Ever since I moved into my first tiny dorm room at 18, I’ve been juggling two problems: too many books, and not enough room to store them. In my current bedroom, I was able to keep the storage crisis at bay through frequent KonMari purges, but eventually my bookworm ways caught up to me. I found myself out of storage space, with books piling up on my floors. I finally turned to a long-dormant solution I had first used back in college: invisible book shelves.
My mom bought me an Umbra floating book shelf after seeing my sleeping arrangement in my sophomore bedroom. She took one look at my top bunk and became determined to supply me with the essentials in my high perch. She discovered the floating bookshelf in the bookstore, and my roommate installed it just using a regular screw driver. While text books stayed by my desk, books I read for fun lived on the bookshelf by my bed all year.
The floating shelves were so incredibly simple in their design I was shocked they worked: tiny clips grip the hardcover of the first book, which in turn stabilizes the rest of the stack (only the first book has to be hardcover). Once enough books are stacked to conceal the rest of the L-shaped design, it truly becomes invisible.
About 10 years later, I thankfully no longer have to sleep on a lofted Twin XL bed, but my collection of books has continued to grow. After once again knocking over a pile of “to read” books in the middle of the night, I finally remembered my mom’s long-ago solution. This time, I was also able to appreciate something that was lost on my teenage self: they’re also an incredibly easy way to create wall decor (that you can also change up with ease).
I hung up my new shelves in an undecorated corner of my bedroom. A narrow corner space between two windows, it had been neglected since I moved in. Now, the corner is filled with my favorite travel and art books. I even found a small framed print to cap it off. My only caution is that, while the shelves are secure up to 15 lbs, its a better spot to store books you’re not constantly reaching for or currently reading.
But that’s just one of the endless possibilities. I chose books thematically, but it could also be a fun way to do the trend of grouping books of like colors together without having to reorganize all your shelves. I installed them as a small space solution, but I also like the idea of a minimalist statement above a couch. Using just one can also be the book storage answer to the floating bedside lamp. It is one of the rare storage answers that’s also useful and attractive. If only a design-focused solution to my constantly-growing make-up collection were as easy to find.
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