Book storage ideas: 19 brilliant ways to keep your reads neat

In need of some book storage ideas? Got enough Harry Potters, Game of Thrones (yes, that was a book first) and, er, copies of Real Homes mag to fill a library? Be inspired by these clever solutions

Book storage ideas: Book Tower House P5 Architects
(Image credit: A Place For Everything)

Looking for book storage ideas? We've scoured a world of storage solutions for the best-looking and most functional options, from inconspicuous floating shelves to windowsill solutions to freestanding units to bespoke wall-height bookshelves. Explore our guide and be inspired to tidy up your book collection – and make it look beautiful in the process.

Need more than just storage for your books? We've got all your storage needs covered over on our hub page.

1. Go for Scandi-style shelving for a neat look

Want a streamlined, laid back look for your rooms? Take a leaf out of those devilishly clever Scandinavians and choose book shelves that will blend with your existing interior rather than making a dominant style statement on your walls. Plenty of matching, pale-coloured books to display alongside pretty artwork and objets? All the better.

The Classic Shelving range from Elfa can't be beaten for combining unobtrusive style with function. Available from A Place For Everything.

Elfa classic shelving

(Image credit: Elfa)

2. Choose a leaning bookcase for small spaces 

Small living room, but still want a bookcase? Go for a slim leaning option – it will cope with a lot of books, though you may want to stack some of them of top of each other, rather than standing them up. We like the elegant and simple Jessie Black Narrow Leaning Bookcase from Habitat. 

If you are after more ideas for smaller living rooms go and have a read of our feature. 

Jessie bookcase

(Image credit: Habitat)

3. Transform your hallway into a library

We rarely think past shoe storage when it comes to hallways, but bookshelves like these can do wonders for transforming this otherwise impersonal space. Better still, they not only free up space in other rooms, but it will make your hallway look like an extension of the living room. Pair up with a painting or print on the opposite wall to take the space from practical to decorative.

We love the spacious and modern bespoke look created by Lindsey Runyon Design as part of their Urban Oasis project. 

Urban Oasis project

(Image credit: Lindsey Runyon Design)

4. Make sorting books easy with a labelled bookcase

If you are the owner of a substantial library, sorting books can get difficult. Do you opt for alphabetical sorting, or colour-coding, or just give up and put them up whichever way? Make the task of sorting out your books less time consuming by choosing a bookcase that does the sorting for you. Storage and organiser in one, what's not to like?

Our pick is the very elegant Wooden Bookcase from Maisons du Monde. Its shelves come with stencilled labels for different book genres, and several handy storage drawers at the bottom. 

Wooden bookcase in white

(Image credit: Maisons du Monde)

5. Create a contemporary look with cube storage

Cube shelving is probably the most versatile of all book storage options. Easy to customise depending on your needs, cube storage is especially good for sorting books of different sizes. 

We like the Assemblage White Modular Bookcase from Seletti. Held together by eight hooks (provided), it can be arranged any way you prefer. 

Assemblage modular bookshelf in white

(Image credit: Seletti)

6. Create a statement bookshelf wall with paint

If your book storage is fitted, painting it a bold colour can create a stunning statement wall that will add depth to your living room. Consider a deep charcoal grey, such as Railings from Farrow & Ball for an on-trend look.

We are inspired by the effective use of colour in this living room by Love Interiors.

Surrey House Love Interiors

(Image credit: Love Interiors. Photographer Rachel Smith)

7. Choose a bookcase that doubles up as a console table

If you're looking for small house storage solutions, choose something that can multi-task, such as a bookcase that can also be used as a console table in the hallway. Store keys, gloves, and the dog leash in a box on top or in a drawer. 

Our all-round winner is the 3ft Suffolk Bookcase from Neptune, which can also be customised to be used as a wine rack. Now you're talking.

Suffolk 3ft bookcase

(Image credit: Neptune)

8. Save space with floating shelves

If you like your storage to occupy as little visual space as possible – or would like the books themselves to take centre stage – opt for floating shelving. Floating shelving are easy to install (just read our step-by-step guide to putting up a shelf)and completely inconspicuous, it also helps to make the books you need easy to locate. 

