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The 35 Best DIY Bookshelf Ideas

April 4, 2019 By James 
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The 35 Best DIY Bookshelf Ideas

By James 

When you move into an apartment, one of the first details that stands out the most is the fact that the walls are completely bare. Unless you’ve designed the interior architecture of your house, your walls were probably plain and empty when you moved in as well. Maybe you were all about the look of blank walls once upon a time but now you’re more inclined to add shelving to your walls. bookshelf ideas are the perfect resource for interior wall inspiration and renovation.

The best part about most DIY bookshelf ideas is that they require minimal physical exertion to create. Plus, turning your bookshelf dreams into a project rather than buying your ideal bookshelf from the store will keep your bank account happy in the process. Are you looking to build a bookshelf for your home? Read on to learn more about the thirty-five best DIY bookshelf ideas.

1. Build a Bookshelf in the Shape of a Tree

Bookshelf trees are an adorable addition to any room, especially to a child’s bedroom. The shelves are angled upward so that the bookshelves look like tree branches, and the bookcase itself is in an upright, standing position, to look as much like a tree as possible. This bookshelf idea is not difficult to recreate yourself, and it has the added benefit of sparking your child’s imagination as they reach for a book to read. If bookshelves can be trees, anything is possible!

2. All White Bookcase with Chalk Paint

White is a timeless color, and when you pair a white bookcase with any room, it instantly brightens a room. If you are someone who likes the feeling of opening cabinet doors and storing your books in an enclosed bookshelf, then a bookcase painted with white chalk paint will hit all the boxes for you.

3. Use the Drawers of an Old Dresser as Bookshelves

Who would have thought that old furniture can be transformed so effortlessly into a functional and reliable bookshelf? Now you do! By deconstructing an old dresser and reconfiguring the pieces, you can turn an unwanted piece of furniture into a place to hold your books, journals, scrapbooks, and anything else with a spine. Pull the drawers out of your dresser and layer them sideways on top of one another for a DIY bookshelf idea.

4. Expand Your Cabinets to Include Bookshelves

One of the best parts about bookshelves is that they are well-suited for just about any and every place in your house. Additionally, bookshelves can be made out of just about any type of building material. If you have extra cabinet space, one of the best ways to make use of so much room is to install bookshelves as part of your cabinets.

5. Mount Your Bookshelves to the Wall

Not all bookcases need to take up space on the ground. In fact, some of the most impressive and stylish bookshelves are positioned against the wall. Even though they are still considered bookshelves, wall-mounted shelving systems are not complicated to attach to your wall as a DIY bookshelf project. Whether you don’t have a lot of excess room on the floor or you just prefer the way a bookshelf looks when it’s attached to the wall,, then a mounted bookshelf is the best DIY bookshelf idea for your needs.

6. Nail a Bookshelf to Your Wall for a Floating Effect

Similar to the mounted shelving systems, another form of bookshelves that do not take up floor space are those that cause your books to appear to be floating in mid-air. The secret to this DIY bookshelf idea is to Not only do floating bookshelves provide a place for you to store your books, but they also act as a display. You can use floating bookshelves to showcase your favorite books, making this DIY bookshelf idea a suitable option for bedroom decor as well.

7. Bring Magic to Your Home with a Bookcase that Looks Like a Door

You know the story of the Chronicles of Narnia where the closet is secretly disguised as an entrance into the world of Narnia? Well, if you are a fan of secret passageways like the one in the story of Narnia, then you will fall in love with this DIY bookshelf idea. Although this bookshelf DIY project works best if you already have a sliding doors between rooms or as the opening of a closet, you can make this bookshelf idea come to life in any situation. Just know that it might take extra work if you don’t already have a sliding door, but it will all be worth it once you catch a glimpse of the final product.

