Despite living in the same apartment for the past year, very little has changed since the day we moved, including our bookshelf situation. Right now we have one bookshelf for my cookbooks, and two bookshelves and a clothes organizer in the closet for what would easily fill five bookshelves! But our apartment is small (two bedrooms, 660 square feet) and the baseboard heaters severely limit furniture placement. So while I may not have the money or motivation right now to change things with the wedding in a few months, I’m certainly taking inspiration from these creative bookshelves.

Architectural Digest

I have a seriously love for bookshelves that wrap around doorways. They take great advantage of small spaces that can’t easily hold other decor, and add visual interest to doorways. This style seems especially useful on narrow walls where a bookshelf would fill the entire space, and seems like it would be perfect for a doorway between the kitchen and living room or dinning room to hold cookbooks and pretty bows.

There are no stairs in my current apartment, but I really love this look. I’ve seen many staircases with broom closets and storage, but never a library! Especially if the staircase is in a living room or den, the huge amount of storage space this adds would be wonderful for organization. Along with books I would keep board games, extra blankets, and my knitting basket in this space. I imagine if you had children it would be nice to have a place to store toys and games as well.


Other under-utilized spaces are weird shaped walls and ceilings. Along with not having stairs, my apartment doesn’t have a loft, but I still love how these simple shelves add function and style to an otherwise bare room. If you have some basic tool skills and the space to work, custom bookshelves like these made from plain boards can be made to fit any size wall or angle where a pre-made bookshelf can’t fit.

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I’m a huge fan of window seats, and anything that combines reading and pretty views is a win in my book. I love the storage under the seat for added functionality and easy access to favorite books in this photo. If you don’t already have a window seat however, I’ve seen many great DIY versions online. By placing a bench between two bookshelves (and solidly bolting everything to the walls!) you can make your own reading nook, comfy pillows required but beautiful view out the window optional.