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Bookcases + Shelving

The things a person accumulates over the years reveal a lot about them. You proudly show off your favorite movies to friends, delight in listening to the music that defines you and also take the time to keep little souvenirs and reminders of the places your travels or memorable experiences have taken you. Whether you’re a book aficionado or a sports fan, your keepsakes deserve to be seen. Plus, you also need somewhere to keep them all. In modern homes, bookcases and shelves have to take care of both roles: the practical side of offering storage, and the fashionable part of looking gorgeous. west elm’s living room bookcases and shelving are functional and fabulous. They balance your decor while making your most precious possessions shine. Here’s how.


Each room has different areas where a bookcase fits perfectly. Some bookcases are totally vertical, others are short and wide, and some combine the best of both worlds. So what goes where? That’s totally up to your imagination. Vertical bookcases are usually used as complementary pieces, which means they look especially beautiful in the corners of a room. They also handle small spaces – like the area next to a window – masterfully. Bookcases take advantage of leftover wall space to bring the room together and make it feel complete. You can use a single bookcase, a matching pair spaced apart or several different kinds placed around the room.


Wide bookcases, cabinets and console tables are very powerful pieces. They’re just as comfortable blending into the background as they are drawing attention to an accent wall. That makes them ideal for placing underneath a large painting or a prominent decorative object. Besides their top surface, horizontal bookcases also offer tons of shelf space for – you guessed it – books, artwork, photographs and anything else that defines you.


What you want to display is up to you, but the general idea is to let people know more about who you are and what you like. A room with a clear signature of your personality wows guests and makes you feel happy too. And it’s a great confidence booster. Your favorite novels, pictures of friends and family, awards – basically whatever made you who your are – all look great on a bookcase in your living room, bedroom or home office.


Display cabinets highlight your prized collection pieces with even more sophistication by putting them behind glass. Some people like to use their display case to protect fine china from their wedding day, and others prefer to keep an aged bottle of expensive scotch or wine ready for special celebrations. The cabinet’s natural wood finish gives your room a hint of vintage flair.


Another way to maximize the decorative possibilities of any room is to add shelves. They fit in places not many other pieces of furniture can go, giving you a spot to put a brilliant vase with flowers, candles and other decor. Whether long, short, wide and narrow, there’s no limit to what you can do with a shelf or several.


In the living room, shelves can be accent pieces or additional fixtures. Accent shelves capture your attention. They’re a good place for large pieces of art or planters. For instance, a long shelf has enough space for a print in the center, along with several other accessories on each side. Another way to enhance the wall is to use two or more shelves arranged above each other vertically. This kind of layout offers the storage capacity of a large bookcase, but with a much more open feel.


Bookcases and shelves come in all shapes and finishes. For something sleek and modern, think about including touches of glass and metal. Mirrored shelves take elegance to new levels and combine perfectly with bright lighting and natural illumination. Use reclaimed wood if you want the feel of rustic or industrial. And remember that no one said you have to color inside the lines. Abstract shapes lend an artistic vibe to the living room.