7 Bookshelves for Small Spaces

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

Before you ditch your book collection, check out our favorite problem-solving bookshelf ideas for small spaces.

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7 Bookshelf Ideas For Small SpacesVIA MERCHANT

Why You Might Need a Bookcase or Bookshelf

Furnishing and organizing a small space requires creativity, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to finding the right bookcase. A bulky traditional bookcase can often make a small room feel cramped. But don’t give up on your home library dreams just yet. There are plenty of beautiful bookcases and bookshelf ideas for small spaces specifically designed to optimize storage.

“Bookshelves are one of the easiest ways to keep clutter, and of course books, up and off the ground in a small room,” says professional home organizer Britnee Tanner. “The added bonus is that you can display special keepsakes or pieces of art, so they work really well for creating order and adding style to a space.”

Read on for some organizer-approved tips and the best unique bookshelves for small rooms.

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Metal Spine Book Tower
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Best Overall Bookshelf for Small Spaces

Metal Spine Book Tower

When it comes to bookshelf ideas for small spaces, consider going vertical. This skinny book tower easily fits almost anywhere. Its 12 shelves hold a large number of books without taking up much space. Basically, wherever you can fit a stack of books, you can fit this sturdy tower. The thin shelves ensure your books are visually the star of the show.

Among the 1,000+ five-star reviews on Amazon, verified purchaser Misty Wetzel writes: “I needed maximum book storage. I looked at several different corner shelves and particle board things with lots of broken photos in the reviews. It was super easy to assemble (my husband had it together in about five minutes). Feels stable on low-medium pile carpet. I have a clarinet case on the bottom and 45 books on all the other shelves. Worth every penny! I just ordered a second one.”

Pros

  • Slim space-saving design
  • Sturdy metal construction
  • Four color options

Cons

  • Might need more than one tower for a large book collection

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Dolci Iron Corner Bookcase
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Best Corner Bookshelf

Iron Corner Bookcase

Dead space in your home like unused corners can have big book-storage potential. This iron bookcase features triangular-shaped shelves to tuck nicely into a room corner. One of our favorite bookshelf ideas for small spaces, the open airy design also ensures it doesn’t add visual clutter—another decorating tip for small spaces.

Pros

  • Shaped for corners
  • Durable iron frame

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold as many books as taller shelf options

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Wallniture Minori Floating Shelves
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Best Floating Bookshelf

Floating Wood Shelves Set

When looking for the best bookshelf ideas for small spaces, floating shelves are always in the mix. These wooden shelves are a smart alternative to a bookcase, allowing you to utilize empty walls instead of taking up precious floor space.

“Wall-mounted shelves that reach from floor to ceiling can provide a lot of storage and give a more dramatic look in a room if space permits,” Tanner says. This highly-rated shelf set can be arranged to fit your needs. If you have a narrow strip of wall, stack them vertically. Only have space above a door? Hang them horizontally across the top of the door frame. They go anywhere!

Pros

  • Versatile, wall-mounted design
  • Solid wood and metal construction
  • Four shelves and mounting materials included

Cons

  • Might not be large enough for some books

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Porch And Den Industrial Bookcase Cart
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Best Rolling Bookshelf

Industrial Modern Bookcase Cart

A piece of furniture with wheels functions well in a small space because you can move it out of the way when needed. This metal bookcase cart can be rolled against a wall or used as a room divider in studio apartments. If the room starts to feel cramped when guests visit, simply move it aside.

Pros

  • Equipped with four wheels for mobility
  • Quality steel construction
  • Cool modern design

Cons

  • Shelves are not adjustable

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Dezstany Adjustable Desktop Organizer
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Best Desktop Bookshelf

Adjustable Desktop Organizer

If there’s no available floor or wall space, this desktop bookshelf is a smart solution solution for organizing your books. It fits perfectly on a desk, nightstand or end table. The Tetris-style design element feels modern and chic. Place it on a compact desk for small spaces to keep books, office supplies and accessories easily accessible.

Pros

  • Fits on top of a desk or table for efficient use of space
  • Versatile adjustable design with two separate pieces
  • Modern statement-making style

Cons

  • Some reviewers did not like the exposed screw heads

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Kidkraft Bookcase Nook
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Best Bookshelf With Seating

Wooden Bookcase Reading Nook

Need bookshelf ideas for small spaces like a playroom or kids room? This KidKraft bookshelf seat serves dual purposes, so you’ll need fewer pieces of furniture. Your kids will love sitting down to read with all their favorite stories within arm’s reach in the six storage cubbies. It’s one of the most genius bookshelf ideas for small rooms because it’s an instant book-nook creator.

Pros

  • Seating and book storage in one piece
  • Cushion stays in place with adhesive strips
  • Available in four colors

Cons

  • Kids will eventually grow out of the kid-size proportions

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17 Stories Geometric Bookcase
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Best Room Divider Bookshelf

Iron Geometric Bookcase

The best bookshelf ideas for small spaces are multi-functional furniture pieces. In a studio apartment or an open-concept home, consider a thoughtful bookshelf to function as a room divider. This geometric bookcase provides book storage while also dividing your space into cozy, functional zones. Sprinkle in decorative accessories to break up the books and add visual interest.

Pros

  • Divides room and organizes books
  • Six tiers for ample storage space
  • Scratch-resistant

Cons

  • Shelves are not made of real wood

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What to Consider When Buying a Bookshelf for Small Spaces

Study the layout of your small space to best determine where a bookshelf will make the most efficient use of your limited square footage. Is there an unused corner where you can tuck a corner-shaped bookshelf? How about a blank wall that could support a few wall-mounted shelves?

Keep in mind, the best way to choose furniture for a small space is to find multitasking pieces (like a bookcase with seating or a desk with built-in shelves). Once you determine the type of bookshelf you’ll need, take detailed measurements of the space including height, width and depth.

How We Chose the Best Bookshelf Ideas for Small Spaces

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

FAQ

What can I use instead of a bookshelf?

Instead of a bookshelf that eats up floor space, use wall-mounted shelves. Freestanding shelves can be arranged to fit your needs. Narrow ledge shelves are ideal for kids rooms because they can easily see the front of the books to pick their favorite.

Where do you put a bookshelf in a small room?

For a small bedroom, consider a short bookcase at the end of your bed that can double as a bench. In a small living room, a narrow vertical bookcase fits nicely against the wall without taking up too much space. Corner bookshelves and ladder bookcases are other options that fit anywhere in a small space.

How do you store a lot of books with little space?

The best way to store a large amount of books is to utilize wall space. Instead of hanging art or photos, cover an entire wall with shelves. You’ll be able to fit your big collection of books without sacrificing the flow and function of the room.