Looking for clever storage ideas for your books? We've scoured a world of book storage ideas for the best-looking and most functional options, from inconspicuous floating shelves 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.