8 Unique, Cool Bookshelves & Bookcases for 2020

four brown wooden bookshelves with books

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Showcasing your treasured collections isn’t a job for just any old slab of wood.

I, personally, am one of those people that’s a sucker for libraries or cute little used bookstores. Stacks and stacks of books breathe life into my soul. I blame that classic library scene in Beauty and the Beast. So finding that perfect bookcase is a task I take to heart!

Plus, bookcases are for more than just books, they are a way to showcase all your treasures. You can line up your collection of tacky trolls, place a gallery of beautiful rocks, or simply share photos of your family.

Choosing the perfect bookcase (or three) includes a number of considerations. You have to think about where it will go, whether or not it may feature in the background of your Zoom call, and what will fit on it.

You can drape your cool bookshelves with vines of green or organize your books and trinkets by color and style to make your space your own. The perfect bookcase can make all the difference in your home. Here’s a list of some of our favorite bookcases to do the job.

1. BATHWA 9-Shelf Tree Bookshelf

Tree Bookshelf, 9 Tier Open Tree Bookcase, Space Saving Bookshelves for Living Room Bedroom Home...
This space saving tree bookshelf has a unique design that will surely attract a lot of attention.

Top Features:

  • Space saving design
  • Spacious construction
  • Super stable base

Tired of the typical and boring boxy bookshelf? The BATHWA 9-Shelf Tree Bookshelf is a modern, unique, and space-saving solution for book-owners looking for something more artistic.

With angled “branches” serving as uniquely cool bookshelves, your books, magazines, or music collection stacks become the fruitful leaves of this tree-like bookcase.

You can choose either a 5-shelf or 9-shelf option depending on how much space you have (or how many books!) The small shelf would be a great solution for a kid-sized reading nook, while the larger version would be better suited for office book storage.

One pro-tip from reviewers: Stack your heaviest books on the bottom for optimal stability. That being said, some reviews reported instability of the bookshelf. Perhaps they didn’t stack their heaviest books on the bottom? To be safe, the bookshelf does come with an anti-tip device to secure the top of the bookcase to the wall and a flat, sturdy rectangular base.

The small 5-shelf bookshelf is perfect for cozy spaces and measures 9.8 x 8.03 x 18.07 inches. The taller bookcase is more popular and with 9 shelves is more than twice as big at 19.69 x 9.25 x 54.92 inches. Each shelf can hold 25 lbs (11 kg) or 5-12 books. Plus, it’s super easy to assemble!

For something beyond the usual horizontal shelved bookshelf, this bookcase is both functional and creative and will stand out wherever you put it.

View BATHWA 9-Shelf Tree Bookshelf on Amazon

2. Hombazaar Industrial 6-Tier Ladder Bookcase

HOMBAZAAR Industrial Bookshelf, 6-Tier Industrial Pipe Bookshelf, Wall Mounted Ladder Shelves with...
Rustic yet modern, this bookcase gives off a nice industrial feel to your home.

Top Features:

  • Cool industrial design
  • Multifunctional style
  • Spacious shelves

Do exposed brick and solid wood beams make you swoon?

Then this rustic-industrial bookcase may be the perfect addition to your home decor. It satisfies that do-it-yourselfer vibe without taking up all your time.

The solid and incredibly versatile Hombazaar Industrial 6-Tier Ladder Bookcase is just as utilitarian as it looks. Get one for your living room, office, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, the list goes on! The simple design means you can use it for storage space to stack towels, canned goods, books (of course), or any old knick-knacks.

With 6 shelves, each holding 50 lbs, it can even work as a wine shelf! It’s a great way to keep your room tidy without taking up too much floor space, a perfect small space solution. The overall shelf measures: 23.6″ x 9.84″ x 82.87″.

Reviewers did mention to make sure you realize that the metal frame is a rustic brown, and the pictures may be misleading in terms of the color of the actual product you receive. There were also some complaints about the quality of the materials, while others were surprised at the high quality of the metal and boards.

For storage that goes beyond books, this board and pipe combo provides that rustic and textural Restoration Hardware look for a fraction of the price!

View Hombazaar Industrial 6-Tier Ladder Bookcase on Amazon

3. Barnyard Designs Etagere Bookcase

Top Features:

  • Compact style
  • Easy to assemble
  • Rustic designed

The Barnyard Designs Etagere Bookcase really looks like it was assembled in a barn. Perhaps in a French one because in French étagère means shelf!

For that DIY bookshelf look with high-quality construction, this small space friendly shelf does the trick. Real pine wood in either natural or with a rich brown stain, this unique and très cool bookshelf gives your home that Frenchified farmhouse-chic look.

A few reviewers complained that the parts are stuck together. There are also a few reviewers who complained that the bookcase is hard to assemble.

The bookcase’s dimensions are 29.5 x 11.75 x 38.5 inches. It weighs 32.2 pounds.
If you’re looking for extra shelf space, this book shelf is the perfect size for a small space or little nook.

