16 Book Storage Ideas for Small Spaces

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If you’re a bookworm who lives in a small space, you know the struggle.

You’ve spent time and money accumulating a pretty impressive collection, yet you have trouble finding the space to store it.

Creativity and innovation can go a long way when living in smaller spaces. If you can’t bear to give away any of your book collection, take some inspiration from below.

Behind your furniture

Placing a bookshelf behind your sofa will keep books within reach and your floor space uncluttered and accessible. 

Here is an example of a classic storage display from Amazon that comes in several popular colors: Furinno Turn-N-Tube 3-Tier Double Size Storage Display Rack

Furinno Turn-N-Tube 3-Tier Double Size Storage Display Rack, Espresso/Black

You can also purchase sofas with built-in bookshelves on their sides or back. These often are custom-made and generally quite costly. 

Staircase storage

Count yourself lucky if you have a staircase in your small apartment. There are many ways that you can repurpose this for book storage.

Under staircase storage

Many people waste the space under a staircase, as this is a great place to store books or create a mini library in your home.

Add a descending cubical organizer such as this one from Amazon: ClosetMaid 1044, or fill the wall with shelving similar to HOMWOO Floating Bookshelf Hanging FAS Grade Natural Solid Wood Shelves.

Staircase side storage

People also often waste the outer side of the railing (if their staircase has one). You can use this space to stack books and create a bit of interest.  

You can even group similarly colored book spines to create a more arty appearance.

Ladder storage

Stacking books on the rungs of a ladder will save you floor space and will draw the eyes upwards, creating the illusion of extra space. It’s perfect for a small-scale apartment. 

Rustic ladder options are all the rage, but often going with something modern like this HYNAWIN Book Shelf 6-Tier Ladder from Amazon can look superb.  

HYNAWIN 6 Tier Bookshelf Ladder Shelf-Large Bamboo Storage Shelves Wall Leaning Shelf for Garage, Kitchen, Office,Corner Display Bookcase

Mix the books with a couple of pot plants and other decors to add character to the room. 

Unique storage spots

Book storage spots don’t need to be complex. Look for workable unused nooks and crannies.

Curtain and windowsill storage

Stacking books on a ledge by a window can look charming and whimsical. 

Alternatively, if you have a library wall or a narrow bookshelf that lives against a wall, install curtains in front and keep them drawn to keep your books out of sight.  

Fireplace storage

If you have an unused (or mock) fireplace in your small apartment, why not use it to store your books? Stack and fill the fireplace entrance and show off those colorful book spines. 

This book storage idea will typically suit a more rustic and theatrical-styled home. 

Passageway or hallway storage

By lining your passageway or hallway walls with books, you can create a library feel that is both homely and practical. Not only will you have easy access to your favorite books, but it also gives the apartment color and interest. 

Don’t forget about your hallways. By covering them with bookshelves or floating shelves, you can store numerous books while showing off your collection to apartment guests. 

Using invisible book shelves such as these Acradec Acrylic Shelves for Wall Set of 4 from Amazon can be both simple and attractive. 

ACRADEC Acrylic Shelves for Wall Set of 4, 15” x 4” - Spacious Clear Shelves with Mounting Kit - Easy to Install, Versatile & Sturdy Shelfs - Funko Pop Shelves Perfect for Decoration & Storage

Base and under bed storage 

All apartments have beds. By raising a bed higher, you can add storage boxes or low bookshelves for storing your books. 

Try to only add bookshelves to the sides of the bed that are open so you have easy access. 

Alternatively, add a bench with storage or a bookshelf to the base of your bed. This Prepac Monterey 3-Cubbie Bench comes in various sizes and can work well for book storage. 

Door and doorway storage

If you have the budget, you can build a bookshelf into one of your apartment doors. This playful and fanciful design utilizes customarily unused (dead space). 

A bonus is that it takes up zero apartment floor or wall space!

If you are a DIY whizz, consider putting together your hidden door with this universal hinge door system from Amazon: MURPHY DOOR Hidden Hinge Hardware.

If you don’t have the energy for such a design, consider utilizing the space above or around your doorway for book storage. Have it installed professionally, or install some DIY floating shelves.  

Ceiling storage

This may be the answer if you don’t mind grabbing a stool or ladder to reach your book collection. 

The wall space that borders and lies just below your ceiling can easily be turned into a storage space for books. Not only is this space out of the way, but it ensures your apartment remains uncluttered and roomy.

