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Amazing Tips You Should Know Before Buying a Bookcase

Sujata Iyer May 12, 2019
Books, books everywhere, and not a shelf to fill? Quite understandable if you're one of those who buys more than you can read. Here's a guide on purchasing the perfect bookcase for your treasure.
It's always a good idea to buy extra hardware (like knobs and hinges) that belong to a bookcase along with it. These can come in handy if your bookcase gets damaged and the design of your bookcase has gone out of production.
That sweet fragrance of old, yellow books, those stories within stories, those ragged ends brought about by frequent re-reading; these are things that any book lover will relate to. Parting with books is not pretty, but then, neither is stacking them all over the place.
Enter bookcases, and it's a win-win situation for all. But how do you pick the perfect one? Here are practical bookcase buying tips for the sentimental book hoarder.

Decide the Type and Style of Bookcase

There are various types of bookcases available, each with its own advantages. The most popular ones are listed here.
Stackable wooden shelves with glass doors.
● Wall-mounted
Shelves mounted onto a wall.
● Display
Narrow-shelved bookcase to enable the front of the book to be on display.
Regular bookcase with shelves (narrow or wide, open or closed).
Leaning and Ladder
Bookcase built to resemble a ladder/made to lean against a wall.

Bookcase with a spine and attached shelves, built to resemble a tower.
Removable and stackable cubes placed together to make a bookcase.
A triangular bookcase built to fit into a corner.
If you cannot make a choice based solely on the types, then perhaps you should consider the style and feel that you want your bookcase to exude.
  • Is it something traditional you're looking for? Perhaps a vintage barrister will do the trick.
  • Are you looking for something modern or contemporary? Modular may be the way to go for you.
  • Want to do something offbeat or quirky? How about a leaning or ladder bookcase!It's that simple!

Decide the Purpose of the Bookcase

Even though the name suggests that this piece of furniture be used to store books, the truth is far from it. We all know it; it's just time to admit it before buying the bookcase. This will help you decide the scope of usability of the bookcase.
It can be used to store books, needless to say. You can also use it as a display cabinet for chinaware, photographs, memorabilia, souvenirs, and the like. It can also be used to store items that you use daily, like keys, sunglasses, cell phones, etc. Keep all these uses in mind while picking out one.

Check for Strength and Durability

Jennifer Litwin, consumer reporter and author of Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever! says that "the No. 1 most important thing when it comes to a bookcase is strength."
When it comes to strength and durability, the most obvious factor to consider is the material used to build the bookcase. The stronger the material, the longer the bookcase will last. The more durable it is, the better it can endure rough handling brought on by regular moving around―within the house or from one house to anot

Double-check the Dimensions

When we talk about dimensions, we mean all the dimensions that a bookcase and its vicinity can possibly have. Measure the area you're going to place the case in. If there's a window in the area, make sure you include it in the measurements.
Double-check how much floor space and wall space is available. Once you have these, you can measure a bookcase in its entirety that fits these dimensions―length, height, and breadth-wise.

Keep the Spot in Mind

The area where you will be placing the bookshelf is also a deciding factor in the kind you buy. Listed here are just a few things you need to take into account.
  • Will you be placing it in a corner?
  • Will it completely block natural light if placed in front of a window?
  • Will its placement hamper foot traffic in the area?
  • Will it jut out and be a potential hazard?
  • Will it create blind spots where a kid might get stuck?
  • How easy will it be to move it from there?
  • Will its placement make it difficult to clean it?

Critically Examine the Shelves

The shelves are going to bear the weight of everything you place in the bookcase. Hence, it becomes important to ensure that they are capable of doing so. The shelves of an ideal bookcase should be more than 1 inch in thickness. The number of shelves that you have will obviously depend on the number of books and other items you intend to place on them.
If you're not sure about this, you can opt for bookcases that come with adjustable and stackable shelves. You can modify these according to your needs as and when required. The height and depth of each shelf is another crucial point.
While there is no standard depth, somewhere between 12 to 16 inches should suffice. If you think this won't be enough, measure your widest book and look for a bookcase that is wide enough.

Choose between Open and Closed

When picking a bookcase, decide whether you want it to be a closed or open one. Closed ones score higher on the utility scale as they protect books from dust and moisture. They're also easy to move without having to empty them.
However, one point to remember is that if you're going for a closed one, it would be a good idea to have lights fitted in (if it does not already have them). Open bookcases are more convenient to use on a daily basis without the hassle of having to open and close a door or drawer every time. Keep these points in mind, and pick one that suits your needs.
A bookcase is only as useful as you intend it to be. So, you have to be completely sure of exactly what you need from it and how much you're willing to shell out for it. That being said, it's pretty obvious that a bookcase is an investment you can make with your eyes closed. Its immense adaptability makes it so. Take full advantage of it!