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17 Great Small Bookcase and Bookshelf Options

Photo of a small cube bookshelf
I’m more of a big bookcase guy myself. I like them rising from floor to ceiling, but we actually have more small bookcases and shelves in our home than big ones.

There are two major benefits of small bookcases and shelves. They are:

  • Fits under windows
  • Kids can access all books.

With young kids, we have a lot of kid books that take up several small/short shelves. We also have plenty of windows so it’s nice to have storage options under those windows.

This article falls in our small furniture series.

Related: Bedrooms with Built-In Shelves | Etsy Floating Shelves | Types of Floating Shelves for TV’s | Types of Corner Shelves

Table of Contents Show

Small Bookshelf for Desktop Storage

Small Bookshelf for Desktop Storage, Mini Narrow Desk White Versatility Organizers for Women, Kids, Men for Office Decor Accessories

This awesome bookshelf fits right on top of a desk for an extra place to put books, your planners, appointment book,s office supplies, and accessories, and so much more. You could also use it in a child’s room on top of their desk or a small dresser as an extra place to put their storybooks, coloring books, and art supplies.

It saves desktop space in your office since you can organize all the clutter on your desk into the desktop bookshelf so everything looks tidy and neat. It’s very lightweight and easy to install because of its simple design. It can be used horizontally or vertically to let the books lie down or stand up.

FURINNO JAYA Simple Home Three-Tier Adjustable Shelf Bookcase

FURINNO JAYA Simple Home 3-Tier Adjustable Shelf Bookcase, White

This wood bookshelf comes in white or natural wood tones and offers a stylish design yet functional option for any room in your house. It provides easy storage of your amazing book collection or so you can display it, along with decorative items and framed photos for a very classy look. This bookshelf will fit with any budget and is small enough to fit in a smaller area of your home or office.

Sauder Select Collection Three-Shelf Bookcase

Sauder Select Collection 3-Shelf Bookcase, Washington Cherry finish

This three-shelf in a gorgeous Washington Cherry finish bookcase offers two adjustable shelves so that you have more flexible storage options for your books, notebooks, planners, diaries, and decorative items. It is easy to assemble with patented slide-on moldings that save you time during assembly. It is made of engineered wood and is easy to keep clean and dust-free.

SHEEPAM Tree Bookshelf with Drawers

SHEEPAM Tree Bookshelf with Drawers, 8-Tier Floor Standing Bookcase in Living Room/Home/Office Wood Storage Rack Shelves for Books/CDs/Movies/Files/DVDs - Navy Blue

This adorable bookshelf is shaped like a tree and offers a modern minimalism design that is extremely popular for home offices, children’s rooms, entryways, classrooms, and business offices. It is a unique bookshelf that offers seven shelves and one drawer and can hold up to ten books on each branch. It is perfect for a smaller house, apartment, bedroom, kid’s playroom, or a variety of other small spaces.

It is made of durable particle board with a smooth surface which makes it easy to clean yet very sturdy and stable. It will not decay and will not damage easily so it should last for years to come. It comes in a variety of colors and has eight tiers in total. You can use it for books or to store and display your CD or DVD collection which makes it easier to choose a movie to watch or a certain artist to listen to.

Set of Two Ubabub Book See Wall Mount Bookshelves 

Ubabub Book See 35.5” Clear Acrylic Wall Mount Bookshelves (Set of 2)

This set of two acrylic wall-mounted bookshelves is perfect for any small space. It offers a slim design to make it safer than larger protruding bookshelves that hang on the wall, and it is made of sturdy materials with a high lip at the front that will ensure that your books stay in place and will not fall off. These shelves are great for a living room, office, or even your children’s bedrooms. Since they are made of clear acrylic, they will match with any décor.

IRIS Three-Shelf Open Wood Shelving Unit

IRIS USA OWR-400BR 3-Shelf Open Wood Shelving Unit, Medium, Brown

This would three shelf open bookshelf is a medium size but will fit in any small space and is available in brown or a natural color to match any decor. It is easy to assemble and will create plenty of storage for your books or other items that you want to store or display.

