8 of the Cutest Bookshelves for Kids

published Jan 21, 2022
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As parents, we sometimes find ourselves imagining iconic pieces in our kids’ rooms and instantly light up, right? Maybe it’s a cool lighting fixture that brings comfort and calm to our littles as they drift off the sleep; maybe it’s a rocking chair that relaxes the kiddos just as easily as it does us; or maybe it’s a bookshelf that grows with them, inspiring a lifelong love affair with reading. That’s it for me! In fact, it’s become a tradition for my in-laws to get each grandchild (and we’re at six and counting in my husband’s family) a bookshelf for their nursery from a local carpenter — and with a little direction on theming and room vibe from us, they end up getting something perfect every time. 

Now, granted, you don’t have to commission an artisan to create an impressive bookshelf for your child’s room — there are dozens of amazing designs available to shop online today. Just be sure your bookshelf “checks the boxes” on at least a couple of these criteria:

  • Easily accessible to your child: They can retrieve their books with little effort 
  • Timeless in construction and design: The piece can quite literally grow with your kiddo, from their nursery to their big-kid room, and then maybe even off to college, à la Andy from Toy Story 
  • Simple in color and accenting: The bookshelf, case, or cart will inevitably hold some of the brightest and most colorful books around (especially those early picture books), so it shouldn’t be overly vibrant itself 

We’ve gone ahead and rounded up 8 of the cutest kid and tween/teen bookshelves right now (most of which are under $300!). Whether you’re on the hunt for something to complement the nursery design for a new arrival or looking to bring some library flair into a shared playroom, if you can find something useful here, then we’ve done our job. 

1 / 8
The Tot

If you’re mulling over options for your new baby’s nursery, a more traditional bookshelf or case doesn’t have to fit. Early on, you and your partner (along with grandparents, nieces, nephews, etc.) will be the readers, so as long as you can find a display that’s streamlined and ergonomic, you’re golden. We love this clear acrylic iteration from Ubabub, because it can be installed wherever makes most sense in your baby’s space — in close proximity to the rocker you’ll spend much of your time cuddled up in, framing their crib, above their toybox, etc.

The Booksee uses a sleek, slim profile to reduce the chances of bumps and knocks that often occur with protruding shelves, and since it’s made from quality, thick, clear acrylic, with a high lip at the front, there is very little risk that anything will fall forward or out!

2 / 8

Once your child gets bitten by the reading bug, it's a categorical GAME ON. Before you know it, they’ll be flipping through every book they own at record pace — and then promptly strewing the contents all over your and their floor. Hey! As long as they’re getting something out of it, right?

That’s why little bins or stationary shelves, like these from Tender Leaf Toys, make us chirp with delight. The simple design allows little hands to take books in and out with total ease. So, once they’ve gotten what they need out of every title, they can close the book up and drop it back into the shelf for safe, organized keeping. And since they’re relatively inexpensive, you can stock up on a bunch of them to have ready for all your reading sessions.

“Bring the book back to birdy!” Early tidying detail: It’s as simple as that.

3 / 8
was $198.00

Designed around the Montessori principles of choice and independence, this natural wood bookshelf is a major get for the recently mobile set. The front-facing design allows your littles to lock in on their favorite tales, before being able to grab and go with the books easily from there. And we love that the bookcase comes in two sizes: big and small. The big is perfect for a bedroom, while the small can even do well in the children’s bathroom. If you realize early on that you have an enthusiastic reader on your hands, use that to your advantage when you’re potty training!

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The Tot

The Tally bookshelf is a gorgeous step up from the Child Universe design, especially if your toddler has a lot more varied interests. You can fan out a number of differently sized board books on the top shelf (for easy plucking) and leave the bottom rung to safely stow soft covers, stuffed animals, and other comfort items. And don’t worry, the angled display comes with an extra anti-tip kit for added security … because it’s only a matter of time before your little adventurer starts pretending they’re one of their favorite story heroes. Where there’s a will to climb (and a lot of rhyming going on in their heads), there’s a way.

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Speaking of becoming one with their stories .… A bookcase that includes an immersive reading nook like this one is bound to ignite their creativity from a very young age. There are six compartments ideal for storing books, collectibles, small toys, brain teasers, and balance games, but our favorite part is the cushioned console in the center. It’s a great place for any budding reader to hop up, get comfortable, and start rifling through their latest fictional fave. And as they grow up, they can use the nook to prepare for book reports, school projects, the sky’s the limit!

Oh, and as for how it’s put together? The case comes packaged with detailed, step-by-step assembly instructions, along with a number of reviews and testimonials from parents who breezed through the how-to. We promise, you can, too!

6 / 8
The Container Store

I’ve been a big believer in all things 3 Sprouts for years (our basement playroom is outfitted with tons of their storage solutions and we also have a few kids water bottles, too — all of which are great), so of course I’m a fan of their sling-style, animal-themed book rack. The four cloth pockets display books, but they can also hold puzzles and board games. And the wooden A-frame is sturdy, while also being easy to maneuver when needed.

Plus, the green dragon motif can bring a sweet pop of color to an otherwise neutral space, without going too bold.

7 / 8
Pottery Barn Kids

The ladder-style, angled-off-the-wall look isn’t just cool for mom and dad. We love it especially for a bookcase in any young bookworm’s room. The storage potential for this four-tiered piece is unparalleled, so much so that it can actually be a home base for any range of extracurricular activities: Reading, writing, listening to music, consorting with cuddly creatures, etc. The three open-space shelves allow your bibliophiles to arrange their book displays any which way they like: Vertically, horizontally, stacked, or separated with acrylic dividers. And this can go on for years and years.

8 / 8
Crate & Barrel

Back when I was mentioning goosebumps about iconic kids’ room pieces, I was envisioning this bookshelf. It ranks right up there, because it doesn’t immediately scream “Goodnight Moon” when I look at it. So, if you’re planning for a new baby or looking to turn the elegance up in your playroom (with a bookcase that’s pure glam), then you’ll have to check out Crate and Barrel. Open, accessible storage cubbies allow kids to help with organization and they’re sized to accommodate the brand’s own cube bins (storage on storage). The compartments feature soft curves that subtly contrast with the silhouette's clean lines, and the entire piece comes with an included tip restraint kit for securing the bookcase to your wall.

After reading a few of its reviews, it was painfully obvious that this cube setup is a crush among SO many parents!