How to Design Kids Bookshelves

Bookshelves are an extremely common piece of furniture in any part of the home, but you must take special care when designing and building kids' bookshelves. The kids themselves must be able to access the books with ease, and the shelf should be easy to use and, most importantly, safe and well-built. Fortunately, bookshelves are among the easiest do-it-yourself design and building projects. Designing a safe, effective and attractive bookshelf for the children in your home is straightforward.

Step 1 - Collect your Materials

In order to design the bookshelf, you'll need to gather a few planning materials. Building the shelf itself is a separate process, and this will require materials that you decide throughout the design process. The type of wood and amount of wood that you'll need can vary significantly, as will the way that you secure the pieces of wood to one another and the shelves in place within the frame. For the design phase, gather these items:

  • Paper
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape

Make sure, if possible, to have the location for your bookshelf planned out already. This will help you to determine the size and style of the shelf.

Step 2 - Measure the Space

Once you have your materials gathered, use your tape measure to take a note of the size of the space where the bookshelf will fit. Keep in mind that the bookshelf does not need to take up all of this space; in fact, most kids' bookshelves are no more than 3 to 4 feet high, as anything higher is difficult to reach for young children.

Step 3 - Decide Your Dimensions

Having taken account of the space that is available to you, you can now plan the dimensions of your bookshelf. Think about how many individual shelves you'd like to have. You may also wish to plan for the types of books or other objects that will be featured on these shelves. Tall books and items require bookshelves with fewer individual shelves that are each taller, for instance. Decide whether you'd like the bookshelf to be wider than it is tall, vice versa or evenly square in length and height.

Step 4 - Sketch the Shelf

Use your ruler to make a sketch of the bookshelf for your records and use while you're doing the construction. As you do this, make sure to carefully note the dimension of the bookshelf as you've decided them previously. Doing this helps to take stock of the exact pieces of wood that you'll need to secure, as well as their respective sizes.

Once you've sketched the shelf, make a list of all of the materials that you'll need to build the shelf. In addition to tools like hammer, nails, wood glue, think about the paint and any other lacquer coating that you might like to use. Finally, think about the type of wood, and be sure to take stock of the exact pieces of wood that you'll need, as well as their dimensions.