Antique Bookcases

Updated

Bookcases have long been viewed as a staple for any home, and an antique bookcase will add heaps of class to your living space. Usually decorated in woods that have darker veneers or gloss for that vintage aesthetic, they will complement all of your favorite books perfectly. Whether you want something tall and simple or a vintage bookcase with a design, we’ve picked out some of the best types of antique bookcases for you below.

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Our Picks

1
Curved Antique Bookshelf
Matsumoto 76'' H x 30'' W Standard Bookcase
Matsumoto 76'' H x 30'' W Standard Bookcase
Matsumoto 76'' H x 30'' W Standard Bookcase
Matsumoto 76'' H x 30'' W Standard Bookcase

Curved Antique Bookshelf

Birch Lane™

Arriving fully assembled, this bookcase features curved detail that would suit a coastal farmhouse décor style. Measuring 76 inches tall, it is made from solid and manufactured wood and has 5 equally-sized shelves for all of your books.

Available in a rich cognac brown, the purposeful distressing of these bookshelves give them a well-loved look that will make any room appear warm and cozy.

$939.99 $1184

Designer Advice:

The subtle scalloping at the top is reminiscent of historic libraries – create a similar vibe with mosaic rugs and metal lamps for that old-fashioned aesthetic. 

2
Tall Antique Bookcase
Calixta 30'' W Standard Bookcase
Calixta 30'' W Standard Bookcase

Tall Antique Bookcase

Darby Home Co

Available in 8 different colors and finishes, this bookcase measures 72 inches tall and is crafted from solid and manufactured wood. With a weight capacity of 75lbs per shelf, it features a straightforward design.

Designer Advice:

Natural wood grain finishes will always look more antique than smooth finishes, but colors like gray or white are viewed as more contemporary. For a classy look, go for antique brown. The small imperfections in the wood grain will lend your purchase even more of a vintage vibe.

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3
X Shape Design Antique Bookshelves
Swett 67'' H x 31.5'' W Etagere Bookcase
Swett 67'' H x 31.5'' W Etagere Bookcase
Swett 67'' H x 31.5'' W Etagere Bookcase
Swett 67'' H x 31.5'' W Etagere Bookcase
Swett 67'' H x 31.5'' W Etagere Bookcase

X Shape Design Antique Bookshelves

Alcott Hill®

These bookshelves feature 4 shelves, including one at the bottom that has a back board for stability, great for smaller books that tend to fall. Treated with powder painting, it will be easy to maintain.

$349.99

Designer Advice:

While X-shape furniture is usually viewed as more modern, the rich brown walnut shade of this bookcase has a glossy antique look to it. Stylish and chic, it would look amazing in a room with high ceilings near a window so it can truly shine.  

4
Understated Vintage Bookcase
Wurley 45'' H Wood Standard Bookcase
Wurley 45'' H Wood Standard Bookcase
Wurley 45'' H Wood Standard Bookcase
Wurley 45'' H Wood Standard Bookcase
Wurley 45'' H Wood Standard Bookcase

Understated Vintage Bookcase

Winston Porter

This understated bookcase looks as though it could be straight out of the 1950s. The 4 shelves can each hold up to 150lbs, and even better, it is foldable, meaning it would be great for shared apartments, college dorms, or small spaces.

Designer Advice:

Although it comes with 2 finish options – espresso and natural – we recommend opting for the dark espresso color to truly achieve a vintage vibe. This is because darker wood looks more expensive and we tend to associate it with luxury and glamour, as opposed to lighter wood which looks more contemporary. 

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5
Antique Bookshelves with Storage

Antique Bookshelves with Storage

With smooth, clean lines and 2 doors at the bottom, this antique bookcase doubles up as a storage option, too. Arriving fully assembled, it is mostly made from solid wood and features 4 upper shelves.

Designer Advice:

We recommend this bookcase for a smaller home due to its multifunctional design – the distressed brown finish would look best in a room with wooden floors and cream or off-white accents for a cozy antique feeling. Additionally, you could place it in an entryway to impress guests and store important everyday items. 

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6
Floating Shelf Vintage Bookshelf

Floating Shelf Vintage Bookshelf

This vintage-look bookshelf stands out from the crowd. Featuring 7 floating shelves, it has a solid wood frame and wooden shelves. Whilst innovative, the design of this shelving means your bookcase won’t hold as many books, which could be an issue for some.

