amy azzaritobest ofbooksInteriorsproductssneak peeks

sneak peek: best of book storage

by Amy Azzarito

confession: i have a pretty intense book buying habit! but there’s really no other object that can make a home feel as warm and personal as a stack of books. looking through the sneak peek archives, i fully recognized that i am not alone in feeling like books really make a home! here are 35 of my favorite ways that books can be incorporated into home design – everything from using a skateboard as a rolling shelf to 2 levels of industrial shelving! even just stacks of books on the floor can look pretty amazing! now that i’m looking at all these storage options, i’m itching to add to my own book collection! –amy a.

[image above: books and magazines in a tiny zurich apartment from sneak peek: malene charles]

[image above: books in a sydney bedroom from sneak peek: kelly doust]

[image above: books surround the dining room in this canadian home from sneak peek: xenia taler]

[image above: in this williamsburg, brooklyn home, books are artistically stacked on the floor from sneak peek: cathy and erik]

CLICK HERE for more than 30 additional photos of book storage!

[image above: australian stylist sibella court haphazardly hung framed specimens inspired by darwin’s collection above her book shelves from sneak peek: sibella court]

[image above: these generic hardware store shelves made of galvanized steel and fiberboard look great in the main room – the best part is that their $39.99 price tag allows this couple to keep growing their book collection! from sneak peek: abby clawson of hi + low]

[image above: paul and alyn’s converted church home in westport, ma has plenty of room for book storage from sneak peek: alyn carlson and paul clancy]

[image above: when you live in a tiny apartment, everything must have a function! in the winter this skateboard becomes a rolling bookshelf! from sneak peek: dana d’amico]

[image above: color organized bookshelves! from sneak peek: jen altman]

[image above: a good book is always within reach of the bed in this parisian apartment from sneak peek: gabriel wick and olivier]

[image above: more color coded bookshelves! from sneak peek: christine martinez of lama designs]

[image above: shelves line the hallway in this icelandic home from sneak peek: bjorg juto]

[image above: former journalists aun and su lyn have so many books that their collection of cookbooks just barely fits in this double-volume space! from sneak peek: aun and su lyn]

[image above: these book covers designed by dick bruna got star treatment from sneak peek: office]

[image above: good use for a nonworking fireplace! book storage! from before & after: amy’s louisianna home]

[image above: from sneak peek: fitzhugh & lyndsay of the brooklyn home co.]

[image above: stacks of books beneath a juju hat from cameroon in this nyc apartment from sneak peek: laura aviva]

[image above: beautiful book display in downtown helsinki. the book shelf was a thrift store find from sneak peek: lotta nieminen]

[image above: more bookshelf storage in helsinki from sneak peek: lotta nieminen]

[image above: stacks of books in the office area of michelle’s 325 square foot apartment from sneak peek: michelle adams]

[image above: the library in australian home pairs real books with deborah bowness wallpaper from sneak peek: lynda gardner]

[image above: books and objects in mike perry and anna wolf’s crown heights, brooklyn apartment from sneak peek: mike perry and anna wolf]

[image above: books and magazine storage in the couple’s shared student from sneak peek: mike perry and anna wolf]

[image above: caitlin keeps a mini library on this bench that was found outside her home from sneak peek: caitlin mociun]

[image above: another home that uses simple hardware store shelving for book storage! sneak peek: the mountain label]

[image above: rob collects ladybird books and had some shelves made especially to house his collection! from sneak peek: rob ryan’s studio]

[image above: i love this bookcase cube! clara put four small-ish book cases together in the form of a square and sealed off the middle hole with a piece of wood from a desk found at the school where her husband worked from copenhagen chronicles: clara zangenberg]

[image above: library corner in san francisco from from sneak peek: scott engler]

[image above: under the window book storage from from sneak peek: something’s hiding in here]

[image above: in the eclectic brooklyn home of sophie blackall books are organized by read and unread. read books are in the bookshelves and unread books are stacked beneath the antelope! from sneak peek: sophie blackall]

[image above: the living room in this mid-century modern home is centered around the bookshelves from sneak peek: shay ometz of fossil]

