Types of Bookcases – Their Features & Uses


Bookcases and Their Long Shelf Life

When one thinks of bookcases throughout history, Hollywood-conjured images seem to immediately flood our thoughts; where floor-to-ceiling walls of bookshelves with their infamous rolling ladder are ready to whisk you away to your next work of literature. While these dreamy libraries have certainly dominated many households throughout the world, modern day bookshelves now come in a variety of architecturally-minded designs in a range of styles, sizes, and even functions. Whether borrowing from tradition or taking on a whole new profile, the role of a bookcase not only serves as a station for your favorite works of literature, they have also become a platform to display curated vignettes, photo frames, succulents, and other accent pieces. They are excellent expressions that add warmth and personality to your home, while at the same time, communicating a lot about what you read, collect, and love.

A Bookshelf for Every Decor Preference

It’s no secret that bookcases make for great storage, and a well-styled bookshelf is an excellent expression that adds warmth and personality to your rooms. But how do you choose a bookcase that best suits your space?

1. Cube Bookcase

Vallejo Solid Wood Stair Step Bookcase
Vallejo Solid Wood Stair Step Bookcase

Are you looking for a bookshelf that is more than just practical storage? Does your vision include an eye-catching piece that brings a decorative touch all its own? A cube bookshelf is more than just a designated place to tuck away your titles or show off your decorative objects:

  • With their modern, clean lines and bold boxy silhouette, a cube bookshelf can serve as a focal point, especially when paired with eye-catching artwork or a rainbow of brightly colored book spines
  • As a divider, a cube shelf can separate specific areas in a shared bedroom, visually separate an open plan living/dining room, or break up the monotony in a studio apartment

The unassuming configuration of a cube bookcase also allows them to integrate effortlessly into different roles beyond merely that of a holder for books:

  • In a playroom, a cube organizer can make the counter for a storefront or act as the foundation for under a craft table
  • Backless cube shelves can serve as a unique stage for your planters, especially when set against an oversized window in a sunroom or solarium

The angular, proportional compartments serve as excellent playgrounds for any number of unique collections. They can effortlessly:

  • Highlight your teacup collection in the dining room
  • Show off achievement awards and trophies in the office
  • Boast your family tree of photo frames in the sunroom
  • Create a cinephile’s compendium of movie tiles and memorabilia in the den

2. Geometric Bookcase

Gadsden Contemporary 8 Open Shelf Solid Wood Geometric Bookcase
Gadsden Contemporary 8 Open Shelf Solid Wood Geometric Bookcase

Geometry bookshelf


Looking for something with an artistic vision that can easily cater to an industrial or modern taste? A geometric bookcase is unparalleled among its peers:

  • The cube shelf’s stark lines and modern framing makes it as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing
  • The geometric compartmentalizing of the shelf space allows for individualized display of cherished titles or decorative pieces
  • Often divided in both horizontally and vertically cubby-like sections makes for a very statement-making room accent that permits easy selection and viewing of various collections
  • If using solely for media or books, you have yourself an effortless means of organization by category or color for a punch of wow that will make an impact on anyone who stops by

A geometric bookcase can accommodate a variety of uses:

  • Offers open storage for easy selection and viewing of your books, media, and other collections
  • Beautifully stores books in unique context to your decorative pieces
  • Can be mixed with a variety of furniture pieces for a contemporary aesthetic
  • Comes in a variety of capacities to give you the ultimate flexibility to fit any space or need
  • Great as an office organizer to house books, binders, documents, or reference materials
  • Easily displays art, books, DVDs, CDs, collectibles, photo frames and more

3. Ladder Bookcase

Ignacio 5 Open Shelf Solid Wood Leaning Ladder Bookcase
Ignacio 5 Open Shelf Solid Wood Leaning Ladder Bookcase

Does your space need a freestanding bookshelf that can fit in anywhere, even small spaces? Is versatility at the top of your list when it comes to shelf space? The ladder, or leaning bookcase, is a great organizational investment that can be used anywhere in the house:

