Home news How to Choose a Bookcase: Bookcase Buying Guide

How to Choose a Bookcase: Bookcase Buying Guide

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Deciding on your bookcase is not always an easy task. There are many shapes, colors, and styles to choose from like La Maison shelving etc. often you simply don’t know how to narrow it down and make a decision.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat: the same goes for purchasing bookcases. You can go with something contemporary or traditional, simple or ornate, large or small — there really isn’t any right or wrong answer! If we had to take a stab at how one might approach such a difficult decision as choosing the best bookshelf style for their home, we’d suggest to check our guide below. 

Step 1: Measure

Measure the height, width, and depth of the area where you are planning to put your new bookcase. This will ensure that it fits in correctly.  Don’t forget to take into account doorways and hallways, which could make it difficult for an oversized piece to fit through comfortably.   On most walls, space permitting, bookcases should be placed six inches away from the wall; this ensures proper air circulation, making for more efficient heating or cooling costs.

Step 2: Determine What You Will Use Your Bookcase For

Do you plan on storing only hardcover books?  Or do you want a place for photo albums as well?  Be aware that picture frames can often be placed on the top of bookcases, so if floor space is limited, you might want to consider this feature.  You should also consider how much weight your new bookcase will need to hold.  A filled case can weigh up to 200 pounds!!

Step 3: Decide on the Material

Do you mainly store mostly paperbacks?  Or are your books hardcover only?  Some materials may not be able to support your needs; particle board, for example, is weak in regards to heavy, oversized volumes.  It’s best to check with a retailer before purchasing a piece that won’t safely accommodate your book collection. Another consideration is whether or not strong odors will be present in the room where the bookcase will be. If this is the case, natural wood units are probably best.  The cedar used in most of these pieces doesn’t easily absorb scents like pine or oak, making it ideal for rooms with pets who might have an accident on the carpet.

Step 4: Look at Design

It’s not necessary to choose a traditional bookshelf if you don’t want one.  Shelving units look more like storage cubes or TV stands where books can be stored vertically instead of stacking them horizontally.  These also tend to take up less floor space than standard Bookcases do.   If your bookcase is going to serve as extra seating, why not go all out and purchase a wonderful ottoman with storage space for books, magazines, and your remote control?  These types of units can be a great place to sit down at the end of a long day and relax.  And they really come in handy if you have guests who need extra room to sleep on during their stay. 

Step 5: Choose Color Wisely

Read more if you are a person who is very choosy about perfect colours. White is always safe…and boring!  If your bookcase will be against a white wall, all it does is blend into the scenery.  Why not choose one that’s going to attract attention instead?!   Whether you prefer red or yellow or blue, there is a bookshelf available in any color you’d like – as long as it doesn’t with the other colors in the room, of course! 

Step 6: Look at Finishes

Do you want your new bookcase to match the color of your drapes?  Or do you want it to blend in?  If there are other pieces that will be sitting next to it, it’s usually best to choose finishes that compliment rather than contrast each other.

Step 7: Try Before You Buy

The best buying guide will always give you the option to test out any piece before agreeing to purchase it.  Some stores offer “demo” models which have been used as displays and may have some dings or scratches on them.  These can be great ways to find out if you really like the piece without having to wonder later on whether or not it would have been right for your home.

Step 8: Ask Your Friends and Family

Recommendations from friends and family members who’ve recently purchased new bookcases are always an excellent way to go. They’ll likely know of a store that has excellent customer service or will probably even recommend something they saw or tried before!

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