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The best bookshelves and bookcases in 2021

best bookshelves: an image of leaning ladder bookcase
(Image credit: Habitat)

The best bookshelves are much more than a piece of storage furniture. They are an essential part of your living space and provide a home for the books that transport, inspire and inform you.  

A bookcase doesn't have to be boring, either, it can be a stylish piece of furniture that can become the focal point of your home office, living room or hallway. For an extra personal touch, why not scatter photo frames, trinkets and small house plants on your bookshelves? 

Which bookshelves are best for you will depend on how many books you have (must-read graphic design books and the best art books will make great additions to you collection, but they might require more space), how much floor or wall space you have, and whether you need adjustable shelves to accommodate different sized books. You'll also need to consider your budget, as well as your preferences when it comes to material and design. The best bookcase for you will speak to your style: are you looking for something minimalist, classic, or modern and funky?

In this list you’ll find our top bookshelf picks in a range of colours and materials. Some are solid wood, which you can expect to pay a premium for, whilst others are manufactured wood or a combination of both. The best bookshelves featured in the list require assembly but come with easy to follow instructions on how to do this. If you want something for the little ones in your life, then see our best children's bookcases list.

The best bookshelves in the US

Salyer Geometric Bookcase in walnut

(Image credit: All Modern)

01. Salyer Geometric Bookcase

The best geometric bookshelves for creative storage

Specifications
Colours: Black/walnut, walnut
Size: 71"x32"x12"
Weight: 70lb
Material: Solid and manufactured wood
Reasons to buy
+Trendy geometric design+Multi-sized shelves
Reasons to avoid
-Not 100% solid wood

The Salyer Geometric bookcase tops our list of the best bookshelves because it ticks all the boxes when it comes to quality, functionality and style. It's gorgeous to look at even before you add your books to it, and we especially love the two-tone walnut wood. The frame is made from solid wood, meaning it's sturdy and stable, but the engineered-wood shelves lighten the overall weight and help keep the price down without compromising on quality. 

Our favourite thing about these bookshelves is that the eight staggered cubes are all different shapes and sizes, which encourages you to get creative with how you stack and order your books. Why not store some upright and others lying down? 

Metal Frame Floating Wall Mount Shelves Bookcase in walnut

(Image credit: Home Depot)

02. Theo Nutmeg Metal Floating Wall Bookcase

The best floating bookshelves for those short on floor space

Specifications
Colours: Nutmeg/black, oak/white
Size: 64"x30"x12"
Weight: 42lb
Material: Metal and wood
Reasons to buy
+Space-saving +Minimalist
Reasons to avoid
-Requires wall-mounting 

If you're short on floor space and don't think you can fit a bookcase in your house or apartment, consider these floating bookshelves from Home Depot

The metal frame and natural wood shelves are perfect for those who love industrial, minimalist design, and will suit pretty much any space. Four shelves mean you can store plenty of books without the unit taking over your room, and there are keyhole slots for easy hanging too. 

Mild DIY-requirement aside, the only downside is that you lose some of the wow-factor of a tall, free-standing bookcase. 

Manor Park Mid Century Modern Tall Bookcase, Caramel

(Image credit: Walmart)

03. Manor Park Mid Century Modern Tall Bookcase

Channel your inner modernist with mid-century bookshelves

Specifications
Colours: Caramel, white
Size: 70”x29.75”x15”
Weight: 60lb
Material : Solid pine
Reasons to buy
+Mid-century design+Solid-pine construction
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky

If you're a fan of Mid Century Modern design but don't have the budget for an original piece, then Walmart has the next best thing. This solid-back bookcase has four open shelves, three of which are adjustable so you can customise the height of your shelves to fit your collection. 

The straight lines of the frame and the smooth, round legs give a retro vibe, and the fact it's all made from solid pine means you can fill the shelves with heavy books and know the bookcase will hold up well. 

Sauder Select 5-Shelf Bookcase, Chalked Chestnut Finish

(Image credit: Walmart)

04. Sauder Select 5-Shelf Bookcase

A classic bookcase with ample storage

Specifications
Colours: Ten natural wood colours
Size: 35.28"x13.23"x69.76"
Weight: 88lb
Material : Wood composite
Reasons to buy
+Classic design+Large choice of colours 
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

For those of you looking to curate a sophisticated and fuss-free look in your home, we recommend this classic Sauder Select 5-shelf bookcase. It's made from engineered wood and comes comes in ten different shades of natural wood, our favourite being 'Chalked Chestnut' which is shown above. 

The five shelves grant plenty of storage space, and three of the shelves are adjustable which means you can tailor the space to fit your cookbooks, photography and art books as well as smaller paperback novels. 

