Bookcase furniture: how to choose the correct design

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How to design a bookcase keeping in consideration several factors: the dimensions of the environment, the quantity of objects to be stored and the lighting.

January 08 2021, at 11:45
Arch. Titti Cicchiello
Arch. Titti Cicchiello

Bookcase cabinet: where to place it and how to use it best

A home library is more than just a place to store books.
If it's well designed it becomes a key point for relaxing activities such as reading.

The bookcase is an essential element for every home, as it is useful not only for storing books but also to represent an excellent piece of furniture that helps to create a more welcoming home.














To design a functional bookcase it is essential to decide where to position it first, remembering that it is a very versatile element that adapts to various rooms, such as the living room, the basement or the bedroom.

It can have various uses and can be place in many different areas:

  • wall bookcase, it is a dividing wall between two rooms, an element that is not full which therefore does not take light away from the two rooms that are separated;

  • basement bookcase, this one is a piece of furniture that serves to show a space otherwise difficult to use;

  • bridge bookcase, it is used to value the space above the door, creating a bridge.

Once you have chosen where to place it inside your house you can start designing your library.

Designing a bookcase starting from the environment

Bookcases usually do not have standard dimensions.
There are, however, some useful guidelines to orient yourself in the design phase.

A first thing to consider is the depth of the shelves which is around 30 cm in order to avoid leaving a lot of space behind the books that would remain unused.

Bookcase furniture, Misuraemme, Crossing
As far as height is concerned there are several models available and they must refer to the floor height.
On the market there are bookcases that reach a height of one meter up to bookcases that reach the ceiling, even up to three meters high, with the aim of making the most of verticality.

The width must of course be chosen according to the available space which is why the concept of composition is useful: it allows not only to reach the desired width but also to create a dynamic bookcase, given by the combination of wider, narrower and evenelements with different heights.

Simple calculations to start designing

The best way to decide the actual size of the bookcase is to actually calculate the space needed to store books and objects that you want to display.

Just line them up and calculate the space they occupy.

Bookcase furniture, Scandola furniture solutions
The second step is to consider that the shelves are placed at a distance of 30 cm from each other to allow the insertion of the books which must be placed in a vertical position.
This way we can calculate the precise height that the bookcase must reach.

If the books to be stored measure 5 meters, you can think of designing a bookcase 100 cm wide and 150 cm high with five shelves.

We also must not forget to always calculate more space in order to provide more space for any new purchases.

Other factors to consider: lighting

In addition to the size of the room that will host the bookcase all the other characteristics must also be taken into consideration, including lighting and the relationship between full and empty spaces.

Obviously it is not possible to change the quality and quantity of natural lighting that enters the room in question, but if it has excellent lighting, this advantage can be exploited to the fullest by using light colors and open shelves that will provide the bookcase with a greater illumination.

Bookcase furniture, Diotti, Byron line
In this case, however do not forget to protect the books, as they could fade due to direct exposure to sunlight.

Relationship between full and empty

It is also important to study how many full elements and how many empty elements are present in the environment in order to customize the bookcase while maintaining the right harmony and the right balance from a formal and aesthetic point of view.

Some modules can be left open and we can fill the other spaces with doors or drawers.

Thank to this process it is possible to form geometric games in order to make the element unique and original as a whole.

Bookcase furniture, Diotti, Castle
It is also very important to work with the space that is actually available.

If the only available wall is small compared to your needs, in order to optimize the space you can use a shelf with large shelves, avoiding excessive configurations in the vertical direction.

The wider the wall the greater the possibilities to play with the composition, inserting more open modules or shelves that act as desks.

Solutions, materials and colors for bookcase furniture

The materials used to built bookcases are many and each has specific characteristics that make it suitable for different rooms in the house.

There are bookcases made of laminate, iron or natural wood.
The wooden bookcase gives much more strength and is undoubtedly the best choice also from an aesthetic point of view.

Once you've chosen materials and colors you can decide whether to keep the existing style or to create unique pieces that stand out but at the same time are in harmony with the environment.

Bookcase furniture, Misuraemme, Crossing
Choosing, for example, pure white as a color represents a classic, simple and elegant solution, always adaptable even after various renovations.
It is therefore the choice considered by all to be the most comfortable.

However nothing prevents you from opting for stronger shades that give the environment originality and personalization.

Solutions with modular bookcase furniture offers many modular bookcase furniture, including the Almond d. 45,6 double-sided modular bookcase made up of modular elements that allow you to create compositions suitable for any need.

Three bookcase modules are available with a width of 45 cm, 60 cm and 90 cm and nine different heights that provide up to eight compartments.

Bookcase furniture, Diotti, Almond
Thanks to its modularity the Almond bookcase is perfect if placed in the center of a room, in open-space environments, or in fairly large living rooms.

There is also a wide range of accessories for further customization with doors, drawers or baskets.

Wooden bookcase furniture

Other innovative design solutions are proposed by Scandola Mobili: the company chooses to use and favor bookcase furniture in wood from selected, controlled areas and subject to reforestation.

Bookcase furniture, Scandola
Among the bookcases there is that of the M04 line, a suspended model that lightens the environment with the charcoal finish of the structure, in contrast with the slate color of the backrest and with the smooth finish of the fronts of the storage units.

A ladder helps to reach the books that are placed higher up.

Modular systems for wall shelves

Misuraemme Spa has thought of a real innovation by reinventing the concept of bookcase.
One of the lines presented is Crossing, a versatile modular system of panels useful to create wall shelves.

It is fully adjustable along the three-dimensional axes, it can support up to 400 kg.
The program offers a series of modules of different types and sizes, wall units with hinged or sliding doors and drawers in different sizes.

Bookcase furniture, Misuraemme, Crossing
Crossing is available in the Fusion version, with parts in exposed or lacquered wood, or in the Blockboard version, in laminated poplar.

Post: Bookcase furniture: how to design it
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