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With spring cleaning season well under way, odds are you’ve been reorganizing your books, but Chelsea Handler has us thinking about step two: the shelves to put them on. In the latest installment of WSJ Magazine’s “My Monday Morning,” the comedian talked about everything from her a.m. weed habit to her new HBO Max special, Evolution. The real eye-opener, however, is her portrait: Handler sits in front of a gorgeous wall-size modular system by George Nelson she bought at auction.

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Expandable bookshelves like Handler’s vintage version are great because they can grow and shrink along with your home. Simply add or subtract a column of ledges as needed. The shelves aren’t just for open storage either—swap in cabinets for hiding not-so-pretty cords and files, or a desk to convert a living room display into a home office.

a bookshelf
George Nelson Wall Unit Bookcase for Omni, 1stdibs ($5,550)

Customizable units also let you remove shelves to make room for art. By taking out a midlevel board, Handler made space above her workstation to mount a framed map without it looking too cramped among her varied book collection—we spy titles on string theory and Charles Lindbergh.

Of course, this $5,550 unit isn’t for everyone—but there are more cost-effective options out there that are just as hardworking. For a similar-looking design, CB2’s Helix walnut bookcase is just as tall and 12 inches deep, so there’s room to layer sculptures or other accents. The series also includes a desk or cabinet unit. Or you could opt for the Linnea Bookshelf by Opendesk. The company uses local craftspeople, who construct your model off their more contemporary plywood plans. Alternatively IKEA’s Billy bookshelves don’t have extensions, but there are so many different hacks out there that you can make them your own. After months of catching up on reading, it’s time to show off that expanded book collection.

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