Imaginative Bookshelf Ideas for your Nursery or Playroom


We all recognise the benefits of reading to babies and children – it helps build their vocabulary, imagination and curiosity, as well as their understanding of other cultures and places.

And it’s also an opportunity for you to pop a bit of colour and personality into their room!

As well as considering what to rest their storybooks on, also think about where in the room your bookshelf would best be positioned. In particular, remember height. It’s super sweet to watch your baby toddle over to a low shelf and grab their favourite story.

Here are ten book shelf ideas for babies and children that caught our eye:

1. Tree Bookshelf


Thanks to Nursery Works, Korean artist Shawn Soh’s Tree Bookshelf is now commercially available. It’s MDF rather than metal, but the shiny forest-green statement piece is functional art and yours for a few clicks. And $900USD. Plus postage. From America. But so what, it’s art, it holds more than 100 books and can be fixed to the wall.

DIY option: A tree decal with Ikea shelves. Bargain! Get some Spanish inspiration or Etsy inspiration

2. Whale Bookshelf


Another desirable, but difficult-to-attain creation for your bookish babe is this delightful whale bookshelf by South African designer Justin Southey. As well as being cute and blue, she’s on castors so that you can swim her around the room. Another whale bookshelf from design outfit in Slovakia is Villo’s whale bookshelf. She is equally adorable, also on castors and doubles as a seat. Score!


3. Book Caddy


A cute little unit from our friend’s at the Land of Nod, this book caddy comes in a range of gorgeous colours. Though if you didn’t find your favourite hue, what’s to stop you swinging by Ikea for a $10 dish caddy and painting it yourself?

4. Spice Rack Book Shelf


Another Ikea hack is using their spice rack as a book shelf. And for $2.99 a pop, you might justify buying three or four. Like a few of the other bookshelves, consider mounting these on the wall around knee height so your little one can really call the shelf their own.

5. Boat Bookshelf


If you’ve opted for a nautical theme, a boat bookshelf is an excellent way to inject some seafaring fun into a room. And if the reading thing doesn’t work out, flip it on its bum and pretend you’re a castaway. There are loads of bookshelf boats on Ebay and Gumtree, so just nab the one you fancy.

6. Invisible Bookshelf


Blow their tiny mind with this DIY invisible bookshelf. You have to sacrifice one hardback to form the base of the shelf, so choose a good one as it will be on display All The Time. And thanks to for the step-by-step process of how to build it.

7. Book Unit


If you want Books to share the shelf space with Things, then you might justify spending a bit of wonga of a gorgeous unit, such as this one used by New York design team Sissy and Marley. Others that catch the eye – and which are in this country – include Freedom’s offering or perhaps this little treasure from Jardan.

8. Bear Shelf


This bear-sized creation is so ridiculously awesome it might actually be worth the $4200 price tag. As it’s made of high pressure laminate, it can be – the retailer’s website tells – used in the bedroom, lounge, or outside. Though for that money, I think indoors might be best.

9. Musical Shelves


Musical instruments and accessories make great focal points and mean that loved but broken treasures can be upcycled into a library. If you’re handy you could repurpose a guitar case like these clever clogs, or continue the musical theme with this piano. That’s right. I said piano.

10. Wall of Books

wall shelf

If you have the space, skill and will, building a wall of books is a fantastic nod to the importance of reading. Start as you mean to go on, and give space like Elizabeth Sullivan and Sara McCarty did.


Do you have any other great bookshelf ideas? Share them with us!


Karly Abery is a new mum, avid decorator and occasional writer. She is also the co-owner of a new online store for homewares and baby must-haves, Super Treasure, which you can check out at

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