The 9 Best Bookends for 2023

We love Main + Mesa's Marble Geometric Bookends with Wood Inlay

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Best Bookends

Spruce / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

A crowded bookshelf is a thing of beauty for many of us, but a messy bookshelf is a different story (pun intended). With the right bookends on your shelf, you can keep your collection tidy and organized, and add extra decorative elements, too.

If you're shopping for bookends, you'll notice that there's a ton of variety for products that all serve the same purpose. But how to pick the right ones for your library? We took a look at major retailers and spent hours researching and assessing shapes, sizes, and styles to find a variety of options for different homes.

Our favorites are the Geometric Bookends with Wood Inlay from Amazon's Main + Mesa line. These bookends are simple yet chic, with a two-textured design in neutral colors, plus construction that keeps your books secure on the shelf. But don't just take our word for it, if you love styling and storing your books in eye-catching ways, read on.

Below you'll find the best bookends for your favorite reads.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Main + Mesa Marble Geometric Bookends with Wood Inlay

Main + Mesa Marble Geometric Bookends with Wood Inlay

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Marble and wood design

  • Sturdy and solid

  • Can be used vertically or horizontally

What We Don't Like
  • Has potential to chip

Constructed from white marble and espresso-toned wood, these chic Main + Mesa bookends will complement collections big and small. The smart, almost triangular design gives you the flexibility to position them vertically or horizontally. Plus, you can angle the bookends to reveal the wood stripe or keep it subtly hidden. We could see these fitting in with multiple decor styles, including minimalist, modern, traditional, and coastal-inspired spaces. A second style is also available from Amazon's Main + Mesa line, too (it's a bit pricier, and features a brass inlay instead of wood).

These bookends will look great and keep your books solidly in place—just keep in mind that marble can chip. A handful of buyers even mentioned flaws from shipping, although those reports were rare. We think this set has the potential to elevate all kinds of bookshelves, whether in a living room, bedroom, office, or personal library.

Price at time of publish: $40 per pair

Dimensions: 4 x 3 x 6 inches | Materials: Marble, wood | Weight: 7.27 pounds (combined weight of both)



Best Budget

Shikaman Decorative Metal Book Ends

Shikaman Decorative Metal Book Ends

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Clever text design

  • Four available colors

  • Modern aesthetic

What We Don't Like
  • Not as heavy as other styles

These fun Shikaman bookends have a tongue-in-cheek design that spells "book" on each side. Even if you don't need reminders of what your bookshelves hold, they're a cute and clever way to bring some charm to your space. With four colors to choose from (black, white, blue, and pink), you can easily pick a set to match your current style.

They're constructed with metal so while they are a sturdy choice, they're not as hefty as other designs (so plan your book layout accordingly). You don't have to worry about the metal scratching your shelf, though, since small foam pads are adhered to the bottom corners to help keep them in place and protect your surfaces. At roughly $5 per piece, they're a great choice for anyone looking for a budget-friendly addition to their library.

Price at time of publish: $10 per pair

Dimensions: 5.1 x 4.9 x 5.4 inches | Materials: Metal | Weight: 0.7 pounds (combined weight of both)



Best Modern

Crate & Barrel Lava Resin Stone Bookends

Crate & Barrel Lava Resin Stone Bookends

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

What We Like
  • Feature three unique materials

  • Minimalist

  • Sturdy

What We Don't Like
  • Could clash with some decor styles

If you're having a hard time deciding between bookends that are made of natural or man-made materials, then you may want to sit down for this one. This gorgeous Crate & Barrel set features dark lava stone, black resin, and light limestone, all layered in tiers for an attention-grabbing design that's unique yet versatile. We love the blend of textures and colors so much that if our bookshelves weren't already bursting, we might be tempted to display them alone as statement pieces.

While their striking design will be a draw for some, it may be a bit much for more neutral spaces or decor styles that lean rustic or country. Still, for other spaces and styles, we think it's well worth your consideration.

Price at time of publish: $50 per pair

Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.15 x 5.5 inches | Materials: Limestone, lava, resin  | Weight: Not listed

Best Vintage

West Elm Stepped Brass Metal Bookends

West Elm Stepped Brass Metal Bookends

Courtesy of West Elm

What We Like
  • Timeless brass look

  • Retro shape

  • Sturdy stainless steel

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricey side

These brass bookends from West Elm have a mid-century modern vibe, and we think they're an excellent choice if you're looking for a vintage-inspired accent. With a shape that channels jukeboxes and retro theater signs, the curved corners and layered look of each piece are a refreshing contrast to the clean lines and sharper edges we often see on modern decor. Plus, they're constructed from stainless steel with a brass finish, so they should be durable and sturdy.