Sauder Beginnings Three-Shelf Bookcase

Sauder Beginnings 3-Shelf Bookcase, Highland Oak finish

This three-tiered bookshelf in a Highland Oak finish is made of engineered wood and constructed for stability, safety, and durability. It is a great place to store and display your treasured books along with office supplies, daily planners, framed photos, and other home decor items. It fits nicely in any small space, including an office, a bedroom, or even a living room. Two of the shelves are adjustable for added convenience.

Furinno Three-Tier Open Shelf Bookcase

Furinno 3-Tier Open Shelf Bookcase, White

This beautiful and simplistic three-tier open bookshelf in white fits with any decor and is suitable for any small room, including an entryway, children’s bedroom, an office, or studio. It is easy to assemble and the simple stylish design will impress all your friends and clients.

KTT Three-Tier Bookshelf

The KTT three-tier Bookshelf from Amazon.

Source: Amazon

No assembly is required for this three-tier bookshelf and home office storage organizer. Its modern industrial design is sure to be the focal point of any room you decide to place it in. Its smooth surface makes it easy to clean, and it is water-resistant and scratch-resistant for a longer lifespan.

Each shelf can hold up to 100 pounds and its unique design with metal site birds with an X-shaped rod in the back provides extra stability and durability. You can display your favorite books or decorations complete with plants and other items in a living room, bathroom, hallway, or bedroom.

Tribesigns Nine-Shelf Bookshelves

Tribesigns nin-shelf bookshelves from Amazon.

Source: Amazon


This amazing black nine-shelf industrial ladder bookshelf offers nine shelves for plenty of storage room in a streamlined staircase-inspired design that will definitely be the center of attention of your home, apartment, or office. Its design lends itself to extra versatility for storing office supplies, your favorite books, knickknacks, ornaments, or even woven baskets.

It cannot only be used for a bookshelf but as a room divider, a storage unit, or a display rack. It’s easy to assemble and will fit with any style of decor, especially modern industrial.

Homefort Industrial Bookcase

HOMEFORT Industrial Bookcase, Open Shelf Etagere Bookcase, Vintage Bookshelves, Freestanding Display Storage Organizer for Home Office. (White)

This open-shelf Etagere bookcase by Homefort is a multi-purpose storage shelving unit that features five tiers of open bookshelf space that is perfectly amazing for any living room, office, or bedroom. With plenty of storage space, you can feature your CDs, magazine, or book collections along with family albums, potted plants, storage baskets, and even your multimedia devices.

Its square metal frame and wooden double-sided marble finish make this freestanding bookcase much more stable and sturdier for everyday use than other options. The look and feel of this amazing bookshelf will add character to any room you place it in and its classic white finish will be the envy of all of your friends.

It can be used as a free-standing storage organizer for an office and offers the look and feel of a vintage bookshelf.

Mainstay Three-Shelf Bookcase

Mainstay. 3-Shelf Bookcase - Wide Bookshelf Storage Wood Furniture, 1 Fixed Shelf 2 Adjustable Shelves Bookcase White (Bundle) (White) (White)

I actually had one of these Mainstay three-shelf bookcases in white for years. It is durable and lasts a long time, and it is the perfect bookshelf for a small space. It is easy to keep clean and maintain. You can quickly assemble it and use it for years to come. It has one fixed shelf but the other two are adjustable which makes it easy to fit different size books into the bookcase and makes it easier to dust.

Wallniture Minori Floating Shelves

Wallniture Minori Floating Shelves Set of 3, Small Bookshelf Unit for Living Room, Office, and Bedroom, Natural Burned Rustic Wood Wall Decor with Metal Floating Shelf Bracket

This beautiful set of three floating shelves can create an amazing small bookshelf unit to be used in a variety of small spaces, including your living room, home office, business office, bedroom, or even in an entryway or hallway. These decorative floating shelves offer a simplistic yet beautiful style that will look good in any room you decide to use them in, including children’s bedrooms. I recently purchased this item for my grandchildren’s bedroom, and they love them.

