Storing the Printed Word

Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks, beseeched Dr Seuss. Here are some rather more stylish ways to store the printed word.


Books and media go together like birds of a feather and so shelving in a TV den is a great match. Not only is this a practical approach but it has the benefit of making the space feel cosy and characterful instantly. Measure the items you know you’d like to store so the dimensions can be built to suit; if you’re a vinyl fan, you’ll want that collection on show not in a box on the floor! Shelving can wrap around a wall to create a natural nook. A comfy couch or reading chair opposite is all that’s needed to complete the picture. It makes sense to locate this type of floor-to-ceiling shelving in an area of the house where privacy is required from neighbours. Perhaps the south side of the house where fewer windows make the rooms easier to heat.


If you run a client-facing business from home, why not incorporate some multi-task shelving into your new build. One Box homeowner operates a salon, so we designed a flexi room which is useful for seeing clients during the day and transforms into a TV room at night. Wall-to-wall shelving offer display space for books on one side and a product selection on the other. Trimmed in plywood timber, the shelving looks smart yet welcoming. It makes for a professional yet personal atmosphere that clients love. Also, don’t forget to put in some behind-door storage because for extra stock and a space to tidy away items the kids may have left on the floor – because no-one can be 100% organised, 100% of the time!


If you wish to add some rhythm and symmetry to a room, go for cubicle-style shelving where each cubby hole is the equal of the next…and the next. Such simplicity makes a highly contemporary statement. Run it the length of the wall or position either side of a fireplace, TV or desk. Arrange some books vertically and others horizontally, and, if you really want to channel your inner Martha Stewart, make sure you colour co-ordinate the spines. Add collectible objects (whatever you like to frame in the cubby, from a vase to a hat to a treasured teapot) and you’ll nail a look that’s modern yet personalised.


Of course, these days – a bookcase is never just a bookcase. It usually performs several roles and is customized to wrap around the television set or a painting, a drinks’ cabinet, fireplace or a built-in desk. The bookcase can also be a useful room divider. It can be halfheight in an open-plan space to provide separation but visual connection or full height but backless which does the same job. In one Box project, a slender insertion behind the kitchen was wrapped in meranti ply. This alcove contained nothing more than a bookshelf and a built-in day bed, a wonderful escape from the everyday in a home that was too small to contain its own library.


If you imagine you need to devote an entire wall to a built-in bookshelf, your imagination is limiting. Although that approach does, in our opinion, look fantastic and rather scholarly, bookshelves can be added anywhere, in any room. At Box, we love to include them as part of the kitchen (integral to the cabinetry or built into the front of the island bench) or slivered in between cupboards in a living area or beneath a window seat. Why not have them in a bedroom flanked by the wardrobes or even devote a little shelf or two to books in the bathroom vanity.

By Box
July 28, 2021

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