Choosing the Right Bookcase

Choosing the perfect bookcase involves a careful evaluation of your specific needs and preferences. You will need to consider how the bookcase will fit with the overall design scheme as well as how you want the books to be displayed. This guide aims to help you make an informed decision that aligns with both functionality and aesthetic preferences.

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  • How to choose the right bookcase

    CATTELAN ITALIA - Floor to Ceiling Bookcase

    CATTELAN ITALIA – Floor to Ceiling Bookcase

    Selecting the ideal bookcase demands a balance of form and function. A well-chosen bookcase can become a key design element, enhancing the visual narrative of the style of the room and providing a functional display of books. By considering the points below, you can find a bookcase that not only serves its functional purpose but also enhances the overall style of your space:

    • Type
    • Size and configuration
    • Application
    • Style
    • Material
    • Options and trends
  • What are the different types of bookcases?

    AMOS DESIGN - Bookshelf On Casters

    AMOS DESIGN – Bookcase on Casters

    To find the best bookcase for your project, consider your priorities and space constraints. Here are a few questions to keep in mind: How many books will I need to store? How much space is available? Will the bookcase need to be fixed or mobile?

    • Wall-mounted bookcases can either be floor-standing and fixed to the wall for extra security or completely wall-hung. The latter facilitates cleaning and can be mounted at any height, offering flexibility.
    • Freestanding bookcases can be repositioned in the room. If you need to move the bookcase regularly, consider opting for a bookcase on casters.
    • Corner bookcases can be great for underused corner spaces.
    • Low bookcases are visually less imposing and suitable for smaller rooms. They pose a lower risk of toppling compared to taller bookcases and are also more easily accessible.
    • High bookcases maximize vertical space, though reaching top shelves may be challenging. Some floor-to-ceiling bookcases can act as room separators, but you’ll want to ensure the model you choose is securely anchored to prevent the risk of it falling.
  • What is the best size and configuration for a bookcase?

    MDF ITALIA - Modular Bookcase

    MDF ITALIA – Modular Bookcase

    The size and quantity of books you want to store can impact your choice regarding the dimensions and configuration of your bookcase. Consider whether you want a bookcase with adjustable height shelving or fixed heights to store specific documents. While certain bookcases have uniform shelf depths, if you have books of various sizes, it could be advantageous to choose a bookcase with deeper shelves at the bottom and shallower shelves at the top. This design accommodates different book sizes more effectively, allowing for better organization and storage. A combination of cabinets and shelving can also allow you to hide away private or unsightly documents and books.

    It is important to check your document sizes as standards can vary according to geographical region or country.  Adding an inch or a couple of centimeters to the shelf height of the document you wish to store can give you more flexibility in the future. Here is a table of common book and document sizes to help you consider making your choice:

    Category

    EU (can vary)

    US 

    Pocket paperback books 110 x 178 mm (UK A Format) 4.25 x 6.87 inches (108 x 175 mm)
    Trade paperback books 135 x 216 mm (UK C Format) 6 x 9 inches (152 x 229 mm)
    Hardcover books 148 x 210 mm (A5) 6 x 9 inches (152 x 229 mm)
    Magazines 210 x 297 mm (A4) 8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm)
    Binders (Can vary)
    290 x 320 mm (A4 binder)
    320 x 480 mm (A3 binder)
    (Can vary)
    11.5 x 14.5 inches (legal)
    11.5  x 20 inches (ledger)
  • How will the application influence my choice of bookcase?

    USM Modular Office Bookcase

    USM Modular Office Bookcase

    The space application and intended users will have an impact on what criteria you need to prioritize. While homeowners have more design flexibility when choosing a bookcase, practicality, safety, and robustness are particularly important in commercial settings.

    Bookcases intended for workplaces or public buildings could be used a lot more regularly and by a wider range of people. Modular shelving can help adapt to the height of different book collections. In offices, you might decide to opt for shelves that are dimensioned to store documents and reference books.

    In public libraries or schools, the shelves must be easy to reach, secure, and resistant to regular use to prevent accidents or damage. Bookcases designed for children tend to be colorful and low-level and might include extra safety features to prevent injuries.

    Despite the constraints, there are a lot of contemporary commercial bookshelves that have attractive designs without compromising technical performance.

  • What style of bookcase should I choose?

    LEMA Original Design Bookcase

    LEMA Original Design Bookcase

    Consider the style of your bookcase to ensure it complements your overall decor. Contemporary bookcases come in a range of styles, from minimalist forms in natural tones to original designs featuring bright colors and geometric shapes. This variety provides flexibility and choices to harmonize with the decor of your interior space. On the other hand, traditional bookcases offer timeless appeal through well-established forms and construction techniques. Classic-style bookcases exude a specific historical charm by incorporating design elements from various epochs, such as Art Deco, Empire, or Louis IV styles. Choosing a classic-style bookcase might be ideal for a historical building or if you aim to decorate your interior to correspond to a particular historical period.

  • What is the best material for a bookcase?

    FIAM ITALIA Glass Bookcase

    FIAM ITALIA Glass Bookcase

    The material you choose for your bookcase affects durability and aesthetics. It should complement other furniture in the room. Here are some of the most common bookcase materials to consider:

    • Metal bookcases are more commonly made from steel or aluminum, and tend to be more lightweight than wooden alternatives. Available in a wide range of aesthetics including minimalist, and industrial.
    • Wooden bookcases can be crafted from solid wood or engineered panels like plywood, MDF, or particle board. Engineered options, such as MDF or particle boards, are cost-effective with finishes like lacquer, wood veneer, or other decorative outer layers. Plywood bookcases, made of glued wood layers, offer strength surpassing particle boards, providing a budget-friendly alternative to solid wood bookcases.
    • Solid wood bookcases are durable and more easily repaired or refinished than laminates and particle boards, but may require varnish for stain protection. Wood variations, such as density and price, exist—softwoods like pine are affordable due to faster growth, while hardwoods such as oak are chosen for toughness and/or aesthetics.
    • Glass bookcases offer a contemporary and airy feel but require frequent cleaning. While there are a few all-glass models, glass panels are often paired with a metal or wooden structure.
    • Glazed bookcases can help keep books on display while protecting them from dust.
  • What are the current bookcase options and trends?

    FLAMANT Bookcase with Ladder

    FLAMANT Bookcase with Ladder

    Various options and trends for bookcases offer flexibility and convenience for different applications such as with adjustable shelves, allowing customization to adapt shelf height or configuration to your collection. Additionally, the inclusion of integrated lighting can highlight books and decor, enhancing the overall ambiance. In spaces where maximizing space and providing easy access are crucial, rotating bookcases prove to be popular, especially in commercial settings with multiple readers perusing the shelves. Sliding bookcases can be employed to hide private rooms and optimize storage space. For an elegant touch and easy access to high shelves, an integrated ladder is particularly suitable for wall-to-ceiling bookcases. Remaining aware of current trends and innovative options ensures that your choice aligns with both practicality and style.

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