Floor-to-ceiling and corner bookshelves

Make use of apartment nooks and corners for placing narrow but high bookshelves. The height will allow you to store more books, and you reduce the overall footprint by selecting narrow furniture. 

There are so many beautiful corner bookshelves available that it may take you some to choose. I like this VASAGLE Tree Bookshelf from Amazon for something distinctive yet striking. 

VASAGLE , 8-Tier Floor Standing Tree Bookshelf, with Shelves for Living Room, Home Office, Rustic Brown ULBC11BX

Floating Library 

A floating library frees up your floor space and gives your tiny apartment a more modern feel.

Floating box storage

Place a set of floating cubes on an open wall and pop your books up. Mix things up and add character to your room by adding cubed storage for books and other cubes for plants and nick knacks.

There are so many cube storage options available. Play around by mixing and matching cube sizes, colors, and designs. 

Here is a rustic honeycomb-shaped floating storage set on Amazon that will look great in most spaces: Rustic State Brooks Wall Mount Hexagon Honeycomb Wooden Box.  

Rustic State Brooks Wall Mount Hexagon Honeycomb Box Geometric Floating Decorative Shelf Display Hanging Bookshelf Picture Ledge with Wood Back - Distressed Walnut - Multi Sizes - Set of 3

Book tower storage

The floating tower is trendy due to its simplicity and modern appearance. This DANYA B 5 Tier Wall Shelf Unit will look great in an apartment bedroom, living room, or entryway.   

Danya B 5 Tier Wall Shelf Unit Narrow Smooth Laminate Finish - Vertical Column Utility Shelf Floating Storage Home Decor Organizer Tall Tower Design For Bedroom Living Room 5.1" x 6" x 30" (White)

Headboard storage

If you’r really strapped for space, why not transform your headboard into a bookshelf? 

Not only will you be able to access your favorite books from the comfort of your bed, the headboard will also give your room a snug, relaxed feel. 

Have a headboard custom-made to suit your personality and room design, or shop for ready-made options such as this one from Amazon: Prepac King Bookcase Headboard, White.

Prepac Stylish Freestanding King Headboard with Bookcase, Bookcase Style Headboard for King Size Beds 11" D x 81.5" W x 43" H, White, WSH-8445

Room diver book storage

A room divider works well in smaller spaces or studio apartments. It helps divide up your space and keep areas separated and more individualistic. 

Using a bookshelf as a room divider is both functional and attractive. 

This Coaster Home Furnishings CO-800308 Modern 4-Shelf Reversible Bookcase Bookshelf is modern and easy to set up in an open space. 

Coaster Home Furnishings Reid 4-Tier Open Back Bookcase White

Desk storage

Countless people work remotely and from home, especially since the pandemic. Why not let your workspace double up as a bookshelf?

I love that this desk’s bottom and top shelves can be used as a mini library: Tribesigns Computer Desk with Hutch

Tribesigns Computer Desk with Hutch, 47 inches Home Office Desk with Space Saving Design with Bookshelf for Small Spaces (White &Gold, 47)


Now this may seem a little offbeat, but hear me out.

If you don’t have a massive book collection, why not add a basket or two on your apartment windowsill or side table?pop in a handful of your favorite books or current reads, and voila! you’re done.

You don’t need a fancy basket, a wicker or natural decorative basket will do the trick. These baskets from Amazon are beautiful and come in various colors to suit any apartment look and feel: Kriitools Shelf Storage Baskets for Organizing

Kriitools Woven Baskets&Bins for Shelf Storage &Organizing/Cute Basket to Store and Organize Household Items/Small Rope Basket for Living Room, Bedroom,Play Room/Oval-13x8.66x5.11’’,3 Packs Begie

Not only do baskets look attractive, but can encourage family and guests to read whilst relaxing in your apartment. 

Unused closet

If you have an unused closet or one that you don’t mind emptying for books, this can make an excellent spot for an apartment library. 

Hang shelves on the walls and add decorative items to complete the look. 

Repurposed furniture 

If you have any furniture pieces you can spruce up and use for book storage, do it! 

Don’t be tempted to get rid of rustic, old, or antique pieces of furniture. These furniture pieces can transform into a perfect home for your books with a coat of paint and some minor tweaks. An old wine cabinet, cabinet on wheels, stationary holder, or armoire are just a few possibilities that can store your precious book collection.

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