What to Consider When Buying a Bookshelf for Your Home

Books are beloved possessions for many people. Having aesthetically pleasing bookshelves to display and store your collection can be an important part of interior decor. When looking to purchase a new bookshelf for your home, there are several key factors to consider beforehand. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the essential elements to think about when shopping for the perfect bookshelf that not only meets your functional needs but also enhances your living space.

From determining the right size and sturdy materials to selecting a style that aligns with your existing decor, this guide will walk you through the key considerations for finding the ideal bookshelf for displaying your literary treasures at home. With a little forethought and planning, you’ll be well on your way to upgrading your book storage and showcasing your collection in style.

Let’s talk about why bookcases and bookshelves are amazing for home organization and storage.

Built-in vs. Freestanding Bookshelves

The first thing to know is that there are two kinds of bookcases and bookshelves: built-in bookcases and freestanding ones. The former is built-in to the structure of your home and cannot be moved, while the latter is free to be moved anywhere you like!

Consider Where You’ll Put Your Bookshelf

Don’t be fooled by their name – bookcases can be used in just about every room in your home beyond a home library.

You can use a bookcase on one wall of your living room for example. On it, you can store family photos, coffee table books, precious objects and much more. In the dining room, a bookshelf can be used for displaying your favorite china and serving platters. In the kitchen, it can hold food in your pantry, spices, and jars filled with ingredients like flour or sugar. In the bathroom, a bookcase could hold bath towels and other bathroom necessities.

Think About How You’ll Use It

A bookcase typically has open shelving, so you’ll want to use it for a few main reasons:

  • You want to show off what’s on the shelves
  • You want to store things you use on a daily basis and need easy access
  • You have a big library of books and need easy book storage

Keep in mind, the open shelving means that these pieces can appear cluttered easily. You’ll want to store larger objects on the shelves to avoid the cluttered look.

Think About What Shape You Prefer

There are many different types of bookcases and bookshelves to consider for your home. Here are the most popular freestanding bookshelf shapes.

The shape of your bookcase will certainly stand out. Make sure it fits in with the other furniture in your room. Here are a few popular bookcase shapes:

  • Tall Bookcase – The most standard bookcase shape is the tall bookcase which stands taller than most people. It will take up little floor space and give you lots of storage.
  • Horizontal Bookcase – On the other hand, some people prefer a low to the ground horizontal bookcase so that they can put larger objects on top like table lamps and televisions. The storage of this type of bookshelf is lower and more spread out.
  • Barrister Bookcase – Barrister bookcases are a very old type of furniture piece. This bookcase is crafted from several separate shelf units which are stacked together to form a single cabinet. You can move each unit by itself and carry it on its own without needing to remove the contents. This is very useful when you’re transporting heavy objects like a group of books!

Choose a Complementary Color and Material

The visual aspects of a bookcase are very important to everyone living in your home. The material will determine how long your piece of furniture will last. These are the trends we’ve seen for bookcase colors and materials.

  • White Bookcases – An easy choice that will go well with many rooms. The white finish will reflect light, creating a luminous space.
  • Metal Bookcases – Sturdy and strong, a bookcase made of metal is sure to last a long time.
  • Solid Wood Bookcases – Everyone loves solid wood furniture and bookcases are no exception.

Consider the Size of the Space You Can Work With

The size of your bookcase will determine how much you can store inside.

  • Shallow Bookcases – If you have a small apartment, then a shallow bookcase will be perfect. Smaller spaces will benefit from the storage without taking up lots of square footage.
  • Oversized Bookcases – On the flip side, if you live in the country or have a large area to work with, an oversized bookcase might suit your needs. Keep in mind, a larger piece of furniture like this will certainly be a focal point in your room. It will probably overpower the other pieces inside it! This would be great for a home library.

Match Your Bookshelf Style

The style and visual appearance of your bookcase must fit in with your existing home decor style. If you aren’t married to just one interior design style, then go with one of these popular furniture styles:

  • Mid-Century Modern Bookcases – The mid-century look has been coming back into style. Places like Palm Springs and television shows like Mad Men made it attractive again, I guess!
  • Modern & Contemporary Bookcases – Most people want to live in modern and contemporary homes. Your furniture design should reflect that easy design aesthetic.
  • Farmhouse Bookcases – If you have country style home and love rustic furniture, then a Farmhouse style bookshelf is the way to go!

I hope this bookshelf buying guide was useful in making your decision!


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