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How To Build A Bookshelf Wall

How To Build A Bookshelf Wall

If you love reading and books then there is a good chance that your bookshelves are overflowing and you have piles of books around your home with no place to put them.

If you want to upgrade your book storage, you could build a bookshelf wall.

How To Build A Bookshelf Wall

A bookshelf wall is a whole wall that is dedicated to book storage. When the shelving takes up the whole wall rather than just being one piece of furniture it becomes a feature of the room, adding a touch of class.

You can choose a minimalistic style or a rustic, shabby chic style - whatever suits your home decor.

If you are interested in building a bookshelf wall in your home then keep reading. We have put together this guide to tell you everything you need to know.

Choose Your Wall And Your Style

The first thing you need to do is choose which wall you are going to use. Remember that the bookshelf will add depth to the wall, so you need to make sure that you can still fit your furniture in the room once it has been installed.

If you use a wall with the door on it then this can make a very interesting feature. The bookshelf can cover the whole wall, including above the door, which looks amazing and adds real character to the room.

If you are going floor to ceiling with your bookshelves, make sure you can still reach the books at the top.

You might need to install a ladder of some kind. This will make it feel like a traditional library shelf which is lovely in rustic houses and adds charm.

If you want a minimalist look then you could go for a wall of floating book shelves.

Using white bookshelves on white walls helps them to blend into the room so they are less striking, or you could go with a dark color to contrast with the light wall.

Choose Your Wood

The next thing you need to do is decide which wood you are going to use. Most traditional bookcases are made from solid hardwood like oak, but attaching this material to your wall could be too heavy, especially when you add the weight of the books.

Solid softwoods like pine might not be strong enough to hold the weight of the books.

Plywood is a good option for a bookshelf wall, with a veneer coating to make it look smart and to protect the wood. It is light enough not to put too much strain on the wall, but strong enough to hold the heavy books.

You can choose the finish of the veneer to suit whatever style you are going for. This will also work out a lot cheaper than using solid wood, which is handy as you will need quite a lot of wood for this project.

Cut The Wood To Size

You will need accurate measurements of the wall so that you know what lengths to cut the plywood. Consider how much space you want to leave between each shelf - you might want some shelves taller than others to fit the larger books.

You might also want to create sections for other items like sculptures, vases, or photographs. Once you have designed the bookshelf to meet your needs, you can start cutting the plywood.

It is quite difficult to cut plywood cleanly with a circular saw, especially if you are using long sheets.

It is not advised to use a domestic table saw to cut plywood. Your best option is to ask the lumber yard where you are buying the plywood from to use their commercial table saw.

They can cut the plywood into smaller pieces, making it easier for you to size it exactly using a circular saw. Some lumber yards may be able to cut all of the wood to size for you, but will likely charge extra for this service.

Attach The Legs And Support

You will need to build the bookshelf wall from the bottom up, starting with the legs. Attach the legs to the bottom support of the bookcase.

You can leave the bottom section open, or cover it with a kickboard for a smoother finish. If you want your bookshelves to be extra sturdy, use a combination of nails and glue to attach the legs to the support.

From here you have two options. You can build the bookshelf and then attach it to the wall, or you can attach the different parts of the bookshelf to the wall in stages, gradually building the bookshelf.

It depends on the size of the bookshelf and the height of the wall.

Assemble The Bookshelf

Assemble The Bookshelf

If you are building the bookshelf before attaching it, you will need to add the side supports to the base, and then fix the shelves in place. Make sure you check that each shelf is perfectly level before fixing it.

You can then position the bookcase against the wall and attach it, using shims to make sure it is level and even.

If you are attaching the bookshelf gradually, then attach the base and legs to the wall. Add the side supports to the base, then attach them to the wall. Use shims to make sure that they are flush with the wall.

Add each shelf in one by one, checking that it is level and then attaching it to the side support and the wall.

Trims And Edges

Once the bookcase is assembled and attached to the wall, you can add any additional trimming and edging. This is optional, but it can help to make your bookcase look more sleek and professional. These should be fixed in place with glue and nails to ensure that they are secure.


Creating a bookshelf wall is a great way to upgrade your book storage and add character to your home. If you do your measurements carefully then it is quite easy to make an excellent bookshelf wall.

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