View Barnyard Designs Etagere Bookcase on Amazon

4. Bestier S-Shaped Ladder Bookshelf

Top Features:

  • Nice s-shaped design
  • Sturdy construction
  • Modern style

The Bestier S-Shaped Ladder Bookshelf is a stylish bookshelf that has a unique and modern shelf design. The wood snakes from the bottom to the top in either dark, masculine chocolate brown or bright clean oak.

Reviewers commented positively on the solid shelf design, unique style, and high-quality. Whereas we found incredibly mixed reviews about the ease of assembly. A few reviewers complained that the bookshelf is hard to assemble while others praised how simple it was. There were also a few reviewers who made notes about the quality of the materials.

The bookshelf’s dimensions are 36.9 x 15.3 x 7.4 inches. It weighs 31.7 pounds.

If you’re looking for a unique addition to your home decor this mid-century meets modern bookshelf is the perfect open storage solution!

View Bestier S-Shaped Ladder Bookshelf on Amazon

5. Nathan James Theo 5-Shelf Modern Bookcase

Nathan James Theo 5-Shelf Modern Bookcase, Open Wall Mount Ladder Bookshelf with Industrial Metal...
This minimalist bookcase has an interesting design that matches a lot of furniture styles.

Top Features:

  • Simple design
  • Tall and sturdy frame
  • Sleek color selection

The Nathan James Theo 5-Shelf Modern Bookcase is a casual styled bookcase that gives your home a modern twist. You can choose from a variety of different colors.

A lot of reviewers highly recommend this bookcase. The quality is impressive, it is very easy to assemble, and the overall design is aesthetically pleasing.

A few reviewers complained that the quality of the shelf isn’t great. There are also a few reviewers who complained that the materials feels cheap.

The bookcase’s dimensions are 12 x 24 x 73 inches. It weighs 41 pounds.

If you’re looking for a minimalistic bookcase, then this is a perfect option for you!

View Nathan James Theo 5-Shelf Modern Bookcase on Amazon

6. Glitzhome 4-Tier Wood Ladder Bookcase

glitzhome 4 Tier Industrial Ladder Bookshelf Modern Wood Metal Bookcase Standing Christmas Ladder...
Sturdy and luxurious, this bookcase will certainly give you the space that you need.

Top Features:

  • Durable a-shaped frame
  • Elegant design
  • Multifunctional style

The Glitzhome 4-Tier Wood Ladder Bookcase is a lean yets incredibly well-constructed bookcase. Its capital “A” shaped design gets a grade of A+ from us!

Many reviewers really like this bookcase. The design is very beautiful, assembly was easy and simple, and the versatility is fantastic.

The bookcase’s dimensions are 36.02 x 14.96 x 64.57 inches. It weighs 43.9 pounds.

If you’re looking for strong construction with a style that is breezy and lean this one’s a win.

View Glitzhome 4-Tier Wood Ladder Bookcase on Amazon

7. Modway Transmit Cube Bookcase

Modway Transmit Mid-Century Offset Cube Wood 7 tier Bookcase in Walnut
This mid-century designed bookcase will certainly attract a lot of attention.

Top Features:

  • Interesting cube shelf
  • Spacious compartments
  • Sturdy built

The Modway Transmit Cube Bookcase is a mid-century styled bookcase that gives off a nice and cozy feel to your living space.

A lot of reviewers really like this bookcase. The design looks great, it is very sturdy, and the overall functionality is great.

A few reviewers complained that the product doesn’t match the photo. There are also a few reviewers who complained that the quality of the products is cheap.

The bookcase’s dimensions are 11.5 x 45 x 52.5 inches. It weighs 60 pounds.

For a mid-century style, these cool bookshelves add a perfect balance of retro and mod to your space.

View Modway Transmit Cube Bookcase on Amazon

8. Convenience Concepts SoHo Bookcase

Convenience Concepts SoHo Bookcase, Weathered Gray / Glass
This contemporary styled bookcase offers convenience and style at the same time.

Top Features:

  • Unique tempered glass base
  • Cool weathered finish
  • Modern designed

The Convenience Concepts SoHo Bookcase is a contemporary styled bookcase that is perfect for compact homes and apartments.

Reviewers really like this bookcase. The design isn’t bulky, it doesn’t take a lot of space, the price is great, and the overall style is classy.

A few reviewers complained that the bookcase looks cheap. There are also a few reviewers who complained that the bookcase can only fit small books.

The bookcase’s dimensions are 24.5 x 11.81 x 27.56 inches. It weighs 33 pounds.

If you’re looking for a contemporary styled bookcase, then this is for you!

View Convenience Concepts SoHo Bookcase on Amazon

Bookcase Buying Guide

Choosing the perfect bookcase or bookshelf doesn’t have to be a chore. Plus, even though “book” is in the name, this shelving solution offers organization and storage solutions for all kinds of home items.

