- The Best Bookcase
- 1. Furinno 5-Tier Reversible Color Open Shelf Bookcase
- 2. Nathan James Theo 5-Shelf Wood Ladder Bookcase
- 3. FURINNO JAYA Simple Home 3-Tier Adjustable Shelf Bookcase
- 4. Tribesigns Triple Wide 5-Shelf Bookcase
- 5. Casual Home Montego X-Design Style Bookcase
- 6. Sauder Select 3-Shelf Bookcase
- 7. Homfa 5-Tier Vintage Bookcase
- 8. Mainstay 5-Shelf Standard Bookcase
- 9. Hodedah Import 5-Shelf Bookcase
- 10. GHQME No-Assembly Folding Bookcase
- 11. Ameriwood Home Lawrence 4-Shelf Ladder Bookcase
- 12. VASAGLE Tree Floor Standing Bookcase
- 13. FURINNO Jaya Simple Design Bookcase
- 14. Sanxia 9-Cubes Bookcase
- 15. Winsome Honey Wood Studio Shelving
When you search for a new bookcase you, of course, need to read the reviews and listen to the experience of friends and colleagues. But you will also have your own vision about what it is you really want, as well as the unique measurements that will make that happen. In terms of material, there is a whole range of solid hardwoods; anything from beechwood to oak to mahogany to mango wood and many more. They tend to come as whole units, however, and so are notoriously difficult to move from one room to another, let alone take with you when you move house or apartment. Plywood and wood veneer options are much lighter and are usually available in a flatpack format with user-friendly instructions. Actually, they can look pretty authentic these days, so you might not sacrifice anything in terms of appearance. That said, they will have a tendency to sag over time, especially if they are used to store heavier books.
An open back bookcase will have the advantage of being easier to put together than a backed bookcase and is one of those products that can end up creating the illusion of space. It doesn't even need to be next to or close to a wall but can be free-standing within a room, even functioning as a room divider if required. You might want, though, to have something more concealed, and so a bookcase with doors or drawers could enable you to have the best of both worlds; an open back bookcase on top but an enclosed storage space below. If you opt for glass sliding doors then you can display the contents, whilst protecting them from dust.
The best bookshelves are not necessarily the best for everyone. Some are dead on a particular kind of wood, others on a specific kind of style, while others simply want the cheapest and most efficient bookcase on the market and are not desperate for it to last a lifetime. The choice, as ever, is yours, and the following reviews will help you find the perfect match for your unique needs.
The Best Bookcase
Simple, stylish design
Functional and versatile
Engineered Particle Board
Variety of sizes available
Sturdy on a flat surface
Easy to assemble
Components with assembly instructions
The Furinno 5-Tier Reversible Color Open Shelf Bookcase is simplicity itself. It effortlessly complements any home decor known to humankind. Its durable E1 particle board, made in Malaysia, emits zero odors and provides you with a stable structure into which all your favorite books and knick-knacks can nestle for years to come. In terms of cleaning, it does not require waxing or oiling, but can simply be wiped clean with a damp towel or cloth, without any toxic chemicals being involved. A range of colors are available, not just white, so you can enjoy green, light blue, pink, for example, so as to harmonize it with your interior arrangements as they are. Sizes are also able to fit into a variety of locations; it is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Back boards reversible – white or lime green
Clear instructions included
On the flimsy side
Assembly not straightforward
No Fabric Material
Durable metal frame
Oak-laminate reclaimed wood
Lifetime manufacturer warranty
Try for 100 days
This delightful 5 tier bookcase lends a sophisticated air to any living room or home office. The Nathan James Theo 5-Shelf Wood Ladder Bookcase creates a sense of openness by not having a thick border but leaves an open-plan approach. It is easy to assemble in half an hour; all you need is a pair of scissors and a phillips-head screwdriver. It can be mounted to any wall in your house; equally, it can go very well in a chic, modern apartment. It is composed of reclaimed MDF dyed in a rich, autumnal brown and elegantly laminated paper shelving. Its metal frames are powder-coated in black. Each shelf weighs 50 lbs so it is not a flimsy, lightweight piece. There is a 100% lifetime guarantee
Great customer service
Particle board not high quality
Not all parts properly included in delivery
Manufactured from wood
Stylish design yet functional
CARB compliant composite wood
Easy home assembly
The FURINNO JAYA Simple Home 3-Tier Adjustable Shelf Bookcase is a very practical yet attractive bookcase, which allows you to adjust the measurements of each shelf for your convenience. It is easy to assemble, thanks in part to its handy instructional manual which is included. It is sturdy yet relatively light, and is available in three different colors, thus blending in with the interior design of your home. The E1 grade particle board emits no unpleasant aromas and is a robust material from which to make furniture. It is all produced in Malaysia, from CARB-compliant composite wood. It is easy to keep clean; a damp cloth is all you need – steer clear of potentially abrasive chemicals.
