31 Built-In Bookshelf Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

Combine style and storage with built-in shelving that can work with any design style.

built in shelves

Ali Harper

Built-in bookshelves offer functional storage and provide a blank canvas for a beautiful focal point in any area of the house. If you're squeezed for space, they're an ideal place to store all kinds of things, from books to power cords (concealed in a decorative storage container, of course).

Whether you already have shelves scattered throughout your home or you decide to install custom built-ins, pull from these built-in bookshelf ideas and design yours to strike a balance between both style and storage.

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Minimalist Bookshelf Design

built in shelves

Adam Albright

If you have a 'less is more' mantra, let the design ideology flow through to your living room as well. A serene, minimalist home design allows you to wind down after a long day. Here, two narrow built-ins flanking the TV are subtly brought to life with white shiplap walls and contrasting wood shelves. They’re connected by a lower media cabinet that hides unsightly wires and electronics.

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Colorful Built-In Bookshelf

built in shevles

Brie Williams

There are plenty of ways to organize your books on a shelf. If you have a lot of them, consider sorting them by color for a striking display. Turn a wall of shelves into a rainbow by sorting them by their spine color and marvel at how much they resemble the work of The Home Edit.

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Contrasting Shelves

built in shelves colorful living room

David Greer

Make your built-ins pop by painting them a dark color. A chic black fireplace and flanking bookcases stand out against the stark white walls in this modern living room. The vibrant decor on display adds to the cheery, contemporary feel of the space and pops against the dark paint color.

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Sliding Doors

built in shelves

Anne D. Schlechter

Adjustable shelving for built-in bookcases is ideal if you like to rearrange them from time to time. Adding the option to hide them away behind closed doors is another approach to consider when designing your custom cabinets. In this case, a sliding door can cover either the mounted TV or the styled shelves.

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Wallpapered Built-Ins

animal print built in shelves

Adam Albright

For an unexpected style statement, add animal print wallpaper to the back wall of a sitting area bookcase. Keep the shelves understated with simple and elegant decor such as gold potted plants, framed family photos alongside flower artwork, and a petite pile of interior design books.

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Home Office Shelving

built in shelves

Anne D. Schlechter

A cloffice—a closet-turned-office—is a genius way to make a work or study space materialize in a home with little room to spare. However, the small square footage results in minimal storage for books and supplies. A built-in shelving system surrounding the outside of the closet door is a smart solution.

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Gallery Wall

built in shelves

Greg Scheidemann

Add a wow factor to your formal living room with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling shelving complete with task lighting. Not only are these built-ins beautiful by themselves, the stunning styling turns this space into a design focal point. Coordinating baskets and boxes hide visual clutter while delicate decor and framed photos keep things interesting. From magazines to a mini bar, it also has everything you need to entertain guests.

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Built-In Entertainment Center

built in shelves

John Bessler

Long gone are the days of needing your entertainment center to store a slew of tapes, DVDs, and other items that are no longer needed in today’s streaming world. You can, however, still make the mounted TV the focal point by installing built-in shelves, drawers, and cabinets on all sides for books, accessories, games, and electronics.

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Custom Display Space

built in shelves

Jay Wilde

A unique way to display books is by turning the spine towards the back of a shelf so that the pages are facing forward. This gives a neutral look to the space, so you don't have to worry about adding a mix of colors to a monochrome color scheme. Vintage bronze items mixed in with white and Chinoiserie patterned ceramics look streamlined and yet still add uniqueness to this expansive built-in.

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Home Library

built in shelves

Ali Harper

Having a home library is a dream for readers and bibliophiles alike. Evoke drama—not just from the latest thriller novel you can’t put down, but in the space itself—with dark built-ins that wrap throughout the room. Floor to ceiling shelves, including one above the reading area so no space is wasted, can hold both your book and art collection.

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Entryway Shelving

mudroom shelves

Brie Williams

A sliver of space in the entryway can easily turn into storage with a few shelves built in. A bench with cubbies underneath serves as a place to sit and keep shoes off the floor, while a set of hooks allows you to hang coats and stuff away mittens and scarves. A tall set of shelves nearby offers additional room for school supplies, reusable bags, and more.

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Records on Display

dark bookcase shelves

Julie Soefer

There are numerous ways to store your cherished vinyl records but one of the best is to put them on display so they’re always within reach. Organize them according to artist or genre onto built-in shelves alongside the record player and a few books to browse while you’re listening to the tunes.

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Small Built-In Bookshelf

built in shelves

Edmund Barr

If you don’t have the luxury of a large built-in, you can create a bookcase (or add one for overflow) within a small wall. If you have little ones, use these shelves to store children’s books since they can easily grab them at their eye level. Or, use this small shelf to display your favorite reads, keeping the ones you reach for time and time again within arm's reach.

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Bedroom Bookshelf Storage

blue bedroom

Keller & Keller

There’s no need for a nightstand in a lofted bedroom if you use the sloped ceiling to your advantage. Use the combination of upper shelving and lower cabinets in a built-in like this to show off mementos and keep essentials hidden out of the way.

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Small-Scale Built-Ins

built in shelves

Dylan Chandler

In small spaces, built-in shelves are a welcome inclusion because they add storage without taking up extra floor space. In this apartment, a two row bookcase fits perfectly between the radiators and lets you contain your current reading obsessions to one spot.

