What to do when you run out of bookshelf space

Penguin readers show us their creative solutions to store books.

Illustration of wardrobe full of books
Image: istock

“A room without books is like a body without a soul” so the saying goes but what do you do when your bookshelves are packed to the brim and starting to buckle? We asked our Penguin readers on social media to share the creative ways they stack their reading material and they didn’t disappoint.

Double stack your bookshelves


Before you read any further, are you making the most of your bookshelf space? If you haven’t got two rows of books adorning each shelf then you're only using half the space available. @ianbeany1989 demonstrates a nifty hack.

Covert your wardrobe


If you have more books than clothes then a wardrobe hack can transform your space into a Narnia for bookworms. Who needs clothes anyway?

Dedicated book baskets

This storage box is the perfect way to tidy away piles of books and a handy reminder of all the books you need to read before buying more. To be read boxes are the new to be read piles. 

Book trolley

Embrace your inner librarian and invest in a bookshelf on wheels. A trolley is not just a great solution for that overspill of books from your already packed shelves: you get to wheel your books wherever you go. Serving tea and other light refreshments simultaneously is optional. 

Underneath your bed

If you were that child that read books underneath your covers by torchlight then this cosy book nook under reader @nicholapanting’s bed might suit you to the ground. Stack your bed on bookshelves, or stilts if you have to, and add a few fairy lights for atmosphere.


Think your kitchen space is just for cookbooks? Think again. You might be surprised at the amount of pages you can read while waiting for the kettle to boil or prepping dinner. Don’t blame us if the washing up doesn’t get done! 

Your pet’s bed

You run the risk of nibbled pages and we can’t guarantee your pets will particularly relish being rehomed but on the plus side, if you have a spare hamster cage, an empty rabbit hutch or even the cat’s comfy bed, you’ll find the room to squeeze in a few extra books. Serves them right for always ending up at the foot of yours, eh? 

A community bookshelf

Last but not least, and an option which gives you that feel good factor, is providing a new home for your books, like our reader @mxmattwills and his daughter who have set up a free little Library for their community. The perfect excuse to go out book shopping we’d say!

Picture of a green Isokon Donkey

The Isokon Donkey

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