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Build Your Own DIY Bookshelf this Weekend
Build Your Own DIY Bookshelf this Weekend

Bookshelves aren't just for libraries and home offices anymore. People are downsizing, and book lovers need creative new ways to display their collections. Traditional store-bought shelves can be expensive and bulky, so why not dedicate a weekend to designing and building your own custom shelving? DIY bookshelves are easier than you may realize. Transform awkward spaces with slim shelving, or add whimsy with a creative design. Whether you're after a minimalist aesthetic or a chic vibe, there's a bookshelf design for you.


A rustic wood and pipe shelf

Pipe frame and wood shelves FluxFactory / Getty Images

Wood and pipe shelving units are an easy way to accent your home's rustic or industrial decor. The metal finish of the pipes provides a nice contrast for the natural surface of the wooden shelves. Attach short pipes to the wall for mounting short planks, or use longer pipes to form a large standing bookcase frame. Use recycled materials to cut costs and also to take advantage of the patina that develops on the metal over time.


A minimalist, unfinished aesthetic

An unfinished aesthetic is refreshing FabrikaCr / Getty Images

Unfinished wood is versatile in decorating because it matches well with other natural finishes and textures. A natural wood bookshelf complements bohemian decor as well as minimalist and rustic designs. Exposed hardware and fasteners also add to the rawness of the look, making this design a great choice for first-time DIY-ers. Instead of fussing over messy wood stains and fillers, you can focus on building a sturdy shelf.


A gallery ledge for children's books

A ledge shelf is artistic KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Traditional bookshelves can use up valuable floor space, making book storage a challenge for small rooms. If you're building a shelf for children, you also have to consider that they won't be able to reach high places. A gallery photo ledge works perfectly in this situation. Wall-mounted ledges and similar bookcases display a selection of your child's favorite books and works of art within reach. Install ledges in small corners or behind a bedroom door to maximize space.


Build a wall of books

Divide a room with books FluxFactory / Getty Images

Large rooms can be just as daunting to decorate as small spaces. A bookshelf that doubles as a wall can create a more intimate conversation area with very little construction. The partition also provides more storage on the floor to ceiling shelves without giving the room a cluttered appearance. Build a bookcase wall to separate awkward spaces in your floorplan or break up large rooms.


Floating bookshelves for a finished look

Floating bookshelves are very neat Michael Robinson / Getty Images

Floating shelves are a popular choice for decorators thanks to their neat appearance and conservation of floor space. You can find floating shelf kits at your local big-box store, or build custom to perfectly match your home's furnishings. Find an online tutorial for direction and expert tips. When you've mastered the technique, try designing shelves in various shapes to create patterns on the wall.


Repurpose old wood and materials

Old pallets make great shelving oonal / Getty Images

The next time you come upon scrap wood or free pallets, load them onto your truck and incorporate them into a rustic bookshelf design. You can mount the pallets directly to the wall to appreciate their rugged structure, or disassemble and sand the planks to build a more finished unit. Inspect each pallet to make sure the wood is in good enough condition. Rot or bugs are no good, but keeping the discolorations and imperfections will give the piece a bit more character.


Step up shelving with a ladder

An attractive leaning ladder shelf KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Old ladders make great bones for bookshelves. If you can get your hands on a vintage wooden ladder, use it as a base for laying planks across the rungs. Leave any markings or old paint drippings on the wood for a more rustic look. Achieve a similar aesthetic with a DIY half-ladder bookcase. Rather than the traditional A-frame ladder shape, a half-ladder leans against the wall at an angle. Build each shelf so that it touches the wall behind, creating interesting depth and more storage space toward the bottom of the unit.


A whimsical tree of knowledge

Whimsical shapes are also practical stockstudioX / Getty Images

Bookshelves don't have to be traditional to be functional. Wall shelves mounted at an angle can support plenty of books while also doubling as a custom piece of furniture. Tree-shaped shelving units are on-trend for their whimsical vibe and clever use of wall space. Incorporate a custom tree-shaped shelf into a nature-themed bedroom, or use it as inspiration for a surreal decor.


A vertical bookshelf for narrow spaces

Invisible bookshelves are an illusion TokenPhoto / Getty Images

Spine bookshelves work best for narrow wall spaces because they are only about a foot wide but extend vertically to maximize storage. DIY-ers can build a spine shelf using reclaimed wood or MDF board for a fraction of the cost of store-bought shelving. Paint the shelves to blend into the wall, or use bright colors to create even more visual interest. If you prefer a more sophisticated silhouette, try your hand at recreating invisible shelves. This design uses a hardcover book to conceal the wall-mounted hardware, creating the illusion of books floating on the wall.


A geometric patterned bookshelf

Build a geometric bookshelf asbe / Getty Images

If you've been wondering what to do with that enormous, empty wall in your living room, go a step beyond hanging artwork. Make a statement with a structured, geometric bookshelf. Create bold shapes and patterns with different angles, and don't be afraid to play with colors or textures. Make space for plants and collectibles, as well as your favorite books, to inject your family's personality into the collection.




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