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12 Bookshelves That Make Books Less Boring (to Look At)

It's time to get yourself some stylish shelves for all that substance.

By Angela Law

If you are over 30 and I see that boxy Ikea shelf in your home, we can probably not be friends. You know which one I’m talking about. It cost around $100, comes in black or white, and absolutely cannot be undone or moved once put together ... though people always try? You’ve definitely lived with one, or at least dated someone who’s had one.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s the perfect starter bookshelf. Affordable and fine-looking, it serves a purpose … for college students. Adults? Well, adults should try harder. Are you an adult who's ready for a real bookshelf?

The first thing to understand is that bookshelves are not cheap. And they shouldn't be — at least not if you want a shelf that won’t warp or break over time. The second thing you must realize is that it's not a willy nilly purchase. Think about it. Besides the couch, it's probably the biggest piece of furniture in the room. You have to make sure that the style of the shelves matches the rest of your decor. Really assess your needs. Should you get something super sturdy and full-wall to hold all your tomes or can you get away with something smaller and more decorative? Either way, the posibilities are endless! Here are just a few options for bookshelves that we love. 

Stacked Shelving System

Mix and match cubes to custom-build storage that's perfect for your space. The units come in three different shapes/sizes and three different finishes. Choices are everything with this system! They wouldn't want to box you into anything that'd give you buyer's remorse.

Kalmar Ten-Tier Shelf

A smart set of bookshelves like these can instantly pull a room together. This piece comes all the way from a design shop in Ho Chi Minh City. The wood is smoked to achieve its rich color. Brass brackets are used to attach the shelves to the wall. There's simply nothing more stunning.


Need shelves and a work area? Ikea has done it again, folks! Giving you everything you need — before you need it — since 1943.

Carytown 5 Tier Etagere Bookcase

Neutral yet stylish, this piece screams elegance in the most sensible way. The steel poles also make it super durable.

Mid-Century 22” Bookshelf

This is one of those bookshelves that everybody could probably use in their homes. That den that just needs a little extra zjoosh? That annoying half wall in your living room that you can't figure out what to do with? That awkward area you're trying desperately to turn into an office? 

Woodcrest Ladder Bookcase

Looking to make a feature out of your reading material? Go for a bookshelf that really has an attitude all its own.

Eleanor Large Bookshelf

Simple, elegant, makes a statement without being too obnoxious. My dream come true would be to have a huge open space where I could use these as room dividers filled with books, plants, and knickknacks. One day!

Eos Geometric Bookcase Etagere 72” Brass

Perfect for those with a smaller, yet very considered collection. This is perfect for books you stack sideways, if you know what I mean.

Sand & White Elfa Office

This is the shelving system I chose for my home — though mine looks way cooler. I had an entire wall that I wanted to turn into a huge bookshelf — from floor to ceiling. This was the best option unless I wanted to hire somebody to design a custom unit (which I couldn't afford). You can literally make this as big or small as you want. I love what it did for my space!

Modern Wall Shelf

Consider this semi-useless wall art. It's great for small spaces.

Sprout 49 Cube Wave Bookcase

Perfect for a kid's room, office, or studio where you need a lot of smart storage solutions in a compact space.

Cortez Gold and Walnut Finish Angular Modern Bookshelf by iNSPIRE Q Bold

There aren't too many things in this world that are grown-up and fun. This bookcase is perfect for living rooms that need to be unstuffed-up just that little bit.

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