12 Best Mid-Century Modern Bookcases: Editor-Approved Picks |


Some 70 years after its big debut, mid-century modern design is still one of the most enduring and timeless design styles in the world. Its influence colors and informs today’s takes on modern and minimalism, and if you look hard enough, you might find its watermarks — things like tapered legs and cane paneling among them — in furniture pieces all over your house.

I’ve done a bit of the legwork for you to find some of the best bookshelves with roots in this design era, should you yourself be a big fan of mid-century sensibilities. So get ready to read on; there should be plenty of sleek lines, organic shapes, and mixed mediums in your future.

12 of the best mid-century modern bookcases

How can I style a mid-century modern bookshelf?

When styling a bookshelf, Kristin Schmitt, a designer at Gensler, recommends thinking about what mood you’d like to evoke and going from there.  Something like color can really help here. “The important factor is opting for a subtle contrast in tones, textures, and finishes without complicating the space,” she said.

For example, consider “a simple but textured wallpaper backing paired with smooth ceramics.” The texture of the wallpaper is balanced out by the sheen of the ceramics, adding depth and visual interest to the structure. “Using a variety of decor” like “sculptural objects, oversized bowls, frames, and bookends” will also help “keep the eye moving.” Just be sure you don’t overcrowd! “Depending on length, you should limit yourself to only a couple or few items with ample spacing between each item,” she went on. To anchor the design, start with the tallest and largest pieces first and build from there.


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