Join 3,427 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Milkcrates are also okay
June 6, 2009 9:41 PM   Subscribe

20 Brilliant Bookcases via ( mightygodking )
posted by The Whelk (48 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cinderblocks and boards.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:47 PM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find my books tend to flop over on shelves rather than standing straight. The designs featuring slanted shelves seem like a good idea to me (though, perhaps, disorienting).
posted by SPrintF at 9:54 PM on June 6, 2009


for an article on bookshelves, there sure were a lot of misspellings...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:55 PM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ooh, I likes shelves and innovative design. Thanks. Related.
posted by nickyskye at 9:57 PM on June 6, 2009


As beautiful as they are impractical. At least if you own more than a hundred books.
posted by adipocere at 10:07 PM on June 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Now I'm wishing I'd opted for a more fun bookcase. *Sigh*

There's always next time I suppose.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 10:14 PM on June 6, 2009


Milkcrates are also okay

Oh, thank goodness. What's the verdict on dangerously high piles all over the floor?

And under the bed, and on furniture, and in the bathroom...
posted by maqsarian at 10:16 PM on June 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's the verdict on dangerously high piles all over the floor?

Safer than the one on my nightstand. I elbow off three or four books sometimes, reaching for the lamp switch. I'm afraid I'm going to brain the dog once I get to the Joyce volume, which I will probably balance precipitously on top of various indispensable writing tablets & pocket editions of things that live there all the time.

I like some of the designs, but none of those shelves are large enough for anything like a proper quantity of books.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:23 PM on June 6, 2009


Bah. Devils Rancher has it. A few of the bookcases are interesting to look at (a few) but they fail completely at being, you know, bookcases. It's like making a cool looking refrigerator but, hey, it doesn't actually cool below 65 degrees.

Bookcases are there to hold large quantities of books in a compact space. If they can't do that, they are a decoration, not a bookcase.
posted by Justinian at 10:45 PM on June 6, 2009


I'm with sexyrobot on the number of misspellings. No matter how clever the designs showcased, anyone trying to pitch a bookcase as a "partitian" loses any credibility.

On a separate note, I had a friend who made bookcases out of books and planks (instead of cinder blocks and planks). Anything of sentimental value but likely not to be revisited became part of the support structure, thereby reducing amount of shelf space required as a bonus. These bookcases became ersatz support structures for most other furnishings - TV, dining room table, and bed all shared similar foundations.

I always worried about Stephen during earthquakes.
posted by Graygorey at 10:51 PM on June 6, 2009


I look at these and wonder what I'm going to do with the other 95% of my collection. They're all terribly pretty, but utterly useless.

Fun fact: You can use garden twist ties to wire milk crates into tall, stable* wall unit that's cheap and practical. You can even pop a tile or a piece of MDF salvaged from a construction skip inside each crate for a smooth, modern feel.

*for a relaxed given value of stable
posted by Jilder at 10:53 PM on June 6, 2009


Some of these I really love because I love using books as functional decorations, and I can see how having an unusual bookcase in a single room might further that end, although I'm lucky enough to have a whole room that I can mostly devote to books with whole walls of traditional shelving and a living room with a Craftsman style builtin bookshelf around the fireplace for especially ornamental books.

When I was a young studio apartment dweller, I had brick and board bookshelves, but the boards were finished, and the cinder blocks were painted glossy white with the holes painted in glossy hot pink. My aunt made them for me, and I wish I could remember what happened to them; at some point I moved and left them behind. I used the holes as little cubbies for tiny books and little tchochkes, and they were really beautiful.
posted by padraigin at 11:19 PM on June 6, 2009


I went to his house and he showed me his library. Rather, he showed me the shelving in his library. It was impressive, this shelving - all angles and wiggles and bendiness. But when the novelty of the shelving wore off I took a few steps and had a closer look at the books that he had. They were bad books. Certainly not great books. And I dismissed his library as a fancy cover with no real content. We never spoke again.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:26 PM on June 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


What we need is an electronic tag (RFID or whatever is in style these days) in every book (or shoe or anything else you have lots of) so you can shelve or stack or box them two or three or ten deep and still find them anywhere in the house using a tricorder or something. And every time you go looking for a book, it also catalogs the positions of all other books it finds during the scan, so it always has a pretty recent idea of where all books are in the house. Where is that whole-house-as-bookcase design and what does it cost?

