The Stylish, Space-Saving Bookshelves I Can’t Live Without

published Aug 21, 2018
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(Image credit: Laura Schocker)

I feel pretty lucky that it’s my job to look at pictures of beautiful, inspiring homes all day. But sometimes it’s dangerous—you get ideas that you can’t afford or simply can’t achieve in your space. For me, one of those has been a beautiful home for my books. My one bedroom apartment has a few built-in cupboards underneath the windows where I started stashing them. Eventually I was using my nightstand drawers—then I moved to the top of the nightstand. Then came the stacks… everywhere. Recently there was an avalanche that was created by a precarious situation inside a kitchen cupboard (I’m not proud).

Despite a little furniture rearranging, I didn’t think I had room for a proper bookcase in my living room. The only free nook had a 10-inch depth, and the skinniest bookcase I could find was 12 inches deep. I considered one of those cool towers from Design Within Reach, but I worried about the floor footprint it would take up.

Then I started painstakingly researching floating shelves. I had a few options, but most of them required some kind of bookends, or didn’t support much weight. I finally settled on these beautiful shelves from Tee Books, which are specifically designed to accommodate, as the name suggests, books. I ordered their “Judd” bookcase, which is a set of five shelves—you can customize based on your space and the number of books you have. They’re just right for my space: 5.9 inches deep and tall, and 23.62 inches wide. When I recently shared a video about them on our Apartment Therapy Instagram stories, I got a flood of comments and direct messages asking me where I bought them—here’s what you need to know.

Installation is simple, though you do need a drill (we borrowed one for the morning), and two people to get the job done. The whole process—measuring, drilling, and mounting, took us about an hour (and there’s a video you can watch to make sure you get the process down before you start). The screws also have covers so they blend back into the shelves.

We had purged a lot of books for donation before starting the process, but I’m still shocked by how many can fit in a shelf. A paperback will slide in perfectly, and there’s a bit of overhang for a hardback. I arranged them in rainbow order (I know this commenting community likes to drag that system sometimes, but I’m not sorry—I say books can be pretty and interesting). I’m still using the built-in cupboards to store larger books and older paperbacks.

The shelves aren’t cheap—I chose these based on the reviews and the quality. They’re made of steel and each shelf can support 44 pounds of books (you can also store DVDs or CDs). They come out to $88 apiece on Amazon, or if you buy directly through TeeBooks, you can find them on sale right now—the version I bought is currently $380, or $76 apiece. Shipping is free.

If you’re looking for a less expensive version to try out, I scoped these similar ones out on Amazon (but haven’t tested them).

I think my shelves will look even better once they’re full and “disappear,” in a way, into the wall, but I’m not in a rush to fill them up. Having a place to store my books and plenty of space for the new ones I haven’t discovered yet is half the fun.