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Bookshelves may be convenient, but there are many prettier and more affordable ways to display your books. Here are 10 interesting ways to break away from the bookshelf.


Whether you love classics, cookbooks, or fantasy novels, your bookshelf is a window into who you are and what you like. So why not organize and display your collection of books in a way that expresses your individuality? Sure, bookshelves are convenient, widely available, and a standard way to keep your books in order, but there are many prettier (and more affordable!) ways to display your books. Here are 10 interesting and creative ways to break away from the bookshelf and add a bit of uniqueness to your living space.

On Kitchen Shelves

“In the kitchen you could easily find the space for some of your favorite books,” suggests Simona Ganea of Home Edit. “You could store them on a shelf next to your dishes.” This is an especially creative and cute way to store all of your cookbooks. Place the books on shelves around your glasses, plates, bowls, etc. Or, if you have enough room to spare, fill an entire shelf with books to break up the space with something unexpected.

On or Underneath Steps

If your stairs are wide enough, put a few books against the wall on one side of each step, all the way up the steps. This is an interesting way to change the look and feel of stairs, while simultaneously storing a large number of books in an easy-to-reach way.

As Coffee Table Legs

Give new meaning to “coffee table books,” by using your books as coffee table legs. Make four even stacks of books that function as table legs or a table base. Use an old glass window or a large piece of wood as a tabletop by placing it on top of the stacks of books. Glass is ideal for letting the covers of the books show through. This is a great way to use books you don’t necessarily read much, but are still worth displaying, such as art or travel books.

Old CD Towers

You might have a few old CD towers collecting dust in your basement. If not, you can easily find them at yard sales, thrift stores, and most chain electronic retailers. Instead of putting CDs on the shelves, stack your books horizontally on the CD towers for a unique-looking tower of books.

As Podiums or Platforms for Small Objects

Put a few books under a planter or a decorative object to give it a unique base.

book display repurpose


Huge, decorative bowls are a great place to stash some books. Marissa Liu from Style at Home loves this approach. “Store your books by piling them into a handcrafted rattan bowl,” Liu suggests. “The delicate weave is meant to evoke the image of a bird’s nest and gives this unique book display an organic, textured appearance.”

Ladder Hung on the Wall

A vintage and country-inspired way to display and organize books is to take an old wooden ladder, turn it sideways and hang it on the wall. The sides of the ladder become shelves, while the rungs of the ladder become interesting space dividers.

Shutters Hung on the Wall

Ashley Hacksaw with Babble says, “Old shutters (or new ones purchased from the hardware store) can be turned sideways to create a bookshelf with character!” This unique construction works best with thin books and can be a great way to organize magazines.

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Nooks and Crannies

If your home or apartment has architectural nooks and crannies, such as built-in shelves or unique window areas, take advantage of odd spaces by filling them with books. This also works with the nooks and crannies that pieces of furniture often create. For example, a coffee table that’s pushed against a wall can become an edge for a few books between some beautiful bookends.

Between Unique Bookends

Speaking of bookends, organize rows of books between unexpected objects to give new flair to old books. If you’re on a tight budget, feel free to use objects from nature, such as pretty rocks or shells. If you’re artistic, get heavy blocks of wood from a craft store or hardware store and paint, draw, or burn something onto them.

With a little creativity, you can display your books in unexpected and unique ways around your home or apartment. Don’t overlook items that you already have in your home or stashed in a storage facility – they may just be beautiful platforms for your books!

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