“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero
I have always dreamed of having a library. Maybe not a library in the traditional sense, but I have always dreamed of having a wall of bookcases in my home to hold the books I love.
Anyone who has looked into buying a bookshelf, whether it is made of wood or of wood-looking particle board, knows how quickly the price tag goes up for size and quality. For years, I have priced out building Ikea shelves and fastening them to the wall, or placing a series of tall shelves side-by-side to get the built-in bookcase look. But the look, quality, and size put together that way kept me from building the piece-meal shelves.
Meanwhile, my small bookshelves piled higher and higher with precarious stacks of books I want to keep. (I lead GreatNewBooks.org — great books are important!)
For some reason, this June I decided I was going to try it. How hard could building bookshelves be?
I compiled a collection of Pinterest photos, read as many How-To manuals that I could find, and began to measure and draw up plans.
How to Build a Built-In Bookcase (without any carpentry skills)
Steps 1 – 10 … this is what I started with:
2. Measure and plan: After I measured the width of the room and the height, I divided it up into 3 sections and calculated the lengths and types of wood I would need.
3. Buy lumber. I bought Pine “whiteboard,” which is economical and solid.
*Learning: it helps to live close to the home improvement store. In my case, I visited Lowe’s 5 times more than I thought I would.
*One learning — insist on buying only straight wooden planks. Some were warped, which meant I had to work hard to get them to mount to the wall straight.
*Another learning: I am not a carpenter. I did have to work carefully with a level, etc. to ensure the angles would be straight. Even still, there is some degree of inaccuracy. I am okay with it. The imperfections emphasize that this is mine, built with my own hands. :)
The result? A very happy me.
I agree with Cicero, who also said: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
Cheers to working hard and accomplishing the things we dream of.
Now, I can rest, read more books, and enjoy my built-in bookcases.