It might be seen as a sad indictment of our times but the popularity of Kindles and other tablets means everyone can download the latest bestseller and carry a virtual library around, wherever they go. But if fewer real books are being added to shelves, will the stoical bookcase will need to change careers?

Alter Ego

Bookcases can be majestic and imposing, bringing a sense of calm to a room. And even if all your future books will be electronic, you should still display your older reading matter with pride. And despite what the name suggests, these structures are wonderful pieces of furniture in their own right and can perform a multitude of other functions.

Living Room

Bookcases make the perfect display area for your objet d’art, trophies, souvenir mug collection, etc. The beauty of glass fronted cases is that they reduce the amount of dusting required, which is always a big plus.

Although open plan living is still very much in demand, there are times when it’s nice to have a cosy corner for peace and reflection. Using a full length bookcase as a divider can make that possible. It would need anchoring to the wall for safety but that’s relatively simple to do.

With the wide array of AV and gaming equipment that many households have, it’s no wonder the media centre tends to dominate the room. A half-height bookcase could accommodate the games console, digital receiver, audio equipment and quite a few DVDs to boot. And by drilling a few well-placed holes, you’ll keep the ugly wires hidden from view.

Haven’t you always wanted a drinks cabinet? You could have all your favourite spirits and liqueurs on show, together with your best cocktail glasses. You could stick mirror tiles onto the inside back panel and install a hidden light to make it even more authentic. If you opted for a bookcase with cupboard doors in the bottom half, you could even hide a mini fridge in there.


Possible the best use for a bookcase (other than for books of course) is for storing shoes. Instead of searching the back of the wardrobe or under the bed for your favourite killer heels, they’d be there in front of you, side by side and looking fabulous. And why stop there? Go for a matching pair of cases and let your handbags share some of the glory.

As unlikely as it may sound, people are using bookcases behind beds to act as shelves and headboard. It can certainly achieve a built-in look, particularly if you extend the bookcases to either side of the bed, and you can add convenient lighting, alarm clock, etc.  The biggest reservation would be comfort, as surely resting your head and back against shelves can’t be pleasant?

Even if you only own a handful of actual books, every home still needs the very versatile bookcase. Hopefully now you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one.