Though we love these as a vintage call-back, they'll suit contemporary spaces as well, depending on how you style them—so they'll likely feel stylish for years to come, and even through design updates. These are on the pricier side of our bookend picks, but we think their versatility and luxe design make them a worthy investment.

Price at time of publish: $62 per pair

Dimensions: 5 x 2 x 5 inches | Materials: Stainless steel, brass | Weight: Not listed

Best Unique

Artori Design Hidden Metal Bookends

Artori Design Hidden Metal Bookends

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Clever magnetic design

  • Multiple styles available

  • Versatile silhouette shape

What We Don't Like
  • Smaller capacity than other styles

  • Paperback recommended for front book

If you like a bit of motivational messaging with your bookends, this set from Artori Design is the one for you. With a detailed silhouette in the shape of your character of choice (we're partial to the superhero woman), you can set them up to remind yourself (or a friend, family member, or lucky gift recipient) that they've got this. How do they work? A hidden magnetic stand tucks inside the cover of the book that you position at the end of the stack. The hero figure then bonds to it thanks to a second magnet. It's simple, yet guaranteed to grab the attention of guests and visitors, too.

If we could change anything about this set, we'd make multiple sizes so you can opt for larger versions, too. Currently, the manufacturer recommends using just five to eight books, as well as making sure to use a paperback for the front to allow the magnets to reliably connect. Also, the bookends might not be the best fit for precious books you don't want to sit at an angle, which could potentially damage the spines over time. Still, even with these limitations, we're here for this set.

Price at time of publish: $27 for set

Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.8 x 6.7 inches | Materials: Metal | Weight: 0.53 pound (combined weight of both)



Best Minimalist

Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia Set of 2 Wedge Bookends

Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia Set of 2 Wedge Bookends

Courtesy of Target

What We Like
  • Wood construction

  • Sleek, simple wedge shape

  • Sturdy without feeling too hefty

What We Don't Like
  • Wood grains can vary or feel mismatched

The simplicity of these wooden Hearth & Hand bookends is what sets them apart. The earthy texture and elegant design ensure they'll match a variety of spaces. The wood construction gives them oh-so-timeless appeal, and the wedge shape gives them a sturdiness that manages not to feel too bulky or heavy. We think they'd be a lovely pair to organize your novels, photo albums, magazines, and more.

One thing to consider is that you shouldn't expect the wood grains to be identical in both pieces. While we see that as part of their charm, it's possible that the bookends could feel mismatched to anyone who would prefer a pristine and precise look on their bookshelves.

Price at time of publish: $25 for pair

Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 5 inches | Materials: Wood | Weight: 3.52 pounds (combined weight of both)


Best for Heavy Books

Office Depot® Brand Heavy-Duty Bookends

Office Depot® Brand Heavy-Duty Bookends

Courtesy of Office Depot

What We Like
  • Sturdy metal construction

  • Non-slip coating

  • Minimalist aesthetic

What We Don't Like
  • Only offered in one size and color

Be warned, these sturdy, metal Office Depot bookends might give you nostalgia for your elementary school library. And speaking of schools: They're a great option if you're looking for some of the best bookends for textbooks or binders. And if you're wondering about your heaviest cookbooks? They're great for those, too.

These bookends are made of sturdy steel, and they have rounded edges and an enamel coating that saves them from feeling too utilitarian. Subtle foam padding on the bottom protects your shelf surfaces from scratches or marks—and it helps the bookends stay in place, too. While they're made of relatively thin metal, they're on the heavier side for this style of bookend. Their dimensions are also quite large, and while their measurements are a key factor for their overall durability, we wouldn't mind seeing more sizes. After all, smaller books can sometimes need extra reinforcement, too.

Price at time of publish: $24 per pair

Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 10 inches | Materials: Metal | Weight: 3.43 pounds (combined weight of both)



Best Agate

West Elm Agate Stone Bookends

https://www.westelm.com/products/agate-bookend-d1229/

Courtesy of West Elm

What We Like
  • Every set is unique

  • Can be bought as pair or separately

  • Two colors available

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricey side

These striking West Elm bookends will be the gems of your shelves. The agate of these bookends is dyed in shades of green or blue to enhance the lines and texture of the rock. The interior cross-section is polished for a stunning and smooth effect, while the outer shell of the stone appears untouched. You might even say there's a metaphor to be made here about the inner beauty of these agate bookends and the treasures inside our favorite books, too.

