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Bookshelves offer a tasteful solution to store and display not only books but also small plants, candles, photo frames, and other decorative objects. We caught up with an interior designer for buying tips, then researched top options at every size and price point.
In the end, our number-one pick is the Floyd Shelving System, a customizable, modular storage unit with a high weight capacity.
Read on for the best bookshelves available today.
Best Overall: Floyd The Shelving System
390-pound weight limit
Weeks-long wait on made-to-order items
Who else recommends it? Architectural Digest and Cosmopolitan both picked the Floyd Shelving System.
We'd happily drool over bookcases all day, but if we could only recommend one to our readers, we'd have to go with The Shelving System from Floyd. It has scratch-resistant, powder-coated steel shelves in your choice of moody black, forest green, or modish white. And the birch plywood frame comes with either a light ash or deep walnut veneer.
This customizable bookshelf is available in a range of sizes and configurations—there are three tall options, three short and wide, a few short-tall combos, and even some specialized designs with angled shelves and cabinets on the bottom. Plus, as a modular unit, you'll always have the option to reconfigure it or expand it when you need a bit more storage space.
Though it depends on which one you get, The Shelving System has an impressive weight capacity of nearly 400 pounds—or about 65 pounds per shelf. It's on the pricier side for a bookcase, and you'll have to assemble it on your own. But all in all, this is a high-quality, versatile storage solution with lots of potential.
Best Budget: Furinno Luder Bookcase
Not solid wood
Looking for something more budget-friendly? Check out the Furinno Luder Bookcase. It comes in several colors, sizes, and configurations, ranging from two to five tiers, with the option to include cubby-style storage.
Featuring clean lines and a pared-down aesthetic, this shelving unit has a minimalist-modern appeal that'll complement most decor schemes. While it's not made of solid wood and can only support about 10 pounds per shelf, you really can't beat the price. What's more, you can mix and match with different sizes, depending on your storage needs.
Best Splurge: Lulu & Georgia Philene Bookcase
Arrives fully assembled
Decorist designer Maria DeLucia is a huge fan of Lulu & Georgia's Philene Bookcase. "It's the ideal size and scale with an open bottom for adding baskets or storage bins," she tells The Spruce. "I love the light mango wood and cane finish combo."
There's also an option with a matte black frame that contrasts beautifully with the natural cane facade. The Philene is made of solid wood and has six shelves, each 16 inches deep with a 40-pound capacity. Measuring 90 x 38 x 17 inches, this large, stately shelving unit arrives at your door fully assembled. If you can swing the price and have the space for it, it's well worth the investment.
Best for Small Spaces: Sauder Nova Loft Display & Storage Shelf
Not solid wood
Short on space? DeLucia recommends the Sauder Nova Loft Shelf, which measures 37 inches tall, 25 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. "I love the style and size," she says. "It's so perfect to use as a nightstand as well as a bookcase."
Flaunting an industrial-modern aesthetic, this compact storage solution has a powder-coated metal frame and particleboard shelves with a walnut finish. Since it's technically designed for records and portfolios, the shelves are angled backward, which adds interest and dimension. Though we wish the Nova was made of solid wood, the manufacturer's five-year warranty can give you some peace of mind about your purchase.
Best Console: Pottery Barn Folsom 58" x 45" Console Bookcase
Solid kiln-dried wood
Fair Trade certified
If you're not into the towering look or just need something a little more versatile, you might consider a storage console. We like Pottery Barn's Folsom, a strikingly simple unit measuring 58 x 45 x 14 inches. Constructed in a Fair Trade facility, it's made out of solid kiln-dried wood spruced from responsibly managed forests.
Each shelf has a capacity of over 100 pounds, supporting upwards of 400 pounds in total. This shelving unit is hand-finished with a multi-step process and comes in two hues: light desert pine or matte charcoal. The Folsom is priced pretty steep, and shipping will be extra, but you'll get white-glove delivery service and can expect it to last for decades.
Best Corner: Crate & Barrel Fayette Corner Bookcase with Storage
Upper shelves aren't adjustable
Need to fill a corner? Check out the Fayette Bookcase from Crate & Barrel. This glamorous storage solution is 76 inches tall and 20 inches wide, with wedge-shaped shelves that go back 19 inches. It has a brass-finished metal frame and engineered wood shelving, plus a double-doored base cabinet with internal shelves.
There are six shelves in total, half of which are concealed behind the cabinet. As DeLucia notes, this type of unit is ideal for storing surplus items you might not want on display. We definitely wish the Fayette was more affordable, but we love the French art deco-inspired design and appreciate the durable engineering.
Best Ladder: AllModern Innes 42.2'' Ladder Bookcase
Solid kiln-dried wood
High weight capacity
Tip-over restraint included
Full assembly required
If you've yet to explore ladder-style units, allow us to introduce you to one of our favorite contemporary storage solutions. The Innes Bookcase from AllModern has a black powder-coated steel frame and four contrasting kiln-dried wood shelves of varying depths. It's 72 inches tall, 42 inches wide, and 18 inches deep at the base.
This Scandinavian-inspired unit can hold a lot of heavy books—or whatever else you want to put on display. The smallest shelf has a 60-pound capacity, and the largest one can support up to 100 pounds. Just bear in mind that full assembly is required, and you'll want to mount it to your wall to prevent tipping.
