We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Built-In Bookshelf?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Just as the name implies, a built-in bookshelf is one that is built into the structure of a wall, fireplace, or other permanent house element. Built-in bookcases can be fantastic space savers, particularly in small rooms where extra space is at a premium. In addition to displaying books, they can be an excellent storage space for DVDs, CDs, small sculptures or vases, or even barware.

The easiest time to add built-in bookcases is during the initial construction of a room or house. At that time, it's usually very easy to include the bookcases in a design plan. Adding a built-in bookshelf to an existing structure may be a little trickier, but it is often doable. While skilled carpenters may be able to install a built-in bookshelf with ease, novice builders may want to consult a how-to guide or even a professional carpenter.

One of the most common ways to add a built-in bookshelf to an existing structure is to simply build a permanent structure out from the wall. This prevents the builder from having to tear out or demolish parts of a wall, which could damage the structural integrity of the house. Building out from the walls will give the look of a built-in without weeks of potentially dangerous labor. Since this type of bookcase will use the wall as backing, it will still usually take up less space than a freestanding bookcase.

An excellent feature of built-in bookcases is that they can be customized to fit nearly any space. Some people like to dress up arched doorways or entryways by installing bookcases to surround the door frame. Fireplaces and mantels can easily be ensconced in rows of bookcases, adding a library eloquence to the room. Even other pieces of furniture, such as a sturdy bedstead, can serve as the base for a low built-in bookshelf at the front or alongside the headboards.

When adding a built-in bookcase, it is a good idea to think about the objects that will be displayed on the shelves. Record collections or art books will require shelves of different size and depth than a collection of paperback books. In order to make a custom bookcase efficient, take some time to consider the display plan in order to determine the height and depths of the shelves.

For those who don't have large book collections, an existing built-in bookshelf may be a somewhat puzzling design feature. Nevertheless, any storage space can come in handy, and a built-in bookcase can serve as an excellent display cabinet for nearly any item. Beautiful china, family pictures, wine or martini glasses, travel knick-knacks, and even indoor plants can all turn a bookcase into a conversation piece.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.