We like the Invisible Floating Bookshelf by The Literary Gift Company, available at Not On The High Street. 

Invisible floating bookshelf by the Literary Gift Company

(Image credit: Not On The High Street)

9. Create a reading nook with floor-to-ceiling shelves

In open plan spaces, use bookshelves to create a reading zone. All you need to add is a comfy chair and a reading light and you have your own personal library... We like the cosy touch added to a spacious contemporary Islington room by Shade Abdul Architecture

Check out these inspiring reading spots for more ideas. 

Islington Reading Space

(Image credit: Shade Abdul Architecture)

10. Create a design accent with an unusual wall shelf

There's nothing wrong with plain square bookshelves, but if you are in the mood for something more characterful, choose one that has been designed to stand out. You can use it to create a wall feature by putting up decorative pieces and vases alongside the books.

The Ying Yang Teak Wall Shelf by Tikamoon will make a striking addition to any contemporary living room. 

Ying Yang Wall Shelf

(Image credit: Tikamoon)

11. Choose bookends with storage

Bookends are a time-tested (and often neglected), easy way to keep all your current reading neat and accessible. Why not opt for ones that can also accommodate your reading glasses and stationery? 

We like the simple but very useful Bookends With Storage from A Place For Everything. 

Bookends with storage

(Image credit: A Place For Everything)

12. Take the heavy weight out with an industrial unit

Bookcases can be very heavy, which is not ideal if you move a lot, or like reorganising your living space on a regular basis. A metal mesh storage unit is easier to manoeuvre and will add a cool industrial element to your interior. 

We like the spacious and study Portobello Shelving Unit from Garden Trading. 

Portobello shelving unit

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

13. Mix book storage and decoration in a display cabinet

Perhaps you don't have many books, or you like a more eclectic look – whatever the reason, we think books look great when mixed with decorative items in a display cabinet, as in this cabinet from Debenhams. 

For similar display cabinets, see Ikea and The White Company

Abigail Ahern fro Debenhams

(Image credit: Debenhams )

14. Mix and match bookcases for an ensemble look

If you choose good-looking bookcases, they can be organised to create a multi-layered look that will add interest in the living room. 

The Chester painted range from Cotswold Co comes in a variety of sizes and in an attractive dove grey that will complement most rooms. 

Chester bookcases

(Image credit: Cotswold Co.)

15. Make bespoke book storage the leading feature

Hardcore book lovers with vast collections of books – look no further than a clever bespoke solution that will fully integrate all of your books into your home. Make your library the leading feature in your hallway or living space, or accent your main staircase with built-in shelving.

We love this stunning bespoke book storage created by Platform 5 Architects as part of their Book Tower House project. 

Book Tower House P5 Architects

(Image credit: Platform 5 Architects/Alan Williams Photography)

16. Combine children's book storage with a play space

If your living space is open plan, positioning a large bookcase strategically can allow you to create a devoted reading corner and play area for your kids. Here, Elms Interior Design have used a bespoke bookcase as a room divider to create a kids' zone in an open plan room.

Pssst! We've got lots more book storage ideas for kids' rooms.

Cambridge Residence Project

(Image credit: Elms Interior Design/Michael J. Lee Photography)

17. Combine open book storage with closed units

If you have a wall-height book storage unit, you may well want to store more than just books in it. For smaller items that you don't want to be on display, opt for drawers or doors built into some of the compartments. 

We like the multifunctional Cambridge Barn fitted book storage from Neville Johnson. 

Cambridge Barn

(Image credit: Neville Johnson)

18. Install some sneaky book storage

Didn't think you had room for any book storage in, say, a narrow hallway? Think again. This book shelf has been built into a door so it doesn't take up any extra space. We are sure you could DIY this kind of thing but if you aren't up for the challenge a carpenter or joiner would be your best bet. 

Hallway door turned into a book case

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

19. Make a colourful statement with your book storage

Use your books to create a load of interest in your room by ordering them by colour. We promise, it might take a while but the final look is super satisfying (and very Instagrammable). Mix up sizes as well as colours to add in some texture too, and use some matching home decor – vases, houseplants, lighting – to further the rainbow effect. 

Books stored by colour

(Image credit: John Lewis)

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