Bookcase Buyers Guide


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Whether you are moving into a new house or apartment, or just remolding to get more storage space and a new look, bookshelves or bookcases provide both storage and decorative flair. The bookcase you choose tells a lot about your personal style.

A bookcase is a shelving unit specifically designed to store books. Shelves may be open or behind doors made of wood or glass. Bookcases may be made of hardwood, glass, plastic, and metal, or less expensive alternatives such as wood composites like plywood and hardwood veneer. Colors and finishes vary.

Bookcases are the perfect way to display not only a collection of books, but collectibles and pictures as well. A bookshelf can compliment any décor and add style to any room. If your décor is modern, choose solid colors or brushed metal for a contemporary look. Glass bookcases are also a good choice for a modern or casual room. Traditional homes are best suited to cases constructed of dark wood. Country homes are complimented by bookshelves created in lighter colored woods such as pine or oak. Painted wood also lends to a country ambience. Choosing leather bound books and shelves with ornate molding and rich dark wood may enhance Victorian charm.

The first step in choosing a book case is evaluating your storage needs and available space. The average bookcase depth is usually 12 inches. Units with a book shelf depth of 9 inches may sometimes be used where space is tight. Some bookcases feature at least one adjustable book shelf to accommodate taller books or other items. Most magazines fit an 11-inch high book shelf space. Textbooks fit nicely on book shelves with a 10-inch high shelf. A 12-inch deep shelving unit gives great storage space without taking up much floor space.

Standard book cases come in two common heights. The first has 3 to 4 shelves and is 27-inches to 36 inches high. Their tops are used as an extra shelf or a work space. The second popular choice has 5 to 6 shelves and sometimes even 7. The units are between 60 inches to 84-inches high.

Smaller spaces may benefit by using folding bookcases or shelves that stack. Ladder units may be placed in corners and the book shelves are in gradated increments from longest to shortest going upwards. Plants and knick knacks may be arranged on the top book shelves, while heavier books are shelved below.

Jason Lewis is the Search Engine Marketing Manager for


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