8. Random Assortment of Cubes and Boxes as Bookshelves

The major appeal of DIY projects is that they make use of what you already have, rather than requiring you to go out and buy anything additional to complete the look. One of the most convenient DIY bookshelf ideas involves an array of wooden cubes that you arrange against the wall. For example, let’s say you have a square-shaped container made out of wooden pallets. By taking a storage container of this size and description, you can create bookshelves that hang from the wall by turning the cubes sideways, as shown in the image above.

9. Stack Benches and Tables to Create a Bookshelf or Two

If you didn’t think bookshelves made out of cubes was innovative enough, how about a DIY bookshelf idea that involves old tables and benches for storing books? That’s right! You can take a variety of old piano benches, entryway tables, small desks, and similar pieces of furniture to build a DIY bookshelf for your home!

10. Construct Bookshelves Held Together by Rope

Rope is one of the strongest materials that you could possibly use when working with a dangling bookshelf. Just like mounted bookshelves, a bookshelf that is fastened together by rope and hangs from the ceiling is a great DIY bookshelf idea. The rope adds a stylistic touch to it, and if your home already has a country vibe to it, then a bookshelf held together by rope will fit in very nicely. 

11. Hang Your Books Off the Wall with Leather Strap Bookshelves

Leather is just as durable and likely to uphold years of use as rope, so it also makes for a great addition to any DIY bookshelf! With this bookshelf idea, you have the option to either attach each individual bookshelf to the wall or to let it hang freely by the straps of leather. We definitely suggest you secure the shelves in place if you plan to place anything of value or any fragile items on your leather strap bookshelves.

12. Suspended Shelves 

Suspended shelving is a hot commodity in the world of interior design. Although the multiple layers of shelving are all connected by obvious wires, the shelving unit as a whole does not appear to be visibly attached to the wall. Instead of securing this DIY bookshelf by hooks or having it rest on the ground, suspended shelving units give off the illusion that they are literally suspended in the air.

13. The Curved Bookshelf

What better way to commemorate Dr. Seuss than with a bookshelf that looks like it’s straight out of his books? The curved bookshelf idea pairs well with children’s rooms, though it can also be placed in a living room for a retro look.

14. Insert Bookshelves Above Your Desk

Bookshelves are an absolutely essential aspect of any and all office spaces. Whether you are a lawyer with a personal collection of legal books or a teacher who keeps track of your students’ grades by putting paper copies in binders, there are endless reasons why a professional person might need bookshelves galore. If you have an office with a desk, you would benefit from DIY bookshelves above your desk.

15. Minimalist Bookshelf DIY Idea

Now for a DIY bookshelf idea for those you who live your life in accordance with minimalism. Since minimalists lean towards a decluttered and minimal lifestyle, this DIY bookshelf idea is perfect. The black wire book holders take the same shape as the bases of the bookshelves, making the design as simplistic and geometrically similar as possible. This bookshelf idea does the trick without taking up too much space or containing too many details.

16. Bookshelf Made from a Vintage Television Stand

This DIY bookshelf idea can go one of two ways. You can either take an old television stand, break it apart, and build a new bookcase from the ground up using the individual parts of the TV stand. Or, you can keep the television stand in its current condition and find ways to use it as a bookshelf just the way it is! Either way, a vintage TV stand that doubles as a bookshelf is an easy DIY project for anyone.

17. Use a Wooden Ladder as a Bookshelf

Many home design and interior stores sell ladders that are intended to be used inside, whether functionally or as nothing more than decor. If you look at the photograph, you’ll see a wooden ladder that is being used as a towel holder, with bins on each tier for additional appeal and style. If you exchange the towels and put books in their place, as well as move the ladder out of the bathroom and into a room where a bookshelf is needed, you’ll wind up with one of the cutest and most original DIY bookshelves!

18. Recycle Skateboards to Create Bookshelves

Are you someone who owns more skateboards than you can count? Maybe you have skateboards that you can’t use anymore, or maybe you just want to find a purpose for old skateboards lying around the house. No matter what your reason is, if you have an abundance of skateboards at your disposal, you should consider using them to construct a DIY skateboard bookshelf. Think about how many shelves you want your DIY project to have and then get your hands on one skateboard more than that number. This DIY bookshelf project takes time and dedication, but the end result is impressive beyond belief.

