6 Clever Ways to Store Books In a Small Space, According to an Apartment Dweller with Over 500 Books (!)

published Feb 17, 2023
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Credit: Erin Derby

A book lover’s apartment is easy to spot. They likely have piles of thrillers, biographies, and everything in between stacked throughout their home. Nina Haines, for example, is a marketer, writer, and creator by trade, but she’s also the founder of an online book club with more than 6,000 members. Needless to say, she’s collected a few books over the years. While her collection has grown to over 500 different titles, she lives in an NYC-sized apartment (900 square feet to be exact), so she’s had to get creative when it comes to storing her personal library.

“My friends come over and borrow books all the time, and I keep track of who borrows what so it really is quite like a library!” says Haines. “That’s what sold me on the place originally — the built-in bookcase in my office/second bedroom.” The built-in bookcase is certainly a superstar, but I’m even more impressed with all the additional nooks Haines has carved out for her ever-growing library, giving people storage ideas for their own homes.

Credit: Erin Derby

1. Inside the fireplace

This likely goes without saying, but only a non-working fireplace is a smart place to store books. Since plenty of apartments and homes have non-functional fireplaces, you might as well take advantage of the dead space for some book storage. (And don’t forget this faux mantel book storage idea!)

Credit: Erin Derby

2. Stacked on a storage lamp

You’ve probably seen lamps like this before, styled with a succulent and maybe a book or two, but Haines has cleverly used hers as a place for excess books. It takes up the same square footage as a standard floor lamp, but it provides a spot for a small stash of stray titles.

Credit: Erin Derby

3. On “invisible” floating shelves

If you want the spines of your books to shine, consider mounting them to the wall with invisible floating shelves, like these ones from Umbra. Each of the shelves can hold up to 20 pounds, which means you can probably stack at least 20 books on each one. A similar option is to use something like the Story Bookcase from DWR, which takes up only a tiny bit of floor space but can hold a ton of books.

Credit: Erin Derby

4. With a leaning ladder bookcase

In case you haven’t been blessed by the real estate gods with built-in bookshelves like Haines (or, like her, you just need more storage space!), a leaning ladder-style bookcase is a classic and and low-profile option for housing a ton of volumes.

Credit: Erin Derby

5. As above-TV decor

Not sure what to do with that awkward space above your TV? A set of bookshelves can solve that. Here, Haines has mounted two wood plank shelves with black brackets for both an industrial touch and as added storage spot for her books.

6. Inside a media console

Plenty of mid-century style media consoles have one closed and one open compartment, like Haines’ piece seen here. Use the closed side to squirrel away cords, card games, and various odds and ends, and use the open side to display more books.

More Book Storage Ideas from Cubby

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: 5 Clever Ways to Store Books, According to an Apartment Dweller That Has Over 500 Titles