Simplest DIY Bookshelf Ideas

I still remember moving into my first house. The unblemished, flat walls stared at me starkly, devoid of any cosy corners for my books. I felt a little lost. Almost everyday I debated whether I should buy myself a nice bookshelf, repetitively deciding that I certainly should, but putting it off when I thought about the money.

During this time, the surfaces in my home disappeared and resurfaced as they involuntarily became the alternative to a bookshelf. There was no space for anything else, my tea mugs, my ashtrays, and the little trinkets that were essential to my day to day existence had to be precariously balanced on the headboard, or simply placed on the ground. I walked around cradling my ashtray in the evenings, as I toked on my customary post-dusk smoke.

When the day arrived when I had had enough of it, it took me all of thirty minutes to create what was going to be my bookshelf for the next ten months. It was made entirely out of sturdy cardboard boxes stacked up against each, and invited me to obsessively stack my books in colour coded order. As I stood back and admired my craftsmanship, I could only think- it is ridiculously easy to construct a shelter for your books (given you open your mind up to all kinds of ideas thrust up by your desperation, however ridiculous).

Cardboard Crate Shelves

Win, win, win. Can’t go wrong with this one, crates look great and are very sturdy. Just visit the nearest market or liquor outlet afterhours, and pick up as many of those gorgeous wooden crates as you can carry. Stack them up into personalised arrangements and designs.

Crate Bookshelf

Paint the insides if you can handle it!

painted bookshelf

Wooden Pallet Shelves

Pretty simple. Simply cut up a palette in half, and you have two pieces of wood that can be mounted up on a wall to make two unique looking display shelves for your books.


P.S. These are great for magazines and those graphic novels you’d love to display.

Alternatively, buy cheap self installable spice racks online, and use them for your books.


The Re-purposed Ladder

Turn a ladder into a bookshelf? Of course. Place wooden planks in between the rungs of an old A frame ladder for a splendid rustic looking bookshelf.

Ladder shelf

Alternatively, mount a normal ladder on the wall horizontally for a chic one-level bookshelf.


Rope Hanging Bookshelf

Use a Youtube tutorial to construct a steady harness in which you can place a plank, and viola! Another display worthy bookshelf.

shelf diy rope


Pipe Rack Shelves

This is one of the easiest ones, simply buy a couple of long towel racks with different depths/ wall clearance, and install them one on top of the other, with the deeper rack on top. You just got yourself an enviable industrial style bookshelf.


The Minimalist Bracket Shelf

Buy a few of these brackets online and create a series of sleek, invisible shelves for your books that make them look like they’re floating in mid-air.


Skateboard Shelves

Do you often have old skateboards lying about? They could be yours, they could be cracked old boards abandoned by the neighboring kids. Drill a few holes (4, to be exact), stick some metal rods into them, fasten them with a few nuts and washers, and you have created the most hipster looking bookshelf out there.

skateboard bookshelf

Grandfather Clock Shelf

Remember that tall, wooden pendulum clock that hasn’t told the right times in ages? Forget about getting it to work, it could be your next stylish vintage cd/ bookshelf. Simply remove the clock and its mechanisms, and place a few wooden planks inside the frame.

grandfather clock bookshelf


Bucket Bookshelves

This is a personal favorite, for obvious reasons. Simply use a bucket as a container for books! Mount a few up on the wall, and you now have unique round bookshelves. If you’re too lazy to bother mounting them on the wall, just keep them on the floor and you’re good to go! For floor book containers, baskets, and laundry bins work well too!


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