If you are a book lover, then you must be having quite a huge collection of books. Though it feels great having them and showing them to your visitors, storing them is sometimes an issue, especially if you don’t have a shelf and you don’t have a budget for a new one.

Here, we have discussed some clever ways on how to store books without a bookshelf. Take a look, and you might learn a thing or two about keeping your books organized and safe.

1. Lay It All Out

The term ‘coffee table book’ exists for a reason. Books that feature visuals such as artwork or photography can look great on your end tables or coffee table, and they create exceptional conversational pieces.

Pick one or two books to showcase on the top of your table and stack other titles on a shelf below the table. Pottery barn has a variety of coffee tables with drawers or shelves that you can use to display your books or neatly tuck them away.

You can also store them in a way that they become the focal point of your house. Some people put a few flowers on top of their dressers while others place candles, but as a book lover, you can stack in neat piles with outstanding covers on top as a way of showing off your library.

2. Show Them Off

Wall shelves can be a great place to showcase your books. These small shelving solutions are not pompous in compacts spaces, and they give plenty of flexibility when it comes to storage options. You can use one of your wall shelves to showcase your favorite books or artistically arrange several shelves for extra storage. You can stack books flanked by other items or use bookends to keep them in place.

3. StowAways

A storage ottoman is a brilliant piece of furniture for keeping items away from people eyes. It can make a handy book storage solution. It is also a good way to reduce clatter in case you have several books on the go at the same time. Simply take out the book you need to read at any time and put it back in the storage ottoman until you need to read it again.

4. Basket Case

Crates and baskets like this on Amazon make the best flexible storage solutions. You can stack a bunch of them on top of each other to make the most of your space, place them in corners, besides furniture, or along the walls. Crates, bins or baskets also form great book storage options especially if you are in a building where you aren’t allowed to hang shelves. You can choose a crate or box with a lid to keep books out of sight or choose an open bin or basket to showcase attractive cover art.

5. Use Every Available Space

Storage caddies and magazine racks are useful when it comes to storing books on tables, desks, and counters. Arrange your recipe books in a rack in your kitchen counter or keeps your children’s books in a caddy on a dresser. This form of storage works best with kids’ books or small volumes.

6. Easy Access

Use bookends to prop books up in the living room or on a console table in your hallway. A book display in your hallway shows off your great taste in literature when people walk through your door, while living room stowage offers easy access to reading material when you want to relax or when a guest wants to keep themselves busy. Make use of the surface of your console table by arranging vases, frames and other decorative objects alongside your books.

7. Create a Great View

If your house is limited in space, use existing room features to your gain. Windowsills are flat and long making them ideal for arranging or stacking books. Mantels also make great substitutes to shelving.

You can line up your books in a row or even stack them in a corner and place a vase of flowers in front of them.

8. Homemade “Bookshelves”

You can mount metal bins in the kitchen to store your cookbooks. This a creative way of storing recipe books and cookbooks in your kitchen without taking up food preparation space.

9. Store them under the bed

This is a traditional way of storing books, but it still works. However, there is one downside to this storing method; your books can be eaten by dust bunnies if you fail to clean them often.

#10. Hanging Books On A Ladder

An interesting and artistic way to store books is to hang them on a ladder. If you have an old ladder in the garage, give it a fresh coat of paint and use it as a visually unexpected item of décor. Displaying your favorite reads on a ladder is a fun way to incorporate some colors into the room. It serves two purposes at the same time – organizes books and enhances the décor.

#11. Use the defunct fireplace

Whether you live in a rented place with a defunct fireplace or you recently bought an old house that has traditional mantelpiece, consider using this space in an interesting way. If the space above the mantel is used for TV or a decorative piece, use the real estate in the hearth to keep your books.


Yes, the hearth is the place where people used to keep the logs but with fireplaces getting replaced with modern heating systems, you may use this extra space more creatively. Some people may even use the space above a mantel to stack books or display them with candles and flower vases.

#12. Hard-to-reach shelves

We all have those books we love but hardly have the time to read due to work and family commitments. If that sound like you then use the hard-to-reach areas – top of a tall display unit, or kitchen cabinets to store the books that you would like to read later in life when you have time.

#13. Use your bar cart to keep books

The bar cart is a versatile and attractive piece of furniture often makes for a centerpiece in the living room or dining space. While you may use the top shelves to store wine bottles and glasses, some of the empty space at the bottom may be used to keep store books. Your friends and guests may not look at your collection while enjoying a great drink.

#14. Turn your books into a picture ledge

Sometimes a book cover has a lot to say and gives you a gist of the entire story with its intriguing picture. Display your books on the racks to turn them into a picture ledger. This is a fun and interesting way to incorporate the books into your interior décor instead of just stacking them away.