Of course, this will all be hilarious as soon as electronic books take over and paper books become props and decorations. Paper has five or ten more years at most. Then you'll just have to decide which models of electronic book you need for the home, the office, and carrying about. Maybe one fancy coffee table book reader per home (good for bedtime stories and porn, too), a large-format newspaper reader and net browser per person, and one or two paperback-sized readers per person. Then a reader at work for office-sized stuff, and maybe an active desk. No jet packs, though.
posted by pracowity at 11:30 PM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


as an aside on the storage of books, i love how they do it at the new york public library. they have soooo many books (an entire city block (all the way back to 6th ave) and ten stories down below the street) that they actually gave up on categorizing them and instead shelve them by size to save space.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:46 PM on June 6, 2009


as an aside on the storage of books, i love how they do it at the new york public library. they have soooo many books (an entire city block (all the way back to 6th ave) and ten stories down below the street) that they actually gave up on categorizing them and instead shelve them by size to save space.

I currently have my books shelved by Dewey Decimal, because I'm nerdy like that, but I have already decided that when I get bored with that, the next time I'm arranging them by color. Maybe after that I'll do it by size.

Ikea bookshelves are forgiving for such whimsy.
posted by padraigin at 12:10 AM on June 7, 2009


That yin-yang shelf is nice, as is that Quad bookshelf. Most of the others are just design gimmicks and ultimately impractical. You can have both a nice design and practicality in shelf.
posted by zardoz at 12:52 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fail.
Any shelving that doesn't close, to keep the dust at bay, isn't functional for me.
posted by Goofyy at 12:55 AM on June 7, 2009


As beautiful as they are impractical. At least if you own more than a hundred books.

Yeah, this is the problem we have. I'd love to own more tasteful bookshelves than I the painted up particle board ones we have, but we have a few thousand books between us. There's no way in hell I can buy nice booksshelves at, you know, a few hundred dollars to house a few dozen books.

The rafter shelving would be practical for our downstairs lounge, though.
posted by rodgerd at 1:19 AM on June 7, 2009


Some of these designs are incredible. But here's my personal favourite not on that website
posted by ashaw at 1:31 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fail.
Any shelving that doesn't open a secret doorway to a hidden laboratory or dungeon isn't functional for me.
posted by Elmore at 3:18 AM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I need to build an entire wall of bookshelves, somehow, and I've already used up my AskMe question this week. I hope my books can tolerate staying in boxes for a bit longer.
posted by rokusan at 3:31 AM on June 7, 2009


Many more interesting (but not necessarily practical) bookcases can be found at the Bookshelf weblog.
posted by amf at 3:31 AM on June 7, 2009


I once made a bookshelf out of a board and books. The board was at an angle, I bought a few old tomes from the Red Cross to sneakily attach at various angles to make them look like they were falling off the angled board, then my real books stood up and rested against the fake ones. It looked like a broken bookshelf frozen in mid-fall, but in reality... WAS MEANT TO LOOK LIKE THAT ALL ALONG!

And no, it didn't hold hundreds of books. I apologise for the catastrophic fail.
posted by twirlypen at 4:06 AM on June 7, 2009


Elmore, that's what I was hoping for, too. Mr. boo_radley has some links.

rokusan, I built a wall of bookcases for our new house. It's a series of tall boxes 30" wide, made of 1x8 boards, assembled separately, then put in place and screwed to the wall and each other. Each upright is drilled with two rows of holes to accept shelf pegs so the shelves are movable. Some half-round molding on the front edges of the shelves and boxes dresses it up a little, and millwork molding at the top covers up the inevitable irregularities there. I had a ledge to set the boxes on; if yours have to go to the floor, I suggest building cabinets into the bottom.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:32 AM on June 7, 2009


Obligatory link to the staircase photos, without which no 'Check out these weird bookshelves" discussion is complete.

Any shelving that doesn't open a secret doorway to a hidden laboratory or dungeon isn't functional for me.

Elmore, you know you can make those yourself*, right?

*Dungeon not included
posted by the latin mouse at 4:39 AM on June 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Opus shelving set off my OCD to the point where I literally made a sound that can best be transcribed as "Nnnnnnngghhhhh". The books...their...their axes don't point in the same direction. How can you ever find anything?

Now, of course, my wife says she's going to get one just to torment me.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:24 AM on June 7, 2009


Nice! Now I have inspiration for my new home. Thanks for sharing!
posted by LittleMissItneg at 5:32 AM on June 7, 2009


I'm down to basically only 9 books I keep around now, but my piles of give-away books (being every book except for those that I love too much) are starting to get precarious. My favorite bookshelf is a prison books program!
posted by fuq at 6:38 AM on June 7, 2009


The link kind of gets it wrong by categorizing all of these shelves as bookcases. They aren't.

