10 Creative Bookshelf Ideas You'll Want To Try At Home

Writers Shed
Writer's Shed | © Wai Ming Ng

Architecture & Design Editor

With winter on its way, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, so we’ve come up with our favourite home library ideas for both bookworms and design lovers alike, plus some handy tips on how to store your collection.

1. For the prankster

This house of fun featured recently on Grand Designs due to its witty architectural details, including charming features such as a revolving bookcase at ground level that leads you to the playroom on the top floor. It was designed by architect Matt White for his family in West Sussex. Watch the episode here.

Revolving bookcase designed by Matt Architecture

2. For the literary type

Inevitably a project called the ‘Writer’s Shed’ was going to have to accommodate plenty of books. This cosy cabin was created by Weston Surman & Deane Architecture – on the gable wall, a bookcase meanders around the wood-burning stove, providing a centrepiece for the author to store his treasured library.

Writer’s Shed

3. For the lazy lounger

This genius Bibliochaise design from Italian brand Nobody&Co means you don’t even have to get up off your seat to grab your favourite tome and settle in for the afternoon. It’s a smart idea if you’re tight on space.


4. For those with high ceilings

If you’ve got space, a double-height bookshelf is an eye-catching way to fill the vacant void. This house in London has won awards for its clever renovation by firm Stiff & Trevillion, including the floor-to-ceiling bookcase feature wall.

The bookcase was designed by Stiff & Trevillion and built by Loveday Construction

5. For the bed dweller

Adding shelving behind your headboard is a clever idea if you love to stay up all night with your favourite page-turner, or lounge around on a Sunday morning with the papers. Ikea handily has a ready-made design – the Brimnes model is an affordable £255 for the bedframe and storage headboard.

Ikea’s Brimnes bed frame with headboard storage

6. For the savvy space saver

Making the most of otherwise wasted space is a smart idea, like in this family home by Zminkowska de Boise Architects. Shelves have been cleverly incorporated into the stair risers, while the steps have becomes a central place for family members to sit, read, chat and play.

Design by Zminkowska De Boise Architects

7. For the escapist

Create a cosy reading retreat away from the chaos with an incorporated bookshelf into a recessed wall. The dark painted wall in this design by Thomas Kroger Architects creates a calm cocooning affect.

Thomas Kroger Architect created a reading nook in this home

8. For the architectural visionary

This wooden feature bookcase by La Shed Architects also acts as a dividing screen that lets in light while shielding the staircase. It also adds texture to the space, breaking up the solid block of red behind it.

La Shed Architecture designed this bookcase

9. For the minimalist

This is a simple update that can be done on a weekend afternoon – create a vertical ladder of floating shelves to pile up your books. These cost just £8 a pop from B&Q.

Form floating bookshelf from B&Q

10. For the period homeowner

Take a leaf out of the book of old-world country houses and install a secret bookcase door that blends in with the wall panels. This design was created by Peter Pennoyer Architects for a house in Maine.

Hidden door bookshelf by Peter Penner Architects

Essential design tips

Now you’ve got the inspiration for your perfect bookcase design, take on board Heal’s furniture designer Matt Elton’s advice on storing books to the best visual effect for the finishing flourish:
– Organisation draws the eye for all the right reasons – you might want to display your collection alphabetically, by one colour per shelf or even through the colour spectrum along the shelf.
– Size matters – I find keeping larger art and design books lower down and smaller novels and poetry collections along the top shelves creates balance both physically and visually.
– Freestanding shelving units are making a huge come-back, allowing you to make a real feature of your favourite tomes, either front on to showcase the cover, or side by side to display the spine.

Books arranged by colour
Heal’s Tower shelving system, starting at £65

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