Should You DIY or Buy a Bookshelf? - Home & Texture
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Should You Buy a Bookshelf or DIY Your Own?

Before you start creating your perfect reading nook, weigh the pros and cons first.

March 1, 2024 at 8:32 AM PST

No matter what kind of space you have, if you were to add a bookshelf, it would immediately transform with character. Filled with conversation starters, your favorite stories and even some area to display keepsakes and art, what’s not to love? If you’re thinking about adding a bookshelf, you have to decide—DIY or buy? Here are the pros and cons of both to help you decide.

Pros of Buying a Bookshelf

Instant Gratification

When you buy a bookshelf, you’re essentially buying convenience. No need to spend time hunting down materials or drilling into drywall. It’s a hassle-free solution that provides instant gratification, so you can fill it with all the stories and items you love.

More Variety Than You Think

One of the biggest advantages of buying a bookshelf is the sheer variety available. From sleek modern designs to rustic farmhouse styles, the options are endless. Whether you’re looking for something small and compact or large and statement-making, you’re sure to find the perfect bookshelf to suit your space and aesthetic preferences. Even if you have eclectic taste and are worried about finding something that fits your unique style, don’t worry! While you can’t customize it to your exact specifications, you can still find beautiful shelves and antiques that tell a story all in itself.

Time Saver

Let’s face it, not everyone has the time or inclination to tackle a DIY project. Buying a bookshelf saves you the hassle of sourcing materials, measuring, cutting, and assembling. It’s the ultimate time-saving solution, allowing you to enjoy your new bookshelf without any of the stress associated with DIY.

Photo credit: Pickawood

Cons of Buying a Bookshelf

Assembly Required

While buying a bookshelf offers convenience, it often comes with the dreaded task of assembly. Wrestling with confusing instructions and tiny screws can quickly turn into a frustrating ordeal. Depending on the complexity of the design, assembly can be time-consuming and require a fair amount of patience and perseverance.

Quality Concerns

Not all pre-made bookshelves are created equal. Some may be flimsy or poorly constructed, leading to wobbly shelves and potential safety hazards. Before making a purchase, be sure to thoroughly research the quality and durability of the bookshelf to ensure it meets your standards.

Pros of DIYing a Bookshelf

Unlimited Customization

Probably the most enticing aspect of DIY bookshelf installation is the ability to customize it to your exact liking. From size and shape to color and style, the only limit is your imagination. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY pro or a novice looking to try your hand at a new project, DIY bookshelves offer endless opportunities for creativity and self-expression.


For those on a budget, DIY bookshelf installation can be significantly cheaper than buying a pre-made bookshelf. With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can create a stunning book storage solution without breaking the bank. By using affordable materials and tools, you can save money while still achieving a high-quality result.

Sense of Accomplishment

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from completing a DIY project. Installing your own bookshelf allows you to flex your creative muscles and bask in the glory of a job well done.

Photo credit: Radu Marcusu

Cons of DIYing a Bookshelf


Embarking on a DIY project requires time, patience, and a willingness to get your hands dirty. From planning and measuring to cutting and assembling, it’s not a task to be undertaken lightly. Depending on the complexity of the design and your skill level, DIY bookshelf installation can be a time-consuming endeavor that requires careful planning and execution.

Skill Level Required

Depending on your chosen design, DIY bookshelf installation may require a certain level of skill and expertise. Novice DIYers may find themselves in over their heads, resulting in wonky shelves and a less-than-perfect finish. Before diving into a DIY project, be sure to assess your skill level and seek help or guidance if needed.

Risk of Mistakes

It doesn’t matter if it’s your 100th project—DIY doesn’t always go according to plan. From measuring errors to misplaced screws, there’s a chance you’ll encounter a few hiccups along the way. Be prepared to embrace the imperfections and learn from your mistakes. While DIY bookshelf installation can be a rewarding experience, it’s important to approach it with realistic expectations and a willingness to adapt and problem-solve as needed.



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