How to Design a Bookcase


It can be a challenge to find a bookcase that fits your style and space requirements exactly. One way to get just what you want is to design one yourself. Follow these simple steps and you'll be well on your way to creating a stylish, custom bookcase that is truly unique.


Step 1

Measure the area where the bookcase will be located. This will help determine the finished height and width. Keep in mind that most bookcases are built with a depth of 12 inches, but if you are creating a built-in for a wall niche, you may use the depth of the niche as a guide.

Step 2

Sketch the rough outline of the bookcase on graph paper. Let every square equal 1 inch.

Step 3

Decide whether you want open bookshelves or doors to conceal storage. You can also do a mix of open and closed storage. Glass doors may be an option.

Step 4

Determine how many shelves you will require and draw them in. Most shelves are 1 to 2 inches thick. Consider adjustable shelves so that you can change the configuration as needed in the future.

Step 5

Rework the configuration on graph paper until you achieve a design that you are happy with.

Step 6

Decide what material to use for shelves. Solid wood, glass, medium density fiberboard are options.

Step 7

Select decorative crown molding for the top and base molding for the bottom of your unit.

Step 8

Decide if you want a painted or stained finish and select the color.

Step 9

Select hardware, pulls or knobs if you are adding doors to your bookcase.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler or straight edge


  • This Old House

Who Can Help

  • Find Carpentry & Cabinetry Professionals Near You
Keywords: bookcase, design, cabinetry

About this Author

Sarah Bradburn is an interior designer and aspiring writer living in Phoenix, Arizona. She holds an Associate's degree in interior design and is currently pursuing kitchen and bath certification. She has worked in high-end residential design as well as model home merchandising.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Design a Bookcase