This is the kind of shelf in which I feel I have the most expertise, because I have five of them in a pretty modestly-sized one bedroom apartment, and, frankly, they look pretty ballin’. My boyfriend and I are both in academia, and on top of that we both really like reading fiction, so, needless to say, we’ve got a whole ton of books. Like, we’d need tow trucks to move them all.  That said, we need somewhere to put them. In fact, even though I have all those aforementioned bookshelves, I still have books stacked on top of existing bookshelves, and on the storage chest beside our couch. In fact, I’ve had to start using books as bookends for stacked books. It’s beautiful madness.

So when I say bookshelves, you’re probably thinking about exactly the type of bookshelves that I have, and the type that are featured in the picture just above. They’re free-standing rectangular structures, commonly made of wood (or sneakily made to look like they’re made of wood … I’m looking at you, IKEA), with four or five shelves, depending on how ambitious the manufacturer was, I guess. All five of the bookshelves I have are like this. Three of them match, and then the remaining two match each other. It’s a pretty good deal. I’ve got the two smaller ones flanking my tv, two of the larger ones flanking those, and then the third large on against the opposite wall, beside the couch. Just to give you an idea.

The nice thing about having the bookshelf next to the couch is that it can also serve as an end table for drinks or whatnot. That’s another great thing about shelving! It can be two things! Just like the top of the bookshelves can be yet another shelf, if you’ve got book ends. Or even if you’ve got other books you can stack up to make bookends. Or anything else heavy, really. The possibilities are almost endless.

And you don’t have to limit yourselves to the traditional bookshelf, either. There are so many other cool options! My friends, for example, have those really neat invisible bookshelves. Basically they go on the wall, and then you have to slide a big book onto them, but leave the bottom cover hanging, and then slide the cover into little hooks provided to keep the the cover up. That wasn’t a terribly great explanation. Here’s a link that will probably help to make more sense of it of this awesome shelving unit.

You can also do something as simple as having really basic wall shelving either running along the length of your wall, or in little bits, placed decoratively and strategically on your wall, so that it doesn’t look like it’s there just to provide storage, but as part of the room’s ambiance. Gotta love that ambiance. And who’s to say you can’t mix and match your shelves, or have some shelves with books offset with shelves holding picture frames or writing utensils? No one. No one is telling you that you can’t. So remember, you can make a bookshelf out of anything you want, and it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just keep your precious books off the ground!