These 18 Book Storage Ideas Prove You Can Have a Small Space and be a Bibliophile

published Mar 22, 2018
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Finding space for all of your belongings is no easy feat, especially for bookworms. If you’re a big-time reader, you probably have a pretty impressive book collection that you’re not willing to give up. But with the perfect book storage idea, you can continue growing your mini library no matter the size of your living space.

Ahead, you’ll find inspiration from renters and homeowners who’ve found unique storage methods, whether that’s DIYing their own shelves or repurposing unused spaces and decorative accents to keep their collection displayed.

How to Store Books Properly

While you might be approaching your book storage and organization from a style-first perspective, you could be overlooking the best way to preserve and take care of your collection. Small details like the temperature and climate of your space, and pests such as silverfish, can make books deteriorate faster. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when storing books:

  • Books do best in room temperature (70 F) with low humidity.
  • Do not place books in direct sunlight.
  • Dusting and wiping them down with a cloth every now and then will prevent a buildup of dust and the likelihood of bugs feasting on them.

Once you’ve got the maintenance part of your personal library down, you can start organizing your heart out. For the least amount of stress and clutter, everything from books to board games needs a designated spot in your home.

Credit: Erin Derby

1. Books As Art

Books double as wall art in this Brooklyn apartment, where colorful book stacks of varying heights blend seamlessly into an eclectic gallery wall. 

2. Library Wall

If you have an extensive collection, you might be inspired by the library wall in this artsy Los Angeles loft. It’s so large, you need a ladder to reach the top shelves (a.k.a. every book lover’s dream). 

Credit: BG Captures

3. Window Shelf

Strategically placing a floating bookshelf in front of a window maximizes storage space without sacrificing sunlight. Need proof? Just take a look at the office in this Kansas City, Missouri apartment.

4. Mantel Book Storage

If you really think about it, your mantel is basically a built-in bookshelf. Consider breaking up the books with decorative accents, like in this Chicago house.

Credit: Heather Shilan

5. Small Stacks

Is your bookshelf overflowing? Scatter your surplus in small stacks throughout your space to add a cozy touch to every room. Use this charming British Columbian home as inspiration!

6. Modern Minimalist

This pared down shelving system from @spectrumfurniture allows space for only a few books, which is great if you’re hoping to stick with a certain aesthetic, like black and white or modern minimalist. Simply select a handful of books that coordinate with the look you’re going for, and keep them on display in these understated shelves.

7. Behind Furniture

This bookcase by @interiorsstorageanddeclutter is positioned behind a small seating area for the perfect cozy spot that allows you to grab your favorite title without leaving your chair. Plus, this book storage idea frees up floor space that would otherwise be used for a bookcase. 

8. Antique Furniture

There’s nothing that says books must be stored in a bookcase. Got an old piece of furniture hanging around that you’ve been wanting to repurpose? See if there’s a way it could hold some of your favorite book titles. We love this clever book storage idea by @timewarpcollectables

9. Storage and Decor

Bookshelves aren’t just for your favorite reads anymore. Incorporate decorative objects and art alongside your books, as seen in this cozy Indianapolis apartment rental, and you’ll create a stylish mix that uniquely shows off your taste in accessories and literature.

Credit: Liz Calka

10. Color Coded Statement Wall

Set down the brush—an accent wall doesn’t have to be painted. The owners of this vibrant Washington DC apartment used a nook in their wall to stack books in a rainbow design. The result is a bold, colorful accent wall that looks more like art than storage.

Credit: Kim Lucian

11. Shelf-Less Book Stacking

No shelf? No problem. Organize your books by size and stack them horizontally from the ground up, as seen here in this San Francisco home. Neatly stacked, this book storage idea looks like an intentional, artsy book collection rather than a temporary “I haven’t ordered a bookshelf yet” pile.


12. Under Staircase Book Storage

Weird angles and odd corners often lend themselves to the best book storage ideas. A space like this chic Spanish apartment’s staircase closet makes use of an underused room and is a clever way of sharing a collection of novels.

Credit: Anik Polo

13. Floor-to-Ceiling Bookshelves

For extensive book collections, a floor-to-ceiling setup is reminiscent of a library and allows you to keep everything you read under your roof—without it feeling cluttered. Take note from this century-old house in Switzerland and work vertically up your walls to organize your volumes.

14. Glass Display Case Book Storage

There’s something so polished about books in display cases, like in this stylish Australian home. The bookcase blends in seamlessly with the rest of the room, making it appear like it’s a permanent part of the space rather than an afterthought. Not to mention, the glass helps protect the books from dust and grime. Consider repurposing an IKEA wardrobe for books—it’s an easy way to hack this sort of display idea.

15. Ladder Book Storage

Leaning a ladder against a wall and stacking books on its rungs is a creative way to reuse a vintage find that serves more of a decorative purpose than utility. And because ladders draw the eye upward, as is the case in this rustic, Scandi-inspired Australian studio, this book storage idea actually creates an illusion of extra space.

16. Floating Cube Bookshelves

Gallery walls don’t have to be limited to framed prints and paintings. This fun Chicago rental is the perfect example of how to use floating shelves and a gallery wall mindset to create a cute, quirky book storage method.

Credit: Submitted by Jessica & Milo

17. Faux Fireplace Book Storage

While faux and non-functional fireplaces are still nice architectural features, it can be a challenge to figure out what to actually do with them. Take inspiration from this cozy Brooklyn studio, whose residents filled their firebox with books. Consider facing your books spine-inwards, as shown here, for a more minimalist aesthetic and cohesive palette.

18. Staircase Rail Shelving

There’s no better way to prove your love of books than with a trail of them leading upstairs. The owner of this Melbourne, Australia apartment makes a strong case for showcasing your favorite reads in a fun, unexpected way. This solution is also a great way to make use of an often dead space.