#15. Keep books in a dining room hutch or buffet

The dining room hutch is one of the most compactly sized furniture that not only saves space in a small apartment but also adds a lot of artistic value to it. Besides being visually pleasing they also have enough storage space that can be put into multiple uses.

You can use the glass casing of a buffet or hutch to keep some of your favorite magazines and books. This is a great way to enhance your dining room décor.

Tips For Storing Books In Small And Restricted Space

books on table

  • If you have a house with tall ceilings, use that extra space on the walls to built-in cabinets that can be used to store books that are not read so often.
  • Is there an unused ledge somewhere in the house? Don’t waste any bit of real estate and use it to store your favorite books the way you like.
  • What about the dead and unused space behind the doors? Put them into use by installing a small cabinet at the back to keep books easily accessible.
  • If there’s a sitting bench in the house, use the space beneath it to stack books in a creative and fun way to save space.
  • The doorways and hallways can be used in the best way by adding a ladder, stool, or cabinet to store the books in the way you like.
  • If you live in a studio apartment and would like to divide the space, create a wall of books to form an artistic and visually attractive divider.
  • If there’s a hall closet that if filled with junk, how about turning it into a miniature library to showcase the reads that you have got.
  • If your bed has a headboard with storage space, use this area to keep a few important books that you would like to read before you retire for the night. You may also consider storing books at the foot of your bed.
  • Have extra crates in the house, use them for storing the books. This also adds a rustic appeal to your interior décor.
  • The hallways often have a lot of empty spaces waiting to be tapped so get creative and find ways to store your books in this space.
  • If you are a book lover, how about using the space under an indoor staircase to add storage space and personality to your space.
  • Do you have an old nonworking fridge? Don’t throw it away yet because you may use it to store old books.

Essential Things To Remember When Storing Books

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a lavish library to store their collection of books, hence we need to find ways to incorporate them in our existing space. However, storing them in the wrong place or in the wrong way can have dire consequences. Here are some common mistakes you must avoid:

Climate control

Paper is organic and tends to degrade over time due to bacteria, mold, pests, and fungi. However, the process takes time and you can delay it with proper climate control. When storing books make sure you keep them in a place with low temperature and less humidity to prevent the growth of microorganisms. You should also keep books away from direct sunlight to prevent UV radiation.

Avoid food crumbs on books

If you have the habit of reading a book while munching on a bag of chips then this can be detrimental for the health of your books. Food crumbs are one of the biggest enemies of your paged friends because they attract bugs and worms that can break havoc on them.

Keep pests away

Besides keeping insects and mold away, you also need to save your books from rats. It’s painful to see your favorite book nibbled by rats. A great tip to keep pests away is to put cotton balls soaked in mint solution among the books. The smell is enough to chase rats and other pests away.

Try sprinkling pepper

This is a useful and age-old tip that works. Try sprinkling some pepper of insect powder around the books to prevent insects and pests from nibbling away the pages. However, please ensure that you don’t sprinkle pepper on the books. Just like mint balls, sprinkle the powder around the books to keep your favorite reads safe.

Make adjustments as per season

When the season changes, the temperature levels in different areas of the house also change. For example, the attic area where you store the books may be un-insulated or unfinished. During summer, the attic may become very hot and lack proper airflow.

In winter, these areas may become extremely cold because they are not heated to save on gas or electricity. Check on the books when the weather changes to make some adjustments as needed. Open a few books to see if they smell damp or musty and take proper measures to protect them.

Keep the book jackets on

Sometimes the books come with a sturdy jacket-like cover. They may appear like mere decorations but we suggest that you don’t remove them to make space for storing the books. The sturdy and hardcovers take a lot of beating that otherwise, your books may have to bear.

Keeping the outer cover not only saves the books from damage but also makes them look more classy. If you ever need to sell the books, the ones with cover will get you a better deal.

Be mindful of containers used

If you use containers to store books in the absence of a shelf, be mindful of the type of containers you use. For example, the cardboard containers are good and sturdy but if they were used to store food then they may have food particles that can attract pests and bugs.

Plastic boxes may be slightly more expensive but they are a better alternative to cardboard boxes. Make sure they have not been used to store foods. Keep the plastic boxes away from sunlight and high humidity areas.

Don’t skip on dusting

While the book jackets do protect the pages form damages they don’t help much with the dust. In any climate, you need to protect the books from the layer of dust the accumulates over it. You can do a quick and simple dusting with a duster or clother.

Alternatively, you may use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust particles easily in less time. If you use  a vacuum, we recommend that you use the brush attachment so that any loose pages do not get sucked up.

Related Article: 18 Blanket Storage Ideas For Living Room


While these are just but a few ways in which you can store books without a bookshelf, you can always get creative and make something out of the box. Utilize things that you already have in your house.

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