What is a Modular Bookshelf?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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A modular bookshelf is an individual unit that may be used alone or placed with other bookshelves to create a large storage system. Modular bookshelves are often used to display plants and decorative items as well as books. A modular type of bookshelf may be a freestanding floor unit or it may be a frame-like piece meant to hang on the wall. Metal, wood and plastic are some of the most popular modular bookshelf materials and their designs range from classic to creative.

Creative bookshelf units may be irregular or free-form in shape such as having a stair-shaped structure due to shelving sections of graduating heights. Other types of units include a shelf design that is purposely slanted. These kinds of modular bookshelves can add a lot of modern style to any room in a home.

A major feature of modular bookcases is versatility, since they may be used alone or in groups. Bins, boxes or baskets can be added to the different compartments that many modular shelving units have to hide away clutter while at the same time display decorative accent pieces. Classic kinds of modular bookshelves have a straight, uniform shelf design in neat rows.


Modular bookcases made from movable cubes can be especially versatile. Wood or metal cube units slide or snap together to make a tall modular bookshelf or a low horizontal one. By making two stacks with several cubes, then spacing these far apart enough to fit a chair, a table top can be placed on top of the bookshelf units to create a desk. Most cube styles of modular bookcase are very affordable.

White, black, metal and wood looks are common finishes for modular bookshelves, but they may also be in bright or pastel colors. Modular bookshelf designs may be rounded or straight-lined. For example, one type of modular bookcase consists of oval shelves attached together in rows. A straight-edged, triangular modular shelving unit has rectangular lower shelf sections that gradually get shorter in width until they reach one tiny compartment at the top.

Open, box-like modular shelves designed to be hung on the wall are used to display small decorative items. Larger, sturdier wall modular bookshelf designs may hold collections of smaller books. These are sold in many different shapes, including circular and rectangular. These modular bookshelves for walls may be hung in out-of-the-way corners in a home or above a bed or living room sofa.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- Is the one you have free-standing or attached to the wall?

I'm trying to pick a modular bookshelf for my living room but haven't been able to decide. I do like the look of free-standing ones but they appear to take up a lot more space. If I get it attached to the wall, I think I can save a lot of space.

From what I understand, the free-standing ones are best for making a statement or to use the bookshelf as an art piece in addition to a shelf. But the ones attached to the wall or a table would work better to store things away.

What do you think? Which type would be most efficient to store things?

Post 2

@anamur-- I understand what you mean and it's normal for you to want a modular bookshelf that would suit your style better.

I personally love asymmetric objects in my home and I have a fantastic modular bookshelf that's in the shape of circles with bookcases and shelves inside each. You can add as many circles as you want to the group but for now I have six. Two are very large, two are medium size and the last two are small.

I don't just put books in it either. I have books in two of them, DVDs in another, a plant in another and some collectibles in one. The last one I don't really keep much other then

some pens. I also put my coffee mug there while surfing online.

Everyone who has come to my home have commented on my modular bookshelf and have asked me where I've gotten it from. I don't have amazing furniture, but I certainly have a unique design through which I try to express myself. My bookshelf is definitely the highlight though.

Post 1

I'm okay with all of the different types of modular bookshelves except for the asymmetric ones. My home has a very classic design to it, so when I was looking for bookshelves for my office, I wanted a design that would fit in.

I actually like many of the modern wall shelves. But when I saw the asymmetric ones at the store, I knew that they had no place in my home. There was one in the shape of numerous cubes almost in diamond shape on the wall. The books looked completely slanted to the left.

I cannot imagine working in an office with this kind of bookshelf. I think it would disturb me and I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my work. The shapes of the individual modules doesn't matter as long as it stands completely symmetrically on the wall or the ground.

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