19. Nail Old Wine Crates to the Wall as Bookshelves

Repurposing certain materials by transforming them into a completely new and functional piece of furniture is one of the best ways to recycle your unwanted items. When it comes to building a bookshelf on your own, you’ve surely seen by now that just about anything can become a bookshelf. The same goes for wine crates. There isn’t a lot that you can do with old wine crates aside from using them to carry more wine bottles. If you have a growing collection of wooden wine crates, then you might want to ponder the idea of building a bookshelf out of wine crates. Put the wooden boxes to good use with this DIY bookshelf project idea.

20. Stack Crates on Top of Each Other for Fun Multi-Level Bookshelves

One of the easiest DIY bookshelf ideas requires six plastic crates and three pieces of wood, all of equal lengths. The trick is to build two towers of three crates each. The crates should be stacked on top of one another, with one piece of wood separating the crates of each tower. The third wooden stick goes on top of the tallest crates, which gives you room to place decorative items, like flowers in a vase or modern statues. There is not any installation involved with the crate-and-wood DIY bookshelf idea, so it makes for a quick fix to an urgent need for a bookshelf.

21. Use a Few Storage Bins as Bookshelves

On a similar note to the previous crate bookshelf idea, you can make use of cloth storage bins and turn them into bookshelves for any room. Even though they don’t look like your typical bookshelves, storage bins are just as functional as every other idea in the DIY bookshelf book. You won’t even know it’s a bookshelf until you pull out a storage bin and look at its contents. This DIY bookshelf idea is marvelous when it comes to keeping books from any wear and tear that happens simply from being exposed.

22. Make a Tetris-Style Bookshelf Unit

Some of the most beautiful pieces of art involve random geometric shapes that don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to their placement. This DIY bookshelf idea plays with various rectangles and squares to create a Tetris-inspired bookshelf for your home. The finished product is so complex that we recommend you have an expert skill level in woodworking or carving prior to attempting this DIY bookshelf project on your own.

23. Bookcase to Display Magazines

You know when you stroll into the doctor’s office or you’re waiting for your appointment at the dentist, and you spot a wall full of magazines across the way? This is a DIY bookshelf idea that you can recreate in your room, apartment, condo, or house. Most of the time, bookshelves that display magazines are securely affixed to the wall behind the bookshelf, but this isn’t a requirement. Feel free to lean your bookshelf upright against the wall if drilling holes or using crews in your wall are not options for you.

24. Sideways Ladder Bookshelf

If you think about a ladder, the design is actually perfect for holding books, magazines, and journals, along with anything else you’d typically place on your bookshelves. The only thing about ladders is that they are made out of two elongated pieces of wood that lean inward rather than standing upright. You can’t use an upright ladder as a bookshelf, but guess what? You can still use a ladder as a DIY bookshelf idea by turning it on its side and securing it to the wall. And just like that, you have yourself a sideways ladder bookshelf!

25. Pick a Theme and Design a Bookshelf Around It

Designing your space can be really hard, especially if you aren’t sure what your personal style is or how to turn the idea in your head into reality. A really good way of getting out of your head and actually making a change is to pick a theme that you really like. Starting out with a themed bookshelf will help you decide if you like the theme enough to stick to it. Are you someone who’s into superheroes? Start out small by building a bookshelf in the shape of Superman’s S.

26. Combine Iron and Wood for the Perfect Contrast

When in doubt, stick to an industrial bookshelf. The style is so subtle that your bookshelf will pair well no matter what room you put it in or what your other pieces of furniture look like. With wooden shelves and iron pipes to hold the shelves in place, this DIY bookshelf project idea is one worth trying.

