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.
- Jump straight to the best bookshelves in the UK
The best bookshelves in the US
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?