Bookcases and shelving

Bookcases and shelving units are not only a practical piece of furniture to store all of your books and knick-knacks but can also transform a room creating a statement. Use this buying guide to help you choose the right storage system for you and your home.

Choosing bookcases and shelving


Consider the space you live in and why you are thinking of buying a bookcase or shelving unit. If you need a space saving solution then maybe you would look at ladder storage as this works by ensuring the footprint of the storage is minimal but the function isn’t compromised. Also ensure you think through what you want to store on the shelving unit – books, DVD’s, Vinyl’s, artwork or vases as this may effect what type of unit you buy.


Practical storage or statement piece of furniture may determine what piece of furniture you buy. At Habitat we have a mix of styles to suit everyone whether that is closed draws and cupboards so you can hide your mess away. Open storage with a variety of heights so you can you can find something that suits your home or glass doors keep your favourite items free from dust but still visible.


Modular storage is great versatile storage as you can flex the shelving unit to work best in your space, whether this being adding different functions or building different units next to each other to create an entire wall of storage.
When we are developing our ranges we work hard to think about the end use and depending on the design of the unit some have adjustable shelves so they can easily be adapted according to your needs.

tables and shelving

What to consider

At Habitat we advise all bookcases and shelving units are fitted with a wall strap, this is for safety reasons. Current law states that any storage/drawer units higher than 75mm must to be attached to the wall. Children in particular can be in danger if climbing on a product or hanging of a drawer if the product is not secured in a proper way.  Walls can be made of various materials and will require different screws, inserts and tools. Because it is impossible for us to know what you have in your house Habitat cannot provide the wall fixings but do ensure that all of our furniture that needs it comes with a wall strap.

tables and shelving

How to measure

Ensure you measure the height, width and depth of the space that you want the piece of furniture to sit in. Also think about what you want to store on the shelves, so you need adjustable shelves or a mix of heights. If you have something specific you are looking to show off on your bookcase it would also be worth measuring this, so you can make sure it fits before you get the item home.

tables and shelving

Incorporating into your home

Bookcases and shelving can transform a room so make sure you think about how it will work in your space. You can use bookcases to utilise your alcoves in your house, maybe it will be used as a wall divider, and will it sit in the hallway or living room? All of these will affect the style you may choose.

Bookcases can be a great way of expressing who you are and having a bit of fun, whether that be choosing a bright colour or using scale to make a dramatic look. Or maybe you have a shelving unit that is quite pared back and you use your belongings to create something for people to talk about when they visit.

tables and shelving

Different types and materials

We use a mix of materials in our range depending on what works best for the design however we ensure that each design is functional and fit for use. We use oak or walnut veneer’s to create interesting shapes and details that would not be possible in solid wood. If we are looking at bright colours then the unit maybe in MDF to ensure we have the cleanest and brightest coverage. Glass, metal and high shine glosses are also used in some of our ranges so pick the style and material that is classic or modern depending on your style.

tables and shelving

Caring for your shelving

Depending on the material of the bookcase will alter the cleaning advice so please ensure you read specific information about the product you decide to purchase. Generally all bookcases and shelving units will develop dust so using a dry clean cloth to wipe the dust away and ensure your shelves look sparkling new.

Shelving accessories

How to dress a bookcase?
Mix up your books to create more interest, maybe lay some vertically and horizontally to make the overall look more interesting. Colour co-ordinating your books can look fantastic if you have the time, but even mixing varying heights together can create a more dramatic look.

Bookshelf’s are not just for books, use it to show off your personality and have a look at Habitat’s Object, vases and artwork ranges to mix in some personality. If you have an open bookcase but you have got things you want to hide you can always use storage jars and baskets to conceal mess away.

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