How to Build a Floor to Ceiling Bookcase

Lead Image
  • 4-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-100
What You'll Need
Wood: 1x3 inches for the side rails, 2x2 inches for the supports and 1x10 inches for the shelves.
Measuring tape
Anchors (if necessary)
Screwdriver or drill bit
Paint or stain
Wood putty (optional) for filling the holes where the screws are located

A floor to ceiling bookcase can be a great addition to any home and possibly increase the value of your house. A bookcase is ideal for anyone who is an avid reader and has many books. A floor to ceiling bookcase doesn’t take up any more floor space than a regular bookshelf, and they are not too difficult to make.

Step 1: Preparations

Cut the wood or have it cut at the lumber yard or home improvement store where you purchase it. The 1x3 inch wood pieces will be cut to the measurement from floor to ceiling, the 2x2 inch supports will be the size of the width between two of the side rails at the width of the shelves. The 1x10 inch pieces of wood will be the shelves.

Decide where you will be placing your bookcase and locate the studs in the wall. Ideally, you will have one stud near the location of each support on the bookcase. The shelves will be approximately 14 inches in height for tall books, 12 inches in height for regular size books and 9 inches in height for paperback books. You will be placing support at each location where you want the shelves to be.

Make sure you have purchased and gathered together all the supplies and tools that you will need to make the bookshelf.

Step 2: Prepare the Wood

Paint or stain all the pieces of wood before you begin to assemble them. It is much easier to have them painted or stained before the bookcase is assembled.

Step 3: Assemble the Bookcase

The sides and supports will be put together first and will look like a ladder when finished. Measure and mark the areas where you will be attaching the supports to the side rails. Keep in mind the height of each of the shelves that you want for the books when determining these locations. Drill a hole in the side rails at the position that you want the supports. The holes should be slightly smaller in size than the screws that you will use. Screw in the screws just until they peek out the other side of the wood. Place the 2x2 inch support at the location of each screw and finish screwing the screw in to hold it in place. Do the same for each support then turn the whole thing over and repeat the process for the other side to attach all the supports to the side rails. At this point, it should look like a ladder.

In order to anchor the bookcase to the wall, you will need to use screws. Anchors will be needed if there is no stud at the location where you will be screwing the bookcase into the wall. Set one of the side rails up against the wall, making sure that the entire bookcase is straight and level. Drill holes through the side rail that is set against the wall at the location of the studs that you located earlier. The hole needs to be slightly smaller than the size of the screw you will be using. Screw the rail into the wall stud or into the anchor.

Step 4: Adding the Shelves

Take each of the 1x10 inch shelves and slide them into place so that each sits on supports at each end. Do the same for each of the shelves. Set your books on the shelves as you wish for decorative or practical purposes.