[image above: a red bookcase is from ikea in this los angeles apartment – filled with photography books, magazines, old cameras and a few favorite vinyl figures from sneak peek: max wagner]

[image above: in north london’s highgate, anne lise and her husband designed these shelves to perfect utilize every inch of space from sneak peek: anne lise kjaer]

[image above: alissa parker-qalker and ryan walker (who write behind the bar) have created an inspiration wall above their bookshelf from sneak peek: alissa of shop horne]

[image above: illustrator alex eben meyer and his girlfriend anna lined their dining room wall with books in their railroad apartment in greenpoint, brooklyn sneak peek: alex eben meyer]

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  • Woooow, a post after my own heart!

    – fitzhugh & lyndsay of the brooklyn home co.
    – sneak peek: mike perry and anna wolf
    – copenhagen chronicles: clara zangenberg

    And I think it’s settled: I need to color arrange my books! The effect is just so lovely! And I know I’m too lazy to arrange by author or genre, haha.

  • That was fun to see all of those bookshelves from sneak peeks! I always gravitate towards those photos because its fun to see what other curios and art objects end up tucked into the bookshelves. Books are a major drag to move, though. Ive been packing up books for the past week now, and a fully loaded book box is a real back breaker!

  • that reminds me, I must put up the book shelves that have been sat in my loft for about 12 months! I need somewhere to put my books and growing collection of vintage ceramics. I love Rob Ryans collection of Ladybird books, I grew up reading those gems!

  • I can’t get enough of books, or your
    displays of them! They really enhance
    the atmosphere of a space + all the
    colorful spines are so pretty to look at.
    Great post!!

  • I love books and I’m so excited that you put those pictures.
    I’ve seen some photos of those book storage before, but there are some that I haven’t.
    I love the red one of those book storage and it’s great to see bright colors from your books make your shelves look prettier :)

  • Oh No – not a single antique bookcase amongst them all! Antique furniture is so cheap these days – support your local antique shop please (its all about recycling).

  • so many ideas in one place! I love the framed Dick Bruna books – can you buy frames like these or do I need to roll my sleeves up and make them?

  • I think the moral is that it’s hard to go wrong with books! Pile them, catalogue them, tie them on the backs of reindeer… it all works.

  • this is SO AMAZING. you could post book storage posts for 100 days, and I would still love it on the 101st day. XD

  • we have the same huge ikea bookcase that is featured in several of the photos. as an aside, for babyproofing when needed we took a full piece of finish plywood and painted it with chalkboard paint and put it over the bookcase (it fit perfectly) for babyproofing. that way we didn’t need to move books out of baby-range and when he got big enough we just put it up on the wall in the kitchen.

    totally non-styled messy pic:

  • In general I love this post! I love books and shelving so – yay!
    But the framed art “a sydney bedroom from sneak peek: kelly doust” just makes me mad. So, if s/he wasn’t beautiful you’d find it difficult to love them? Way to let someone know you value them for their looks alone.

  • This is just what I wanted to see! Especially because I just convinced my boyfriend to help me build some built in bookshelves in our office! inspiration!

  • I thought BILLY was a solution for me, so I invest a bunch of time putting them together (I’m slow!), getting the doors on etc, only to find that mine sagged under the weight like in Xenia Taler’s photos, until one day, of the the shelf pegs just came out and the books slid off. I had to take all of the books off of every shelf, including the magazines from the narrower sized shelf. IKEA says they carry 30kg a shelf, but they sagged even under my smaller books. Each individual shelf costs almost half the price of the bookshelf! I am now going to have to get custom made shelves!!!

    Those of you with very heavy books, like art volumes, what commercial readymade solutions have you found??


  • kristina, we also tried the billy bookcases and had the same problem! just horrible! we held on to them as much as we could but ended up doing an elfa system from the container store instead! it turned out wonderfully and we get a lot of compliments on the unit.

  • count me as another big fan of generic hardware store shelving. inexpensive and industrial, they look much better to me than fiberboard shelves and hold hundreds and hundreds of pounds!!

