These designs are the real key to bookshelf wealth…

a room with a large bookcase and a large bookcase
The best designer shelves and shelving unitsmca estudio

Perusing a person’s bookshelves can tell you an awful lot about them, so it’s important that you are comfortable with what yours say about you. That means curation – selecting the books, artworks and objets you love the most, and displaying them in a way that’s considered but full of character. A well-designed bookcase can encourage this approach.

Created by Brazil-based NJ+ Architects, the unit in this Parisian family home (above) features a series of white angled boxes instead of shelves, allowing the homeowners to create a collection of small vignettes with their belongings. Something of an optical illusion, the large fan-shaped lacquered design is the focal point of the living room, cleverly wrapping around the travertine fireplace while visually elongating the space and offering interest from every angle. This is a bespoke creation, but there are plenty of options in our list that will add design credentials and organisational kudos to your home.

‘Limited-edition 1949-2024’ shelf, String

The String shelving unit is a truly enduring icon, beloved by minimalist organised types since it was first designed by Swedish architect Nisse Strinning and his wife Kajsa Strinning back in 1949. This new version celebrates a long legacy. From £220,

blue shelving unit
Marcus Lawett

‘Slot’ shelving unit, Case

British designer Terence Woodgate intended this shelving unit to be easily adjustable and minimalist. The height of all of the shelves can be set to whatever you require and there are two shelf widths to choose from, plus three colours (cobalt and black as well as white). From £655,

a white shelving unit with a white background
Case Furniture

‘Antibes’ bookcase, Boffi

This modular system by Piero Lissoni is a stylishly customisable way to create large or even floor-to-ceiling shelving. The simple design comes in many lacquered finishes as well as several timber options, and although the depth of the shelves cannot be adjusted, the width and height of each one is fully at your discretion. Price on application,

a room with a large bookcase

‘Magazine Shelf MS.115.2’, Moebe

These slimline shelves are ideal not just for displaying magazines (we suggest a back catalogue of ELLE Decoration), but also artwork, which looks stylish propped within its framework. The elastic band that is placed around the unit’s vertical rods ensures nothing slips off of your display. £597,

navy blue and wooden shelving unit

‘Alba’ bookcase, Arflex

Bernhardt & Vella designed this delicate storage system that’s perfect for displaying objet d’art. It’s is intended to be attached to the floor and ceiling, lending a stability to its glass shelves, which come in three colours – green, bronzed or smokey. £9,390,

a table with chairs and a shelf with objects on it

‘Brera 23’ bookcase, Gallotti & Radice

Sometimes, it’s as much about what you hide as what you display. That was the thinking of designer Massimo Castagna when placing sections of storage behind doors in either decorated glass, metal-lacquered glass or a Craquelé finish. These closed off treasure chests are joined by wide shelves in either stained ash or walnut. From £3,000,

black shelving unit
Gallotti & Radice

‘Corniches’ shelves, Vitra

Don’t have much wall space, but still want to make an impact? Consider this chunky design by Rowan and Erwan Bouroullec, which has all manner of uses: as a key shelf by the front door, a soap dish in the bathroom or just to display your most prized objects. From £55,

corniches shelves by ronan and erwan bouroullec for vitra
Lorenz Cugini

‘Dedal’ shelves, Gubi

Made using Mathieu Matégot’s innovative ‘Rigitulle’ technique, the ‘Dédal’ pairs metal tubing with sheet metal that has been perforated, bent and folded into a characterful, geometric shape. Available in a kaleidoscope of colours, it’s particularly effective in multiples. Approx £370,

dedal shelf by mathieu mategot for gubi

‘Bond Color’ shelving system, Fogia

Classic, endlessly flexible and designed to shape-shift depending on your space and needs, the ‘Bond’ system is do-it-all shelving at its best. Now, the design comes in a new range of punchy, primary colours, which act as the perfect counterpart to its minimalist structure. From £639,

bond color shelving system by fogia

‘Ren’ bookcase, Poltrona Frau

Sometimes, simplicity rules. That’s certainly true in the case of the ‘Ren’ bookcase by Neri & Hu, which features two lateral uprights, slightly inclined, which support birch plywood shelves upholstered in finest leather. From £5,172,

ren bookcase by neri and hu for poltrona frau

‘Chimney’ shelves, Vipp

Named after the Chimney House (one of Vipp’s five hotels, for which they were created) these oak-veneer shelves are mounted on narrow, vertical panels. Available in two sizes, they’ll suit any pared-back interior. From £295,

chimney shelves by vipp