As I watched the movers haul my surprisingly-long-lasting particle-board IKEA bookshelves up the stairs and into my new place, it dawned on me: IT IS TIME FOR REAL BOOKSHELVES, GIRL. Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I’ve been slowly starting to replace my cheap college-era furniture with better-quality stuff, one piece at a time. So… let’s go shopping!

Rainbow bookshelf

The dream.

I love the look of this rubberwood Augustus Library bookshelf with ladder. OK, it’s a bit of an affectation to put a ladder on a six-shelf bookcase, but haven’t you always secretly wanted one? For a more modern feel, the open back and X-framed sides make this Verona bookcase feel simple and light, and it really puts the focus on your book collection.

Supporting local small businesses is always good, and the Ballard Bookcase Company specializes in those amazing custom full-room bookshelf sets that are every book lover’s dream. But until that surprise inheritance rolls in, I’m thinking the solid pine stain-it-yourself bookshelves are more my speed: affordable, sturdy, and space-saving.

Wall-to-wall bookshelves

Who wouldn’t want these wall-to-wall bookcases by Ballard Books?

I’m undecided about these minimalist leaning bookshelves. Sure, they look cool, but those teeny-tiny top shelves hold next to nothing, and the whole thing seems kind of rickety. I suspect this is more for someone who wants to show off tasteful knick-knacks and a few artfully displayed books, as opposed to someone like me who will be jamming in double-stacked piles of paperbacks until the back bulges out.

Pretty, but too flimsy? Strut Bookcase by Crate & Barrel.

Pretty, but too flimsy? Strut Bookcase by Crate & Barrel.

IKEA actually has a pretty nice-looking solid wood bookcase, and it’s a steal at $149 — but the back panel is flimsy fiberboard. HISS! However, this got my DIY juices flowing. What if you just got a sheet of plywood, stained it to match or painted it a sassy contrasting color, and nailed that down in place instead? You’d have a great-looking, unique shelf for a very affordable price. Maybe I’m not done furniture shopping at IKEA after all…

What’s your dream bookshelf? Tell us in the comments!

Stephanie Perry
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