Their storybooks are kept tidy and neat along with some of their other smaller items that they do not want to lose or break. These would be perfect in your office since they give an amazing look and style but can declutter your small room along with your desktop.

They are constructed of high-quality solid wood with metal brackets, so they are safe, sturdy, and durable. Some people even use them as a spice rack shelf with their recipe books in their kitchen or to display their amazing collection of DVDs or CDs in their living room or family room. These are easy to install and to clean and maintain.

Tribesigns Five-Tier Corner Shelf

Tribesigns five-tier corner shelf from Amazon.

Source: Amazon

This amazing versatile corner five-tier bookshelf both a rustic brown color that will go with any decor. It maximizes corner space in your home office, kitchen, den, living room, or even on a balcony. This unit boasts five tiers of open shelves that are fan-shaped which offer a unique design and allows the whole unit to fit easily in two the corner of any room.

You can even use it to display your potted plants, knickknacks, and other decorative pieces in your house, apartment, office, or condo. Its solid construction and sturdy metal frame make this a robust bookshelf that will last for years into the future. The four adjustable feet make it stable so it will fit well to the wall and is an elegant storage solution for your household. It’s easy to assemble and maintain.

Winsome Leo model name Shelving

Winsome Leo model name Shelving, Tall, Espresso

This tall expresso-colored traditional style bookshelf features two shelves to display your books or other items. You can add more shelves if you like, including wired baskets that are sold separately to allow for more storage options for your small spaces in your apartment, office, tiny house, or condo.

Industrial Pipe Shelving Metal Floating Shelves

Industrial Pipe Shelving Metal Floating Shelves,Rustic Kitchen Wall Shelf Wood Hanging Shelf,42in Steampunk Large Pipe Shelves Wall Mounted,Bar Bookshelves Farmhouse Shelving Bookshelf (2 Tier)

If farmhouse modern style is your thing this is the bookshelf for you. It is mounted on the wall which saves plenty of space in a small room and features iron pipes and lacquered pine boards for extra sturdiness and stability. It even gives off a steam pump type of vibe that will look great in any small area, including an office, laundry room, living room, bedroom, bathroom, or even the kitchen pantry. These floating shelves are extremely versatile and will look great in your home.

Four-Tier Bookshelf Leaning Ladder Wall-mounted Bookshelf 

4 Tier Bookshelf,Wall Bookshelves Leaning Ladder Bookshelf Metal Book Rack Narrow Shelving Unit Entryway Cabinet Organizer Display Home Furniture

This amazing metal book rack boasts four wide tiers of high-quality material that is stable, durable, and sturdy enough to hold and organize all of your books.  Its leaning ladder and metal design will be a focal point of any room you use it in which could be a living room, family room, any bedroom, a library, or an office. It will be the center of attention because it’s so unique yet does not take up much space so it works well whether you live in a small house, apartment, condo, or mobile home.


How do I choose a bookcase for a small room?

You can choose one that fits in a corner or a bookcase that is slimmer to fit in a small space. You can also opt for floating bookshelves on your wall which provide a great place to store your books while showing them off to guests. They even have floating shelf options for children’s books to hang in their bedroom which promotes reading which is always a good thing.

What is a good depth for a bookcase?

The shelf depth should be determined by the size of the books you will be storing and generally range from six to 24 inches. A general-purpose bookshelf will feature a shelf depth of about 10 to 12 inches. The spacing between shelves will range from 7 to 15 inches with eight to 12 inches being the most common for bookshelves. It also depends on your preferences or if you think you will need more depth in the future.

How wide should a bookcase be?

The bookshelf width is typically about a foot long but if the space is limited, you can reduce it to nine inches. Bookshelf width is typically no more than 12 inches. If the space is limited, the shelf can be reduced to nine inches. For single bookcase units that have two sides, the top and bottom should be no wider than 36 inches if there is no center support.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a bookshelf?

While constructing a bookshelf out of real wood makes for a gorgeous bookshelf that will probably be more sturdy and last longer than others, it may cost you more than it would be to pick up a cheaper version at your local department store.

Do I need a bookcase?

Every house should have at least one bookcase to not only feature some of your favorite books but also framed photos and collectibles.

