Bookcases are always beautiful, because they’re full of books. But this post is devoted to bookshelves that are especially beautiful, and the shelves that are so pretty and unique that they almost steal the show from the volumes themselves. Here are nine gorgeous built-in bookcases to inspire your next renovation — or just inspire a little dreaming.
Instead of being perpendicular to the wall, the uprights of this bookshelf by Hare + Klein as positioned at a slight angle, creating an intriguing peekaboo effect with the books: now you see them, now you don’t.
Raw plywood gives these bookcases from Yellowtrace a warm, honest look. The unfinished edges are an unexpected modern detail, and the built-in window seat/desk is a clever addition.
Take a traditional bookcase, rotate it, and you’d have something like this wall at the Brown TLV Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel. This probably isn’t the best way to store precious volumes — it’s bad for the spines — but the unexpected angle creates an eye-catching configuration that keeps your eye on the most important thing: the books.
Here’s another set of angled built-ins, from Alexandra Fedorova via Modern Home Decor. The zig-zag configuration creates a setup where you have to turn your head to see the books on alternating rows, a little game that draws you further into the experience of perusing the titles.
Here’s another bookcase stair, from Maxwan Architects + Urbanists via The Design Home. This delicately detailed stair angles away from the bookcase as it ascends, creating a neat little nook in between for sitting and reading.
I don’t know what’s more beautiful about this photo from Salva Lopez: the dramatic bookcases of the beautifully haphazard piles of books sitting on them. It’s the perfect place to while away a few hours, or maybe an entire day, in the company of some of your favorite books.