The whole unit folds flat to fit against a wall or under a bed. Pieces lock together to form a sturdy shelf that won't wobble or collapse under weight. Spacious four-shelf unit can hold many books and knickknacks.
Some users have said that the assembly was more difficult than they were expecting.
14" or 27.5" wide. Seven different finishes. No assembly required. Folds flat. Stackable up to two units high. Made of hardwood that won't scratch or chip easily. Excellent quality for the price.
A few users have said it gets a little wobbly when filled with large, heavy books.
Available in light and dark finishes. Comes in 16" and 32" sizes. No assembly required. Folds flat against the wall. Can hold up to 150 lbs. per shelf. Will not wobble or come unlocked once set up.
The shelf is expensive for its size, so it's not the best choice if you're on a tight budget.
Available in 34" and 67" heights. Four different colors. No tools required for assembly. Sturdy shelves that can support a lot of weight. Large storage capacity.
You may want to secure it to the wall because some users have said it wobbles.
All book lovers know the difficulty of parting with books, but there’s only so much shelf space available in any one home. Bookcases can be large and unwieldy and difficult to assemble correctly. One misplaced screw and you’ll find your books toppling off the shelf and onto the floor. A simpler and easier way to store books and knickknacks is a folding bookshelf.
Folding bookshelves rarely require any assembly, and they collapse in on themselves for easy storage. They also don’t need to be screwed into the wall to prevent them from becoming top-heavy like some bookcases. Instead, they are constructed to bear the weight of books in a balanced way. And when it comes time to move, you’ll be relieved that you only need to fold your bookshelf up to transport it.
Our buying guide delves deeper into what makes folding bookshelves valuable and must-have products. For our five favorite folding bookshelves, see the matrix above.
The main consideration when shopping for folding bookshelves is the construction material.
Wood bookshelves are the traditional choice, and wood is an excellent material for a folding bookshelf because of its sturdiness. Books are heavy objects, and if the shelf isn’t strong enough to support them, it will begin to sag.
The biggest advantage of purchasing a folding bookshelf made from iron, steel, or another type of metal is its durability. Metal will not warp or bend like a wood bookshelf can. Because it’s unlikely that the bookshelf will be exposed to water or moisture, there’s little chance of the metal rusting.
Iron and metal folding bookshelves provide a different aesthetic than wood bookshelves. They offer a more industrial or minimalist look. Often the choice between the two materials comes down to what best complements the room’s decor.
Bamboo is an extremely durable material that’s known to be stronger than some hardwoods. It’s also lightweight and easy to manipulate, which makes it a good option for a folding bookshelf. Similar to a metal bookshelf, a bamboo option will provide a different look for the room.
Some folding bookshelves are available in tempered glass. They fold up and store easily and offer a modern aesthetic. The cons of glass folding bookshelves are that they are difficult to keep clean, may break, and paperback books may slip off.
Typically, folding bookshelves have at least three or four shelves. It’s rare that you will find a folding bookshelf with less than three shelves. The most shelves a folding bookshelf will have is six or seven. Any more than that and the height between the shelves will not be tall enough for a book to fit.
Consider the height of your current books. If you own mostly paperbacks, then the more shelves, the better. If you have a lot of tall hardcovers, you may want less shelves to ensure they will all fit. Also, the more shelves there are, the busier the bookshelf will look.
A folding bookshelf must be able to fit into your room without touching the ceiling, and you must be able to reach the top shelves either by yourself or with a small step stool. The taller the bookshelf, the more imposing it can look. For areas that you want to seem light and airy, look for a shorter folding bookshelf.
The height of the shelves dictates how many shelves there are and what kind of books they will fit. Some folding bookshelves allow you to adjust the shelf height. However, the top shelf is usually a fixed shelf, which means it can’t be moved.
Folding bookshelves require little to no assembly. Most come pre-assembled. When the folding bookshelf arrives, you simply remove it from the box and unfold it. Other folding bookshelves require some assembly, but you won’t need any tools. The shelves only need to be locked into place before standing up the folding bookshelf.
Some short folding bookshelves can be stacked on top of each other. This option allows you to choose the number of shelves and how tall you’d like the bookshelf to be. It’s possible to split the two bookshelves later on if the design of your room changes.
Typical folding bookshelves are square or rectangular. However, there are also corner folding bookshelves available. These are usually smaller and more compact than traditional bookshelves. The shelves are triangular so that the bookshelf fits into the corner of a room.
You can find inexpensive folding bookshelves for $40 to $70. These basic bookshelves may not be made from the highest-quality materials. They will usually have three to four shelves, and they are an ideal solution for a child’s bookshelf.
Mid-range folding bookshelves cost between $80 and $120. These bookshelves are typically more stylish and aesthetically pleasing. They are made from higher-quality materials and last longer than cheaper bookshelves.
The most expensive folding bookshelves retail for $150 to $300. These bookshelves are made from high-quality materials like hardwoods and are extremely durable. They should last a lifetime.
Q. Do folding bookshelves have a maximum weight?
A. How much weight a folding bookshelf can bear depends on what materials it’s made out of. The manufacturer should provide a weight limit in the product description for a folding bookshelf.
Q. What’s the best height to maintain between the shelves of a folding bookshelf?
A. The average height between the shelves is usually seven to 15 inches. If you have adjustable shelves on your folding bookshelf, try to leave at least one foot of space between the shelves.
Q. Can I paint or stain a folding bookshelf if I don’t like the color?
A. It depends on the folding bookshelf’s materials. Some woods can be stripped and restained, while others can only be painted over. Most metals can be painted.
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