Do built-ins add value?

Built-in bookcases are beautiful and can add value to your home. Since many buyers love good built-ins, it may help you sell your home faster too. Built-ins add not only an amazing look and style to a home but also offer more storage space for a multitude of items, including books, keepsakes, and even dishes and china pieces.

How do you make a bookshelf look good?

Now, this is the million-dollar question because, as evidenced by many YouTubers who are part of Authortube or Booktube, there are many different ways to dress up your bookshelves or bookcases. Some people are opting to display their books according to color. For example, you would place all of your books that have pink as their main cover color together then place all the blues, greens, blacks, whites, and so forth together.

You can also mix shapes and use items that go along with the overall theme of the room in which your bookshelves are located. Keep in mind that the colors used should complement each other and the room in general. You can use plants, flowers, framed photos, and other decorative items to jazz up your bookcase by placing those items on top or within your collection of books.

You can even lean artwork along the back of the shelves and anchor them there to decorate the back part of your bookcase. You can also display your books by their size which means you would lump all of your larger books together down to the smallest ones. For the two bookshelves I have in my home, I have divided them up according to what type of book they are.

For example, if they are books about writing techniques, I put those together. If the books are about nonfiction writing, I put those in the same area but a different place than my fiction books are stored and displayed. Also, in each of these sections, I then display them from largest to smallest. It really is a personal preference as to how you jazz up and organize your bookcase or bookshelves.

What is the difference between a bookshelf and a bookcase?

Many times, a bookcase will feature a door of glass to show off your books similar to a cabinet in your kitchen with windows. Bookshelves are simple shelves upon which to store books it can even be the ever-growing popularity floating bookshelves that you can mount onto a wall or the desktop bookshelves that are also gaining in popularity with many book collectors and others.

The desktop bookshelves are even popular with children and can be connected to the top of their desk or even a dresser to store and display books as well as other items that want to keep safe, show off to their friends, or simply not lose because they normally smaller items.

What is the standard size of a bookshelf?

The standard width of a bookshelf is about 31 inches long in the depth will range to be about a foot wide you can even find a two-shelf bookcase that is as tall as 36 inches which is three feet.

Where do you put bookshelves?

Placing a bookshelf across from a doorway, especially if you have a very small space, may make your room feel less inviting but placing it in a corner or behind a couch or desk make great options.

Our Previous List of Favorite Small Bookshelves

A. Small Cube Bookcases and Bookshelves

1. Sauder Beginnings 3-Shelf Bookcase

3 shelf bookcase in highland oak finish with patented and slide-on moldings.This 3-shelf bookcase from Sauder holds an impressive amount of books for such a tiny bookrack. What you would normally want from any small bookcases and bookshelves is to either display your most prized possessions or have your favorite books on hand. Sauder Beginnings provides that and more in a small package.

The design is simple and the materials used are not exactly top of the line. Of course, this only makes it an affordable purchase. The back panel also spots the same highland oak veneer.

What it lacks in style the bookcase makes up for in utility. One of the three shelves is adjustable. This means that on at least one shelf you can place that huge encyclopedia that you’ve been dying to read. Just so it’s close to when the time comes.

The shelves are 11.25 inches deep, meaning they can fit two rows of books each. The back row is also a great hiding place that works almost like carving a pocket of books. The shelves are almost 35 inches wide, so you can use them to display quite the collection, while you hide the good stuff from sight.

The design is sturdy, but you might want to put it up against a wall just in case.

Buy at Amazon

2. ClosetMaid 9-Cube Unit Bookcase

Premium adjustable 9-cube unit bookcase in black walnut finish with laminated wood frame material.The 9-cube unit bookcase is one of the many small bookcases and bookshelves that are built from laminated wood. There’s not much science behind this choice. It is affordable, quite durable for small furniture and it looks stylish, with the right finish.

You have three shelves, each separated into three sections. The middle ones are adjustable. This lets you store different-sized books and it also lets you give the bookcase a less mundane look. Of course, this can be considered a drawback for someone with OCD, for one person’s meat is another person’s poison.

