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Wood Bookshelves & Bookcases

Ideas for decorating with wood bookshelves & bookcases.

Furniture comes next for consideration, and there is a vast collection of shelves and cases that stands alone, dwarf, revolving, high and low; table racks for books, expanding racks, bureau-bookcases, and even dressers.

Mahogany Bookshelves - Bookcases with Doors

In the nineteenth century sets of plain mahogany bookshelves were often made without the impossible ornamental carving that would debar them from a modern room, and they are very useful, solid, well-made pieces. Bookcases with doors are numberless in design. There are early walnut cases, designed by William Kent, with glass-fronted book cupboards in the upper portion and panelled doors below ; also glazed bookcases by Chippendale, light, slender pieces some of them, others massive and altogether too imposing to enter the simple library of a small house. There are Sheraton book cupboards in mahogany, and there are numbers of small stands and racks in mahogany, satinwood, painted wood and lacquer.

1763 Bookcase with Glazed Front Doors
1763 Bookcase with Glazed Front Doors.
Carved mahogany on a carcase of pine.

Bureau Bookcases

The bureau bookcase is a space-saving design and is a practical combination too. In a house where an extra room cannot be given over to books, and where they have to be arranged in a sitting-room perhaps, a bureau bookcase would be excellent, although its capacity is limited; but it serves a double purpose without making a double claim on space.

Bureau Bookcase
Bureau Bookcase, 1809.
Mahogany, veneered with zebrawood and other woods, with gilt-bronze mounts.

Revolving Bookcases

A revolving bookcase is an ingenious design but there is very little else to be said in its favour. It is not the sort of article for a corner or recess : in a small room it is apt to be in the way, and in a room of moderate dimensions it can seldom be found a settled and suitable place in the furnishing plan. Books should be treated as friends, and they should be ready to hand always, and a case that makes them accessible is the best case to have.

Dwarf Bookcases

Dwarf bookcases provide a fair amount of shelf space, and an oak or walnut dresser may be given over to books. Then there are many types of small bookstand with tilted upper shelves so that some of the books lie at an angle while the shelves below take the larger ones ; also there are the graceful fretted stands in lacquer that can take books or china equally well. Many china cabinets make good bookcases if the shelves are altered slightly.

Book Table Racks

The arrangement of books on tables can, like most other things, be done well without any great difficulty. Pocket editions and even the average novel can easily be accommodated by a table rack. Such racks have almost as wide a variety of design as bookcases and they can stand either on a table or a bureau. Their construction is simple, for they consist of a shelf about four or five inches wide with a back about five or six inches high. This shelf has curved ends and can be made to rest flat on a table, or it may have a small stand with carved feet. It may be covered in some material like damask, or it can be lacquered, painted, or finished in polished mahogany or walnut. Perhaps it may take the form of two simple end pieces in metal that may be placed at each end of a row of books on a table to prevent them from falling sideways.

Books in the Bedroom

These little racks can add greatly to the appearance of a table. Books in a bedroom look best in small hanging shelves, but when arranged on mantel shelves and in other obviously unsuitable places create an impression of untidiness, however neatly they may be placed. The presence of books in a room introduces the element of personality, and gives a lasting touch of friendliness and interest.

Bookstand in Black Lacquer
Bookstand in Black Lacquer.

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