  • I love books and agree that they are an important part of a home. It’s the only luxury that I can justify. I need some more book storage so your post is perfect timing.

  • I love these photos, especially the one of books surrounding a dining room and the one of Sophie Blackall’s books. They look cozy and lived in. But, books arranged by color make me sad.


    “Loving You is Easy Cause You’re Beautiful” is the opening line from a very lovely, magical Minnie Riperton hit song, from the 70’s. I wonder if the poster is a riff from the song? I certainly thought of the song when I saw the poster.

    Also, there are other, more important types of beauty than physical beauty.

  • Great inspiring examples! I have two jarrah bookcases made by my father in my rental and a spare wardrobe which is packed to the brim with books. I can’t wait until I can afford to buy a larger home so I can put them all out on display :D
    Also, I want to say that colour coding makes my design student side very happy … but my librarian side insists on more category based sorting. Solution? Divide into categories and then colour code! :D

  • Inspirational! yes yes, Billy bookcases will sag even with rows of light books.

    I love the red bookshelf (sneak peak: max wagner), with a glass panel cover, it keeps away dust and slow-mo the novels pages from turning yellow. And you dont have to keep dusting the shelves everyweek.

  • Wonderful, fascinating! Discovered that I don’t just love collecting books, I love seeing how others display/store theirs. Couldn’t take my eyes off this post!

  • Oh god, BOOKS! I have a serious addiction, so THANK YOU for a lovely, lovely compilation of so much eye-candy. Hehe.

    I am extremely proud of my book shelf that I put up with my friend Jason, and husband last year in my little home studio. Take a look! http://www.flickr.com/photos/darkstar_vintage/4311933189/in/set-72157623179156489/

    And I fully intend to check out the ‘BookShelf Porn’ site, thanks Heather. ;^)

    So much inspiration! What fun….and I agree with Diane. You CAN’T do this with a Kindle; nothing will EVER replace the real thing. To me, it isn’t even a real debate which is more awesome. I ♥ BOOKS!


  • I’m pretty much obsessed with all things book-related, so I love love love this post! Especially cool is the idea of framing book covers. And that red cabinet is great!

  • You just made a horrid day 100% better! Not only are the interiors and the pictures awesome but its so great to know how many other people out there love books and book shelves. Can’t wait to get home and start rearranging my books now. Thank you!

  • These are fantastic! I don’t know what it is, but there is something about a packed-to-the-gills bookshelf that just does it for me.

    “Kindle” and “Nook” have nothing on these beautiful shelves…

  • I love books! These book shelves give me inspiration to find new ways to showcase my ever increasing collection of books. This post makes me want to go to my favorite furniture store (Haus in my hometown of LA) and find a cool something to put those books on!

  • the somethingshidinginhere window shelves have me itching to get some MDF and utilize the space under our windows.

    the husband is always telling me we have too many books. like there is such a thing.

  • LOVE the book storage! I am a bookoholic and can’t get enough ideas for book shelves! I am in the middle of packing up my house and my poor books are in boxes. I can’t wait to put them in a new home. Great inspirations!

  • The pillar of books (stacks) loses its originality when everyone’s doing it. Tired of seeing them in every room design!

  • I realize this might sound cheap, however,
    I found a gorgeous vintage outdoors lantern on a hard rubbish collection on the weekend!

    At this time I am looking for wrought iron
    outdoor chairs to match. You know just what they say, one
    mans trash is another mans treasure!

  • I am not really an ardent reader but I do find books to evoke that homely and cozy feeling and they make great decoratives too. However, being the perfectionist that I am, I think I will spend more time arranging them according to size or color rather than admiring the entire collection. Overall, I think it will still boil down to the storage concepts you choose for your books.

  • There is really something to be said about floor to ceiling book storage. It’s really gorgeous and I thank my lucky stars I’ve been blessed to see one or two such setups in Sydney!

  • Anyone have any kind of clever ideas for outdoor storage?
    I have some great outdoor chairs but I am sick and
    tired of the cushions becoming soaked in the rain and I do not have
    anywhere to keep the Cindy.