How Do I Choose the Best Built-In Bookcase?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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A built-in bookcase is one that is integrated with another structure, such as a wall, staircase, door, and so on. Choosing the best built-in bookcase design for you is a matter of first deciding where you want the bookcase to be in your home. Integration will require some carpentry skills; if you do not possess these skills, you will need to hire a carpenter to complete the project, so it will be important for you to draw up a budget for the project before you begin the installation process.

Consider carefully what you will be storing in the built-in bookcase as well. A design specifically for books will be different than a built-in bookcase designed for books, movies, and even televisions and stereos, so think about which items will be placed on the bookcase first. If electronics such as a television or stereo will be placed in the bookcase, be sure to include routing for cables and wires associated with these items. It may be wise to include a cabinet beneath the bookcase as well to store items you do not necessarily want or need on display, such as DVD players or stereo components.


The design that will work best for your home will vary from other designs, so it is best to consult a carpenter or other home designer to find out what will work best. A built-in bookcase designed to integrate with a staircase, for example, may be made into a specific shape with a dropped side to keep in line with the slope of the staircase. A built-in bookcase being designed for a wide, tall wall will feature many more shelves and possibly even cabinets, while a bookcase designed for an alcove space might be simpler, narrower, and taller. The bookcase should be designed with the lines of the wall or staircase in mind, and the bookcase should work in conjunction with these features.

Some built-in bookcase designs include a desk or workspace as well. This is ideal for an office space, and it should be designed with available natural light in mind. The desk can be built with the bookcase surrounding it, and if the desk is placed just right, available natural light from a nearby window can brighten up the workspace for writing or typing. Sometimes the desktop can even be designed to be retractable or foldable so it can be hidden from view when not in use.


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