17 Antique Bookshelves That Look Amazing (Vintage)

Whether you’re a bookworm or you just have a ton of books at home, anyone can benefit from having a marvelous antique bookshelf.

To get an idea of what furniture pieces can give a timeless allure to your space, explore our carefully curated list of 17 antique bookshelves that look amazing.

Vintage Secretary Bookcase

INSTAGRAM @debbiemathewshome

Back in the day, secretary bookcases were the ultimate spot for productivity. They’re still a functional piece now and they bring a lot of style into any room.

This design features a rich wooden secretary bookcase with a neat little pullout table that can serve as a desk when needed.

The bookcase doubles as a furniture piece you can have on display and as an area where you can read or get some work done.

Cottage Bathroom With Shelf Niche

INSTAGRAM @yarn.home

Now, this cottage bathroom uses an old-timey interior design but an innovative way of incorporating storage with a compact niche shelf.

There’s nothing like enjoying a good book in a warm bath and this design helps make that experience seamless.

You can also store a few shower essentials in this compartment. I suggest getting a glass cover if you’re going to keep books on the lower shelf as well, so they won’t get wet while you’re in the bath.

I’ve also got some great book storage for kids’ bedrooms here.

Mid-Century Glass Door Bookcase

INSTAGRAM @retrofurnitureco

For the more recent designs, a modern mid-century bookshelf might be the better fit. This design offers a sleek and retro wooden piece with a glass door.

The great thing about this mid-century furniture is that you can keep other things aside from books and display them nicely behind the glass.

To maximize this feature, you can also place a few decorative ornaments on the top of the bookcase. I recommend putting scented candles to make it a fragrant and visually appealing space.

INSTAGRAM @vintageposch

Here’s another modern mid-century bookshelf with an elevated and innovative design. It has a sharp geometric backdrop and backlights installed.

A bookcase like this is perfect for displaying prized items. In this instance, the shelf isn’t filled to allow each compartment to highlight its contents. 

I love how there are two small drawers where you can store little trinkets and other things you wouldn’t want out on display.

Vintage Bookshelf With Small Cabinet

INSTAGRAM @thesourceress_bmore

Check out this vintage bookshelf that divides its top and bottom storage compartments.

You might not want to have a vintage piece that puts everything out on display. Well, this design also gives you the option to keep other items hidden in the cabinets and drawers.

Even a classic design can be a versatile storage piece to have in your home.

I adore how this shelf showcases the decor too.

open and glass bookshelves

This is a grander design that’s taller and wider. It also has more cupboard space on the bottom.

A section of the bookshelf has a glass cover, which makes it look more unique and expensive. 

Doesn’t this just look like such a cozy place to read and unwind?

The comfy chair faces the window so you can also enjoy the view and absorb some sunlight.

bookshelves on top of cabinet

Here is a more current design that can easily blend into modern homes. It features a straightforward wooden bookshelf by the window.

The placement of the bookshelf allows the sunlight to hit it in just the right spot. I bet this design would look amazing with plants draping its top and sides.

I recommend putting a vintage lamp, not just to accentuate the aesthetic but so you can also enjoy reading here at night.

Please also read our article with 21 amazing DIY bookshelf ideas. 

Space-Optimized Mid-Century Shelves

INSTAGRAM @warehausorlando

Let’s take a look at a couple more mid-century designs. This compact wooden bookshelf gives you an inventive way of incorporating the furniture piece into your home.

The design has open storage, which can reduce the visual weight it adds. Also, the different-sized compartments give you stylish ways to have your items out on display.

Aside from the usual books and decorations, you can also use this stand to hold some household appliances, like a small TV or a radio. In fact, you can even place this near the kitchen!

INSTAGRAM @uptownmodernaustin

In another mid-century piece, we can see how this bright wooden structure adds so much function and character to the room.

This shelf offers so much space to store more than just your books. It’s the perfect spot to add some personal touches, so display your favorite items and souvenirs here. 

The cable situation here is a bit inefficient. So, I recommend getting a handy cord organizer to make things neat and more convenient.

Built-In Wooden Bookshelf

INSTAGRAM @oldmaplehome

Let’s appreciate this fantastic design. This rustic home features a built-in bookshelf that fits snuggle into an arched space in the wall.

The modest design is not just a visual treat, but it also saves up space by going into the wall. The arch frames the bookshelf beautifully and the layers fit into the niche like a glove.

Admittedly, vintage bookshelves can be bulky structures, so this is a great hack for smaller homes!

wall-mounted wooden bookshelves

Antique bookshelves will also work wonderfully with industrial interiors. This urban home brick-walled home softens its space with a built-in wooden bookshelf with a ladder.

There’s no denying that the wooden elements of this room contribute so much to its charm and balance the harshness of the bricks.

To make the area livelier, think about getting more houseplants to distribute around the place.

Standard Wooden Bookshelves

bookshelves with drawer underneath

If you’re looking for a reliable and sturdy option for your office or reading, nothing beats a standard wooden bookshelf.

The clear-cut design is best for the spaces that you want to remain low-key and unassuming. It does the job and still looks great doing it.

The simplicity of the bookshelf can still bring a certain elegance to any room. As a bonus, you get to keep multitudes of books with the many shelves it has.

tiered wooden shelves

Here’s another example where the standard wooden bookshelf induces harmony by allowing the other elements of the room to shine equally.

It’s the perfect solution for those who don’t want anything too striking or distracting. So, you’d ideally keep this in places where you need complete focus.

Another neat thing about this design is that it also gives you a blank canvas to work with. So, you can keep it plain or decorate it to your heart’s desire.

Retro Library

tiered wooden bookshelves

When you have abundant vertical space in your home, it’s best to maximize it. Don’t leave your tall walls bare and consider installing a makeshift wooden library.

The design cleverly adds purpose to your walls and instantly transforms them from a bare space to a stylish one.

To make sure you don’t neglect the books on the highest shelves, I recommend getting a ladder, preferably one with wheels so you can effortlessly navigate the library.

Antique White Bookshelves

white vertical bookshelves

We’ve shown you several bookshelves made from dark wood, so let’s switch things up a bit with this light and white bookcase.

If you’re looking for a design that will blend into your white space, consider this simple wooden shelf.

You can still achieve a vintage aesthetic with different colors. White is a safer bet for lighter-themed homes and they can easily match the interior.

INSTAGRAM @attica.studios

What about this warm off-white option? It has a cozier and more rustic feel. Plus, it goes so well with natural materials.

This charming design can make your living area more homey with the light wooden shelves and raw background. It would look great in farmhouses and cottage-styled homes.

One of the best things about this simple design is that you can easily recreate it yourself or thrift for a good piece. If you prefer other colors, you can also paint over it.

Classic Wooden Bookshelf With Glass Doors

free-standing bookshelves with glass doors

We’re ending this list with a notable classic: a wooden bookshelf with glass doors.

It’s not only aesthetically pleasing but it offers protection for your books and other items. You can also install custom glass doors to your bookshelves if they don’t already have any.

Remember to keep it away from direct sunlight so the inside doesn’t become humid. But you can still place it by the window as seen here, don’t forget to add a soft chair for comfort.

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