Best with Door: McGee & Co. Brookes Cabinet
Arrives fully assembled
According to DeLucia, the best bookcases help you organize and display your collections in a thoughtful, artistic way. She recommends the Brookes Cabinet, which has an eyecatching design that would be great for showcasing milk glass or fine china. Made of iron and glass, this storage solution flaunts a glammed-up gothic vibe that'll work in modern, industrial, and traditional design schemes.
The Brookes is undoubtedly expensive, and you'll pay a hefty shipping fee, but its striking beauty and versatile design can't be understated. This sizable unit measures 87 x 40 x 16 inches and weighs nearly 250 pounds. But don't worry—it arrives fully assembled with white-glove delivery, meaning they'll set it up in the room of your choice.
Best Solid Wood: Anthropologie Kalle Sculptural Oak Bookshelf
Two colors available
Anthropologie's Kalle Bookshelf is made of solid oak and comes in your choice of a natural finish or a matte black stain, both of which are sealed with a protective lacquer. Since it's made of real wood, you can expect natural variations in the texture—but this is part of the charm. It's 69 inches tall and 48 inches wide with five shelves, each 14 inches deep.
Featuring soft edges and varying cubby sizes, the design is uniquely minimalist with a down-to-earth appeal. The Kalle is one of the more expensive options on this list, and you'll have to pay a pricey flat-rate shipping fee. However, it comes with a white-glove delivery service and is made to last for several years—maybe even decades.
Best Modern: Urban Outfitters Alana Bookshelf
Four colors available
If you're drawn to modern furniture with mid-century flair, you'll love the Alana Bookshelf from Urban Outfitters. It's made of powder-coated metal and comes in four chic hues: periwinkle, white, gold, and black. Inspired by 1960s interior design, it features curved lines and four shelves of varying sizes.
Though assembly is required, the Alana comes at a very reasonable price point. This unit is 57 x 30 x 13 inches—the perfect medium size for your living room, hallway, or entryway. There's a larger size, too, which measures 66 x 30 x 18 inches.
Best for Kids: Pottery Barn Kids Cameron Storage Bookcase
Solid kiln-dried wood
Anti-tip kit included
Pricey for kids' furniture
Shelves aren't adjustable
Shopping for a kid's room? We're big fans of the Cameron Bookcase from Pottery Barn Kids. It's made of solid kiln-dried poplar wood and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and finished with child-safe paint in your choice of white or gray.
Measuring 42 x 42 x 16 inches with two shelves and two storage bins beneath, the Cameron is compact but still has plenty of space to stash books and toys. We also like that it comes with an anti-tip kit and mounting hardware for added safety. You can choose to assemble it yourself or opt for white-glove service, in which case Pottery Barn will set it up for you in the room of your choice.
Our number one pick is the Floyd Shelving System (view at Floyd), a customizable, modular shelving unit with an expandable design and an impressive per-shelf weight limit. However, the Furinno Luder Bookcase (view at Amazon) is an excellent choice if you're on a budget, and it comes in several colors, sizes, and configurations.
What to Look for in a Bookcase
Because bookcases often have to support quite a bit of weight, it’s important to find one that’s made from strong and durable materials. Solid wood is usually the best option, but it can be quite expensive. More affordable options include metal, which is especially sturdy, and manufactured wood, which may have a lower weight capacity per shelf.
When comparing bookcases, look at their dimensions to ensure they’ll fit comfortably in your home. (You may also want to measure to ensure they’ll fit through doorways or tight staircases.) Other sizing considerations include how tall the shelves are, as well as if they can be adjusted. This is especially important if you’re planning to display tall books or oversized pieces of décor.
Books can be quite heavy. A one-foot row of average-sized books typically weighs around 20 pounds, so you should always check the weight capacity of bookcase shelves before purchasing. If you’re planning to display a full shelf of books, each shelf should be able to hold 50 pounds or more (depending on its width).
How deep should a bookcase be?
It really depends on what you're planning to put on it, whether it's hefty encyclopedias, paperback novels, small potted plants, or a collection of picture frames. But generally speaking, the shelves of a bookcase should be at least 12 inches deep. Many models go a lot deeper, sometimes up to 20 inches. In any case, make sure you have enough clearance space in front.
When should you opt for a standalone bookcase over floating shelves?
This is mostly a matter of personal preference, so consider your storage needs and design taste. A standalone unit will usually provide more space to display items, though you can always hang several floating shelves to achieve a similar effect.
"Bookcases are unique in the way that they can both anchor a wall or fill a corner," says DeLucia. "They often do double-duty by becoming room dividers, nightstands, or console tables."
How can you decorate a bookcase?
"I love styling bookshelves in a very neat and orderly way," says DeLucia. She often reaches for large bins, decorative boxes, and woven baskets to hide clutter while adding color, texture, and geometric interest. "I also like to combine 'like items' or organize my books by color so it feels visually cohesive."
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a commerce writer specializing in home improvement, interior decor, and lifestyle. She interviewed a professional designer for this story, compiling their product suggestions, styling tips, and insight into sizing and placement. Before landing on the final bookcases, Theresa looked at dozens of models from a medley of brands and retailers, ultimately selecting those that stood out in terms of durability, aesthetics, and capacity.
Theresa covers furniture and organizational solutions at The Spruce. You can read more of her home-related articles on MyDomaine.