18 cheap and attractive ideas for

18 cheap and attractive ideas for

I recently decided to get rid of my books, moving most of my collection into bank safes and stacking them in the office armario and garaje.

In time, I’ll move them to a library that will accept them, or give them away as prizes, or maybe send some off to be scanned, digitized, and polished.

But I haven’t been able to get rid of all of them.

There is still the “Next Reading” shelf, the “Try to finish it some day” shelf (some dense Delillos and Pynchons live there), and several “All Time Favorites” bookshelves containing books that I often flip through and still enjoy.

As well as a couple of shelves with reference books and manuals.

Oh, and some cookbooks.

So I still have a lot of books, and that means I need a way to display and store them.

In a cheap way.

And attractive.


An old ladder

This sounds daunting, but it doesn’t require too much DIY knowledge.

Mount L-shaped brackets on the wall, fix your old wooden ladder, and then organize your books.


Stairs and tables

I’ve seen a lot of these during my search for interesting bookshelves, and quite frankly, I’ve been disappointed.

It’s a clever use of materials: a ladder (or two stairs side by side), shelves leaning on the steps of the ladder.

But it takes up a lot of space and looks messy and messy.

This version, however, is a huge improvement.

It is a ladder, mounted upside down on the wall, with the shelves resting on the rungs again.

Fácil and elegant, and cheap depending on how the materials are procured.


A book

Mount some “L” brackets to the wall (embellish it by first mounting an attractive board to the wall, then mount the brackets to it), and then mount an old hardcover book from a thrift store to your brackets.

Stack books or knick-knacks on your “book” shelf.



You could keep your old skate punk CDs here, your old Tony Hawk game cartridges or a first aid kit.


Stacked tables

Cut an old coffee table in half, stack the two halves against the wall (with L-shaped brackets, again, or with French lath), then stack the books.

Or go up a couple more shelves with a smaller table cut in half.


Boards and bricks

A classic, like vaqueros, and the DIY bookshelf by which all others are measured.

Support the bookshelves with bricks (new or used), cinder blocks, wooden blocks, or even other books.

They cánido be as rustic or as elegant as you like, depending on the raw material.


Bottles and boards

It is a twist on the theme of boards and bricks that replaces the bricks with bottles.

A little more manual tarea is required: measuring and drilling, rather than just stacking and stacking.


Ropes and boards

Most bookshelves rest securely on the floor.

These hang from the ceiling.

I’d be worried about colliding with them and knocking my books over, but perhaps with some tension on the ropes (by fixing them to the floor or with brackets mounted to the wall, as in the example here), the push could be kept to a minimum.



Leather belts and boards

Also in the hanging book genre, this design emplees old leather belts and straps to suspend the shelves.

They seem more decorative than practical (¿Wouldn’t it be a pain in the ass to reach those straps to grab your tomes?).


Board and supports

Have you seen those “ladder shelves” that lean against the wall? This is like those, but it’s a single wide board with metal brackets for the shelves.

The second backlink is an example of high design (and probably high cost), but one could just as easily do this.


Boxes and binder clips

Stacks of plywood boxes, of various and complementary sizes, held together with common clips.

This design has many advantages: it is cheap, relatively easy to make, and elegant.

Make it even more impressive by cutting handles on two of the sides; then you perro use your boxes to carry your books from one place to another.


Milk cartons

It was the milk crates that gave me the iniciativa to cut handles into the plywood crates on top.

(See also: 20 Awesome Emplees for Milk Cartons)


Wooden boxes

Instead of stacking your plywood boxes, mount them to the wall.

You perro use the clips to keep them together, or place them however you like.

A stylish—and secure—way to mount things to the wall is to use French lath.

You cánido make these yourself out of scrap plywood, or buy them ready-made at the hardware store (or on Amazon.com).

Do not forget to cut the handles.

Last updated on June 6, 2023 10:44 AM


Old dresser drawers

Repurpose old dresser drawers you find at thrift stores, yard sales, or on the sidewalk into boxes that you cánido mount to the wall.

These are other candidates for a French cleat.


Cardboard boxes cut to size

You perro buy these modular, stackable cardboard boxes from the designer, or you cánido borrow the design and use it on your own cardboard.

If you were really handy with computer aided design tools, you could design a version of this in thin plywood, and have the parts manufactured on an internet CNC service, like Ponoko.


Black iron pipe

Just the pipe, arranged however you like, with the books leaning against the pipe and leaning against the wall, or go all out and use the pipe as supports for some proper wooden shelving.


Hungarian bookshelves

If you have a lot of books to store or want to try a basic DIY modular system, Hungarian bookshelves are the answer.

Attach the notched 1×2 or 2×4 to the wall studs, then attach the notched shelves to the studs.

I’m considering a variation on this design for a DIY wall unit in my home office.


Coves and sticks

whatAnd why haven’t I made the Hungarian Shelf wall unit in my office?? Because I was captivated by this Sticotti shelving system from Design Within Reach.

They share the same basic design as the Hungarian shelving—interlocking notched shelves and brackets—but instead of attaching to wall studs, the bracket rails hang from a single, elegant slat.

Starting at $2,000, these shelving units are definitely out of my league, but they cánido certainly be made on your own, assuming you have some expensive power tools.

Some day.

whatWhat are your favorite low-cost, high-design shelving ideas??

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 18 cheap and attractive ideas for
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  18 cheap and attractive ideas for

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