It's possible the phrase 'freestanding bookshelves' is a bit redundant — when you think of a bookshelf or a bookcase, your mind probably conjures up a freestanding unit automatically, whether or not 'freestanding' was initially included.
But it is an important distinction; as anyone following my best bookshelves odyssey would know, there are quite a few different styles out there, from ladder to wall-mounted to yes, even freestanding, and they should all be considered individually, as they add different values to a space.
Today, we're focused entirely on freestanding bookshelves — those that sit on the floor and support themselves (though you might consider securing some of them to the wall so they don't fall over). This might be my favorite edit I've done so far so you don't want to miss this!
12 of the best freestanding bookshelves
Livingetc knows design.
This unit from design mainstay HAY features exposed joints and untreated solid oak wood, almost as thought it were built of Lincoln Logs (a compliment).
I am positively obsessed with this luxurious Glas Italia piece, which was designed by Yabu Pushelberg. As far as bookshelves that will make your living room look more expensive, this unit is one of one.
This modern bookshelf design is truly all the rage right now; I've been seeing it across retailers for months. I can't help but include it every time I see it, though. It's such a commanding, visually satisfying structure.
There are lots of corner bookshelves out there that feel and look rather cheap, but this Joss & Main unit is simply not one of them. The fact that it fits so perfectly in a hard-to-style corner is a mere afterthought; first and foremost, an elegant and chic design.
What I love most about this low bookshelf is that it's slightly translucent, offering a perfectly functional solution for anyone in need of a subtle room divider that doesn't totally impede the flow of the space. Plus, the reviews are near impeccable.
The rounded edges on this unit are the real star here. A bit of a visual trick, they make it look as though the whole bookshelf could roll away if it wanted.
I bet you'd never guess where this affordable bookshelf is from. That's right, SAKS! What a great steal from one of the premier luxury retailers.
A circular bookshelf that looks neither cheap nor tacky, this Bed Bath & Beyond piece captured my heart the first time I saw it. The shelf arrangement really is perfect.
Adler does it again! Who wouldn't adore the subtle gold joinery of this stunning minimalist bookshelf, especially when combined with an otherwise glass frame.
If you ask me, black bookshelves are inherently elegant. But this abstract unit from Burke Decor, which is gorgeous enough to display without contents, takes that luxury to the next level.
How should I secure a freestanding bookshelf?
As I mentioned above, securing your bookshelf to the wall might be a good idea, especially if you're living in a house with small animals or young kids. To do so, Docia Boylen, owner of Handyman Connection of Golden, recommends using an 'anti-tip furniture kit since it is the most secure for safety.' They are often included with tall/large pieces of furniture. 'Generally they are brackets that you attach with screws to the wall and then the furniture,' she told me: 'You will need a ladder and a pencil to mark the areas to ensure you install them correctly.'
If you're securing the bookshelf more for aesthetic purposes or 'just-in-case' (i.e. there is no real safety risk to animals or kids), 'you can use glue or adhesive strips' rather than screws, Docia advised. 'Just know that this will not hold it up if [its] weight is trying to pull it down.'
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Brigid Kennedy is a style editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.
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