5 Things To Consider Before Buying A Bookcase

Extra storage comes in handy for almost any household. There are few of us that can say we couldn’t use just a bit extra and a shelving unit might just be the perfect thing for your space. Utilising little floor space, a bookcase provides us the opportunity for practical storage as well as a place to display our belongings – whether that’s books, plants, picture frames or décor.

But with so much choice available, which bookcase is best for your needs? Today, we’re exploring 5 different things you just might want to consider before deciding the perfect one for your home.

Where will it go?

Painted bookcase styled in a neutral living room

First things first: you’ll need to make the decision as to where you’ll place your bookcase and ultimately, what you’ll be using it for.

In a kid’s bedroom, it may be a place to display cherished toys, an extra spot for storing shoes or you may want to consider housing baskets within the shelving to easily access toys.

In a living room, you can show off your book collection of course, but it may also make a great spot to show off your favourite ceramics or displaying pieces you’ve collected from your travels.

In the dining room, a bookcase can be utilised for storing and displaying additional plates or glasses or even extra linens. Or you might want to use it to create your own little urban jungle, with plants spilling out from every shelf.

In the hallway, a low-level bookshelf comes into its own with space for shoes whilst the surface can be a practical spot for your keys or sunglasses as you run out the door in the morning.

There are so many ways to utilise a set of shelves, you may even consider buying more than one!

No matter where you decide it should go, be sure to take accurate measurements to be sure your chosen piece will fit and take into consideration the following…

What style will you choose?

Natural oak bookcase decorated with colourful books and ornaments
Rustic, contemporary, country cottage, coastal? There are so many different styles of shelves available, so your first port of call will be to look around your own home. What pieces do you already have that your book shelf will be working with?

A rustic oak will be perfect for those who love their homes to look authentically aged and comforting and creates a beautiful finish in a more traditional or period property. It’ll look just as good with industrial style.

Consider painted finishes when dressing a shabby chic space or one which takes its cues from coastal living.

New build contemporary? Then choose a piece with clean simple lines and little embellishment to create the right accent for the space.

Make sure that the style you choose marries well with your existing furniture and décor for the perfect fit in your home.

What finish is right for you?

Cranbrook bookcase on stone flooring in a blue painted room

Darker colours and finishes don’t reflect a lot of light so if you are looking to create a cosy space, choose finishes that are a bit deeper. If you have a larger room, lighter colours might just get lost in all that space so a darker wood can be just the thing to create contrast and tension.

If you are looking for a light and airy vibe, then a natural or painted finish may be best. Taking up less visual space, these pale and interesting colours will make your room look bigger and brighter which may be just the thing for a smaller space too.

Open Shelves vs Drawers

Oak bookcase styled with minimal accessories in front of bay windows

If you have a mix of items to store, then you might just want to consider a bookcase that also incorporates drawers or cabinets. These allow you to display the pieces you want, creating personality and layers to a room on the open shelving whilst also allowing you to hide away the things that don’t need to be out on display.

Consider using drawers for things like games, remote controls or the kids’ toys – or virtually anything else that creates visual clutter in a room. Stashing them behind closed doors means they are out of sight but still easily accessible for when you need them.

Tall vs Low

Short bookcase with colourful pastel accessories

Don’t forget about height whilst choosing your bookcase. As suggested earlier, a low bookshelf is great for an area where you need a bit more surface area. A low-level bookcase would be the perfect accent in a living room, for instance, where the top can be used to place additional lamps, coffee table books or candles whilst the shelves can be utilised for your vinyl collection or simply for extra display space.

Taller bookshelves are perfect for utilising space in an alcove where the height makes good use of what might be a ‘dead space’ in your home.

If you’re looking for more tips on using bookshelves in your home, be sure to check out our guide on creatively styling your bookshelves.