How Deep Should Bookshelves Be

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Deep bookshelves give you the luxury to play with layers. Lean artwork

How Deep Should Bookshelves Be


When it comes to organizing your books and displaying them in your home, bookshelves play a crucial role. However, determining the right depth for bookshelves can be a bit tricky. In this article, we will explore the factors to consider when deciding how deep your bookshelves should be.

Standard Bookshelf Depth

The standard depth for bookshelves is typically around 10 to 12 inches. This depth allows for the average-sized book to be stored upright without any issues. It also provides ample space for displaying other items such as decorative pieces or photo frames.

Consider the Size of Your Books

If you have a large collection of oversized books or coffee table books, you might want to consider increasing the depth of your bookshelves. A deeper shelf, around 14 to 16 inches, will accommodate these larger books without any problems. It’s important to measure your largest books to ensure they fit comfortably on the shelf.

Think About the Available Space

Before deciding the depth of your bookshelves, assess the available space in the room where you plan to install them. If you have limited space, opting for shallower shelves can help maximize the use of the area. On the other hand, if you have a spacious room, deeper shelves can add a more substantial and visually appealing look to the space.

Consider Accessibility

Accessibility is another factor to consider when determining the depth of your bookshelves. If you frequently access your books and need to reach them easily, shallower shelves will be more convenient. However, if you don’t need regular access to your books or plan to use the shelves primarily for display purposes, deeper shelves can be a better option.

Account for Other Items

Aside from books, you may want to display other items on your bookshelves, such as collectibles, plants, or even storage baskets. If you have these additional items, it’s essential to factor in their dimensions when deciding on the depth of your shelves. Make sure there’s enough space to accommodate everything you want to include.

Customization Options

If you can’t find bookshelves with the exact depth you desire, consider customizing them. Many furniture stores offer customization options where you can choose the dimensions that suit your needs. This way, you can create bookshelves that are tailored to your specific requirements.

Consider Aesthetics

The depth of your bookshelves can also contribute to the overall aesthetics of the room. Shallow shelves can create a sleek and minimalist look, while deeper shelves can add a more substantial and grand appearance. Consider the style and theme of your room when deciding on the depth to ensure it complements the overall design.


Ultimately, the depth of your bookshelves should be determined by your specific needs, the size of your books, the available space, and your aesthetic preferences. By considering these factors, you can create bookshelves that not only serve as functional storage but also enhance the overall look of your home.