If you’re a bibliophile you could spend countless hours browsing through Pinterest and blogs to see all the creative and beautiful ways people have devised for displaying their personal library. While that is a great way to pass a lazy afternoon, the odds are you’re really looking for some quick and simple solutions to deal with the piles of books and magazines that have accumulated around your home. It may be the age of digital publishing, but many families still enjoy having a physical book in their hands.
Display vs. Storage
The first question you need to consider is whether you want to display your books as a design element in your home or if you simply want a way to properly store them that still allows easy access.
Display books take up visible space in your home. Whether you want a library-like, spine-out effect or a coffee table or full cover wall display, you’ll need to measure the physical size of your collection to determine how much space you need.
If storage is more important than style, you may go for a hidden or “out of sight” approach. Size of books will still matter, but you can stack and pile and bundle your books instead of making sure that each one is visible.
Hiding your book shelves behind cabinet doors is common, as is stacking them in drawers or cupboards. If you have an ottoman, coffee table, or window seat with hidden storage, that’s another good place for keeping your books.
Here are a few more ideas for concealed book storage:
- Under the bed — If your bed has drawers, this is a great place for book storage or you can buy tubs specially designed to slide under your bed frame.
- In the closet — Installing extra shelves in your closet is simple, or you can set up a cubby or bin system to store books. Most closet organizers for sweaters, shoes, and linens can be adapted for storing books.
- Behind the door — This works best for magazines or children’s books with a small spine. Affix spice racks or those wall pockets used in offices to the back of any door. You can even design your own over the door hanger with fabric pockets.
- Hidden compartments — if you live in an old home or are feeling extra handy, you can create hidden storage behind your walls, under a trapdoor, or even something that pulls down from the wall or ceiling like a Murphy bed.
There are essentially two ways to get creative when it comes to storing books. One is choosing creative places for storage, the other is being creative with the idea of “shelves.”
Some creative places to put shelves or cubbies for books include above doors and windows, under benches or other seating, and lining staircases. You can even build storage into the stairs themselves. Another option is to attach shelves to the sides of furniture or appliances, such as attaching spice racks or pockets to the sides of dressers or putting magnetic trays on the fridge.
When it comes time to rethink the concept of “book shelf” a trip through any thrift store should get your ideas flowing. Start by eliminating “book” from the equation. Those multi-media cabinets designed to hold DVDs will fit paperbacks and smaller books. Garden planters can be nailed to a wall as easily as shelves. You can turn an old ladder into a bookshelf by turning it sideways on a wall. Drawers, crates, and old wooden boxes can be used to create unique shelving as can wooden benches. There are even some people who buy over-sized books at library sales and thrift stores and use those book as shelves on which to display their own collection.
As with any other DIY project, the options are only limited by your own imagination and ability to glue, nail, drill, or hang “shelves.”