Inspiration: Floor-to-Ceiling Bookshelves

Living in earthquake country, we've always been a little afraid of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, but the truth is, when the Big One comes, we'll have a lot more to worry about than a few falling books. So, throwing caution to the wind, we found some sky-high bookshelf eye candy to inspire those of you who share our obsession with this beautiful decorative choice...

1 These days we see a lot of impeccably groomed bookshelves, with books arranged by height or even color, but something about these messy bookshelves is also quite appealing. The room has just the right mix of quirky elements, and the bookshelves look pleasantly used, like they're owned by avid readers. So... an argument for bucking the tidy bookshelf trend? From Livingetc.

2 Built-ins that extend over the tops of doors and windows always create a cozy feel. We like the way a few beloved objects are tucked in with the books, but books still predominate. From Scott Engler's home on Design*Sponge.

3 In a room with lots of girly, eclectic touches, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase adds a layer of seriousness without being stuffy. From The Estate of Things (via I Suwannee).

4 Isn't half the fun of a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf getting a ladder, preferably with wheels, and dangling from it while perusing your collection? This particular ladder is beautiful and unusual (probably more decorative than practical, but we love it anyway). Also from The Estate of Things (via I Suwannee).

5 For a controlled, uniform look, you can consider turning the spines of your books out... but wait! Look a little closer at this photo and you'll see that those aren't books at all! It's bookcase wallpaper, which looks amazing set against the surrounding black walls. We love it! Great for earthquake-phobics who can't quite make the floor-to-ceiling bookcase plunge. From Gemma Ahern's home (featured on Design*Sponge).

For more tall bookshelf inspiration from Apartment Therapy, see Sarah Coffey's post about bookshelf walls.

(Images: Livingetc; Design*Sponge; The Estate of Things (photos 3 and 4); Design*Sponge)