Clever ideas on how to build a bookshelf

A bookshelf is often one of the most functional and decorative additions to any room. There are many ways to build a bookshelf depending on your personal style.
Building a bookshelf is not that difficult. If you’re looking for fun ideas for building one, then these ideas will get you started. In addition to assessing your personal style, you also need to determine your needs: will it hold paperbacks? Heavy hardcovers? Picture frames? Trinkets and collectibles? What is your budget for raw materials? This will give you an idea of what kind of bookshelf will suit you best.

No matter which style of bookshelf you choose, if you plan to attach to a wall, aim for the studs. (The same goes for ceiling beams when hanging shelves.) Although you can use plugs, attaching shelves at the studs or beams provides maximum hold and support.

Bookshelves are traditionally 12 inches or 16 inches deep, but you can make them any dimension that works for you.

Floating bookshelves

Floating shelves are exactly what they sound like — they look as if they are floating on the wall. They are usually hollow in order to hide the shelf mount or brackets. Make sure you use bookends to keep books from tipping over the side!

Upcycled items

The term “upcycle” means to recycle found objects into new materials or uses. Give old drawers, wine crates and even rustic ladders a new life by mounting on a wall as shelves. Wooden crates or boxes can be affixed to the wall, stacked side by side across a wall or on top of one another from floor to ceiling. For a whimsical look, choose boxes of different sizes. Use paint or wallpaper along the insides to provide a pop of colour.

Suspended rope shelves

A shelf consisting of simple wood planks connected by rope can infuse a nautical or rustic charm into a space. The planks will help define the aesthetic. Choose worn, vintage planks for a more rustic look or newly stained or painted planks for a more industrial vibe. Rope shelves can either hang from the ceiling or from hooks mounted on the wall.

Fabric sling bookshelf

Using double curtain rod brackets and fabric, afabric sling shelf is a cute idea for kids’ rooms. Hung at a child’s level, they provide easy access to books. Since the books face forward (instead of sideways where the spine of the book faces out), children who are too young to read can easily recognize a book by its cover. Be sure to pre-wash fabric before assembling to accommodate for shrinkage.


Cinderblocks may conjure up visions of university dorm rooms, but there’s a good reason why students keep coming back to the lowly cinderblock: it’s cheap and sturdy. Give cinderblocks an industrial chic makeover by using quality wood planks. You can also spray paint blocks to bring a pop of colour into the room.

When it comes to decorating, you are only limited by your imagination.

Clever ideas on how to build a bookshelf
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