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The books we own say a lot about us.  So should our bookcases.  Do your literature justice by giving it a proper home.  Our guide below will give you all the details you need to make the right purchase.

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There are various factors to consider when selecting your new bookcase.

Size and shape

Firstly, how much room do you have for your new bookshelf – and how many books do you need?  If you only keep hard copies of your favourite reads, a small bookcase might be enough storage for you.

Looking at all that unused wall space?  If you’ve got more room upwards than you have outwards, you might find a narrow bookcase or tall bookcase is the solution.

The Desire mini bookcase is short and narrow, a good choice for a kid’s room or spare room, or to keep those books that won’t quite fit in your existing bookshelf.

If you’d prefer something more unusual, a dinghy bookcase features a wonderful boat shape that looks outstanding in any study.  What it loses in capacity it makes up for in style, class and originality.


Is your bookcase just going to be for books, or would you prefer it to be multipurpose?

The Suffolk slim bookcase includes a basket for additional storage, fantastic for storing spare stationery and other office odds and ends.  Picture books and toys can be stored together in the Suffolk low bookcase, another ideal option for a child’s room.

Alternatively, the Hockley Grand range includes a bookcase with wine holders, a classy addition to your dining room.

Perhaps it’s just drawers or a cupboard you need, in which case an item like the Desire cupboard bookcase could be for you.


Next, choose your wood type.  Pine is a light wood that’s sturdy, good value for money and easy to stain in a variety of colours.  As such, a pine bookcase is a good choice if you’d like a dark or unusual colour for your bookshelf.

An oak bookcase is generally found in an oil or clear lacquer finish, with oil coming up slightly darker than a clear lacquer.  A clear lacquer will bring out the colour of the oak, often resulting in a pale or honey colour, a popular choice because it’s so beautiful.

A reclaimed wooden bookcase is strong and reliable in spite of its distressed appearance, since old wood is more resilient than newer wood.  Reclaimed wood is also a good option if you like your furniture to have plenty of character.

Finishes and colours

You also need to pick the best finish and colour for your décor.

Painted bookcases are an excellent fit for contemporary style décor.  A cream, grey or white bookcase will suit a huge range of colour schemes.

If you’d rather show off the natural characteristics of the wood, such as its woodgrain, knots and other features, a clear lacquer or oiled finish will do the trick.

Wood stains are useful if you want to see the features of the wood but want more control over its colour.  You can use a dark stain on a naturally light wood like pine to achieve this effect.

Bear in mind that colour can change your perception of a room.  Darker colours make larger or colder rooms feel snugger, while lighter colours will open up enclosed spaces and make them seem less cramped, cluttered or shadowy.


Finally, select which style you’d like to achieve for your bookcase.

Contemporary style bookcases like the Ledbury low bookcase are often painted with wooden tops and may have intricate edge profiles like cove or ogee edges.  For the farmhouse look, opt for a top with a simple edge profile and breadboard ends, as seen on the Hockley small bookcase.

Achieve the rustic look with a lacquered or oiled bookcase with a square leg profile, panelled sides and roundover edges.  These features make the bookshelf look chunkier and more robust.  The Winchester slim and large deep bookcase are good examples of this style.

Finally, modern bookcases often have a square edge profile, or sometimes a reverse bevel edge to add a bit of shape at the top.  These styles are generally clean and simple, although the Bromley large bookcase includes exposed tenon joints as a decorative feature.

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You’ve read our guide from cover to cover.  Now browse our full range of bookshelves and build the library of your dreams.

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