Good Questions: Any Good Ideas for Cheap and Slim Bookshelves?

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Hello AT,

Any good ideas for cheap and slim bookshelves? I am a young college professor with more books than space or $ to spend. I have the “perfect” space for my library–a looong hallway that runs for much of the length of my apartment–and need to find a shelving solution to fit. The shelves should be about 11in. deep at most and not too high (say, desk-height), otherwise the hallway will get too cluttered. My neighbors, who live in a twin-apartment, have lined the hallway with “Billy” bookshelves from Ikea, which fit perfectly… but (1) Ikea doesn’t seem to be making the short model any longer, and the shortest they make is too long, (2) I hate the thought of having to assemble all those Billy’s (I would need about five), and (3) I am coming close to Ikea overload in my place already.

I went to Home Depot and found planks of laminated MDF (or whatever the stuff that Billy is made of is called), white, 11in. deep, of good length… but I’m not sure what to use to space the shelves vertically (and cement blocks is just too reminiscent of grad-student days!).
Any ideas?


Dear Daniela, we are a bit overly in love with Elfa shelving, but find that this really is a flexible, affordable, easy to install and attractive solution for this kind of thing. The Container Store sells it and the planks come in multiple lengths and widths, starting at 5″ wide. The only problem is that it is so popular that the Container Store is often out of stock, so you want to give them a call and order early. Also, it’s on sale right now. MGR