Living with books: design solution series

Storage is a critical consideration for every object in our homes, none more so than the humble book. Incorporating good design into our homes creates new contexts and new ways to interact with the objects that inhabit the spaces we share. Rather than just performing a utilitarian function, storage (book accommodation in this case) can be playful, inspired and sometimes wacky!

Whether you are building and have scope to integrate some funky book shelves into your new home or even if the structure of your home is already set there are plenty of ways to create some interest, fun and drama with a well chosen book shelf.

As the Roman philosopher Cicero famously coined “A room without books is like a body without a soul” and there are certainly as many different ways to display your books as there are souls. So we have put a few together to whet your appetite:

Built in bookshelves

This low slung cement shelf has an elegant feel.

1 Low concrete shelf

A simple yet effective in-built unit maintains a clean finish.

2 built in wall shelf

This minimal shelving system is beautifully built into the bones of the building, with the books becoming part of the fabric of the walls.

3 room division built into rafters structure

4 room division built into rafters structure

Making clever use of dead space on a stair case.

5 visual bookshelf staircase

And here is another example from our Prahran project

6 Prahran project

A double height built-in feature book case in our Eaglemont project

7 Eaglemont project

Playful designs

Bookshelves don’t have to be all serious and stern, here are a few light hearted examples.

Through the clever use of tree branches this book shelf effectively incorporates organic surfaces and lines.

11 branch book shelf

Here is a fun way to display books, a great addition to any kids bedroom to grow the love of reading.

12 tree bookshelf

13 creative book shelves-wall art

This clever design elevates a once static utilitarian object into a kinetic work of art.

32 wall art expandable

Here is a cheeky little number for those small wall spaces that could use a little brightening up.

14 little staircase

These next two examples certainly show that book shelves do not have to be all right angles.

15 zig zag bookshelf

16 random pattern

17 peg wall book shelf

If drilling a 1000 holes for pegs is not your idea of fun, or is beyond your patience level, then try something simpler like this modular bookshelf that allows you to create your own unique book shelf.

Modular storage designs

10 lacquered modular bookshelf

Dust off your Play Plax building skills and have a go at this one

8 meccano boxes

9 brass wood wall art

Colour & contrast

Using a darker colour for the structure really highlights lighter books and objects allowing them to reallyPop’.

18 dark wood contrast

18a dark book shelves

The sculptural black pipes on this piece act like a visual 3D drawing against the white washed walls, with the books adding some welcome colour to the restrained palette.

19 industrial pipe bookshelf

This hefty backlit unit really is a statement piece!

20 Backlit timber bookshelf

Two examples of how bookshelves can perfectly frame the books as artworks themselves.

21 colour coded storage

22 colour coded books

Space defining

Beautiful book shelves are a great way to define large spaces into smaller zones.

This elegant glass and black steel shelf can act as a semi-transparent room divider, not only to hold your books and curios, but also to help define living areas in open plan spaces.

23 room divider

This shelving system creates a great tension uniting the floor and ceiling.

25 black attached screen

25a black attached screen

Easy installation ideas

For the less technically gifted or needing a quick fix.

Tight on space? This attractive column unit can stand at the end of a wall or in an unused corner of a room.

26 Column book shelf

This quirky shelf system is designed to be installed by a simple screw mechanism, similar to temporary shower curtains, that takes only minutes to put up and looks very striking, certainly a talking point for any room.

27 Vertical screw install

28 vertical screw install 2

Display options

Here are a few different display ideas for your walls.

A cantilevered shallow book shelf can make a great alternative to hammering nails into the wall for displaying beautiful prints, it also has the added advantage of allowing you to play around with moving the images and displaying small 3D objects.

29 cantilevered book shelf

A simple yet elegant design compliments the minimal and earthy feel of this room.

30 simple structured

A randomised wall of books helps to create visual interest.

31 architectural interest unique book shelf