19 Book Storage Ideas for Displaying Your Library

floating bookshelves

Melissa George

Let's face it—it's all too easy for our homes to become overwhelmed with books of all kinds: textbooks from last year's classes, novels that we just had to purchase off the bestseller list, and titles that we've always been meaning to pick up but haven't quite had the chance to tear through yet. While plain old bookshelves certainly get the job done, there are plenty of extremely clever ways to make book storage much more fun and conducive to our everyday lifestyles. Whether you're living in a small space or trying to create a kid-friendly play area, the solutions below will inspire you to get your reads in order once and for all.


Watch Now: 9 Tips for Styling Shelves

  • 01 of 19

    Make Full Use of the Coffee Table

    stacks of books under coffee table


    In a small space, keeping the top of your coffee table relatively clear is key, as this area frequently serves triple duty as a work station, dinner table, and entertaining spot. So what's an avid reader to do? Even if your coffee table doesn't feature a bottom shelf, you can still take advantage of the vast open space underneath its frame to corral all of the novels on your To-Be-Read list (the TBR list, to readers in the know). Just don't make your stacks look too precious; a more casual arrangement is key.

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  • 02 of 19

    Display a Collection

    rainbow glassware and books


    Style your books in rainbow order, but with a fun twist. Placing books alongside glassware in corresponding colors is an excellent way to show off two types of collections at once. If you'd prefer to set up this type of display in the kitchen rather than in the living room, just swap in cookbooks instead of novels.

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  • 03 of 19

    Fill the Fireplace

    books stacked in fireplace


    If you have a faux mantel and are wondering what exactly you should place inside its opening, why not opt for books? Whether you display titles facing forward or backward is up to you—just choose an assortment of sizes and go to town making a few artful stacks.

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  • 04 of 19

    Use Every Inch of Cabinet Space

    books on top of cabinets


    If your kitchen is overflowing with cookbooks but you don't want to eat up precious cabinet space, look upward. Standing books on top of your cabinets means that you can still keep track of all of the titles you own and add some extra personality to your kitchen—all without sacrificing room for food storage.

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  • 05 of 19

    Look Down Low

    books stacked below table


    Stacking books low to the ground can also be an excellent way to conserve space. If your apartment is small, make use of the space beneath a side table or dresser and place a stack of books there. Bonus points if your reads are extra easy to grab without having to leave the sofa.

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  • 06 of 19

    Deck Out the Dining Room

    bookshelves in dining room


    Place books on your dining room storage shelves for an extra cozy feel. If your apartment can't accommodate extensive book storage in one space, there's no reason you can't spread titles out throughout the house and set up several mini libraries. For a streamlined look, set each book with the spine facing inward, so only the beige pages show.

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  • 07 of 19

    Hang a Long Shelf

    hanging horizontal shelf


    A horizontal shelf can serve as valuable book storage while keeping your room looking nice and open. And if you anticipate that your collection is bound to grow quickly, no problem! Just hang as many shelves as you need depending on the size of your library, and you're golden.

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  • 08 of 19

    Line the Piano

    colorful books behind piano


    For a maximalist look, place plenty of colorful books behind the piano (and beneath it, too, if the instrument isn't in frequent use).

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  • 09 of 19

    Create a Nook Under the Stairs

    kid-friendly book nook


    Little ones in particular will love a cozy setup like this one, which utilizes space under the stairs to create a fun reading nook. Wall shelves and baskets at kid-friendly heights are key! Just add some bean bags—we won't blame you if you end up curling up here, too.

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  • 10 of 19

    Stash Books in Rainbow Order

    bookshelves by stairs


    The space right alongside a stairway can be turned into a simple library with a few hanging shelves, too. Grouping books in color order makes this into an eye-catching display.

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  • 11 of 19

    Think Antique

    books in glass cabinet


    Why settle for a plain shelf when you can stash all of your books in an antique cabinet? Choose one with glass doors so that you can easily find titles on a whim.

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  • 12 of 19

    Go Boho

    hanging wooden shelf


    Add a boho design touch to your space by installing a simple wood and rope shelf that is perfect for displaying your monthly TBR stack.

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  • 13 of 19

    Bust Out a Basket

    books in picnic basket


    Picnic baskets aren't just for occasions when you're on the go—they make for stylish storage receptacles at home, too. Their substantial size makes them excellent for housing a large collection of reads.

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  • 14 of 19

    Get Sneaky

    invisible floating shelves

    Melissa George

    Now you see them, now you don't! Clever bracket shelves making it seem like books are floating in thin air—minimalists and modernists, take note!

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  • 15 of 19

    Rethink the Dollhouse

    dollhouse turned into bookshelf

    Brittany Goldwyn Merth

    Transforming a dollhouse into a toy station and partial bookcase will keep kids occupied for hours. It's also a wonderful way to repurpose an unused piece and give it new life through DIY.

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  • 16 of 19

    Repurpose a Rolling Cart

    rolling cart with books


    Whether your family enjoys transporting books from room to room or you just need a simple solution that doesn't take up much space, a rolling cart may be the answer to your book storage woes!

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  • 17 of 19

    Revamp the Closet

    bookshelf in closet

    Rachel Beach

    Transform the back of a closet door into a bookshelf that your kid can access on their own. When the door is open, your little one has a fun display to admire, and when shut, everything is kept neatly out of sight: win-win!

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  • 18 of 19

    Decorate a Crate

    diy book storage crate

    Nicole Brzuchalski

    A cute crate can solve many organization woes and will add pep to a kid's room. Paint one a fun color, add an easy-to-read label, and you're good to go!

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  • 19 of 19

    Keep It Neutral

    neutral hanging shelf


    Just because you incorporate a horizontal hanging shelf into your space doesn't mean that your books have to stand upright. If you're a neutral lover and prefer to create small stacks with the spines inverted, you can still stash away all of your novels without getting distracted by their bold colors.