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How to Choose the Right Bookcase for Your Home

Solid mahogany bookcase with twin doors and 2 drawers. Decorated with flute carved columns.

A bookcase is an investment furniture piece, so you need to think carefully when buying. We look at some of the things to consider before you make your final decision.


The first step in choosing a bookcase is to decide what colour you want. Bookcases can be light, medium, or dark shades of wood and can also be painted for a different aesthetic entirely or to try and complement an existing colour scheme.

The type of wood you choose for your bookcase will determine the colour. Different finishes can be used to enhance the colour and they can also be painted. For example, the trademark red-brown of mahogany is very warm and distinctive, and lighter woods like white oak or light-coloured paint finishes will make the space seem larger.

Type of wood

As mentioned above, the type of wood will determine the colour of the bookcase if you want a natural appearance, but different woods also have different properties that affect both their sturdiness and their cost. Softwoods like pine tend to be more affordable but are not as hard-wearing as hardwoods.

Mahogany, for example, often costs a little more than other types of wood but is an incredibly strong and durable material that has a distinctive, grand appearance.


When choosing a bookcase, you need to know what height and width you’re looking for. You’ll probably have a space earmarked for where you want the bookcase to go, and that should give you some idea of the dimensions you need, and whether you would like it to fill the whole space or leave room for other pieces. The number of books you need to store is also something you should take into consideration.


Most traditional bookcases are rectangular, but they are available in different shapes, and with different embellishments. Your choice of shape will come down mostly to space you have available, and your personal taste. If you have an awkward space to fill, you may find bookcases built specifically for this purpose, but for the best fit, you will most likely need to have a bookcase custom-made.


Many bookcases are built with an open style so that the shelves and their contents are always on display. Book collections themselves often have a quirky and pleasing aesthetic, so having all the spines on show creates a look that is distinctly yours and makes it quicker to find what you’re looking for. The other option for bookcases is a cabinet style which has a much neater aesthetic if you’re trying to match the other furnishings in the room.


When you choose a bookcase, you should consider whether you need it for more than books. The primary purpose of a bookcase is to house your books, but some people may want to turn it into a more comprehensive storage solution. Does it need built-in drawers or cupboards for example? Do you want a specific shelf for displaying items such as photos or ornaments?

Do you need something custom made?

If you have specific requirements for the considerations above, you may find it difficult to find a bookcase that suits all of your needs. In this case, you may want to consider having a bookcase custom made. For example, if you have an awkwardly shaped space you want to fit your bookcase into, such as in a room with a slanted roof, in an alcove or around a doorway, a custom-made piece will fit the space perfectly.


Bookcases are much more than just a convenient place to store your reading material. A well-made bookcase is a sturdy piece of furniture that can really enhance the aesthetic of a room and can be used for extra storage or for display items in addition to books. All this should be taken into consideration when making your choice.

To get some inspiration, you can view our range of bookcases.