Lundquist Corner Bookcase in rustic brown

(Image credit: Wayfair)

05. Lundquist Corner Bookcase

The best bookshelves for a small number of books

Specifications
Colours: Rustic brown, white
Size: 50.2"x7.9"x7.9"
Weight: 9.9lb
Material: Manufactured wood
Reasons to buy
+Quirky design +Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Limited storage space

If space is an issue for you or you only have a few books you want to display, then why not utilise space you otherwise won't use with some corner bookshelves? These cleverly-designed bookshelves in the form of the Lundquist corner bookcase fit into the corners of any room to give you a nifty storage solution for your books and trinkets. 

While there's not as much storage as a multi-shelf bookcase, these bookshelves make a great addition to a home office or bedroom, if not the main living space where you keep most of your books. 

The best bookshelves in the UK

Habitat Hopkins Walnut Veneer Bookcase

(Image credit: Argos)

01. Habitat Hopkins Bookcase

The best bookcase for functionality and style

Specifications
Colours: Walnut, oak
Size: 198x150x34cm
Weight: 80kg
Material: Solid wood with veneer finish
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Ample shelf space
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy -Expensive

Contemporary, geometric design meets maximum functionality with this stunning bookcase. Much like the Salyer Geometric bookcase that tops our list of the best bookshelves to buy in the US, this Habitat Hopkins Walnut Veneer bookcase is a feature in and of itself. 

It's made from solid wood with a wood veneer finish that's resistant to scratching, so it's going to last you for a long time. We love the variety of shapes and sizes of shelves and think you'll have a lot of fun organising your books, photos and other items on this bookcase. If you have the space, you could even use it as a room divider. 

IKEA Billy bookcase in oak

(Image credit: IKEA)

02. Billy Bookcase

The best adjustable bookshelves

Specifications
Colour: Black-brown, oak, white-stained oak, white
Size: 80x28x202 cm
Weight: 22.6kg
Material: Chipboard
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable shelves+Inexpensive 
Reasons to avoid
-Unremarkable design

No roundup of the best bookshelves would be complete without IKEA's iconic Billy bookcase. These simple but iconic bookshelves are a firm favourite, with IKEA claiming one is sold every five seconds somewhere in the world.

It's easy to see why: it's fuss free, and the four colour options make it suitable for most room styles and colour schemes. What's more it's customisable, as the height of the shelves can be adjusted to accommodate your exact collection. The bookcase shown above is the middle size, but the Billy is also available in a double (160 x 28 x 202 cm) or a slimline (40 x 28 x 202 cm) option. 

Argos Home 5 Shelf Pine Tall Wide Extra Deep Solid Bookcase

(Image credit: Argos)

03. Argos Home Solid Pine Bookcase

The best solid wood bookshelves for your home

Specifications
Colours: Natural finish
Size: 180x78x29cm
Weight: 30kg
Material: Solid pine
Reasons to buy
+Solid wood+Sturdy
Reasons to avoid
-One colour-Heavy

If the idea of adjustable shelving appeals to you but you're looking for something a little more solid and sturdy than the Billy bookcase, look no further than this five-shelf bookcase from Argos Home

Yes, it's a little more pricey than the Billy, but it's made from solid wood so the quality and strength is worth the extra investment. It can hold up to 32.2kg across the five shelves, four of which are adjustable. 

If you're less interested in having adjustable shelves and would prefer to have a few drawers to increase your office storage solutions then consider the Argos Home San Diego 3 Shelf 3 Drawer Solid Pine Bookcase. Like this one it's made from solid pine and has a natural finish, but two shelves are replaced by three drawers for versatility. 

Habitat Jessie Oak Veneer Wide Leaning Ladder

(Image credit: Argos)

04. Habitat Jessie Wide Leaning Ladder

The minimalist way to display your books

Specifications
Colours: Oak, walnut, grey
Size: 189x66x35cm
Weight: 13.5kg
Material : Solid wood with veneer finish
Reasons to buy
+Minimalist+Three colours
Reasons to avoid
-Holds less weight 

While not exclusively a bookcase, this Habitat leaning shelving unit makes a great, minimalist option for displaying your favourite books. 

The lack of a back and solid frame does mean that it's a less sturdy choice than others in this list (the maximum weight it can bear is 25kg), but if you're likely to display photographs and trinkets alongside books this will be suitable for you. 

The frame is made from oak and the shelves are an oak veneer, so it's a good midway point in terms of weight and price. 

VASAGLE Tree Bookshelf, 8-Tier Floor Standing Bookcase

(Image credit: Amazon)

05. VASAGLE Tree Bookshelf

A creative solution for the bookworm short on floor space

Specifications
Colours: Rustic Brown
Size: 50x25x141.5cm
Weight : 13.5kg
Material: Engineered wood
Reasons to buy
+Takes up little space+Stunning geometric silhouette
Reasons to avoid
-One colour 

If you're short on floor space or are looking for something more unusual than a standard bookcase, then these tree bookshelves offer a great budget option. With eight open shelves you can store plenty of books for just a small amount of floor space, so we recommend this bookcase for home offices and flats or apartments. 

If you love the design but the eight small shelves aren't quite sufficient for all your books, why not create an eye-catching display with just your favourites?

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