Home
Fact-checked

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Built-In Bookshelf?

A built-in bookshelf is a custom shelving unit that's seamlessly integrated into the structure of a room, offering a sleek and cohesive look. It maximizes space, adds character, and can be tailored to your personal style and storage needs. Imagine the possibilities of your own built-in bookshelf—how would it enhance your space and what treasures might it hold?
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Just as the name implies, a built-in bookshelf is one that is built into the structure of a wall, fireplace, or other permanent house element. Built-in bookcases can be fantastic space savers, particularly in small rooms where extra space is at a premium. In addition to displaying books, they can be an excellent storage space for DVDs, CDs, small sculptures or vases, or even barware.

The easiest time to add built-in bookcases is during the initial construction of a room or house. At that time, it's usually very easy to include the bookcases in a design plan. Adding a built-in bookshelf to an existing structure may be a little trickier, but it is often doable. While skilled carpenters may be able to install a built-in bookshelf with ease, novice builders may want to consult a how-to guide or even a professional carpenter.

Built-in bookshelves may be built into the structure of a wall.
Built-in bookshelves may be built into the structure of a wall.

One of the most common ways to add a built-in bookshelf to an existing structure is to simply build a permanent structure out from the wall. This prevents the builder from having to tear out or demolish parts of a wall, which could damage the structural integrity of the house. Building out from the walls will give the look of a built-in without weeks of potentially dangerous labor. Since this type of bookcase will use the wall as backing, it will still usually take up less space than a freestanding bookcase.

Martini glasses can be displayed in a bookshelf.
Martini glasses can be displayed in a bookshelf.

An excellent feature of built-in bookcases is that they can be customized to fit nearly any space. Some people like to dress up arched doorways or entryways by installing bookcases to surround the door frame. Fireplaces and mantels can easily be ensconced in rows of bookcases, adding a library eloquence to the room. Even other pieces of furniture, such as a sturdy bedstead, can serve as the base for a low built-in bookshelf at the front or alongside the headboards.

Proper measurement and planning allows for built-in features of shelving.
Proper measurement and planning allows for built-in features of shelving.

When adding a built-in bookcase, it is a good idea to think about the objects that will be displayed on the shelves. Record collections or art books will require shelves of different size and depth than a collection of paperback books. In order to make a custom bookcase efficient, take some time to consider the display plan in order to determine the height and depths of the shelves.

Built-in bookshelves can help a person display their collection.
Built-in bookshelves can help a person display their collection.

For those who don't have large book collections, an existing built-in bookshelf may be a somewhat puzzling design feature. Nevertheless, any storage space can come in handy, and a built-in bookcase can serve as an excellent display cabinet for nearly any item. Beautiful china, family pictures, wine or martini glasses, travel knick-knacks, and even indoor plants can all turn a bookcase into a conversation piece.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a HomeQuestionsAnswered writer.

Learn more...
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a HomeQuestionsAnswered writer.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Built-in bookshelves may be built into the structure of a wall.
      By: Wollwerth Imagery
      Built-in bookshelves may be built into the structure of a wall.
    • Martini glasses can be displayed in a bookshelf.
      By: JJAVA
      Martini glasses can be displayed in a bookshelf.
    • Proper measurement and planning allows for built-in features of shelving.
      By: DURIS Guillaume
      Proper measurement and planning allows for built-in features of shelving.
    • Built-in bookshelves can help a person display their collection.
      By: Andrzej Tokarski
      Built-in bookshelves can help a person display their collection.