Best Bookcases of 2021

No matter if your personal library is big or small, the best way to put books on display in your home is with a bookcase. However, bookcases aren’t just for books—you also can use them to style decor, including precious memorabilia and various knick-knacks. 

The good news is that there’s no shortage of bookcases to choose from today. Whether you’re looking for a simple, classic option that can hold hundreds of books or an eye-catching design that’s a piece of decor in its own right, there are a wide range of bookcases available at just about every price point. There’s also a bookshelf made in just about every material to perfectly blend in with your home’s style.

Here, the best bookcases you can buy.

Best Bookcases of 2021
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1 Best Modular: Floyd The Shelving System
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Best Modular: Floyd The Shelving System

If you’re looking for a bookcase that you can expand and customize to fit your home, The Shelving System from Floyd is calling your name. This modular bookcase allows you to design your own layout, mixing shelves of different heights and layouts, and the best part is that it can be expanded in the future if you ever decide you need more space.

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These bookcases are made from powder-coated steel shelves covered with birch plywood, and you can choose from several shelf colors and wood finishes. Each shelf can hold up to 65 pounds, and while the top and bottom shelves are fixed, the middle ones can be adjusted to accommodate books of various sizes. Plus, there are a variety of add-ons that you can use to expand your system’s functionality, including garment rods, slanted display shelves, and even cabinets.

What We Like

  • Expandable bookcase
  • Made from powder-coated steel shelves
  • Each shelf can hold up to 65 pounds

What We Don’t Like

  • Add-ons must be purchased separately
2 Best Ladder: Pottery Barn Studio Ladder Shelf
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Best Ladder: Pottery Barn Studio Ladder Shelf

As its name suggests, this bookcase has a ladder-inspired design with two vertical supports that lean up against your wall. There are five open-front shelves attached to the supports, and the whole unit should be mounted to the wall for stability (mounting hardware is included).

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This ladder bookcase is made from a combination of solid wood and engineered wood, and it comes in four finishes that are hand-applied and slightly distressed around the edges. The bookcase is tall, with deep base shelves, and each of its shelves can support 50 pounds—so go ahead, load on the books!

What We Like

  • Ladder-inspired design
  • Has five open-front shelves
  • Can support 50 pounds

What We Don’t Like

  • Must be mounted to the wall for stability
3 Best Corner: Zipcode Design Tisha Corner Bookcase
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Best Corner: Zipcode Design Tisha Corner Bookcase

You can dress up a corner of your home with the affordable Tisha Bookcase, which has a triangular design. This bookcase comes in a wide range of popular colors—including white, black, gray, and natural wood options—and is tall without being towering, so you won't have to stretch to get to the top shelf.

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The Tisha Bookcase is made from a solid pine frame with manufactured shelving, and it features five shelf tiers that get smaller toward the top. Because of its triangular design, this bookcase isn’t the most conducive to storing actual books, but it is the perfect spot to display your favorite mementos, photos, plants, and other decorative accents.

What We Like

  • Unique triangular design
  • Made from a solid pine frame
  • Features five shelf tiers

What We Don’t Like

  • Not the most conducive to storing books
4 Home Decorators Collection Wood 4-Shelf Standard Bookcase
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Home Decorators Collection Wood 4-Shelf Standard Bookcase

If you want to protect your precious books from dirt and dust, you might want a bookcase with doors, such as this top-rated one from Home Decorators Collection. It features two attractive glass French doors that allow you to see what’s inside while still keeping its contents secure.

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The bookcase is made from a combination of solid pine wood and medium-density fiberboard, and it has four inner shelves, three of which can be adjusted. The piece has stylish louvered sides that make it attractive from all angles, as well as elegant tulip-bun feet, and it’s painted polar white—which has a slightly ivory hue—with black metal hardware, which will mesh well with a variety of decor styles.

What We Like

  • Feature two glass French doors
  • Made from pine wood and fiberboard
  • Has adjustable inner shelves

What We Don’t Like

  • More expensive than other items
5 Best Narrow: Wade Logan Audriana Etagere Bookcase
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Best Narrow: Wade Logan Audriana Etagere Bookcase

Looking for a way to decorate a narrow space in your home? The Audriana Bookcase is extremely slim—measuring just 15.75 inches wide—making it the perfect choice to display in narrow nooks and crannies. It has an etagere-style design with open wood shelves and a black metal frame, and there are six shelves where you can display your belongings (seven, if you include the top!).