Variable shelves – very convenient
Pieces helpfully labeled
Not study enough for books
Holes on back piece don’t align
14 vintage manufactured brown wood shelves
Durable engineered wood
Robust steel frame, reinforced by crossbar on the back
Each shelf supports up to 75 lbs
Self-leveling feet to stabilize on any surface
Illustrated instructions and numbered parts included
18 months warranty
Dimensions: 70″H x 70.86″W x 12.59″D
The Tribesigns Triple Wide 5-Shelf Bookcase is a serious bookcase for those who need extra shelving. However, it is classy and minimalistic; its wood grain and black metal accents look unobtrusive and complements any home decor. It is made from vintage particle board and its fourteen shelves are weighty enough (can take 75 lbs) to hold framed photos, a range of book sizes, and solid souvenirs or even vases. Full assembly is required; once it is up there is the convenience of having adjustable feet which counters issues with uneven flooring and prevents damage to your floor. The metallic ‘X’ frame structure gives you a stable and balanced piece of furniture that can be relied upon; it won’t warp or sag.
Sturdy enough not to worry
Delivery unreliable – missing parts
Seller can be uncommunicative
4 durable legs
Solid wood construction
Easy to assemble
Storage with ease, this Montego X-Design Style Bookcase from Casual Home utilizes solid wood which gives it that stable and classy finish. The shelves are generously sized so that you can store a range of objects, not only books. It has a modern, sleek appearance thanks to its airy, diagonal design which obviates the need to have clunky bookends spoiling the effect. The color is a delicious walnut and espresso brown while assembling it is easy and all the necessary connecting bits are included. For your peace of mind, it is constructed from materials that are sustainably sourced. The four legs mean that it is slightly raised from the floor, while it is able to accommodate more weight than at first might appear. It also happens to be available in five tasteful different colors.
5 color options
Issues with assembly
Instructions not always included
Two adjustable shelves
Quick and easy assembly
62.9 lbs (28.5 kg)
Engineered wood construction
Dimensions: 35.276″L x 13.307″W x 43.78″H
The Sauder Select 3-Shelf Bookcase is a smaller bookshelf that is both sultry and yet professional looking – smoky gray; it could go equally in a rustic living room or a downtown office. From the Sauder Select collection, it has three shelves with two adjustable shelves, for your convenience, and is perfect for storing books, figurines, knick-knacks, magazines, even bins. It uses engineered wood, Lintel Oak®, and has patented slide-on moldings which are time efficient and hassle-free.
Heavy and robust
Prefab holes perfectly aligned
Wood can split
Connecting parts not always included
Combines aesthetic elements with functionality
Premium iron and selected chipboard
Each panel holds up to 11.5 lbs.
Dimensions: 23.6″L x 11.8″D x 62.2″H
Easy to maintain
Easy to assemble
The exquisite craftsmanship of this Homfa Bookshelf 5 Rack Vintage Bookcase is carried out using high-quality material. Its bracket is secure and durable, while its panel is robust. The 5-tier capacity means that a variety of things can be housed in this product; anything from your bedside light to a vase or various knick-knacks of whatever weights. The crossbar design is intended to give extra strength and reliability, resulting in a long-lasting piece of furniture that allows you to see through the sides and showcase various items of interest. The neutral yet pleasingly linear style of this bookcase makes it ideal to fit in with any other decor you might have. The combination of selected chipboard and premium iron make it very strong; in fact, each panel can hold up to 11.5 lbs! It won’t easily stain and very easily be cleaned, so having it in your kitchen is equally viable. HOFSA promises excellent service, pre and post-purchase, so you can look forward to your product with added peace of mind.
Easy to assemble
Instructions not always included
Backboard to reinforce
Package dimensions: 36″ x 12″ x 7.5″
Item weight – 60.7 lbs
This classic, versatile bookcase is useful in a variety of locations and is very easy to assemble. The Mainstay 5-Shelf Standard Bookcase is perhaps the easiest bookcase you’re ever likely to assemble! The dimensions and design fit into any room, so it can go in a study, bedroom, living room, or even garage. It is a study structure and, with a backboard, not prone to sagging or bowing. It is one of those items of furniture which quietly blends in with more exotic, unusual items. However, its quiet functionality is its strength. It will complement the other items in any room rather than steal the show.
Screws included aren’t adequate
High-quality compressed wood
Beech, Cherry, Mahogany or Black
Perfect for home or office
Slim and versatile design
Stack and combine multiple units
The Hodedah Multi-purpose Bookcase is ideal for fitting into narrower spaces that require a slimmer yet durable design. It fits into a whole range of different spaces; even into a kitchen for pots and pans, or laundry room for sheets, folded clothes, and pillowcases; it could even function as a shoe-rack in your front hallway. It is made from premium compressed wood and comes in a variety of colors – from black to mahogany to cherry to beech. It can also be purchased in multiples, allowing you to stack them side by side, permitting you the versatility to move them into different positions, as required.
Sturdy so doesn’t need anchoring to wall
Screws come in a handy bag
Deliveries are inconsistent; parts missing
Fold or unfold in a few seconds; no assembly
Complements any space in your home
Absolutely stable structure
Expanded: 23.62″ x 11.61″ x 49.8″
Folded: 23.62″ x 2.2″ x 53.7″
Excellent after-sales service
100% refund or resend
This is a great bookshelf if you want to be able to fold it away for a season or store a whole range of things other than books. The GHQME No-Assembly Folding Bookcase will go equally well in the garage as it will in the kitchen or living room; it boasts certain robustness which is due to its sturdy metallic structure and its premium particleboard. It is fit for any purpose and has the excellent advantage of being to be folded and stored away. In fact, it can be unfolded or folded away in seconds! It needs no assembly, while a 100% refund guarantee is there if you need one.
Easy to unbox and assemble
Holds a lot of weight
Books can fall out; bookends needed
Shelves not particularly deep
Each ladder has 4 shelves that are robust
Dimensions: 60″H x 20.5625″W x 18.5″D
Black finish – matching black metal frame
Constructed from laminated MDF and particleboard
Powder-coated metal frame
The Ameriwood Home Lawrence 4 Shelf Ladder Bookcase is a clever, intuitive L-shaped bookcase that allows you to store bigger, bulkier objects on the bottom shelves, smaller things on the top. It could easily hold a printer or computer, so is ideal as an office bookcase. It comes in either 3 or 4 or 5 shelves, so you can arrange your books and other items accordingly. Each ladder has four shelves and the frame is an extremely robust metallic structure, strong enough for pretty much anything. The shelves themselves are made from laminated MDF and particle board. The metallic frame is powder-coated, looking stylish and modern. You can even purchase two taller 4-shelf ladder bookcases and created a functional and tasteful tv frame so that DVDs and other equipment can all be stored in convenience, ready for some high-quality viewing or video-game playing.
Can store a wide variety of items
Too many individual parts
Pre-fab holes not fully drilled out
Stylish geometric silhouette
8 open shelves
Dimensions: 19.7″L x 9.8″W x 55.7″H
Perfect for apartments, narrow spaces, classrooms or corners
Each shelf holds up to 22 lb
Easy to assemble
Professional customer service
This charming VASAGLE Tree Floor 8-Tier Standing Bookcase is not only functional but aesthetically pleasing in its geometric proportions. It is as much a design feature as it is a place to put your books. Its open bookshelves make it easy to access your favorite books and magazines; it could look good anywhere in your house, from your bedroom to your balcony. All of the parts are specifically numbered so that the assembly of this beautiful product is absolutely smooth and stress-free. It boasts anti-tipping hardware, so not only are your books safe but so is your family. The material is high-quality chipboard, while every shelf can manage 22 lb of weight.