Designer Advice:

The nut-brown color of this bookcase would look stunning with warmer neutral shades such as beige and off-white for a calm Scandinavian look that also takes inspiration from the past. For a cohesive look, a cream rug would bring the look together.

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7
Lattice Antique Bookcase
Hoye 32'' H x 35'' W Solid Wood Etagere Bookcase
Hoye 32'' H x 35'' W Solid Wood Etagere Bookcase
Hoye 32'' H x 35'' W Solid Wood Etagere Bookcase
Hoye 32'' H x 35'' W Solid Wood Etagere Bookcase
Hoye 32'' H x 35'' W Solid Wood Etagere Bookcase

Lattice Antique Bookcase

Red Barrel Studio®

Evoking 1920s glamor, this antique bookcase features intricate carving detailing at the sides. Made from hard-wearing mango wood, it has 2 open shelves that would look beautiful when filled with books, plants, or ornaments.

Also decorated with a deliberately distressed look, this bookcase is full of personality due to it being handcrafted.

Designer Advice:

The elegant and sophisticated carvings will add tons of character to your living space, but we think it would look best in a room with gray or white walls so the ashy-brown color can stand out. 

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8
Retro Vintage Bookcase with Cubbies

Retro Vintage Bookcase with Cubbies

This vintage bookcase screams retro – we can just imagine it in a 1960s home. Measuring only 31.5 inches wide, it would be an ideal choice for rooms with not as much wall space. Moreover, the cubby holes mean you can organize your literature collection properly.

Designer Advice:

The rugged material construction makes it plausible that this bookcase could be a genuine vintage piece. If you want to exaggerate this vibe, opt for decorative objects or a lampshade in groovy and abstract prints which possess that all-important 1960s and 1970s vintage aesthetic.

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9
Corner Antique Bookcase
Rigid Cast Door Steel Baseboard Stop
Elsie 30'' H x 30'' W Corner Bookcase
Elsie 30'' H x 30'' W Corner Bookcase
Elsie 30'' H x 30'' W Corner Bookcase
Elsie 30'' H x 30'' W Corner Bookcase

Corner Antique Bookcase

Red Barrel Studio®

Crafted from metal and wood, this bookcase features a single drawer and 2 shelves below. A matte black mission slat base adds a small modern touch to an otherwise fully traditional product.

Designer Advice:

If you’re short on space, a corner antique bookcase like this one is great for making the most of what you do have. The medium oak color will blend nicely with different shades of wood, with the exception being woods that are super light in color. This is because light wood tends to wash out darker shades.

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10
Industrial Style Victorian Bookshelf

Industrial Style Victorian Bookshelf

If your décor style leans towards the minimalist, this bookshelf has an industrial look to it that is reminiscent of the Victorian era. It features 3 solid mango wood shelves, which contrast with iron legs that could be straight out of a Dickens novel.

Designer Advice:

The stripped-back look of this product means it would look good in a modern home as well as a more traditional one. Featuring a closed file drawer at the bottom, it would best suit rooms with dark wood furniture and more subtle colors rather than bold ones. 

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Antique Bookcases

Buying Guide

Antique bookcases are perfect in most period interiors inspired from previous centuries (such as Edwardian, Victorian, or Colonial), especially when they include several sophisticated details and carvings.

On the contrary, antique bookcases with simpler designs can work in more modern and traditional interiors depending on their style and finish.

For example, an antique bookcase in a dark wood finish wouldn’t look out of place in a nautical décor, whereas a model with a distressed look could match a French country setting.

The best place to shop for antique bookcases is Foter as we include a wide range of models from both Amazon and Wayfair, two of the best online shopping platforms when it comes to furniture.

You can use Foter to start with a helpful, picture-based overview of different models, narrow down your search once you’ve figured out what type of antique bookcases you’re after, and have your most pressing questions answered immediately on the same page.

These are some telltale signs to look for in order to identify an antique bookcase:

  • Check dovetail joints: if they’re perfectly shaped and symmetrical, that usually means that they were cut by a machine, indicating that this particular period-looking bookcase might not actually be antique (in fact, machines only started to be used to cut furniture in 1860)
  • As well as by the joints, impeccable symmetry overall might mean the same
  • Look for labels and stamps with manufacturing information
  • Centuries ago, it wasn’t common to use precious wood in spots that you couldn’t really look at. Check the back of your bookcase and the inside of its drawers and cupboards: if you spot a different type of wood, that probably means that what you’re looking at is an authentic antique bookcase (yay!)
  • Unlike authentic antique pieces, some models are now designed and manufactured to look worn out (for example, to match shabby chic decor); real antique bookcases will probably also have some proper signs of wear, such as by the drawer runners

Best Ideas

Glass curio cabinets

This beautiful retro-style Black Curio Cabinet is a real masterpiece made of fine painted and natural wood. Glass-case looks elegant and neat and is perfect for placing some precious books or ornaments.