We're glad to see that you can buy them as a single bookend or a pair, since that gives the flexibility of using the wall or edge of your shelf to lean your books, too. Plus, these are on the pricier side of our chosen favorites, especially if you pick up two.

Price at time of publish: $34 apiece

Dimensions: 2.5 x 2 x 3.5 inches can vary | Materials: Agate stone | Weight: Not listed


Best Decorative

Urban Outfitters Vase Bookend Set

Vase Bookend Set

Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

What We Like
  • Unique vase design

  • Terracotta construction

  • Can hold dried or faux plants

What We Don't Like
  • Only available in one color

  • Can't hold water

These darling vase-inspired bookends from Urban Outfitters are just the thing to complete a shelf. Rest them on each side of your books, and it'll feel like they're greeting you each time you reach for your next read. The terracotta construction ensures that they're hefty enough to hold books of varying sizes and brings a sunny vibe to your bookshelf, thanks to the rich burnt orange color.

One important note: Despite their shape, these bookends aren't actually designed to hold water or live plants. This might be disappointing to fans of freshly cut bouquets, but think about it this way: Do you really want something that could leak or drip to be in close proximity to your favorite books? We would rather play it safe. After all, a beautiful collection of dried flowers makes a lovely alternative to live ones.

Price at time of publish: $39 per pair

Dimensions: 7 x 4.75 x 7 inches | Materials: Terracotta | Weight: 4.76 pounds (combined weight of both)



Final Verdict

Our pick for the Best Overall Bookends are the Main + Mesa Marble Geometric Bookends with Wood Inlay We're fans of the chic multi-textured style and sturdy design that will fit right in with your book collection. For a slightly more wallet-friendly pick, consider the Shikaman Decorative Metal Book Ends, which bring a bold charm of their own, thanks to the text spelling out "book" on either side.

What to Look for in Bookends

Size and Weight

With bookends, you want to ensure you're selecting a piece that has some weight to it, or one that's designed to use the weight of your books to hold it in place—either design can be effective. Our "best overall selection, the Main + Mesa Marble Geometric Bookends with Wood Inlay, is a great example of the former, while the Best Budget pair, the Shikaman Decorative Metal Bookends, is the latter. You'll also want to note the dimensions of the bookends, just to make sure they're an appropriate size for the surface you plan to stand them on.

Material

The material of your bookends not only factors into their appearance, but it can also contribute to their durability. Sometimes heavy wood or marble materials, while attractive and hardy, can be prone to chipping. Metal bookends tend to be more lightweight and found in designs that use the weight of the books themselves to keep them in place, though they can warp or bend over time, depending on the design. Ultimately, the choice of material can really come down to your personal preference and decor tastes.

Style

Bookends can serve as form and function, keeping your book collection in order and adding visual appeal to your shelf. We consider the ideal set to be both attractive and practical, serving as an extension of your personal style. If you are still identifying your style, or find yourself in a transition period between different styles, then consider a set that's neutral enough to go with a variety of decor themes. Personally, we like the 2 Wedge Bookends from Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, our pick for the "best minimalist" pair, for this purpose.

FAQ
  • What is the point of bookends?

    You know those rows of books you have that don't quite fill an entire shelf and tend to fall over? That's where bookends come in handy. They make it easier for you to store a certain number of books together without them toppling over. Either a pair of bookends, or a single bookend and a wall or shelf edge, can hold the books in place, keeping them tidy and preventing them from any incidental damage from toppling over.

  • Do bookends need to be heavy?

    The answer depends on the shape and size of the bookend. Certain designs, like the Office Depot Heavy-Duty Bookends, which we designated as our "best for heavy books" selection, are designed so that the weight of the books holds everything in place. Other styles, like the Crate & Barrel Lava Resin Stone Bookends, are typically positioned on either side of your collection, relying on their own weight to keep your books secure.


    We recommend assessing your books before you make a purchase. Whether you possess lots of sturdy, heavy hardcovers that can hold themselves upright with some assistance, or lots of well-loved paperbacks that need some support, should factor into the style you ultimately choose.

  • Do bookends damage books?

    Bookends should not damage books if they are used correctly. Bookends can actually protect books by keeping them secure in their storage. However, it's ultimately on you to make sure that your shelves aren't packed too tightly, that everything is positioned correctly, and that your books aren't leaning in such a way that their spines are bent or the bookends press into them awkwardly or incorrectly.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Dena Ogden is a lifestyle and commerce writer who’s been writing professionally since 2016, and with The Spruce since August 2022. For this piece, Dena researched bookends currently available at major retailers and evaluated products based on size, features, material, design, and overall value. When it comes to her own books, she is currently recovering from a years-long phase of stacking them horizontally.

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