Full height or less? With thick or thin shelves? In what material and design? There are many variables to keep in mind when designing the library.

Choosing the bookcase is not always so simple, because depending on the choices it can completely change the image of the house, positively or negatively.

There are many variables to consider when choosing the bookcase: high or low, regular or asymmetrical, light or dark. Or do you also want to make it disappear into the wall or make it the predominant decorative element? Should it be in the sofa corner and perhaps accommodate the television or should it be placed behind the dining table, or even enjoy a hallway or passageway…?

Ordinary white bookcase behind the table

Let’s start with a proposal that transforms the dining room into a study space: because, more and more often, for those who work at home in smartworking, the two spaces coincide. And here a beautiful bookcase behind the table becomes the best choice: in addition to being scenographic, it is also functional. This custom-made bookcase is very simple and regular: it is composed of different types of compartments, rectangular or square, whose alternating overlaps create a linear and very clean design. It is made of white lacquered wood, 2.5 cm thick for the uprights and shelves.

Bookcase in plasterboard : two niches, with a desk corner.

This is one of the most appreciated solutions when you want to create a very architectural library, which gives a decisive framework to the environment: the library, built in plasterboard, seems to almost disappear in the wall and becomes an integral part of the walls that contain it.

In this case, a portal separates the dining room; on the sides there are two symmetrical niches and in the center a passage that closes with a full height glass door. The double niches are equipped with 8 cm thick shelves, painted in white enamel to be more protected and washable. In the lower part, a closed hanging cupboard has been inserted on one side and a desk on the other, which transforms the library into a home working space.

The bookcase with the sofa in front

Here is a bookcase that is a design classic (Universal Shelving by De Padova), very light and almost invisible. It has a modular aluminum structure and is available in both aluminum and white color, suspended on the wall or with floor posts. The convenience is that it can be composed as you wish according to your needs and you can add doors and drawers in the lower part.

An idea to copy, to make it more domestic and less office oriented, is to paint the back wall in a color slightly contrasting with the structure. Another useful suggestion concerns the position of the sofa, which has been placed in front of the bookcase leaving only a passage.

White wooden shelves

Here is the simplest solution: very normal 4 cm thick white lacquered wooden shelves. Which become special, if they are in a niche that frames them and are made to measure. The decoration then does what you put in it…

The idea of copying is like putting it in place: always valid is to alternate books placed horizontally and vertically, and to place small paintings or photos where there are empty spaces. In this way, even if the library is the maximum of neutral and essential, the whole becomes alive and particular.

As a piece of furniture up to the middle of the wall

Here is a bookcase that does not go up the whole wall to reach the ceiling, but stops at a height of 110 centimeters: a perfect solution when you want to have a free surface to hang paintings, place lamps or other. Here, the additional idea is the central sliding panel, in mdf glossy lacquered in contrast with the structure which is opaque in the same color. In the closed compartment, a small TV was hidden on a shelf that you did not want to leave in sight, but it is also practical for example to put folders with documents.

Bookcase with central fireplace

In a symmetrical room, where the fireplace is the chimney, two identical bookcases have been designed to frame it. To make the whole very homogeneous, they have been lacquered in the same color as the fireplace and the mirror above. The chosen color is anthracite grey, and the final effect is a perfectly coordinated wall: the irregular design created by the shelves and dividers gives movement to the wall and was designed to accommodate both books and collections of glass vases. But the result is very balanced: no one element dominates over the other.

Niche bookcase : MDF shelves that simulate masonry

Those who don’t want to make a real masonry bookcase because they are afraid that it will be too delicate to clean can take advantage of this advice: make, as in the house in the photo below, very thick shelves (8 cm) in matt white lacquered mdf which, given the dimensions and finish seems to be plasterboard . To avoid having too long shelves and to avoid the risk of bending, a central parapet in plasterboard has been provided which divides the niche in two. The back wall of the niche has been painted in light grey to create more depth. The compartments between the shelves are very high (45 centimeters), making them ideal for holding paintings and photographs.

With a wall height of three quarters, the bookcase integrates the television set.

Here is another idea designed for a room with the sofa in front of the bookcase and the television in the center of the wall. In this case, it was decided not to go up to the ceiling, but to stop at about three-quarters of the height of the wall (180 centimeters by 320 centimeters) to leave an upper space for hanging paintings and photographs.

Spunto Effect, the bold color of the wall behind, in this case powder blue, which firmly emphasizes the white lacquered structure of the backless bookcase (the useful dark shades also make the background less dirt-repellent). The bookcase has a regular and symmetrical design and is complemented by two doors in the lower part to hide the technical parts related to the TV set that should not be seen.

Decorative solution : the mini bookcase in the (fake) fireplace

Here is the old wooden frame of a fireplace – left unused for years in the cellar, then readjusted and transformed into a mini bookcase by inserting a few shelves in its central compartment . You can also find a frame like this one in the markets; then simply place it on a wall in a contrasting color for a great effect. It was in a dark wood stain and was painted in enamel, satin white to make it visually lighter. 

A bookcase only 22 centimeters deep

If you need to take advantage of a corridor or a not too large space with a bookcase, the best solution is to choose one with a mini and shallow structure, like the one in the photo below, made of iron and not very invasive (Crossing by Kriptonite), in a wall-mounted and white lacquered version (but also available in black and many other configurations). The depth is only 22 centimeters, so it is perfect even for very small spaces and to hold small volumes, such as the novels of economic editions.