"Brilliant Shelves" just didn't sound as nice, I guess.
posted by orme at 6:42 AM on June 7, 2009


I like the idea of a bed-case, but really what I want is a bed made out of bookcases. Headboard bookcase. Footboard bookcase. Bookcases underneath.

Maybe the sides can be kept free, but I don't know why I would ever get out of such a bed.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:00 AM on June 7, 2009


The non-rectilinear shelves (eg the honeycomb made by the bee on acid) force your books to lie at an angle, thus, over time, irretrievably throwing out the spine.

Pass.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2009


What's the verdict on dangerously high piles all over the floor?


I have decided that stacks of bulls all over the place is a bold fashion statement and not me living like a gorram teenager.
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on June 7, 2009


I really like the rafter shelves. In high school, I made bookshelves out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. It didn't look all that great, but it got the job done for a few years until I could afford real bookshelves.

"I currently have my books shelved by Dewey Decimal, because I'm nerdy like that, but I have already decided that when I get bored with that, the next time I'm arranging them by color. Maybe after that I'll do it by size."


I shelve mine like the Oupilo: Virginia Woolf goes next to Charles Lamb, etc.
posted by litterateur at 8:05 AM on June 7, 2009


BOOKS! BOOKS! NOT BULLS!

Have I mentioned I'm on pain pills?
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 AM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I liked it better with the bulls. Seems more your style. :-)
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:44 AM on June 7, 2009


This list is wrong because it doesn't include the Tetris bookshelves.
posted by logicpunk at 9:49 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This post is brilliant! I missed it before due to its brevity, but of course that only adds to its brilliance. I am a sucker for interior design goodness and this is very much that. Great post, or as is said across the pond, brilliant.
posted by caddis at 2:35 PM on June 7, 2009


The triangular book holder shelf is brilliant. Easy to find in the dark and impossible to set other things on. I think a bed width unit with a peak at each end is going in my project list.
posted by Mitheral at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2009


The staircase bookshelves have my eternal love. I keep looking at our internal stairs and wondering how we can do something similar with them...
posted by rodgerd at 4:09 PM on June 7, 2009


But when the novelty of the shelving wore off I took a few steps and had a closer look at the books that he had. They were bad books. Certainly not great books. And I dismissed his library as a fancy cover with no real content.

This, to me, hits it the nail on the head. Some of these are mildly pleasing shapes, at first glance anyway, but when used to store actual books, they just seem to shout: "Functionally illiterate (or at least 'post-literate', if there's a difference), and proud of it."

On the other hand, in my case these shelves might also double as mirrors for retro retread curmudgeons...
posted by newmoistness at 4:52 PM on June 7, 2009


the staircase photos

I don't understand how you can put your books in a staircase like that and not kick them accidentally, all the time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:03 AM on June 8, 2009


Where do they get all those same-size books?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:33 AM on June 8, 2009


BOOKS! BOOKS! NOT BULLS!

I was picturing papal bulls just casually strewn about the room. "Oh, ho hum, another note from the pope. What does he want this time?"
posted by pracowity at 6:37 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Oh, ho hum, another note from the pope. What does he want this time?"

Most honored and faithful subject, ir would please the Church immensely if milk, the waters of life and vitality, could be acquired so our larders are forever full and their floors' never seen, Ego N. Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopus.


Jesus Christ, can't he do anything himself!
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on June 8, 2009


I recently visited an old friend from college. Her husband's father is a retired hedge fund manager, who just built his dream house. The entire second floor is one huge library. It has ten foot ceilings and all the walls have built-in shelves running the full height. He has two ladders that run along brass rails to reach the highest books.
At one end, he has a reading room with fireplace, huge leather chairs, an enormous oak table, globe, etc. Everything that a Victorian gentleman would have in his reading room.
At the other end he built a room for his grand-children, pirate ship themed, including a crows-nest reached by rope ladder that leads up onto a cupola poking out of the roof giving you a 360 degree view of the surrounding valley.

When we visited, he was still unpacking books from storage, so the shelves were about half full. He had room for thousands of books. He was ordering everything by his own system, and entering everything into his personal card catalog system, kept on index cards, in an old card catalog cabinet rescued from a local library

I almost fainted when I first saw the house. I've never felt such intense jealousy in my life.
posted by Eddie Mars at 9:35 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank you for the link. This is mighty cool.
posted by thisperon at 7:02 AM on June 9, 2009


Very cool find! Very cool book shelves
posted by tj241 at 7:53 AM on June 9, 2009


« Older Hey Mom! Bobby wants to know if we can come out an...  |  The Cooper's Hill cheese race... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments