Readers, I’m delighted to welcome our What Should I Read Next media production assistant Holly Wielkoszewski to the blog. I’ve been following her quest for the perfect bookshelf with interest, and thought you would enjoy hearing about it as well, so I asked her to share her process and results here today. Welcome, Holly! – Anne
I’ve moved 12 times since I got married in 2004, and as a result, my beloved books have spent a lot of time sitting in boxes. I’m thrilled that’s no longer the case, and I have our What Should I Read Next Patreon community to thank!
I’ve always enjoyed displaying my books in my home. Some of this is aesthetic, but some of it is my personality type: if a book’s not in front of me, in my line of sight, I won’t read it.
At the conclusion of our latest move, I knew one of my priorities was to free my books from storage and to acquire a new bookshelf. But, how to find the right shelf? Shopping for—well, anything these days—can be so overwhelming. I put up a question in our Patreon community, asking for suggestions. And wow, did our patrons deliver!
Today I’m sharing a few of our patrons’ recommendations that I considered. If you’re in the market for a new bookshelf, I hope you might find something to inspire you here, too!
Finding My Bookshelf Aesthetic
I generally love Scandinavian/modern design, but bookshelves in this aesthetic often feel too minimal for my actual life. On the other hand, so many of the #bookstagram shots that inspire me feature floor-to-ceiling built-ins filled with color-coordinated, original hardcover books. My reading collection is much more haphazard and eclectic, and I’ve tried the color-coordinated shelf organization before and found it did NOT work for me.
I decided to look for something both consistent with the styles I love and practical for my life right now. (Can I maneuver it up the two narrow, winding flights of stairs in my townhouse?)
My Top Bookshelf Picks
Nathan James Theo 6-Shelf Tall Bookcase
Wendy suggested this modern industrial wall-mount shelf, and it fit many of my criteria: clean and modern lines, not too bulky, and able to hold a variety of books and potentially other items. However, we’re currently in a rental property, and I’m trying to reduce the number of holes we put in the walls. That means a wall-mount shelf was never going to be my first pick.
West Elm Mid-Century Bookshelf
This mid-century bookshelf, recommended by Lauren, reminded me of the ladder shelf trend that seemed to reach its peak in my circle of friends about 10 years ago. I’ve always liked this style, and I appreciate this bookshelf for its sturdier construction that still gives the feel of the leaning ladder. I’ve been a fan of West Elm’s products before, and I like the fact it’s made of sustainable wood. Ultimately, the shape of this shelf felt less like a bookshelf and more like a display shelf for other household items, but it came in a close second.
One unique suggestion that wasn’t quite right for me was Renate’s idea of floating bookshelves. While I enjoy the simplicity of this design (and the ease of relocation!), I might be be reluctant to use it for fear of disrupting the stack or toppling the books off the hidden platform. Plus, I think I’d spend way too much time obsessing over which books to group together on each floating shelf.
The Container Store Stackable Folding Bookshelf
A bonus suggestion that was Anne’s favorite, and also appealed to the “easily moveable” criteria, was this folding bookshelf, suggested by Lois. (I prefer it in brown). While I opted for something with a little more style for my primary shelf, if I add more bookshelves to another room in my house this is the one I’ll go for!
This 5-tier, S-shaped bookshelf recommended by Stacie! This bookshelf is sturdy, with modern & industrial flair, and easy to assemble from a flat-pack box. (I put it together by myself in under an hour.) I love the unique shape and the open style on the end of each shelf, and I’m already in love with how it displays my book collection.
My new bookshelf is assembled in my office and I’ll be spending the next few days arranging my books and deciding what else might merit shelf space. I might pick up a few more accessories, like these simple, sturdy bookends, to add a delightful pop of color to my collection. My new bookshelf is already bringing me joy, and I’m so glad I made it a priority.
What bookshelves do you recommend? Please share your own bookshelf aesthetic and favorite bookshelves in comments!
About the author
Holly Wielkoszewski is a Media Production Assistant working on What Should I Read Next episodes. Her go-to genre is Fantasy or Sci-Fi. You can find Holly on Instagram @hollyfromthebigsky.