As sturdy as it is stylish
Holes line up perfectly
Can sag and bend
Must be bolted to the wall
E1 Grade composite wood
Dimensions: 23.6″W x 29.8″H x 11.6″D
Simple stylish design
Suitable for any rooms
Sturdy on flat surface
The FURINNO Jaya Simple Design Bookcase exists to fit into your smaller spaces; it is incredibly versatile and can fit seamlessly into an office, bedroom, or kitchen; even a hallway. Its old-school walnut color complements a range of color schemes, while the medium density E1 Grade wood is from rubber wood and PVC tubes, composed of 90% – 95% recycled materials. Produced 100% in Malaysia, it adheres to all Green rules. It emits no unpleasant odor, while its composite woods are the most reliable and durable. Harsh chemicals should not be used when cleaning it.
Looks more expensive than it is
Keeps its shape very well
Instructions could be clearer
Actual color different from website picture
Efficient for daily storage needs
Easy assembly – no tools required
High-Quality ABS Connectors
Durable Steel Pipes for stability
Modular shape & simple structure
Waterproof panels, eco-friendly
Great for family use
The Sanxia 9-Cubes Bookcase is a great DIY Adjustable Bookcase in which multiple compartments are constructed so as to house a whole range of different items. Quite brilliantly, it is possible to use each self-contained box separately or to join them all up into one larger structure. For a smaller bedroom, two or three of the boxes could help young people to better organize their bedrooms. For a larger bedroom, a towering structure can be constructed in order to keep your clothes neatly organized and compartmentalized. There a nine cubes overall, which allows you to create a number of different permutations. Each cube measures 12.0 x 13.4 x 13.6″ (L x H x W), so you can start to plan ahead and determine where you want to place them. No tools are necessary and everything you need to know is included in a handy installation guide. It has sturdy steel pipes and premium ABS connectors so are built to last, not to be flimsy and unstable. The panels are waterproof and eco-friendly. The material is odorless PP and can be cleaned very satisfactorily with water; ideal for a bustling family.
Tools not needed to join cubes
2 extra pole supports on each cube are a bonus
Side panels too small for connecting rod
Smaller than it looks in the picture
4-tier bookshelf offers classic casual style
Dimensions: 26″W x 12″D x 42″H
Open Airy design
Ships in 1 box
This beautiful solid beechwood unit allows you to display photographs, house books, all with a real warmth thanks in large part to its honey color. The Winsome Honey Wood Studio Shelving is made from solid/composite wood, boasts generously sized shelving, and has modern ladder-style sides that allow your objects to be displayed rather than hidden away. The grain of the wood shines through the varnish, making the shelving itself to be attractive and aesthetically pleasing. A Winsome Wood writing desk, printer stand, corner table, file cabinet, and computer desk are also available, in case you want to coordinate and build a theme within your room. Assembly is required, and the measurements are 26 inches wide by 12 inches deep by 42 inches high.
Wood not chipboard
Connecting pieces not always delivered
Smaller than it looks in the pictures
Features To Consider With Bookcases
Hardwoods are generally regarded as the best material when it comes to bookcases; they tend to be sturdier, less prone to scratching, and unlikely to sag. However, softer woods can have a warmer hue and, if treated correctly. In fact, the terms 'softwood' and 'hardwood' are a little misleading, because balsa wood is technically hardwood despite being fairly soft, whereas Douglas fir is softwood although very hard. The main thing to think about is what look you want to create and what purpose the bookcase will chiefly have, ie. if you have a book collection featuring heavy books you will certainly need to invest in some robust shelving. If, on the other hand, you want to store trinkets and photo frames then you will not.
