If you’re a dedicated bibliophile, its likely that you’ll always be collecting books. But where to store them? Once you run out of bookshelf space, titles often end up living under beds or in wardrobes – sometimes just in stacks. We’ve been there so we’ve listed our favourite creative ways to display books in this post (photos taken in our own house unless specified otherwise).
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The Book Trolley
This one has to come first simply because it’s the most versatile and fun. We only bought our book trolley quite recently and I’m not sure why we held off for so long. This piece of kit has so many plus points:
- It’s moveable so you can wheel it around the house easily.
- There are several shelves which means we can all have a section. If I had one all to myself, then I’d categorise each one – either by month, or genre.
- You can fit around 40-55 books in the entire book trolley (an average year’s reading for me).
- The book cart can be used for other purposes if need be. Little M has served breakfast on this and some people use their trolleys to store art supplies
- The trolleys come in different colours so you can match them with your decor.
Since I posted a picture of our book trolley on Bookstagram, lots of people have asked me where I bought it. We originally thought we’d order an Ikea model but found a cheaper option on eBay. See here for the book cart that we have (we chose blue which is basically turquoise). This only seems to ship to UK customers so I found a US equivalent here. So far, our trolley seems to be quite sturdy but it’s always wise to check out reviews before buying as we can’t vouch for ongoing standards.
Other Bookish Design Posts to Explore
- Bookshelf Shelving Ideas to Transform Your Home Library
- Gorgeous Literary Clothing for Book Lovers
- 5 Ways to Build a Book Collection on a Budget
The Comic Book Storage Box
We have quite a few comic books in our house which my husband collected in his teens and twenties. At the moment we keep them in plastic sleeves in a cardboard box but recently we discovered this comic book storage box by RomanyHouse.
Made out of sustainable plywood, it holds 150 comics with sleeves and 100 with sleeves. It’s stackable and collapsable plus is can be assembled without tools. To add to the unique design element, you can frame one comic on one end which really adds to your bookish room decor. This is made in the US, but can be delivered to the UK and various locations across the world. The cost is very reasonable too at £39 (plus postage). Again, check reviews before you buy.
The Bed Library
If you have a bed with a wide bedhead then this can provide another creative way to display your books (with a health & safety caveat!). The beauty of this – as with all these solutions is that you can change your aesthetic easily by swapping spines. Modern and Shaker style beds are the best for this but you can buy or make bespoke shelving to suit your room. The other advantage of this method is that you’ll have your very own bed library ready for bedtime reading.
In this arrangement we’ve chosen to stack the books horizontally rather than vertically as this makes for more stability. It also allows you to vary your heights. For an extra touch, mix and match your spines with cards and prints.
The Picture Rail Bookshelf
My husband, Al, came up with this as an idea for storing our paperback books Our house was built in the 1920s so it has a generous picture rail, deep enough to prop books on. We’ve managed to store about 40 books all the way around the room. What I like about this style is that it forms a patterned border and shows off the beautiful cover artwork. If you don’t have an original picture rail then you could install one – maybe in a bedroom, dining room or cloakroom. Again, you can vary the designs and colours depending on your interior decor. These patterned King Penguins match our eclectic room very well.
The main downside of this is accessibility and dust, but no one will see the it when it’s above their head!
The Hanging Wooden Book Rack
This hanging book rack in oak is one for serious interior designers and would look incredible in a minimalist or modern space. This could be used in so many different ways – to display your current reads, or to showcase your favourite books. And it’s a super space saver. You could literally install it anywhere! It sounds like a strange (and possibly risky way) to store books, but judging by the reviews, the unusual mechanism works really well.
Custom-built by AGUSTAVfurniture, the books sit on small wooden plates which are attached to the main hanger using waxed cotton string. These can also be used to bookmark pages. There’s no doubt that this is expensive, but it’s the stuff of book storage dreams!
The Book Dresser
Another outward-facing idea. Now I admit that this isn’t exactly a space-saver but it’s definitely one of our most creative ways to display books. And what you have with this item of furniture is versatility. Shelves, drawers and a cupboard. Plus you can move it around. We’ve displayed books in all sorts of ways on our dresser – to suit our mood and the season.
Rather than pay for an upcycled piece, we bought an old oak dresser and re-painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint. The benefit of this is that you don’t need to strip any varnish first, although there is a yellowish bleed-through with light colours. I anticipate that we’ll keep on re-designing our dresser as our tastes change. It’s not a cheap investment, but it’s one that you’ll want to hold onto.
Add a Tiny Book Nook
This won’t necessarily save space but it is one of the truly creative ways to display your books. Book nooks are miniature rooms which you can slot into your bookshelves to give the impression of a secret alleyway in between your titles. We have shared a selection of book nooks for your home library in this post.
We hope these have given you some ideas for your own book displays. We’ve had lots of fun trying to find new creative ways to display books and will add more as we discover them. If you’re still stretched for space then you might like to check out our post on culling your books (although we realise that this is always a last resort!). Conversely, if you want even MORE books then here’s our feature on how to collect books on a budget.
What are your favourite creative ways to display books?
Let us know in the comments below!