec 7, 2007, 6:30pm Top

Check out this bookcase/reading chair.


Dec 9, 2007, 7:25pm Top

My apartment is crammed with books, and I am not handy enough to make my own shelving, so... "carpentry for simpletons" solutions and other easy-to-make ideas are always welcome!

In the meantime, I dream of the day that anti-gravity units are perfected and I can store my book collection on the ceiling... {drool}

Dec 10, 2007, 8:18am Top

#48: "If you expand the pic it looks like they're made of plywood. ...
For 549 Euros, I'd hope they're well built AND come with good quality lazy-suzans (for stacking and spinning each level)."

Actually, they're massive wood (cherry --the "layers" are in fact grooves). Yes, they aren't exactly a bargain, but the shop is known for beautiful high-quality stuff.

Edited: Dec 15, 2007, 7:13pm Top

I also live in an apartment, a small studio, so space is always an issue. I bought these and have it sticking out from the wall so I can shelve books from both sides. They were also great because I have all my books organized by subject, and I'm particular about that. So I put all the books on the first shelf, and then put the next shelf on just a bit higher than the tallest book and continued all the way up that way. All of my 500 books fit on it well with lots of room to grow!

Dec 17, 2007, 1:03pm Top

I always think that being able to stack on both sides of a shelf would be nice, but I don't have any place I can have a bookshelf sticking out! It does create a lot of extra room, though. A friend of mine has done that between her kitchen and family room. She has an open floor plan, and it is a nice way to divide the two areas while still having it be very open, and store more books.

Dec 18, 2007, 5:48am Top

There's always these - book sized bookshelves. Makes it appear your books are just stuck to the wall.

Feb 24, 2008, 7:51pm Top

BoingBoing recently posted a link to this awesome bookcase-wrapped-around-a-bed. flickr images.

This would not work with my cats. Yesi would come flying through the open shelving sending books flying on my head, and Hannah would hop onto shelves and push - push - push a book until it toppled down on my head, and then starting push-push-pushing the next.

Still it's a cool idea. With a little translucent backing it could work for me, too.

Feb 27, 2008, 2:29am Top

Several of these ideas plus more are included in this article: 30 of the Most Creative Bookshelves Designs.

Feb 29, 2008, 7:48pm Top

I cannot express the level of my jealousy over the Uroko house and the bookshelf staircase. :/

Edited: Mar 18, 2008, 8:14pm Top

>49 constanceedwards: My parents did the same thing - the diagonal wall that's the side of a staircase is all paperback books. They made them (had them made) with pegholes in the sides, so that the shelves are adjustable - it's mostly books but some oddities as well. And they put them in the kitchen for spice shelves and a cookbook shelf as well. I've been eyeing the same idea for my front hall - it's a T-shaped entrance, with a short hall extending from the front door to a longer hall running from bedroom to living room. If I put in shelves all along that wall a) it would give me a lot more shelf space and b) my hall wouldn't be so messy (because then I couldn't get at my books!).

Currently I'm using Elfa shelving - the wood shelves, not the wire ones. I do double-shelve, because otherwise no way would my stuff fit. And some of my shelves are paperback-height with hardbacks and TPBs shelved separately, but that drives me mad so most of them are just _barely_ high enough for a normal hardback. Tall hardbacks go spine up, running through both rows. Not tidy but reasonably sorted and findable (genre/subject and then by author mostly).

Elfa shelving is great - it consists of a bar screwed (firmly) into the wall just below the ceiling (or lower, but that takes away usable space!), then 'standards' that hang off that bar and brackets that fit into the standards. They also sell shelves, but I've never bought them - most of my shelves are poplar 1x12s (which warp, but it's never been a serious problem). It just seems too much to pay for a piece of wood (or plywood with veneer).

Not a single bookshelf in any of their samples! Oh well. I love The Container Store. Expensive, though.

Sep 17, 2008, 1:34pm Top

Came across this blog which I couldn't see mentioned here: Bookshelf - The home of interesting bookshelves, bookcases and things that look like them, a satellite site to Shedworking the lifestyle guide for shedworkers and those who work in shedlike atmospheres

It has a mix of the useful and unusual

Sep 30, 2008, 1:16pm Top

I use wine crates. They are wooden and have a lot of character. Only the more expensive wines use wooden boxes. These boxes often have neat images and logos burned into them.

They stack vertically quite nicely, I sometimes use a 3 inch wide wooden plank for a layer of stabilization. I am looking at one collection of crates right now: it stands over 6 feet tall, I used two slim flat wooden planks for stabilization and its very steady and has much more character than a typical set of shelves.

A typical wine crate will hold 20-30 books, depending on the size of the books and the crate. Crates come in a variety of size, which adds to the ambiance as you fit them together and create interesting spaces.

I pay between $5 and $10 for my wine crates.

Sep 30, 2008, 1:45pm Top

How about a photo?

Sep 30, 2008, 7:14pm Top

Wouldn't it have a more original and personal feel if you bought the wine crates full and emptied them as you went along? :)

Sep 30, 2008, 8:03pm Top

>64 justjim: -- "Only the more expensive wines use wooden boxes" -- think of the dent that your method would make in poor Ogre's book-buying budget!

Sep 30, 2008, 9:39pm Top

>65 muumi: Yes, it's so hard to find a balance. That's why I drink cheap plonk and sometimes even buy the generic brand instead of the name brand gruel... more money for books!

Edited: Oct 3, 2008, 1:20am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Apr 4, 2009, 1:43pm Top

I am consolidating my library to a single location and have 26 bins to move. I arranged the books by general large subjects and assigned each box a number as a tag, so the location is available in my page. I would like to turn my "living room" into a library with real shelves but not right away.

Apr 5, 2009, 2:56pm Top

I used to have this problem...then I gave my daddy a list of measurements and he made me a solution. I have four hand-made bookshelves in my library. Two are designed to fit those medium-sized paperbacks a la Scholastic and Apple, one is for mass-markets and one is for hardcovers. I'd show some pics, but I recently boxed up all my juveniles (running out of space for the adult books!) so I have half a book-case empty and several boxes stacked in front of the others... :(

Apr 5, 2009, 4:18pm Top

#69: Does your dad want any more (adult) children to adopt & then bless with those wonderful bookcases??

Apr 5, 2009, 4:51pm Top

#70: He is out of work right now and does like to travel. I bet if you invited him to come live with you for a couple weeks and offered to pay for the wood, he'd make you one (or more) too...

Jun 5, 2009, 6:42pm Top

Wouldn't that be cool in a library with books from/about each state shelved in the appropriate place?

Jun 5, 2009, 8:24pm Top

I came across a bookshelf that is the bottom of one of those hidden beds that folds up into the wall. They use silicon to help secure the books.

Jun 6, 2009, 10:06pm Top

You mean that when the bed is closed it looks like a bookcase? Interesting ... but a bit of a nuisance for reading in bed when you finish a book! :-D

Jun 7, 2009, 2:11pm Top

That is exactly what I mean! When the bed is down, it also looks like you're in the middle of a library :)


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