Plywood, made by joining thin sheets called 'plies' together under intense pressure, is available at a range of costs and is generally easy to maintain, fairly light, and of a smart, clean-lined appearance. Molding or 'edge veneer' can even give it a more solid look, so that it looks almost as if it is solid wood. Chipboard, or wood chips glued into board like shapes, are generally a low-cost alternative to hardwoods, and come in flat-pack shipping which is very convenient. Depending on how smooth the veneer is, it can look pretty similar to hardwood. MDF is a medium-density fiberboard, in which sawdust and chips are gathered together and glued into boards; it can be pretty durable and attractive when veneered.
Metal bookcases naturally repel dampness and fungus and, for libraries and houses with bookworms, causes less damage to the bindings of books, as well as being relatively inexpensive. It might not create that warm, homely feeling that wood can bring, though.
Glass is not that commonly used for bookcases but, as a long-term investment with tempered glass, could help create an ultra cutting-edge, contemporary look. It can be the case that the uprights are made from metal or wood, but only the shelves from strengthened glass. This will look aesthetically very appealing and will open up light and generate a more spacious ambiance in any room.
Size is a huge factor when it comes to bookcases because it will affect how your bookcase functions and where it sits within your room. It is a heavy, bulky object so is likely to be there for years or even decades. The optimum height of your bookcase should be is between three and eight feet. A taller design looks pretty stylish and authoritative; however, a shorter design enables you to use the top of it as another workspace, onto which plants, flowers, or CDs. Your bookcase's width will depend on its height. Taller bookcases, if aligned side by side, can look impressive and offer you a degree of flexibility about how you arrange them in your room. A longer, wider bookcase can create an air of authority but will be hard to install unless it is a prefab that can be assembled by you. Depth is another issue; 12 inches is a good average, which allows you to store pretty much any book out there; it also looks traditional, even regal. However, if you're intending to store not books but trinkets, knick-knacks, frames, and ornaments, then there is no reason to have such deep shelving. Some bookshelves are adjustable; this can have certain benefits, such as placing much larger books and photo albums on the bottom shelves, allowing upper shelves to become perfect for ornamental, less bulky items.
There are many different styles of bookcases from which to choose. The standard style is the regular rectangular one that is so common; typically made from MDF it will have a thin back-frame and often adjustable shelves with metallic pins, for your convenience. An étagère, by contrast, is more classy and modernistic, with no backing and shelves which can be made from tempered glass! Unlike a standard style bookcase étagère is designed not primarily for functionality but as an aesthetic statement in its own right. You can get 'ladder-style' bookcases, too, which are shaped diagonally in an upside-down 'V' shape, usually with 'stepped' shelving that gets narrower as they go up.
Corner bookcases sit snugly in the corner of a room; they are structured as a right-angle and are perfect for slotting into narrow corners of rooms. Scaffold bookcases have their shelving slotted between two upright supports; there is a similarity to étagère bookcases, but scaffold bookcases look more rugged, hence the name. They can handle heavier objects and look great in dorm rooms and teenagers' bedrooms. Cube bookcases are futuristic, with an array of cubby-holes built into their design. They allow you to divide up your belongings in a more segmented and pragmatic way; books in one area, laundry basket in another, electronics in another. Built-in bookcases are great, although you'll have to hire a tradesman to install them unless you're an expert DIY-er. With sufficient planning, you can create a wall to wall shelving and even have an 'old school' ladder included, in order to maximize wall space and replicate something rather more baronial.
Bookcases can be bookcases in name but not in nature. They can be used to store virtually anything, or even used as props to place valuable ornaments, photos, souvenirs, and keepsakes. Alternatively, a bookcase can function really effective in your garage, in terms of storing nuts and bolts and 101 other things. An industrial, metallic one might be just the ticket, in that sense; stainless steel, iron will do the trick. For domestic interiors, solid hardwood is best, although you'll pay more for it. Color and ambiance are also factors to consider, so a warm mango wood or vibrant oak might help set the right tone. Hardwood bookcases are certainly highly durable; more so, than MDF bookcases with adjustable shelving; however, the latter are very much easier to disassemble and transport, if and when you end up moving house.