Here are some questions to answer to make sure you select the right shelving solution for you.

Size & Space: How Big Does Your Bookcase Need to Be?

It is important to measure before you begin searching for a bookcase. You don’t want to set your heart on a bookcase that simply won’t do the trick.

Be sure to measure:

  • Height: Bookcase height depends on how you will use it and how high your ceilings are. Taller bookcases look lavish and impressive. Shorter bookcases are more functional.
  • Width: Often, the width of your bookcase will depend on the height. Taller, leaner bookcases will fit in smaller spaces, while shorter and wide bookshelves will take more floor space and be more accessible.
  • Shelf Depth: Allow a minimum of 12” of depth and more if you are considering storage bins. For leaner designs, ensure that the measurement is enough to store the items you need to place on the shelves.
  • Shelf Height Spacing: Some bookcases have fixed shelves while others are adjustable. Check the spacing size or adjustability so you can determine whether or not your books and trinkets will fit.

The size of your space or what you need to store on it will also influence what size your bookcase needs to be.

Do You Have a Big Space or a Small Room?

If you have a large room, a wide bookcase that measures several feet may be the best option. On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of room, a tall shelf will use minimal floor space while maximizing the storage capacity with high reaching shelves.

Pro tip: For small spaces, choosing a neutral color makes your room look bigger.

Consider Multiple Bookcases

Depending on the existing collection of furniture you have, it may be a better idea to select an array of varying yet chic and cool bookshelves to fit into your space. Don’t force a large bookcase into a small room. It’s a better idea to have several smaller shelving units to fill out your space more organically. You may even have space to add in a small recliner.

Will it be Just for Books or Additional Storage?

Will you be stacking your shelves with small books or heavy, glossy photo-rich hardbacks? Do you need to fit large bins to tuck some extra blankets away? Understanding how much shelving space you need will depend on what you are putting on your shelving unit. Knowing this will help you understand what size bookcase to choose.

Know Your Studs: For wall-mounted bookshelves, it’s important to know how far apart your studs are. This will help ensure the stability of your shelves for whatever you choose to put on them! For more wall shelf ideas check out these creative wall shelf ideas!

How Will You Use Your Bookcase? 

Bookshelves and bookcases meet a wide variety of needs. Consider what you may be putting on your shelves to know which one is the best for you. 

Which room?

Will your bookshelf go in the living room, a playroom, or be a decorative addition to a lonely corner? Perhaps you need it in the kitchen to serve as a make-shift pantry. Or, you can stick one in the corner of your bathroom to hold extra towels. The options are endless! The important thing to know is where it will go and what kind of objects will be on the shelves.

Show-off or hide and protect?

Depending on the style of your space or the size of your room, you may be looking for a place to hide and store toys or showcase a collection of china. You can choose unique features like sliding or hinged doors that help keep your book collection protected. Alternatively, you can select open-back bookcases to allow access to the books from both sides and create an illusion of a larger space. 

Options to Protect and Hide:

  • Sliding Door Bookcase
  • Bookshelf with Hinged Doors
  • Barrister Bookcase

Options to Show-off Your Books:

  • Open Back Shelving
  • Ladder Bookshelf
  • Corner Bookcase
  • Floating Shelves

Two-in-One, Show-off and Hide:

  • Custom Bookcase
  • Modular Bookcase

Other Considerations:

  • Wheeled Shelves
  • Room Dividing Shelving

Who needs access to the items?

If your shelf solution will be home to books and trinkets for your children, a short and wide bookcase will be both safer and more practical for safety and accessibility. However, if you are looking to keep fragile items high above small hands, a taller bookcase would be a smarter option. 

Will you be filling the shelves with items of differing heights?

If so, then you need to make sure you choose a bookcase with adjustable shelves. 

What’s Your budget?

Bookcases are available in a wide variety of styles and design options. Your budget will determine what material or type of bookcase you can afford for your home. 

What Type of Material? 

Wood and metal are the two most common materials. However, there are many other materials available that are both durable and more affordable. 

  • Wood – Traditional, stable, and long-lasting.
  • MDF – Looks like wood but with a much lower price point.
  • Metal – For more industrial or contemporary styles with incredible strength.

Are you Ready to Invest? 

If you are looking for a temporary apartment solution, your budget may differ from looking for the highest-quality piece for a permanent home. Keep in mind that a bookcase is something you can use for years. So, investing in a great piece of furniture from the beginning will pay off in the long run! 

How to Style Cool Bookshelves?

Styling bookshelves will be very different for every individual, depending on their style or decorating preferences. You may even be someone who continually rearranges and organizes according to your moods. 

If you are still looking for some tips, we have a handful of tips that always win. We suggest adding some greenery, considering sorting your items by color or size (a great way to add in trinkets or cool bookends), and selecting some ambient lights with strings of LEDs or a quirky lamp! 

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