Bookcases, also called bookshelves, are pieces of furniture consisting of horizontal shelves traditionally used for the storage of books. With either fixed or adjustable positions for the shelves, bookcases naturally serve a utilitarian purpose and are useful for storing a wide variety of things in private homes, libraries, offices, and retail stores. Variations of bookcases include options for permanent affixation to a wall or floor, freestanding, ranges of height and width, glass doors for protection and security, and the possibility of combining multiple bookcases into larger systems.
Bookcases began as simple shelves in ancient libraries and monasteries, safeguarding scrolls and manuscripts. As the printing press revolutionized book production in the Renaissance, book ownership expanded beyond the elite, necessitating more storage solutions. Homes began featuring built-in shelving, and by the 19th century, standalone bookcases became popular household furniture. Designs evolved from ornate wooden carvings to minimalist and functional styles, reflecting societal changes and the ever-growing love for reading. Over time, bookcases transformed from exclusive storage units to accessible furnishings in everyday homes.
The future of bookcases embraces adaptability, sustainability, and tech integration. Modular designs, allowing customization to fit diverse spaces, are gaining traction. Eco-friendly materials, such as bamboo or repurposed wood, resonate with green-conscious consumers. Innovative examples include floating bookshelves or those doubling as room dividers. With digital books on the rise, bookcases are also evolving into multi-purpose storage, accommodating both books and tech gadgets. Blending aesthetics with functionality, tomorrow's bookcases will cater to both traditional book lovers and the tech-savvy generation, ensuring literature and learning remain central to our lives.
Bookcases are heavy and should always be secured to the wall by using either brackets or velcro and wall anchors. For brackets, locate the studs in your wall and use them to attach an “L” shape bracket between the wall and the top of the bookcase. For velcro, locate the wall studs and drill a velcro strap into each wall stud. Align the receiving end of the velcro on the top of the bookcase with the velcro on the studs and press the straps together to secure the bookcase in place.
How you style a bookcase is up to you, but popular book organization strategies include: cover type, color, genre, preference, alphabetical, age, completion, height, size and mood. For additional flair, consider integrating potted plants, artwork, sculptural shapes, humor, storage, and vintage objects together with your book collection.
Bookcases typically range in depth between 10”-12” (26-31 cm) for medium sized books. Smaller bookcase depths of 6.5” (17 cm) may be desired for paperback books and novels, while larger bookcase depths of 14” (35 cm) are useful for records and larger format books.