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Top Alternatives to Bookshelves

Created: 24/04/2017

For those of us who love to read, finding the most attractive and space conscious way to store our many books is important. Of course, the traditional bookcase/bookshelf can be an option, but you might be surprised at the myriad ways one can be inventive when trying to display these prized possessions. So let’s take a look at a few of the best alternatives to bookshelves. 


Piano Bookshelf

Why not start out with something a little whacky. Not many of us will have an old piano lying around, but if you should so happen to come across one, they can make truly unique and beautiful bookcases.

By hollowing out the insides, keeping the keys intact, and adding in some shelving, this can be a great way to repurpose an item that is no longer of use. Simply tilt it up right, secure it to the wall, sliding in your favourite reads, and you will have yourself a top bookshelf alternative!

Under the stairs book sanctuary

When working on your home, finding space, and creating more of it can be a top priority. So why not make good use of that space beneath the stairs and create yourself your own little under the stairs book sanctuary?

By excavating that area, adding in some shelving, and a nice comfy windowsill type seat below it, you will have created a wonderful little nook for reading, while saving a bunch of space as well. This one can be a bit of a mission however, so to get the job done right, make sure you acquire the skills of a top handyman service

Ladder bookshelf

Ladder shelf

If you want to go for something a little out there, and happen to have an old ladder hanging around, why not stack it, or throw it up on the wall and create yourself a great new bookshelf?

Try opening out an old wooden ladder and either pinning it flat against the wall or using its natural bend to fit nicely into the corner of a room. You can then use its steps and frame as a great space to place some of your books. You’ll be unlikely to find any of your friends sporting this one at home.

Stairs book case

Going back to those trusty stairs, there are plenty of other little variations one could use to utilise space while finding an attractive and minimalistic area to store your books.

If you extend the sides of your wooden staircase, protruding a little further out than normal, you will have suddenly fashioned yourself a staircase made of books! This can be a brilliant way to add a little flare and substance to a useful but boring feature of your home. 


Book Hall

In the vein of maximising what little space you may have in your home, if you want to give your books pride of place but don’t want to use all the room in your living room, why not kit out your hallway/corridor with a hall of books!

Camila Boschiero of, an inspirational resource for all things home improvement, spoke to us about this very set up, and we can’t help but agree.

“In need of space? Why not build an open shelf alongside a corridor that leads to the kitchen. The shelf doesn't take too much space as it only extends about 5-7 inches from the wall, allowing you to roam freely from one side to the other but at the same time creating a fantastic option for storage of all things. Plus it is stylish too!”

Camila and Homify are exactly right. By fitting traditional long shelves all along the wall of your hall or corridor, and stacking up those books you have lying around, you have not just spruced up that boring walking space, but saved room as well! This really is a great idea for all those who see space as a premium.

Floating bracket bookshelves

If you are keen to display your books but don’t want the bulk of a traditional bookcase or shelf, then opting for a floating bookshelf might be the perfect option for you.

In fixing some long metal brackets to the wall, side by side, and then piling up your reading material, one on top of the other, you will have created the look of floating books as they will be obscuring the brackets on which they lay. This an incredibly tidy and cost effective alternative.

Vintage TV

Copper pipes and reclaimed wood

If you are looking for something unique and are willing to put in a little to work to get just what you want, then you can really fashion just about anything into your ideal bookshelf. Take this suggestion from Kerry Allen of the home improvement blog Kezzabeth as an example.

“Using copper pipes and reclaimed wood to create a bookshelf is a great interior design feature for anyone looking to add a bit of industrialism to their home! It's inexpensive, really easy to do and certainly very quirky!”

It certainly sounds good to us, and another example of using a little ingenuity to accomplish the look you desire.

Hollowed out TV

If you are in the business of repurposing old items, or know your parents are clearing out some ancient artefacts, then hollowing out one of those old television sets with their dials and antennas might be a great way for storing books.

By removing the screen section of the TV, and replacing any innards with some reading material, you will have for yourself a particularly retro looking bookshelf that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. It’s pretty amazing what can be done with old items and a little imagination.

Hanging cieling shelves

Putting that imagination to further use, but in perhaps a different way, why not take inspiration from the storage of other household items. The hanging of pots and pans from the ceiling of our kitchens has long been a favoured style, so why not try out something similar but with books!

Camila at Homify really likes this idea, appreciating its coming together of styles and room saving potential.

“This is all to do with a mix of styles, where the country home and the industrial design meets. Let us make some storage where it won't interfere with our moseying around, why not the ceiling? And not only does it create space, it looks distinctive and modern.”

Inspiration can truly be found anywhere we look, and the possibilities for your perfect alternative bookshelf might just be endless.

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