books-bookcaseHow can small home dwellers justify their desire for compact, organized living if they are also avid book collectors? There are many book storage solutions that will minimize the space needed to store your current books while keeping them easily accessible.

First, only keep your best books. What I mean by that is:

  • Only keep books you love and with which you have happy memories/emotions associated. If you finished a book and you didn’t like it, get it out of your house. If you want a happy home, only own things that make you happy.
  • Keep only what you will read again. You have probably enjoyed many books that you will never re-read, because they were too sad/depressing, not interesting to you anymore, or irrelevant to your current goals. Only keep the books that you will get use out of in the future. Otherwise, sell or donate them to someone who will use them.

After you’re down to your favorites, decide how you want to store your books. Here are a few book storage solutions for fitting your favorite reads in a small space.

1) Vertical wall shelves

Black wall shelves via wayfair

You can squeeze dozens of books onto stacking book shelves, and they will usually be easier to read on these wall shelves than when positioned upright. Narrow wall shelves can fit into small spaces that most full-sized pieces of furniture can’t (meaning you can prevent having “dead” wall space) while leaving floor space underneath. Your shelves don’t have to hold just books, either. Consider incorporating other home decor items, such as the shelf from Wayfair to the right, to turn the bookshelf into a true design piece.

2) Bench storage

Ivory bedroom storage bench via Amazon

There are two types of storage benches you’ll typically see in home interiors: 1) entryway benches, which typically look more utilitarian and often either have drawers or are open-faced, and 2) bedroom benches (like the one on the right) which are generally designed to provide concealed storage and usually lift from the top. Either type would be perfect for storing books while providing a useful seating space.

3) Storage ottomans

Turquoise ottoman via Amazon

Hollow ottomans can provide a surprising amount of extra room for books inside them and are a good option if your goal is not to display your books. Ottomans are already great for small spaces because they take up little room and can be rearranged and tucked away easily. Use neat stacks divided by category and store books of similar size together so they won’t turn into a disorganized pile. A tightly-packed storage device will mean the books are less likely to move around as much. Some ottomans, such as the one from Amazon on the right, have internal dividers to prevent chaos when the ottoman is moved around. You can also look for ottomans that have a top “lid” a top lid that can be flipped to turn into a flat tray to double as a coffee table.

4) Unique book storage ideas

Tree-style shelving via Amazon

Many people have found other clever ways to store books where they are still accessible, yet do not get in the way. From storing your books in the rafters to building them into table legs, people living in small spaces can be very creative when it comes down to finding a way to fit their books in their homes. Find out where you have space you can spare and either find a product that will fit into that space or custom build shelves or other storage that will fit into your home. You don’t have to start from scratch: there is an impressive breadth of options on woodworking instructional sites like instructables.com written by people who have had the exact same space challenges that you have. Usually with just a few changes in the dimensions of the project you’ll be able to find instructions that even beginner woodworkers can use.

Decorating with books in small spaces

Living room with built-in bookshelves via casa vogue

If books are an important part of your life, don’t feel like you have to hide them! If you want your books to be visible, consider organizing them by color or style. You can also wrap your own book jackets on your collection to match the rest of your color scheme. Some people store books spine-inward so that the pages are visible to give the room some texture and a unified color scheme, since all the pages are similar colors.