17 book storage ideas – creative ways to organise your fave reads

In need of some stylish book storage ideas? Be inspired by these clever solutions...

Book storage ideas
(Image credit: Ikea)

Looking for book storage ideas? Got enough Harry Potters, Game of Thrones (yes, that was a book first) and, ahem, copies of Real Homes mag to fill a library? Well you are in the right place because we've scoured a world of storage solutions for the best-looking and most functional options From inconspicuous floating shelves to windowsill solutions to freestanding units to bespoke wall-height bookshelves, explore our guide to book storage and be inspired to tidy up your collection.

Need more than just storage for your books? We've got all your storage needs covered over on our hub page.

1. Go for Scandi-style book storage for a neat look

Elfa classic shelving

(Image credit: Elfa)

Want a streamlined, laid back look for your rooms? Take a leaf out of those devilishly clever Scandinavians and choose book storage that will blend with your existing interior rather than making a dominant style statement on your walls. Plenty of matching, pale-coloured books to display alongside pretty artwork and objets? All the better.

The Classic Shelving (opens in new tab) range from Elfa can't be beaten for combining unobtrusive style with function. Available from A Place For Everything.

2. Choose a leaning bookcase for small spaces 

Jessie bookcase

(Image credit: Habitat)

Small living room, but still want a bookcase? Go for a slim leaning option – it will cope with a lot of books, though you may want to stack some of them of top of each other, rather than standing them up. We like the elegant and simple Jessie Black Narrow Leaning Bookcase (opens in new tab) from Habitat. 

If you are after more small living room ideas go and have a read of our feature. 

3. Transform your hallway into a library

Urban Oasis project

(Image credit: Lindsey Runyon Design)

We rarely think past shoe storage when it comes to hallways, but book storage ideas like these can do wonders for transforming this otherwise impersonal space. Better still, they not only free up space in other rooms, but it will make your hallway look like an extension of the living room. Pair up with a painting or print on the opposite wall to take the space from practical to decorative.

We love the spacious and modern bespoke look created by Lindsey Runyon Design (opens in new tab) as part of their Urban Oasis project. 

4. Create a contemporary look with cube storage

Vintage interiors aficionados Emma and Karim yearned for a mid-century house, which they found in this Essex renovation project – now their unique new home

(Image credit: Fiona Murray)

Cube shelving is probably the most versatile of all book storage options. Easy to customise depending on your needs, cube storage is especially good for sorting books of different sizes. Great for vinyls too!

5. Create a statement bookshelf wall with paint

Surrey House Love Interiors

(Image credit: Love Interiors. Photographer Rachel Smith)

If your book storage is fitted, painting it a bold colour can create a stunning statement wall that will add depth to your living room. Consider a deep charcoal grey, such as Railings (opens in new tab) from Farrow & Ball for an on-trend look. We are inspired by the effective use of colour in this living room by Love Interiors (opens in new tab).

6. Choose a bookcase that doubles up as a console table

Suffolk 3ft bookcase

(Image credit: Neptune)

If you're looking for small house storage solutions, choose something that can multi-task, such as a bookcase that can also be used as a console table in the hallway. Store keys, gloves, and the dog leash in a box on top or in a drawer. 

Our all-round winner is the 3ft Suffolk Bookcase (opens in new tab) from Neptune, which can also be customised to be used as a wine rack. Now you're talking.

7. Save space with floating shelves

January 2020: Clare Pater used her skills as an interior designer and her knack for finding a bargain to transform her family's new home

(Image credit: Jemma Watts)

If you are after book storage that won't take up a lot of floor space or to pop over a kitchen surface, or even a headboard, floating shelves are a great option. They take up minimal space but have a maximum effect. That are also really easy to install yourself (just read our step-by-step guide to putting up a shelf) plus, your books are always easy to locate and super accessible.  

8. Create a reading nook with floor-to-ceiling shelves

black sofa and checked sofa in living room in front of bookshelf with lots of books

(Image credit: Bruce Hemming)

In open plan spaces, use book storage to create a reading zone. All you need to add is a comfy chair and a reading light and you have your own personal library... We like the cosy touch added to a spacious contemporary room.

Check out these inspiring reading spots for more ideas. 

9. Build a bookshelf wall around a doorway

Living room by Laura Ashley

(Image credit: Laura Ashley )

Oooh, look at all the lovely colours that this bookshelf brings to this room and this is a look you can quite easily recreate yourself. We think the easiest way to get a similar finish is to build the shape around your door using floating shelves. Plan out how many shelves you want to go up each side of your doorway and measure the length above the door too so you can install a shelf there too to complete the built-in look.  

The Ikea Lack shelves (opens in new tab) come is loads of sizes so you will more than likely find lengths that will find your space. They are really affordable too!

10. Use baskets for book storage

flowers and books on a window sill

(Image credit: Future)

The easiest book storage idea around, to use baskets to pop your nicest books in. Not only is it practical because all your books are really accessible, it also looks lovely – pop them on a window sill and there you go an instant new feature in your room. 

11. Add an industrial vibe with your book storage

Portobello shelving unit

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Bookcases can be very heavy, which is not ideal if you move a lot, or like reorganising your living space on a regular basis. A metal mesh storage unit is easier to manoeuvre and will add a cool industrial element to your interior. We like the spacious and study Portobello Shelving Unit (opens in new tab) from Garden Trading. 

12. Mix book storage and decoration in a display cabinet

Abigail Ahern fro Debenhams

(Image credit: Debenhams )

Perhaps you don't have many books, or you like a more eclectic look – whatever the reason, we think books look great when mixed with decorative items in a display cabinet. The more ramshackle looking the better, add prints, photos, plants just any random knick-knacks that you like the look of – maybe even pick a colour scheme to keep it cohesive. 

13. Make bespoke book storage the leading feature

Book Tower House P5 Architects

(Image credit: Platform 5 Architects/Alan Williams Photography)

Hardcore book lovers with vast collections of books – look no further than a clever bespoke solution that will fully integrate all of your books into your home. Make your library the leading feature in your hallway or living space, or accent your main staircase with built-in shelving.

We love this stunning bespoke book storage created by Platform 5 Architects (opens in new tab)as part of their Book Tower House project. 

14. Combine children's book storage with a play space

Jenny and Anthony Kakoudakis combine colour, heirloom pieces and mid-century style in a home reminiscent of a Parisian hotel

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies © Future)

If your living space is open plan, positioning a large bookcase strategically can allow you to create a devoted reading corner and play area for your kids. Pssst! We've got lots more book storage ideas for kids' rooms.

15. Combine open book storage with closed units

Cambridge Barn

(Image credit: Neville Johnson)

If you have a wall-height book storage unit, you may well want to store more than just books in it. For smaller items that you don't want to be on display, opt for drawers or doors built into some of the compartments. 

We like the multifunctional Cambridge Barn (opens in new tab) fitted book storage from Neville Johnson. 

16. Install some sneaky book storage

Hallway door turned into a book case

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

Didn't think you had room for any book storage in, say, a narrow hallway? Think again. This book shelf has been built into a door so it doesn't take up any extra space. We are sure you could DIY this kind of thing but if you aren't up for the challenge a carpenter or joiner would be your best bet. 

17. Make a colourful statement with your book storage

Books stored by colour

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Use your books to create a load of interest in your room by ordering them by colour. We promise, it might take a while but the final look is super satisfying (and very Instagrammable). Mix up sizes as well as colours to add in some texture too, and use some matching home decor – vases, houseplants, lighting – to further the rainbow effect. 

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Anna Cottrell

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.