Antique desk pair of bookcases antique furniture

Antique Desk & Pair of Bookcases #antique #furniture

Colonial bookcases

Useful bookcase that represents nice British Colonial style. It perfectly fits antique stylizations. Durable wooden frame includes some decorative accents. Storage shelves are hidden behind durable glass doors.

Victorian cabinet

Elegant curio cabinet with glass doors. Construction is made of wood with antique finish. It contains 3 drawers in various sizes and 6 shelves for storing books or display decorations. Stylish accent for each living room.

Antique bookcases 1

Dress up your kitchen while adding valuable cabinet space with this old-fashioned china cabinet. Designed for the top to fit flat against a ceiling, you cannot beat the ornate beauty of the upper surround. Glass panels display your fine china or collectibles.

Showcase leatherbound classics and antique decor on this elegant bookcase

Showcase leatherbound classics and antique decor on this elegant bookcase, featuring a weathered white finish and carved accents. ...

Silver bookcases 24

Phenomenal bookcase made of wood and finished with carefully made carvings. Includes open shelves and cabinet with double doors. Adds freshness and elegance to all kinds of interior.

Antique bookcase with doors 11

Antique Bookcase with Doors

Shabby chic bookcase 2

Never thought that a mix of finishes can look so good in a front room decor. This indoor area comprises three different bookcases of totally varied styles, but they still look good with each other. Must try that at my home.

Walnut bookcases 2

Now that’s an astonishing piece of furniture. An exceptional, Victorian walnut bookcase, with subtle gothic elements. Perfect for an elegant and classy living room, bound to give it a unique, antique vibe.

Brown bookcases 9

This rustic bookcase shall enchant everyone, who enjoys vintage design. Deriving from Amish design, made from solid pine, this 60" bookcase features 3 adjustable shelves. Its stained finish guarantees durability.

Turin bookcase european inspired home furnishings ballard designs

Turin Bookcase | European-Inspired Home Furnishings | Ballard Designs

Antique bookcase

Garden-Side Library. Keep your favorite garden reference books right inside the shed in a nifty bookcase. Protected from dust and debris by a pair of eight-pane windows that serve as doors, the books are arranged on three deep shelves. A piece of crown m

Mission bookcases 3

Now you can display your knick-knacks without worrying about damaging them. This hardwood bookcase drowns in a cherry finish, featuring 1 smaller- and 1 larger cabinet - both enclosed by clear glass paneled doors.

Old world bookcase 5

Large, antique bookcase will be perfect furniture for your home library. The glass doors will protect them from the dust. The cabinets on the bottom provide some extra space for books or you can hide there other things.

D-ART Library Cabinet Bookcase in Mahogany Wood

Fine mahogany wood used to manufacture this cabinet ensures that the construction is tough and sturdy in favour of years of enjoyable usage. Bun feet and glass panel doors enhance the traditionally influenced look.

Victorian furniture bookcase on display in the victorian parlor exhibit

victorian furniture | bookcase on display in the Victorian Parlor exhibit.

Sliding Door Curio

This cabinet with glass doors is some reference to tradition, but also a way to decorate your room. Such cabinet is not only practical thing. Perfectly adorns and decorates the room in which it is located.

Home antique furniture antique bookcases antique french gothic

Home > Antique Furniture > Antique Bookcases > Antique French Gothic ...

Walnut bookcase late victorian louis xv manner walnut open bookcase

... Walnut Bookcase - Late Victorian Louis XV Manner Walnut Open Bookcase

Mission style bookcases

A high style bookcase in a mission style made of the warm shade of wood is a perfect solution for the office and more. The glass door of the cabinet allows to expose the contents, and the whole is presented elegantly.

Barrister bookcases love these have two go craigslist jena

Barrister bookcases. Love these. Have two. Go craigslist! :-) ~Jena'

Mahogany bookcase 13

Mahogany Bookcase.

Tall slim victorian mahogany antique bookcase on cupboard

Tall Slim Victorian Mahogany Antique Bookcase On Cupboard ...