A good bookcase is arguably the most important piece of furniture in your living room. It’s a way to make your home feel lived-in, storing your favorite books and mementos. It’s a design moment just waiting to be curated; done right, the shelves can be an artful statement piece. It’s also a great organizational piece, being that you can stuff it full of tiny bins and compartments to keep clutter at bay.
Which is why finding the perfect bookcase can be such a monumental task, but a good case can be made for Target’s Carson 5-Shelf Bookshelf. This cult-status product has been around for a while, quietly accumulating a fanbase that, according to the reviews, keeps coming back to buy more of the same product.
Available in seven shades (though we’re partial to the walnut brown tone for peak modern farmhouse), it’s a classic piece that meshes well with any design scheme. Dress it up with bold hues and an eclectic mix of decor for a maximalist sensibility or keep it simple and streamlined to satiate your minimalist style. As an added bonus, several of the colorways are currently on sale, including our beloved walnut brown. Cough, cough.
The bookshelf is super easy to customize to your needs—only the middle shelf is preset; the others are adjustable. It can hold up to 65 pounds, so it’s durable too. User McGMom went the extra step of bolting it to the wall for safety but swears by it for her little one’s playroom.
For a bigger statement, buy in bulk. “We bought a total of six of these bookshelves,” writes reviewer Coreyandtanya. “We used them to section off a small home office in our living room by placing them back to back, forming separation walls. So far, we love them.”
User Netgurl is also a fan, writing that they have bought the Threshold bookcase three times. Their only caveat: “When cleaning, be sure to wipe down the bookcase with a dry cloth; water and pressed wood don’t mix.” Noted.
If you’re looking for ways to style your new shelves, keep reading for some ideas.
The Colorful Way
Color-coding seems to be a perennial favorite in terms of book organization methods. You can’t go wrong with this technicolor technique, and it’s the easiest way to make an instant statement. Try organizing your shelves monochromatically or taking an individual rainbow approach with each shelf—starting every row with the lighter tones and moving into dark hues.
The Slightly Impractical Yet Perfectly Minimalist Way
Where do you stand on stacking books facing inward? The somewhat controversial trend is definitely Instagram-worthy and a great way to keep every corner of the room looking uniform and sleek. The downside is, of course, that you’re going to have a hard time figuring out where your favorite book went, but if your library serves more as an artful archive than a frequently used storage vessel, this method could work for you.
The Museum-for-Your-Memories Way
Not everyone fills their bookshelves with books, and that’s totally fine. Everything and anything goes; from horizontally stacked dog-eared magazines topped with a ceramic bowl you picked up on your summer trip to Lisbon to an assortment of tapered candles in candlesticks you scored at a local antique market, fill your shelves with sentimental pieces that make you happy and look great.
The Directionally Challenged Way
A mix of horizontally stacked and vertically lined books looks more visually interesting than rows and rows of uniformly organized hardcovers. Try mixing in magazines and books of all different sizes for variety.
See more living room essentials every home needs:
The Coffee Table (Just About) Every Designer Has in Their Home
The One Piece Your Living Room Is Craving
16 Ways You Never Thought to Bring This Lighting Trend Home