The location of your bookcase is crucial. If intended to be angled in the corner of your living room, or perhaps placed beneath a staircase to function as a shoe-rack, or a dozen different scenarios - measurements are key. There are more and more furniture stores out there that are willing to measure your bookcase on a bespoke basis, for reasonable fees. Simply type in your exact requirements and they can do the rest. You can specify where exactly you want it; whether or not you have a skirting-board; how tall it ought to be etc. and the company will either ship out all the parts flat-pack or even offer an in-house service.
Q: What is the best material for bookcases?
Metal can work really well, particularly if the bookcase is going to be in your garage, dorm room or teenage boys' bedroom, where it's going to get treated in a robust, physical way. However, by far the most robust and warmest material to consider is wood, on account of its natural beauty and just for the sheer love of that most elegant yet durable of materials.
Pine is a great material to use if you're going to install your own bookcase; it is especially useful for shorter length bookcases, and will of course need to be varnished. Cherry is another good option due to it being both lightweight and robust. Meanwhile, mahogany is known for being extremely robust - if wanting to store rows upon rows of hardback classic novels, then this would be the one to go for.
Non-hardwoods can be useful, both in terms of budget but also portability. Plywood is firm enough to endure the weight of rows of books but light enough to be able to install yourself or assemble from flatpack form. Particleboard is similar and, if coated with a laminate on the edges (perimeters) can look every bit as stable and sturdy as solid wood.
Q: How thick should wood be for bookcases?
The general rule is that shelves should be about 3/4-inch thick, going up to 1 1/4 inches for extra support, if desired. The thicker it is the more premium the visual appearance; when you visit a museum or old country mansion you will tend to see beautifully crafted, substantially thicker shelves than your average middle-class living-room. In terms of how wide your bookcase can go, without some kind of central support, 36 inches is the rule of thumb. If you're installing your own bookcase on the wall then there can be reduced to 32 inches and you can use the 16-inch stud spacing in order to affix them. You must always fasten the screws directly into the studs. You must go beyond this or sagging may occur.
Q: What is the difference between a bookcase and a bookshelf?
A bookcase is essentially a frame around bookshelves that functions as one unit. It can have doors but doesn't need to; it can have a backing board but doesn't need to. Some designs simply have side supports rather than a fully-fledged frame per se. A bookshelf can sometimes simply be a synonym for a bookcase; however, technically speaking it is just the shelving that functions as holders of books. They can be drilled into the wall via brackets that support it from below. They could be 'floating' shelves that attach straight into the wall without the need for brackets. Or they could be attached to the sides of an alcove, maybe fixed particularly to the studs behind the surface of the wall.
Q: Is it cheaper to build or to buy a bookcase?
Bookcases are not particularly expensive pieces of furniture, particularly if you manage to pick one up second-hand that happens to be made of high-quality wood like oak. However, if you want the satisfaction of building your own, and have the necessary tools to do so, then it can be rewarding in a different sense.
Aside from the material of the wood you might like to purchase in order to construct your own bookcase, you will also most likely need the following tools:
- A decent 3/8" drill (corded)
- A high quality corded circular saw
- A Jig Saw
- Clamps (to glue your boards together)
- A DA (Dual Action Palm Sander)
- A set of chisels
- A countersink for your drill
- tape measure
- screwdriver set
- brushes or rollers for paint and stain
Then there is the question of which wood to select, and a whole other set of choices suddenly emerges. It is important to bear in mind that you will not have access to the kinds of tools that factories have, and so you'll need to be pretty well equipped if you want to make a good job of it. It depends on how good you want it to look and how long you want it to last.
Q: Are Ikea bookcases sturdy?
Ikea's iconic and best-selling bookcase, the Billy bookcase range, is sturdy enough although you have to remember that these are budget bookcases and so are not designed to hold 200 hardback tomes of great magnitude but are designed as multi-purpose, user-friendly bookcases which are great for all the family. Ikea does have other brands available, such as the Ikea Kallax and the Expedit; however, the main difference is the depth of the shelves. In fact, Billy bookcases have evolved to allow for deeper shelving and have also embraced the concept of customizing so as to fit unique measurement requirements.
The bottom line, however, is that MDF and particleboard materials are not designed for very heavy books which you want to store over the period of your lifetime. If this is what you want then go for Ikea's hardwood range; bear in mind that this is no longer the budget range and that it might be harder to assemble.