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Sophisticated Workspace

built in shelves

Julie Soefer

This neutral rustic-yet-refined home office gets a dose of color from the blue built-in bookcase and desk combination. The open shelves on either side of the desk accommodate books as well as antique decor pieces while the closed desk drawers hide necessary work supplies.

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Game Room Built-Ins

diamond shelves

John Bessler

Designing a game room is ideal for families who make it their business to play. A wall of diamond-shaped shelving allows you to store board games of different sizes while nearby horizontal shelves are better for books and photo albums. Closed cabinets below and adjacent to the open shelving hides electronics, cords, and anything else you don't want on display.

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Open-Concept Shelving

built in shelves

Erin Kunkel

Most open concept designs benefit from some sort of divider between the living spaces. A column separating the kitchen from the family room is an excellent opportunity to add a built-in. Create a multipurpose focal point by placing books, records, a record player, decorative items, and a few potted plants on the shelves.

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Beadboard Bookcase

built in shevles

Heather Anne Thomas

Create subtle intrigue by adding beadboard to the back of a built-in bookcase. The black backsplash is striking against the off-white shelves and base cabinets. Dress it up with an eclectic mix of books and vintage finds that match your style.

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Multi-Purpose Mantel

built in shelves

Tria Giovan

If you have a standalone clerestory window on the same wall as your fireplace and you can’t take matching built-ins to the ceiling, try this concept instead. Level bookcases with the mantle and then decorate not just the shelves, but the wall space above.

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Built-Ins for the Kitchen

yellow bookshelf in kitchen

John Granen

Bookcases in a kitchen make perfect sense: They ensure your culinary references are easily identifiable, ready to inspire, and stored within reach of workstations. Recess a bookcase complete with open shelves and closed storage so it sits flush with the room's upper cabinets. Underscore built-in character by finishing the bookcase to match the kitchen's cabinets.

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Window Bookshelves

entertainment shelving

Better Homes & Gardens

Use custom-designed bookcases to step up interest around a window and create extra seating. This trio of built-out bookcases extends the reach of a media center and supplies generous book storage and display shelves as well as a prettily cushioned perch meant for taking in views and conversation or just enjoying a good read.

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Home Office Built-Ins

White built-ins

Edmund Barr

Arrange built-in bookshelves above a desktop framed by cabinets or file drawers to fashion a home office or a kid's homework station. Give the built-out components the look of a built-in structure by finishing the top and bottom edges with moldings and baseboards that match those used in the room.

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Fireplace Built-Ins

bookshelves around a fireplace

Edmund Barr 

Create a strikingly serene scene by aligning built-in bookcases with a focal point's horizontal planes. When designing this wall, the homeowners took their cue from the panel fireplace mantel's shape and height; the top of the mantel forms a shelf of sorts that separates lower closed-door cabinets from the open shelves spanning the wall above.

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Bedroom Built-Ins

retro room

Michael Partenio

Take advantage of underused wall space above and around a bed to create storage-rich cabinets, built-in nightstands, and display shelves. Match the built-ins to other wood finishes in your home and keep the silhouettes streamlined so as not to disrupt a bedroom's peaceful aura. This construction creates a cozy bed alcove, made cozier with a leather-upholstered wall.

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Breakfast Nook Built-Ins

Innovation Kitchen

Greg Scheidemann

Place a built-in bookcase near an activity center and reflect the location's fun-filled purpose by painting the bookcase a colorful hue. Stow crafting materials, office supplies, and incoming and outgoing mail in handsome baskets, vibrantly hued boxes, and efficient organizers. Arrange often-used references like bird-watching guides or gardening books alongside some of your favorite collections and vases of fresh-picked blooms.

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Beyond Books

living room

Stacey Brandford 

Built-ins can hold far more than your favorite novels. Fabulous showcases for sculptures, treasured antiques, and finely framed photos, built-in bookcases add distinguished dimension to sophisticated spaces. During the design stage, measure the pieces you want to display to ensure the shelves are properly spaced to give each object room to shine.

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Statement Shelving

gray and white family room

Jean Allsopp

Incorporate arresting details, such as scalloped cutouts, raised embellishments, or fluted moldings, to create bookcases that command attention. These floor-to-ceiling bookcases draw the eye with shapely headers that craft fine-cabinetry compartments. Gray-painted crown moldings spanning the framework's top edges unify the constructions and meld the bookcases into the room's overall design.

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DIY Built-Ins

living room

Katrina Wittkamp

Turn one large room into two distinct spaces by building an open-shelf bookcase partition that can be accessed from both sides. This thoroughly modern unit provides ample storage and display cubbies without completely blocking light, conversation, or sight lines between the two areas.

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Home Office Spotlight

built in bookshelves in home office

Ryann Ford

Devise a lighting plan that focuses attention on bookcase contents, lets you quickly read book titles, and creates after-dark interest. Install picture, or artwork, lights at the top of the bookcases to cast a soft glow across books and collections. Add wall sconces, shelf lights, strip lighting, or rope lights to brighten the interiors. Whenever possible, put the lights on dimmers so you can control the brightness and set different moods.

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Bathroom Storage Shelves


Werner Straube

Built-in bookcases optimize a bathroom's storage capacity. Whether you reach between wall studs or build out from a wall, remember that bathroom shelves don't have to be very deep to hold bathing beauty necessities, such as bath salts, body lotions, and rolled towels. Though space is limited inside walls, you'll find enough room to install shelves measuring between 4 and 8 inches deep.

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