27. Stick with the Classic Cube-Shaped Bookshelf

There is no bookshelf idea more classy than the basic cube-shaped bookshelf. You’ve probably seen a bookshelf used as cubbies in preschools or for supplies in a classroom. This DIY bookshelf idea takes inspiration from the most common bookshelf ever made.

28. Bookcase with Storage for Toys

If you have children of young ages, you’ll benefit a lot from a bookshelf that doubles as a toy storage bin. As a DIY bookshelf idea, the bookcase is positioned above an open area intended for the toys. The books go in the shelving unit on top, while all the toys can make a home in the bins below. You can use the bookcase for your books, or you can place children’s books in the shelving area for your kids to read someday.

29. Insert Bookshelves into the Headboard of Your Bed

It has been shown that reading a book before going to bed can actually help improve your sleep throughout the night. What if we told you a bookshelf could help you feel more well-rested? The truth is that it’s not the bookshelf on its own, but instead, having a bookshelf as part of your headboard will make reading before bed a lot easier and more intuitive.  

30. Inverted Bookshelves for Fans of Magic

How impressed would your friends be if you invited them over to your house and they saw that all of your books hang upside down? You can pretend to be a wizard with magic powers, or you can let your friends in on the little secret that is inverted bookshelves. Until they know the tricks of the trade, you’ll have your friends scratching their heads and wondering how in the world you managed to invert your books like that.

31. Keep it Artsy with a Pegboard Bookcase and Rubber Bands

Talk about the perfect shelving unit idea for arts and crafts! If you are an artist, you will fall head over heels for a DIY bookshelf that incorporates pegboards and rubber bands. The first step is to securely attach a pegboard of your sizing preference, and then you can start to add all of your supplies to the pegboard. This bookshelf idea allows you to categorize all of your supplies with ease, which is really helpful for artists of all mediums.

32. Paint Unused Rain Gutters

Rain gutters make really great DIY bookshelves. Something even more wonderful that the rain gutter bookshelves themselves is that you won’t even notice the difference between the gutters and bookshelves sold in stores. That’s how well rain gutters emulate bookshelves. Just decide on a length of wall that you want the bookshelf to run against and then fasten the trench-like structures to the wall. As a heads up, rain gutters are sold in increments of ten feet, so keep in mind that you will need a minimum wall space of twenty feet if you decide one rain gutter is not spacious enough for all of your books. Likewise, you can also stack rain gutters against the wall to create more space without expanding even further along the wall, like the picture above shows.

33. Shelve Your Books with Book Bookends

Bookends are usually made out of a heavy material because their purpose is to prevent books from sliding on the shelves or falling on top of each other. But if you glue certain things in place with a strong and durable adhesive and treat them like bookends, then it doesn’t quite matter how heavy the bookend is after all. Comparable to the inverted bookshelves, this DIY bookshelf idea is impressive because it looks as though the books are standing up on their own. The trick is to use old books or dupes of your favorite book as a bookend, which will make people think there’s no bookend at all. Clever, right?

34. Build Bookshelves Into Your Kitchen Island

The word bookshelf usually makes people think of a place to put your books in an office, living room, or bedroom. But what about the kitchen? If you are passionate about cooking and baking new recipes is one of your hobbies, then you can attest to the fact that having room in your kitchen for books is quite lovely. Since kitchens can become crowded very easily, think about installing an open-shelf kitchen island because you will be able to use the built-in shelving of your island as a bookshelf idea in the kitchen.

35. Miniature Bookshelf for Displaying Personal Favorite Collections

Bookshelves come in all shapes and sizes. Some are massive and take up a decent percentage of space. Other bookshelves are small and petite with room for a couple dozen books at most. If you have a few books in your collection that you want to showcase, then a miniature bookshelf will suit your shelving needs very nicely. This DIY bookshelf idea is also amazing for studio apartments, hallways, or anywhere else that has limited space because mini bookshelves do not take up a lot of room.