Surprisingly the entire unit only weighs 30lb. After you assemble it, you can move it around and try it out in different locations without much effort. Once you’re satisfied, you can put books and picture frames on the shelves. You can even fit storage bins in because why wouldn’t you add more storage to a storage unit?

Buy at Wayfair

3. Finley Home Hudson 6-Cube Bookcase

Modern 6-cube bookcase in espresso finish with interior honeycomb construction.If your books tend to pick up a lot of dust, it’s ok. The Hudson 6-cube unit has an MDF and melamine surface which is easy to clean. A few wipes with a soft cloth and the espresso finish will look brand new.

This bookcase is about 30 inches tall. That isn’t a lot, but the width is considerable at 43 inches. Taking that into account, it barely makes it in the small bookcases and bookshelves category. While clearly not the tiniest of the lot, you do get plenty of storage space for your books.

With the popularity of eBooks rising, the Hudson 6-cube is probably enough to hold your entire hardcover collection. The espresso finish gives the bookcase a stylish and modern look. That being said, you are free to place it up against a wall or in the middle of the room.

Because it doesn’t have a back cover, you can put books up for display from two sides. The 11.6-inch depth of the shelves allows for two rows, so you can use different books on each side. You can rarely go wrong with a honeycomb shelf design, especially when there’s no flashy pattern to worry about on the edges or sides.

Buy at Hayneedle

B. Modular Bookcases and Bookshelves

1. Langria Modular Cube Shelving Rack

Modern metal wire multi-use bookcase with 16 regular cubes and can hold 44 lbs.Setting aside the fact the entire wire grid ensemble looks like your local pet store display, the 16-cube bookcase from Langria have massive storage space. Each cube holds up to 44 Lbs. What’s even more impressive is that they’re held together with just plastic connectors.

Rarely do small bookcases and bookshelves offer a 360-degree view of the items you keep in them. While some do come with open backs you rarely get a view from the sides. How that works in favor of the Langria bookcase depends on your choice of items to put on display.

The shelves each hold an impressive weight, but they are also quite spacious. Each one is 15.4 inches in width and depth and 14.6 inches in height. That’s enough room for books, purses, picture frames and your favorite sports memorabilia that’s not bigger than a basketball and a half.

It doesn’t look sturdy at first glance but the modular 16-cube rack from Langria is as good as any wooden or laminated model. In fact, it is quite better than some of them. Your cats can jump on shelves to push things off the edge without tipping over the entire bookcase. You decide if that’s good or bad.

Buy at Amazon

2. Belham Living Renata 6-Cube Quatrefoil Bookcase

6-cube bookcase with solid birch frame and open quatrefoil side design.Each compartment is 17 inches wide and 15 inches deep. That’s a lot of storage space considering how most small bookcases and bookshelves tend to have shelves in the 11-inch depth range. The shelves are also 12 inches high which means that you can use them to display more than just books.

Whether you stack up against your impressive mystery novel collections or you display your tablet with your eBook collection is up to you. Given the modern design of the bookcase, you can probably do both and make it work. There’s no reason why this unit can’t be used to keep some gadgets too.

The Renata 6-cube unit has a solid birch frame. It’s what makes it sturdy but also heavier than other models. All shelves have an opening at the back and the sides have an open quatrefoil pattern on them. Due to its durable design, you can easily put your TV on top and get even more use out of it.

This heavy bookcase may take you a while to assemble. The instructions are not the best, but the end result will make the process worthwhile. Considering you have your choice of black or white, you can fit this bookcase in any room and make it match most décor.

Buy at Hayneedle

C. Compact Barrister Bookcases and Bookshelves

I love the barrister bookcase. Generally, they’re pretty big by nature so even though this article focuses on small bookcases, the barrister selections are fairly large.

1. Sauder Barrister Lane Bookcase

Laminated oak finish bookcase with cubbyhole storage and top shelf for gallery display.The whole point of having an open front on any small bookcases and bookshelves is to offer you easy access to books and a clear view. Since not everyone gives too much thought to arranging books, the Sauder Barrister Lane bookcase with ID label tags can provide some assistance in that regard.

