11 Different Bookshelf Types for Small Houses

bookshelf types

Ever since the Industrial Revolution and invention of the Printing Press, bookshelves have become a must-have in every household.  They’re not just for books, either. Bookshelves in your small space are an excellent way to display a sense of your taste or the culture of your home. So aside from keeping your favorite books nearby, bookshelves truly enhance the décor of your house.

Even if you are not the reading type, even if not a bookworm; a bookshelf speaks a lot about your good taste. Bookshelves and the objects placed on them, make for a great conversation starter, or hold space for art. In this article, we’ll be discussing 11 different bookshelf types that are perfect for small spaces.

How To Choose The Look For You – Types of Bookcases

Even in small houses, there is always space for one bookshelf or two. Well if space is an issue for you, you can check some clever space saving bookshelf ideas. Often there may be old antique bookshelves lying around, which can be put to good use.  Or, you can buy a new bookshelf. Before you embark on such a journey, you must have a first-hand knowledge of the bare essentials. Bookshelves can be categorized or classified upon several criteria, a few of which are presented here.


One can classify the bookshelves on the basis of materials used in them. The earlier bookshelves were all made of wood, just as all furniture was made of wood. Now, metal frame bookshelves are most popular. Many bookshelves are made entirely of metal, or metal and glass. Some metal frame bookshelves contain wood, laminate, marble or stone shelves, depending on the design, style and placement of the bookshelf.


Choosing a design is a personal choice and often dictated by the budget, preferences and the contextual design elements where the bookshelf is to be installed or placed.


While choosing the style for the bookshelves, remember that it is a durable material that will last for decades. So, whether it should have a classic look or contemporary look, is more of a personal choice. Also, the style of the bookshelf must jell, or be in harmony with its surroundings and should not look out of place.

For a small house, a few appropriate and suitable types of bookshelves are suggested here. You must familiarize yourself with these so that you can make a wise decision when you finally order your bookshelf.

11  Different Types & Styles of Bookshelves for Small Houses

1. Corner Bookshelf – Small Bookshelves

The corner bookshelf is one of the simplest yet most useful designs in bookshelves. It sits in the corner of the room, making an otherwise inaccessible portion functional. Moreover, because it’s placed in a corner, any delicate or fragile art and décor pieces are well protected and kept away from mishaps and damages. (Click here to view our recommended model.)

2. Barrister Bookshelf – Bookshelves for Small Spaces

These seem like the kind of bookshelves that you find in the home office of a lawyer or judge. Stately and sturdy, they are designed to hold thick volumes of books and journals on law and court decisions. Or, just your favorite novels. They are built strong and sturdy and have a translucent glass door with wooden frames. The glass front allows them to look at the bound journals and locate the ones required to be taken out. The wood used is generally durable and expensive like mahogany or teak. (Click here to view our recommended model)

3. Leaning Ladder Bookshelf

The Leaning ladder bookshelf is generally made of metal so that it is sturdy and when propped up against a wall at an angle, it can stand and support books. This bookshelf with ladder is one of the most contemporary and loved bookshelf of this period. Since the shape is meant to lean, the bookshelf frame may look tilted, however, the shelves are kept horizontal. (Click here to view our recommended model)

4. Glass Bookshelf

With brass and gold fixtures beginning to come back in style, glass bookshelves are coming too. Glass bookshelves are basically those where the base or support and sidewalls are made of strong thick glass panes, and they are held together or supported by shining chromium-plated metal or stainless steel frames. Choose a metal to match your decor. Their minimalist design looks very alluring and clean. One can also have an all-glass bookshelf, instead of metal and glass. (Click here to view our recommended model)

5. Industrial Bookshelf

Industrial bookshelves give the look and feel as if one is inside a factory. The frames are made of bold heavy industrial metallic angles or channels. Sometimes even steel piping may be used along with industrial angle joints or plumbing style fittings. It has a unique period and place look, which is a mix of masculine and tough. This quaint looking bookshelf is a sure attention-grabber and conversation piece. (Click here to view our recommended model)

6. Invisible Bookshelf

This bookshelf makes your books or decor look like they are hanging in the air. As the name suggests, Invisible bookshelf is made out of or supported by slim metal strips that screw directly onto the wall. The flipside is that it cannot be used for a heavier load and large stacks of books. It may support up to 10 kgs of load and the books should be stacked up to a height of one and a half feet only, to truly create the illusion of Invisible bookshelf. (Click here to view our recommended model)

7. Booktree Bookshelf

Booktree shelves are named for their center support, as if the tree trunk shape forms the vertical support and branches serve  as shelves for keeping books. You can find them in many shapes, and some are available as table-top models due to their free-standing stability. They fit well in corners especially. (Click here to view our recommended model)

8. Bookworm Bookshelf

Easily one of the more expensive bookshelves you can buy, but also among the most unique. Bookworm bookshelves are made of metal extrusion, most often aluminum, as it is a very light yet strong material. It is shaped in a wavy curve to look like a wriggling worm. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a creative bookshelf that stands out from the rest. You will find different artists experiment with the shape. Choose the kind of curves that you like. (Click here to view our recommended model)

9. Cube Bookshelf

Cube bookshelves are in the shape of cubes, which means they have the same height and breadth. One can have a bigger bookshelf composed  of several  such small cubes, either in symmetrical or asymmetrical shape. (Click here to view our recommended model)

10. Asymmetrical Bookshelf

Asymmetrical bookshelves are ideal for combining books with other decor, display items, plants, and more. The offset spacing allows you to bring a touch of your own unique taste to whatever room it stands it. (Click here to view our recommended model)

11. Metal Bookshelf

Metal bookshelves are those which are made out of metal or primarily use metal with other type of materials like, glass, wood, laminate, marble etc.  They can be lighter and slim in looks, as metal is more durable and can hold far more weight. Metal also allows flexibility in shapes and design, and are especially suitable for modern and industrial design shapes. (Click here to view our recommended model)

These are just a few illustrative, and not exhaustive,  types of bookshelves that you can install in your house if ample space is your constraint.


Is there a difference between bookcase and bookshelf?

The terms ‘bookcase’ and ‘bookshelf’ are often used interchangeably, but there is a small difference between the two. A bookcase typically has doors on it, while a bookshelf does not. Additionally, a bookshelf is usually more narrow than a bookcase and can be used to store items like CDs or DVDs in addition to books.

How do you categorize a book shelf?

Categorizing a bookshelf is a great way to keep your book collection organized. You can categorize by subject, author, genre, or any other method that works for you. Additionally, you can use dividers or special labels to make it easy to identify what’s on each shelf. If you’re using a cube-style bookcase, you can even create a unique system by putting different items in each cube.


I hope this article has offered insight into bookshelf types for small houses. Whether you’re looking for a bookshelf to hold books and magazines, or a bookshelf as a decorative piece, there are countless options of bookshelf designs out there are sure to suit any style.

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