  • Place in the entryway with wicker baskets and shoe bins for a unique take on the hall tree
  • Lean it against a kitchen wall and it becomes extra pantry space
  • Next to a bathroom pedestal sink, you’ll gain plenty of extra “counter” space for toiletries, a magnifying mirror, mason jars, and stacks of towels
  • Your cleaners, solvents, and stain removers will find a neat and tidy home in the laundry room
  • In the garage, the ladder bookshelf is a perfect mechanic’s companion
  • Makes for a refreshing take on the traditional nightstand with easy-access shelf tiers

With style to spare, the leaning bookcase is not your average blocked-off of shelves. This open and airy bookcase:

  • Breaks up the monotony and adds a 3-dimensional look
  • Brings height plus interest to a room
  • Is a breath of fresh air that disrupts the mind’s eye from the average and creates an interesting focal point

4. Bookcase with Drawers

Proctorville Rustic Wood Stair Step Cube Bookcase With Doors & Drawers
Proctorville Rustic Wood Stair Step Cube Bookcase With Doors & Drawers

Love the aesthetic of a bookcase, but prefer some concealed storage to accompany this look? Then a bookcase with drawers, a bookcase with file drawers, or a bookcase with doors is the solution you need to:

  • Corral clutter in the living room at a moment’s notice
  • Organize the office while still displaying your awards and keeping easy access to your files
  • Conceal odds and ends in the den you’d rather have tucked away
  • Keep special occasion dinnerware in the dining room and away from the hubbub of the kitchen

Wherever it is needed most, the combination of open and closed storage offers the best of both worlds, plus the look can stretch across any decor scheme or capacity:

  • Enjoys an approachable appeal with natural look
  • Combines a bookcase with drawers to create the perfect marriage of display and storage
  • Accentuates any home decor from traditional to modern and everything in between
  • Refreshes your space with a unique spin on the traditional

5. Corner Bookcase

Cameroon Contemporary 5 Shelf Solid Wood Corner Ladder Bookcase
Cameroon Contemporary 5 Shelf Solid Wood Corner Ladder Bookcase

Space at a premium? For a contemporary look with architectural integrity, a standing corner bookcase can add an easy upscale look to your room. A corner shelf acts as an attractive decorative statement that can also:

  • Store items that don’t have a specific home
  • Bring functionality to a bland, unused corner of the room
  • Arrange items in easily accessible locations
  • Display treasured collections with open shelves
  • Keeps an out-of-the-way place to better protect delicate and fragile decor pieces
  • Provides suitable organizational space for rooms needing vertical storage
  • Great for staging memorabilia without blocking prized pictures already mounted to the wall
  • Offer multipurpose and multifunctional storage solutions
  • Easily conforms to the needs of any room of the house
  • Takes up less floor space with many of the same benefits of traditional bookcases
  • Fits into odd locations to maximize all available storage
  • Can effortlessly coordinate with a variety of decor schemes
  • Clean-lined design provides outstanding freestanding support

6. Industrial Bookcase

5 Shelf Industrial Open Round Bookcase
5 Shelf Industrial Open Round Bookcase

Love the look of exposed ductwork and raw materials? Then the industrial style is your go-to style! Industrial, while being fluid enough to fit in with certain rustic and traditional decor schemes, is all about the durable, commercial aesthetic. Elements of this style can include:

  • Metal or iron support posts
  • Solid wood shelves
  • Reclaimed wood or other salvaged materials
  • A unique silhouette that catches the eye

An industrial bookcase can come in more compact sizes for studio floor plans, to large bookcases ready for stowing your necessities in an open shelf bookcase design of  2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 shelves. This style shelf is great for many specifications or desired aesthetics:

  • Open design makes rooms feel larger while providing lots of storage options
  • Improve your organization to showcase your favorite books or art pieces
  • Offer a convenient solution to the problem of stacking
  • Great for the entryway, living room, den, home office, or master suite
  • Fresh touch that acts as its own work of art
  • Brings a unique and statement-making way to divide your open layout into smaller, more purposeful spaces

In conclusion, the bookcase you choose and the features they highlight speak volumes about your personal tastes. They infuse a home with warmth, character, and also maintain order by providing designated storage and display options. With such decorative power at your fingertips, which bookcase will YOU choose?


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