The label tags make it easy to categorize your books by genre. That way not only do you find the right book for your mood faster, you can also better judge what section needs some new additions. Of course, you can use the bookcase to display other items as well. If you’re not a fan of romance novels, feel free to add a couple’s picture frame in the empty space.

There are eight cubic shelves and two large bottom shelves at your disposal. The bookcase is sectioned into three equal parts which make the bottom two shelves better suited for larger items. This choice in design also makes the bookshelf look more appealing.

Make no mistake; it won’t be a fast assembly process. The Sauder Barrister Lane bookcase weighs 102lb so it’s best if you are absolutely sure about its placement before fitting the pieces together. The unit is 53 inches wide, 12 inches in depth and 47.5 inches in height. Double check your measurements before you turn into Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Buy at Amazon

2. Weaver Furniture Barrister Bookcase

Traditional bookcase with glass doors and hardwood build.The barrister bookcase from Weaver Furniture can make other units seem like really small bookcases and bookshelves. The reason behind this is the choice you have on the number of stackable shelves. You can have a minimum of two which brings the unit’s height to 34 inches or you can go up to five shelves. That puts the unit at 76 inches in height.

Does it still earn a spot on the list of small bookcases and bookshelves to keep an eye out for? It does because, despite its maximum height, the entire unit is only 36 inches wide. The shelves are around 11 inches deep and that is the average for small bookcases.

Unlike most units that come with an open front, this bookcase features a glass door on each shelf in the fashion of classic barrister bookcases. It provides an unobstructed view while also adding an extra layer of protection. The choice of glass is varied so you can pick whichever pleases you most, or whichever one fits your budget.

The Weaver Furniture barrister bookcase is even more customizable. Aside from choosing the glass and preferred height, you also get to pick from a wide range of finishes. You can even order it unfinished if you want to customize it yourself and have something to brag about to guests.

This is a great fit for tight places. Apart from it taking a while to assemble, there’s hardly a feature that works against the design. The customization factor makes the Weaver Furniture barrister bookcase a good choice for any living room, dining room or office space.

Buy at Houzz

3. Sauder 414725 Barrister Lane Bookcase

Laminated wood bookcase with scribed oak finish and cubbyhole storage.Sauder’s line of small bookcases and bookshelves can reach even greater heights. This model stack shelves up to 75 inches. The design features 10 equal shelves stacked in two columns. Each shelf has its own label tag for sorting purposes. If you only have one item on a shelf you can write up a small description on the label too.

The scribed oak finish gives the bookcase a nice vintage look. The color is well balanced but works best in a brighter room. You can use it as a single unit or get two and pair them with Sauder’s 8-shelf barrister lane bookcase. That way you can start out small and build yourself a bigger bookcase in time.

The unit has a closed back which matches the exterior scribed oak finish. Because of this, it is best if you place it against the wall. The 11.5-inch deep shelves can either fit two rows of paperback books or just one at the edge with enough room for a soft lighting source in the back. You will have to provide your own lighting but it will make the bookcase stand out even more.

This laminated bookcase can be a good starting point as you expand your collection. It takes a while to assemble but the experience you get will make the next one feel like a walk in the park. The metal label holders are a nice touch and they let you switch labels anytime you want.

Buy at Amazon

D. Conclusion

Small bookcases and bookshelves don’t have to be a plain storage unit. They also don’t have to be made out of expensive materials and super heavy wood. The idea is to have a unit that doesn’t take up half of your wall and five hours to put together.

You also shouldn’t limit your imagination to just books when you think of these units. They are utility furniture pieces, but they can also add to the décor. You can find them in low and wide designs or high and slim designs. Some have closed backs and some of them are open on all sides. It’s that type of versatility that allows them access to small rooms or already heavily decorated rooms.

Whether you decide to mix and match books with toys, gadgets or memorabilia is up to you. What is important is taking the correct measurements in the room before you order a unit. Since some of these small bookcases are quite heavy and come with modules, they will take time to assemble and won’t be easy to relocate once finished.

Related: Bedrooms with Bookshelves | Types of Cube Shelves