How Do I Choose the Best Kids' Bookcase?

Lauren Romano
Lauren Romano
In some cases, bookcases can be used to store large toys and bins full of toys.
In some cases, bookcases can be used to store large toys and bins full of toys.

Choosing a kids' bookcase requires considering certain factors — mainly its height, the amount of space it offers and even more importantly, that it won't fall over onto your child. The appearance of the bookcase is likely to be more vital to your child than any of the aforementioned factors — one that appeals to a child can actually encourage its use. The best way to choose the bookcase, if possible, is with the help of your child so function, safety and appearance can all be considered.

Size is an important factor when choosing a kids' bookcase. For an avid reader, a large bookcase is a better option. To organize some of a child's entertainment items, consider a bookcase that has several cubbies that can fit the books as well as small storage bins or baskets — toys and various other items can get stored inside rather then scattered on the floor. Regardless of the size, buy one that's slightly bigger than what's currently needed so there's plenty of space for any new books your child will eventually acquire.

Other than shelf space, the amount of floor space the kids' bookcase takes up is also a factor to consider. To save space, a vertical bookcase is advantageous; a room with a little extra space could fit either a vertical or horizontal bookcase. If depth is a concern, there are bookcases that are relatively flat but wide; in this case, the covers of the books instead of the bindings face forward so the books lie flat and take up less depth.

Safety is a top priority when choosing a kids' bookcase. For shorter children, a vertical bookcase or one that is more square than tall is a better option so they can reach every shelf without trying to climb on the furniture. It's vital to use a tip-restraint kit with the bookcase — it attaches the bookcase to the wall, usually through a small but strong strap at the top center of the back so the piece won't fall over. Some already come with this kit, but if it doesn't, it's an absolute must to purchase one.

Children typically won't have much care for anything else regarding the bookcase other than its appearance. Opt for a kids' bookcase that has your child's favorite characters, patterns or colors on it. Another option is to purchase one that is plain so it can be a family affair to paint and decorate it together.

After factoring in safety concerns and the size — or all the “adult concerns” — the fun part can begin for your child. When kids have a special personal space, such as a bookcase area they love, they may actually be encouraged to use it more often. Opt for a strong and well-made piece so your child can continue to use it year after year.

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Discussion Comments


@bythewell - I like having the books in the kids' rooms all easy to see and ready to read though. I like that they can all borrow titles from each other without having to go looking for them. The only thing that used to worry me was the chance that a bookcase might topple on one of the smaller kids, but I had them and all the other kids' furniture attached to the wall anyway, since it's an earthquake risk otherwise.


@irontoenail - The only problem with that is that finding that extra space in a house that has already been built can be difficult. In fact, a lot of the time it's difficult to even find enough room for the kids' bookshelves alone, let alone a whole extra room.

I remember when I was a kid, my parents bought beds with drawers in the bottoms and we filled those with our books. We were nuts about the Goosebumps books back then and had about 80 of them, so they needed somewhere to store them all.

It was pretty handy, because they didn't attract dust or anything when you had the drawer closed and it was easy enough for us to tidy them up without having to worry about getting the books straight on a shelf.


If you are a particularly awesome parent, with some ability in DIY, you might consider making your child the ultimate bookcase by creating a little room behind it. You can see plans for this and finished examples on the internet, where someone has made a bookcase into a door for a secret room. The room might only be the size of a closet, but it still seems like it would be amazing and I know I would have adored something like that when I was a kid.

I don't know if it would have encouraged me to read more, but it certainly wouldn't have hurt my imagination.

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    • In some cases, bookcases can be used to store large toys and bins full of toys.
      In some cases, bookcases can be used to store large toys and bins full of toys.