Built-in Bookshelves For Your Home

These are the built-in bookshelves that we designed and installed in our park house living room. It was a pretty simple construction that most any DIY’er can take on.   So, we wanted to share the plans of our built-in bookshelves since we’ve had a few people ask.pin button built-in bookshelves

The plan that you will see in this post, was made for the bookshelf on the right of the window.  The one on the left is slightly custom because there were a few problems with that corner.  A design dilemma if you will!  You can see our dilemma in more detail here with this post.  Anyway, we had to design that corner a little bit different than the other side, since there was a plumbing chase there.  By designing the build-in bookshelves, we figured out a way to hide the whole corner entirely, but still keep a uniform look around the window and door.  Sound good?  Good!

Now here are the plans for you to check out, so you can build your own.

Here are the overall dimensions of our built-in bookshelves.



dimensions of bult-in bookshelves



  • You can take this tutorial and modify it to the size that you want. Just make all the adjustments according to your spaces needs.  But, I recommend not having a bookshelf that is more than 3 and a half feet wide without a center support of some type.
  • This bookcase goes floor to ceiling.  The space from the top to the bookshelf opening, was reserved for crown molding.  The space from the floor to the bottom shelf was reserved for the base molding.  We personally like tall base moldings and crown.  If you plan on using base moldings or crown, add up the height of the molding installed, plus the face frame width, for your final face frame height.

Materials Used

  • (1) MDF Sheet – 4’x8’x5/8”
  • (Approximate 100+) Brad Nails 1”

Tools Used

  • Table Saw (optional)
  • Miter Saw
  • Nail Gun
  • Sanding Block
  • Tape Measure
  • Framing Square
  • Pencil
  • Sander Block
  • Level

Cut Sheet (length x width x thickness)

  • (5) Wall Brackets – 22 3/4″ x 1″ x 5/8″
  • (2) Sides – 96” x 11 3/8” x 5/8’”
  • (10) Shelf Brackets – 10 3/4” x 1” x 5/8”
  • (1) Top Shelf Support – 22 3/4″ x 11 3/8” x 5/8”
  • (1) Bottom Shelf – 22 3/4″ x 11 3/8” x 5/8”
  • (3) Middle Shelves – 22 3/4″ x 11 3/8”x 5/8”
  • (2) Top & Bottom Face Frames – 24” x 9” x 5/8”
  • (2) Side Face Frames – 78” x 2 1/2” x 5/8”
  • (3) Shelf Face Frames – 19″ x 2 1/2″ x 5/8″

Construction Steps For The Built-in Bookshelves


step 1 bult-in bookshelves

Note To calculate the dimension of “A”

Add the height of the base molding + the width of the face frame. For our bookshelf we needed to add 6 1/2” (base molding) + 2 1/2” (face frame) = 9”.


step 2 bult-in bookshelves


step 3 bult-in bookshelves

step 4 bult-in bookshelves


step 5 bult-in bookshelves

Note To calculate the dimension of “B”

Measure the opening height from the top of bottom shelf to top of the shelf support (78” see first diagram with dimensions).  Add up the total face frame widths of the number of shelves within the main opening (3 x 2 1/2”= 7 1/2”.  Subtract that number from the total opening of 78”.  78” – 7 1/2” = 70 1/2” Divide that number by the number of shelf openings (4). 70 1/2” / 4 = 17 5/8”.  Take 17 5/8” and subtract out the thickness of the one of the shelves of 5/8”.   17 5/8” – 5/8” = 17”.  The dimension of B is 17”

step 6 bult-in bookshelves

step 7 bult-in bookshelves

step 8 bult-in bookshelves

step 9 bult-in bookshelves

step 10 bult-in bookshelves

Your now done with the construction.  Nice job!  Now you can sand and paint it.

2011-04-01 (16) 2011-04-07 Etta's room, family room stencil tutorial (11)

We decided after we build it, to add doors to the bottom two shelves that are flush with the face frame.  This was to help keep out little people and create a more finished look.  All I did was cut out a door from a sheet of mdf, that was an 1/8” less wide on all sides than the opening.  I added two little hinges and walla!

Now it’s your turn to build your built-in bookshelves.  You can also check out our free project plans, to see other cool things to build.

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I am the husband of the amazing Cassity of Remodelaholic. I love to problem solve and to design and build things inside and outside the house to make life better. I am a professional Landscape Architect by trade and love the outdoors.

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  1. Thanks for sharing, being a builder its always cool to see good clean step by step directions to building things. Nicely done

  2. What a wonderful post!! I have been wanting book cases in my sewing room for years — the way you laid it out looks so easy. Thank you!

    1. Chris, Thanks for the compliment. Just to clarify, you are just pinning the project to Home Depot’s Pinterest boards, but it will still like to my post? If that is the case great! Thanks!

  3. This is a great design! I am a big fan of the flush doors on the bottom – but I didn’t see what hinges you used. Do you have any pictures and specs for where I can get some? Thanks!

  4. Are the dimensions for the middle shelves correct? It says you need three 11 3/8″x 10 3/4″, but those aren’t wide enough for the 24″ wide plans. My husband and I are building these, but were slightly confused by the measurements on that.

    1. Valynn, sorry about the measurements. Those shelves should be the same as the top and bottom shelves. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

    1. Dave, that is a homemade piece that I used, so I could nail it onto the wall, then nail the sides to it. Let me know if that helps. Sorry if that was confusing.

      1. I am understanding that the “wall brackets” are just 1″ wide strips from the MDF, correct? And those are nailed into studs? Thanks.

    1. Ours it holding up well. It is true that it does chip easy. You just have to be extra careful. The alternative is going for more expensive wood, though. It’s all about what you can afford and are willing to live with. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Thank you for sharing the plans. I appreciate how detailed and clear your instructions are. Makes an intimidating project seem doable. I am going to try it. Love your blog- you’ve been a great resource. Very inspiring. 🙂

  6. Are the sides of the bookshelves only attached to the wall brackets (step 2)? Are they then reinforced by the shelf supports? Because the back shelf supports are nailed into the wall (but do you also nail through the sides into each shelf support?) I’m just wondering of that is enough to keep the sides sturdy. Does that make sense?