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This bookcase is crafted from an iron frame and manufactured wood shelves with a laminate finish. Each of its shelves can only hold up to 10 pounds, and because of its tall, narrow form, it’s essential to install the tipover restraint hardware that’s included with the bookcase. The combination of natural wood and metal give the piece an industrial feel, and the bookcase would make a great addition to a living room, office, and more.

What We Like

  • Has an etagere-style design
  • Boasts six shelves
  • Tip-over restraint hardware included

What We Don’t Like

  • Slim-design provides less space for books
  • Shelves can only hold up to 10 pounds
6 Best Small: ClosetMaid Cube Bookcase
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Best Small: ClosetMaid Cube Bookcase

The ClosetMaid Cube Bookcase is about as compact as you can get—it's slim and on the shorter side— making it the perfect size for small spaces or children's bedrooms. Plus, you can arrange it vertically or horizontally, depending on your needs.

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This cube-style bookcase is made from manufactured wood and features three non-adjustable cubbies that are 13.5 x 13.5 inches each. It comes in four color options and has a full back panel for stability, and you can either use it as a traditional bookcase or outfit it with cube-shaped baskets for storage.

What We Like

  • Compact
  • Can be arranged horizontally or vertically
  • Features three non-adjustable cubbies

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as sturdy as other options
7 Best Budget: Furinno JAYA Simple Home 3-Tier Adjustable Shelf Bookcase
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Best Budget: Furinno JAYA Simple Home 3-Tier Adjustable Shelf Bookcase

This bookcase is perfect for anyone shopping on a budget or furnishing a small home—it’s compact enough to tuck away in a corner, but it still has plenty of room for all your books. It comes in several colors to match your decor, and its two shelves are adjustable to accommodate taller or shorter tomes.

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The bookcase has shallower shelves than most bookshelves, and it’s made from particle board, so you should avoid getting it wet or overloading shelves with too many heavy items. The inner walls have a line of predrilled holes that make it easy to adjust the shelves to any height desired, and the whole unit is surprisingly sturdy for its affordable price.

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly
  • Compact
  • Made from particle board

What We Don’t Like

  • Has shallower shelves than most bookshelves
8 Best Overall: International Concepts 5-Shelf Standard Bookcase
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Best Overall: International Concepts 5-Shelf Standard Bookcase

This bookcase from International Concepts may be simple, but its quality materials, sturdy build, and adjustable shelves make it a top choice. This bookshelf gives you ample space to display all your favorite books, and it comes in several colors, including an unfinished wood option that’s ideal if you want to stain or paint it a custom color.

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The bookcase is built from 100 percent rubberwood with a plywood back, and it has five shelves, two of which are adjustable—handy if you have oversized books or decor that you want to display. Assembly is required, but it shouldn’t take more than an hour, and overall, it’s a durable and versatile piece that you’ll be able to use for years to come.

What We Like

  • Sturdy build
  • Adjustable shelves
  • Built from 100 percent rubberwood

What We Don’t Like

  • Assembly is required

What to Look for in a Bookcase

Material

Because bookcases often have to support quite a bit of weight, it’s important to find one that’s made from strong and durable materials. Solid wood is usually the best option, but can be quite expensive. More affordable options include metal, which is especially sturdy, and manufactured wood, which may have a lower weight capacity per shelf.

Size

When comparing bookcases, you’ll want to look at their dimensions to ensure they’ll fit comfortably in your home. (You may also want to measure to see if they’ll fit through doorways or up tight staircases.) Other size considerations to take into account include how tall the shelves are, as well as if they can be adjusted. This is especially important if you’re planning to display tall books or oversized pieces of decor.

Weight Capacity

Books can be quite heavy—a 1-foot row of average-sized books typically weighs around 20 pounds—so you should always check the weight capacity of the shelves on a bookcase. If you’re planning to display a full shelf of books, the shelf should be able to hold 50 pounds or more, depending on its width.

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