How To Store Books Without A Bookshelf – 9 Decorative Ideas To Try


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If you don’t have shelves to use, you might be at a loss for how to store your books. Consider these decorative and convenient book storage alternatives and you’ll finally know how to store books without a bookshelf!

How To Store Books Without A Bookshelf - 9 Decorative Ways To Try

There’s no denying that books bring joy and purpose to many people’s lives, but if you don’t have a bookshelf, your book collection can quickly start to feel like a source of clutter and stress. 

The good news is that even if you don’t have a bookshelf in your home, you can still store your books in a way that is both practical and visually appealing. 

I’m going to share my favourite (and some of them are unconventional) ways to store and display books today.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you to organise your home and give your books the storage space they deserve!

The Best Ways To Store Books Without A Bookshelf

#1 – Window Sills

When you think about it, window sills are just single shelves that sit below your windows. This makes them ideal storage spaces for books! 

The great thing about using window sills to display your books is that most people have multiple window sills to work with. This means that you can divide your book collection by subject, genre, or colour and use a different windowsill for each. 

Just one thing to bear in mind if you’re going to put your books on a windowsill is that books are easily affected by weather conditions.

Exposure to direct sunlight can discolour covers and pages, and obviously, you won’t be able to open your windows while it’s raining.

Still, if you choose your window sills strategically, you should be able to keep your books in good condition. 

Books on a windowsill

#2 – Coffee Table

A great place to add a few books onto is your coffee table – for a number of reasons:

  • You can easily grab what you want to read
  • They are always in your vision and so you won’t forget to read them
  • It can be a great way to flick through books that aren’t necessarily for reading, but more for glancing through – literally called ‘coffee table books’ sometimes!
Books on a coffee table

#3 – Mantlepiece

Lining up books on your mantelpiece is the perfect way to add a touch of class to your living room while keeping your book collection organised. 

This storage method might not be the best if you have a large collection of books, and you might need to invest in some bookends to stop the books from toppling over.

However, for a small book collection, a mantelpiece display is great from both a practical and decorative perspective. 

#4 – Glazed Cabinets

I love using cabinets to store books because they are such versatile storage spaces, and are a great way to keep books dust-free.

Below you can see our Recipe books in a glazed cabinet that sits in our kitchen. All displayed in rainbow order – lovely!

Of course, you can store books inside any empty cabinet in your home – not just glazed. Unglazed cabinets can be a good option if you like your living space to have a minimalist feel because you can simply shut the cabinet door to avoid having books of various sizes and colours on display. 

Books In A Glazed Cabinet

#5 – Entertainment Centre

Entertainment centres are primarily designed for DVDs and games, but in this day and age, plenty of people are getting rid of their physical discs in favour of digital downloads. 

If you’re in this situation and have an empty (or almost empty) entertainment centre, consider repurposing it for your books, instead!

After all, books are a form of entertainment, and seeing your book collection each time you turn on your television might prompt you to pick one up and reduce your screen time. 

#6 – (Disused) Fireplace

Many old houses have disused fireplaces that no longer serve their intended purpose. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these in your home, consider turning it into a storage space for your books! 

An old fireplace is a fantastic place to stack your books because the walls of the fireplace will stop your stacks from falling over. While an empty fireplace can look bare and out of place in a modern home, filling it up with your books will make it the most unique and aesthetically pleasing feature in the room (particularly in a bedroom). 

#7 – Bar Cart

You’ve probably never thought of using a bar cart / trolley to display your books, but it’s one of the best alternative book storage methods. 

Now, the chances are that you don’t have a bar cart at home, so you might be wondering why you should go out and buy one of these when you could just invest in a bookcase.

However, there are plenty of reasons to choose a bar cart over a traditional shelving unit. 

For one thing, if you don’t like to do things by the book (excuse the pun), a bar cart is the perfect way to make your book collection stand out without veering into impractical territory.

Plus, a bar cart is easier to move around, so you can reposition it as often as you want!

Books On A Bar Cart

#8 – Repurposed Crates

One of the easiest ways to store your books if you don’t have a bookshelf is to simply purchase some basic wooden crates, or repurpose some if you already have a couple at home. 

Wooden crates used to transport fruit and vegetables make excellent storage spaces for books because they keep books neatly and firmly contained in a compact space while adding a rustic feel to your home. 

The beauty of storing your books in crates is that you can place them wherever is most convenient for you and they’re easy to decorate in any colour or style you like!

Books Displayed In Recycled Crates

#9 – Stack Them!

There are many ways to stack books without feeling like your home is cluttered or disorganised. 

If you have a bench in your home with space underneath it, this would be an ideal place to stack your books.

You could also stack on a coffee table, desk etc…

The trick with stacking is to not allow the stacks to get too tall – as they could topple or just be less than efficient when you want to grab the bottom one.

Books stacked on a ladder

Do You Really Need The Books?

This could be quite controversial, but it would be amiss of me to not add this section.

All too often we try and work out ways to store items in the house, without giving any thought to whether we need to store them at all.

If you haven’t got a bookcase – that may be because you’ve never wanted one. Maybe you aren’t a huge book fan.

As such – please take a bit of time to check whether you want to keep all the books you’re trying to store. If not – declutter a few!

Maybe you just need a little storage for those books that are passing through the house (just there while you read them) – and so you can be a little more creative with that, because the books won’t be there for long.

Lots of books piled together

Can You Keep The Books In Another Way?

Lastly – maybe you love books, but just don’t have space for a bookcase in your home or the room you want to keep them.

As such, why not look for more minimal ways of keeping the books while not actually keeping them.

By this I mean getting digital versions of the books you want to keep – and having them all on a Kindle or similar e-Reader.

This will make storing hundreds of books much, much easier!

How To Store Books Without A Bookshelf - 9 Decorative Ways To Try

There you go – loads of options for storing books without the need for a specific bookcase

You definitely don’t need to spend lots of money on a bookcase to accommodate your book collection! 

Hopefully, one of these suggestions will work with your home’s layout and decor, so you can organise a creative and convenient storage solution that meets your needs.

Which do you like best? Have you got one that you’d like to add to this list? Let’s chat! Just leave a comment below…

Read Next: Get Your Books Organised Once And For All


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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