Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Bookshelves can be both a curse and a blessing. The sensory overload of modifications often makes it impossible to make an objective decision. Designer piece or rather do-it-yourself? With this bookshelf test 2022, we want to help you strengthen your senses and make a better purchase decision.

In the following, we have compared a wide variety of bookshelves and looked at some of the criteria. In a special way, the advantages and disadvantages make it possible for you to find your bookshelf or bookshelves.


  • Bookshelves can come in a variety of shapes, colours and materials, and just like your creativity, you can customise your bookshelf.
  • Basically, you can compare bookshelves well because the market is variation. The variants range from wooden bookshelves and room dividers to wall shelves and bookshelves for children.
  • Bookshelves are suitable for everyone, from bibliophiles to non-readers, as the shelves can be used for different purposes. Whether storage for books or a great place for accessories.

The Best Bookshelf: Our Picks

Bookshelves: buying and evaluation criteria

The variety of bookshelves requires you to look closely at certain criteria. In the following, we will show you what you should look out for and which aspects are important so that you can make your decision.

The criteria with which you can compare bookcases, are:


The weight of a bookcase also depends on the workmanship. If you are looking for massive, load-bearing shelves, this often means that your bookcase is heavy. Do you live in the attic or on the first floor? The shelf must first be carried into your home. Aluminium frame or steel, veneer wood or solid wood. However, most furniture stores offer shelves that are easy to carry.


In the furniture world, the material is always a question of design. Because there are also several different types of material for bookshelves. There is a rough distinction between plastic, metal, wood and stone. You can also find bookshelves made of cork. Cork is a material that, like wood, consists of several rings.

Book capacity

The depth of each shelf also determines the capacity. If you only have paperbacks and don't need much other storage space, you shouldn't worry because paperbacks will fit on almost any bookshelf. Oversized books also exist.

If you have books that are 30 cm deep, you should choose larger ones.

Books that are very wide, i.e. that can hold up to 1000 pages or more, need their capacity, for example encyclopaedias. The question should be, high or low capacity.

Type of construction

The type of construction can be a decisive factor for you. Without a back wall, or with a back wall, or perhaps only partly with a back wall. With the type of construction, your bookcase can be placed according to your preferences. Free-standing versions or wall-mounted versions are possible. Ikea shelves are popular because they come with good instructions for assembly and, in general, Ikea furniture is very easy to assemble.

Load capacity

The load capacity indicates how heavy the contents of the shelf can be. In general, better-made bookshelves are more stable and have a higher load-bearing capacity, such as the shelves of certain discounters like Aldi, Lidl and Co. If you focus on the load-bearing capacity, you should also consider having a unique piece made.

Bookshelves: frequently asked questions and answers

Below we will answer a few questions to give you more clarity for your decision.

What types of bookcases are there?

There are many different types of bookshelves, made of different materials and in different shapes. Below you will find a small insight.

Type advantages disadvantages
Upright bookcase high storage capacity, easy to combine, different designs, materials, shapes and sizes, load-bearing capacity inflexible
Room divider divides the room, different materials, shapes, sizes, with open or closed back requires a lot of space, inflexible
Wall shelf different designs, materials, shapes, sizes low storage capacity, limited load-bearing capacity
Roller shelf flexible, different designs, materials, shapes, sizes, storage capacity limited load-bearing capacity
Corner shelf load-bearing capacity, efficient use of space, different designs, materials, sizes assembly is time-consuming, customisation often very expensive

For whom is a bookcase suitable?

There is no specific target group for bookcases. Design piece, unique piece, or made by Ikea and Co. Your bookcase can be anything and therefore appeal to anyone. Bookshelves can be used optimally as room dividers in which you can sort and organise everything. Whether the space is used to the full or specific gaps are left to allow sunlight in.


Bookshelves are the repository of knowledge that you can access at any time. (Image source: Karen Zhao / unsplash)

Space, or no space, doesn't matter, as bookshelves can be customised to suit your needs. To fit any space, you can order bookshelves made to measure, like a tailor-made suit.

How much does a bookcase cost?

The price of any bookcase depends on what you want to invest. You can get good to very good bookcases on a small budget. Unique pieces made of special types of wood, such as walnut, naturally demand their price.

Wooden bookshelves can cost much more than bookshelves made of aluminium.

The more massive and unusual your wishes are, the more utopian the price will be. So you should pay attention to the utility factor when making your choice.

What alternatives are there to bookshelves?

DIY & Upcycling? DIY also means that you can create your own bookshelf. You use whatever material and build your shelf according to your wishes. With upcycling, waste products or materials that are seemingly useless are used to create a new product. This option is more intensive in terms of work, but it is also much more fun and at the same time proud, or not.


Regallos or DIY & Upcycling, the main thing is an alternative to bookshelves. (Image source: citypraiser / pixabay)

Shelfless. You don't have time to buy a bookshelf, or you can't afford one at the moment? There is a solution for that too. You simply sort your books without a shelf. Book on book and slowly your wall of books will automatically form.

How do I sort a bookshelf?

You can sort bookshelves in many different ways. This way you have alternatives that not only offer space for your books, but also for decoration and accessories. The larger the capacity of your bookshelf, the more you can put on it.

You can store thick books, i.e. books with many pages, on edge or stacked on top of each other. Keep in mind the load-bearing capacity of your shelf. Paperbacks, on the other hand, can be sorted one behind the other, even with a normal depth of 25 cm. This gives you more space for more books. Flowers and plants liven things up and make your bookcase even more attractive.

Where do I put the bookcase?

You can place bookshelves wherever you want, depending on the space available. You can find an ideal place in living rooms, bedrooms, corridors or even rooms that you have furnished as an office. Make your home office life as pleasant as possible. Pick up a book and relax while reading. A room with high humidity, such as a bathroom, is not recommended. It serves to protect the books and the shelf if it is made of a material that shows a natural reaction to moisture, corrosion and rot.

What depth should a bookcase be?

The depth of your bookcase depends on your needs. For example, small paperbacks do not need much space, so we recommend a shelf with a depth of 18 cm. However, are you looking for a bookcase with a large depth to store files or illustrated books? In this case, we recommend a depth of 30 cm. Your all-purpose weapon, however, is the 25 cm version. We recommend a depth of 25 cm to anyone who has a normal use for books.

This will accommodate most books and if you have several paperbacks, for example, you can open up a second row.

This is especially useful for open bookcases, or room dividers.

How big should a bookcase be?

The size of your bookcase depends on the space you have. If you don't have much space, it is advisable to buy a bookcase or make one yourself that is constructed like a cube shelf. You can use wine crates or Ikea cubes. You can find wine crates at local wine merchants, for example, or in DIY stores. Another option is a custom-made bookshelf. It's best to talk to a salesperson in a furniture store about this option.


The fascinating thing about bookshelves is that nothing stands in the way of you and your creativity. A multitude of possibilities to search for your bookshelf are at your disposal. Whether it's the usual trip to the furniture store or an active search online.

We hope to have given you some help with this guide. Now it's up to you what you want to look for, design classics, the normals, or DIY & upcycling. If you liked this article, please leave a comment. Just write what you liked or didn't like.

Image source: 123rf / 90245547