A bookshelf bed is, quite simply, any bed that features bookshelves somewhere in or around the bed structure. Most commonly, a bookshelf bed features bookshelves in place of a true headboard, allowing a user to store books, alarm clocks, and other items useful for sleeping or preparing for sleep. More elaborate models can feature bookshelves as the bed's base, or at the foot of the bed, while other more outlandish styles feature bookshelves in unique configurations around the bed. A less common type of bookshelf bed features a mattress that is stowed behind a bookshelf that can be rolled out of the way when the bed is to be used.
Some Murphy beds are built with bookcases around them to improve the aesthetic of the wall when the bed is not in use. This type of bookshelf bed features a mattress mounted on a base that folds up into the wall when not in use, effectively concealing the mattress. Bookshelves can be installed on either side of the bed base, or even on top of it, to improve the functionality and aesthetic of the space. Such a design is useful in a room in the house that is not consistently used as a sleeping space, such as a living room or study.
Most varieties of the bookshelf bed feature bookshelves in place of a headboard, or built into a headboard. The number of shelves will vary according to the different models available, with some models featuring only one or two shelves, while others feature numerous shelves that may extend up the sides of the bed and even over the top of it. A few models feature a roll top that conceals the bookshelves, allowing the user to store items that are not necessarily meant for display or aesthetic purposes. It is less common for shelves to be concealed behind cabinet doors, as the doors can be difficult to open when pillows or a high mattress is in the way.
Another common way to integrate books into a bookshelf bed is to design the bed's base to include shelves. This design creates a pleasing aesthetic, but the bed will need to be designed carefully to allow for use of both a box spring and a mattress without raising the bed off the ground too far, limiting one's ability to get into and out of the bed easily and comfortably. Sometimes the base itself acts as a box spring, so a traditional box spring is not necessary at all.