How To Get More Bookshelf Space

Every avid book lover knows the frustration of running out of bookshelf space.  I am no different. 

Also, since I love me some paperbacks using a kindle to solve this problem just isn’t the answer for me.

So here’s how I gave myself more space.

Banner Image. How to get more bookshelf space. Image of books from Pixabay


Large Library Collection

Our (ever-growing) book collection is mostly found on some IKEA Kallax cube units.  Now, we have a 4 x 4 and a 2 x 4 that fill the whole wall perfectly, so they can hold quite a lot of book.

IKEA Kallax cube unit 4 x 4 cubesIKEA Kallax Unit 2 x 4 cubes

However, since the move, we actually have less space than our last house so I need to use this to our advantage.

I actually did this shelf hack in our last house because we had other things on the unit so needed extra space.  But now, we’ve purged a lot of items and this area is just for books!

But we’ve also increased our book collection so out comes the hack again.

Now, many of my books are the more typical size (see below) which means that there is a lot of dead space on these shelves.

Book shelf, book sizes

I couldn’t find anything that would fit my needs without spending stupid amounts of money on something that would basically not be seen.

So I decided to make my own “half shelves” to double my space.


Function not Fashion

I truly didn’t care for anything fancy, I just wanted something functional.  So I went with using typical items I could collect.  Cardboard sheets and toilet tubes.

There was a great irony in the fact that I had spent so long nagging my partner to remember to put the toilet rolls in the recycling bin when they were empty.

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Only to now remind him not to put them in the recycling bin as I needed them.

We always have cardboard boxes around from deliveries and the like, so collecting them wasn’t a problem.  I just needed to make sure I had enough toilet roll tubes for the project.


Tools and Measures

When I had finally collected all the pieces I needed and got some time, I started to make my half shelves.

The tools I used were:

  • A large sturdy cardboard box
  • A number of empty toilet tubes
  • The (world’s worst) Stanley knife
  • Packing tape
  • Tape measure
  • Glue

Tools needed for making my bookshelf hack

One thing I noticed was that different brands of toilet paper use different height and thickness of toilet rolls.  So I had to make sure I collected enough of the same brand rolls otherwise the shelf would have wonky legs.

First, I measured the space to figure out what size shelf I needed.  The unit is 33cm by 33cms so my half shelves ended up being 33cm wide by 17cm deep.

Sturdy cardboard box

I found the flaps on my cardboard box were perfect for this, they were big enough for me to use and cut to size.


Arts and Crafts

I measured out the “half shelf” on the box flap and then found that my Stanley knife had a broken tip and no spare blades… (sigh)

So I had to kind of hacked at the cardboard (it was too thick for my scissors!)

And Bam! here was my first (naff) cardboard shelf.

DIY Project double your bookshelf. Cardboard shelf

Now, since I’m one of those people who constantly get card-cuts from cardboard, I decided to reduce my risk but edging it in packing tape.

Next, I turned to my squashed UHU glue tube.  It was squashed during shipping when I ordered it.  So, every time the lid is removed there is a goopy explosion and you have to be REAL quick otherwise it gets everywhere.

So I (slip-shoddily) glued a load of toilet tubes to the cardboard and to each other for a stronger shelf.

Double your bookshelf space. Life Hack

This was the first one I made and I may have gone overboard.  By the second I realised I only needed 8 toilet tubes (maybe even less but I wanted some extra strength) and they didn’t have to be glued to each other, just the shelf.

After they were glued down, I put a heavy book on top of the tubes to add pressure so the glue would adhere better and left them to dry for about 45 mins…. mainly because I kept forgetting about them.

Also, I forgot to photograph the first so here is a picture of the 2nd one, all snug in the unit. Yay!

Shelf made for Kallax bookcase for more space

I tested it with a set of books to make sure it would work and not collapse.  Worked SO well, so I made a load more.

Create your own bookshelf

Okay, since the front books cover the half shelf I have no interest in making it more “decorative”, as said this was for function and I am totally happy with it.

Tada! Extra bookshelf space.

Create more bookshelf space. Bookshelf hack

Do you have more books than shelf space?  What have you done to conquer the issue?

Share your Thoughts image.

Happy writing

Signature & logo of Ari Meghlen

15 thoughts on “How To Get More Bookshelf Space

  1. Clever you! My bookshelves are stuffed to capacity with a double row of books to each shelf. Some shelves I’ve had to start stacking them to get more books in.

    1. Thanks Clare. lol It is always so hard, so many books, never enough space. I am considering flooring our attic and just turning it into a library, every area just full of books and a single chair in the centre.

    1. Thanks 🙂 Yes, I needed to be able to see all the spines as I got tired of struggling to find books if they were in front of one another.

    1. True, but as I said at the start of the article, while I have an e-reader, I prefer paperbacks. Especially since my eyes hurt after staring at screens for too long. I find reading a physical book is a nice alternative compared to more screens.

      One of my friends loves e-readers and recently got rid of all her books to keep them all digital. She does travel a lot so it made so much sense to do that 🙂

      1. Well, it’s important to get an e-reader with an e-ink technology instead of just another display. And you’re right, it’s mostly an advantage for those who like to read on the move. I admit I was never a collector in a way I’d hold books as collectibles which made the convenient move easier for me.

      2. I do enjoy my ereader when I go back to visit my family as I certainly couldn’t pack a lot of books to take back.

        Also, I do admit it’s a nightmare moving house with a ton of books! lol You end up with SO many small heavy boxes to pack, but I do love my physical books. They are just awesome

  2. I love this! I have double rows, but I didn’t consider stacking the back row on top of something (in my case it’s going to be more books 😆) to allow the spines to be seen. Genius!

    1. I originally just stacked them behind one another but then took FOREVER to find a book I really needed and lost my temper. So then decided that fixing the problem was better than me just complaining about it 😀

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