If you have lots of books but not much space, these easy and inexpensive small space book storage ideas will help you fit your mysteries, biographies, and chick-lit favorites in nearly any nook or cranny.
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
If Cicero’s right, my home is super soulful! Piles of books teeter on end tables, stack up on our kitchen bench, and spill out of our bookshelves.
Before we moved into our current home, my husband and I purged a lot of our books and kept ones we loved and want our kids to read someday. So our excessive book situation is 100% our kids’ fault.
Although I have an e-reader, I still love the feel of a real book in my hands and believe it’s especially important for kids to have real books and not just stories on an iPad. And man, do our kids have a lot of books.
But, where in the world do you display and store a book collection if you don’t have the budget for built-ins, and don’t have space for large bookcases?
Here’s how we organize books without a bookshelf.
Small Space Book Storage Ideas on a Budget
If your kids have a small bedroom, or if you have more books than you know what to do with even after you pare down your collection, you need a solution to fit your space. These small space book storage ideas worked well for us in our previous home and work well for us now.
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Two-shelf Bookcase + Picture Ledges
In my son’s old nursery the most sensible spot for storage was a little nook between the bedroom door and closet. I painted an old laminate two-shelf bookcase leftover from my college days, then added fun goldfish wrapping paper to the back with Mod Podge.
To add even more storage we mounted floating shelves to the wall, which hold vintage books and special toys from my own childhood.
Decor notes: The wall paint is Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow (the color of warm sunshine!). The goldfish paper is no longer available, but this koi fish paper is adorable.
IKEA BEKVÄM Spice Rack Hack
The IKEA BEKVÄM spice rack is an incredibly inexpensive way to add book storage in a shallow space. In my daughter’s nursery, the only sensible space for books was right next to the door, and we didn’t want to block traffic. I painted the solid wood spice racks to match the room’s trim and voila – simple and cheap book shelves.
Decor notes: The paint color is Benjamin Moore Maritime Blue. The adorable artwork is from Oh Hello Dear.
IKEA MOSSLANDA Picture Ledge
My daughter’s “big girl” room is the smallest bedroom in our new house. Even at 3.5 years old, she’s a night owl and loves nothing more than to “read” to her dolls and stuffed animals after I kiss her goodnight. She will even sneak into her brother’s room when he’s asleep to borrow his books!
The shorter version of the IKEA MOSSLANDA picture ledge fits the small space perfectly, and as her collection grew we added a storage bin under her nightstand for even more books.
Decor notes: The paint color is Benjamin Moore Beach Plum. The nightstand is a Martha Washington sewing table that I found on Craiglist years ago and refinished. The lamp is IKEA. The quilt is from Zulily, the sham is from the Martha Stewart “Whim” collection, and the decorative pillow is by Karma Living (found on One King’s Lane). The artwork above the bed is a TJ Maxx find.
We used the longer version of the MOSSLANDA ledge in our basement’s playroom. Between the old brick fireplace that juts out into the room and the low ceilings and exposed ductwork, we couldn’t fit nice bookshelves.
Since the playroom has solid pine paneling (not the fake stuff), the horizontal white shelves filled with colorful kids books offer great book storage and while also breaking up all the dark wood.
Decor Notes: The large tote is from HomeGoods and holds tons of toys!
So there you have it, three easy and inexpensive small space book storage ideas! I hope you enjoyed seeing some little peeks into our daughter’s current bedroom and our playroom. If you’re feeling nosy, you can find other “before and afters” of our current home here, and get a tour of our previous home here.