As a parent of a 3-year-old and 8-month-old, I am constantly immersed in shopping for playroom and nursery items. Storage ideas are always on my wishlists, as well as books (duh), and anything that might help my kids feel more comfortable in their space. In Summer 2020 I wrote a post on creating a toddler reading nook, which pairs well with this list of my favorite item: nursery bookshelves.
In Bringing Up Bookmonsters: The Joyful Way to Turn Your Child into a Fearless, Ravenous Reader, Amber Ankowski, PhD, and Andy Ankowski both hail the home library as deeply important to raising readers:
“Having books on display is a loud and clear signal that books and reading are important to your family. Since your kid is [wild] about you, participating in your book-loving family culture will be a source of pride.”From Chapter 8 in A Bookmonster’s Natural Habitat
Bookshelves are an important tool in showing your child that books are important to the household and where they can access them. And a nursery bookshelf is more than just storage for books; it’s different from other bookshelves in the house. If possible, it should be reachable to the child so they can access their books themselves (safely, of course). If the shelf or shelves are not reachable, then the design should at least create curiosity or fascination. You want your child to want to see — and therefore read — the books on the shelves.
For this post, I’ll organize nursery bookshelves into a few different categories. This will hopefully provide inspiration for planning or updating your little one’s nursery.
Nursery Bookshelves Your Child Can Reach
Both of my children have bookshelves that are at their level. One of my favorite things to witness is them reaching for a book, bringing me a book to read to them, or just finding the textures and colors and covers appealing enough to run their cute little fingers over.
A lot (maybe all?) of the below examples are considered Montessori bookshelves. Some you can even personalize. With these options, they are on the pricier side of the spectrum but will surely look beautiful in any nursery.
This large Montessori toddler bookshelf is perfect for having books accessible to your little one. You can choose different sizes and/or add personalization. Prices range on Etsy between $115 and $217.
I squealed when I saw this adorable cloud book rack. A perfect, ground-level bookshelf for you child to access their books. $65 on Etsy.
This lovely wooden bookshelf has storage in the back as well, and you can add a toy bookshelf with your purchase. Price starts at $153 on Etsy.
This Once Upon a Time shelf is perfect for little ones diving into fairytales. There are multiple color choices for the wood as well as other personalization options, if you would rather do a name instead of “Once Upon a Time…” Price starts at $96.
Shapely Nursery Bookshelves
This category is for bookshelves of different shapes, like clouds, mountains, hearts, etc. These bookshelves are ideal when driving home a particular theme to a nursery.
I want to hang dozens of these on our blue walls in the nursery so it feels like a sky of books! These cloud-shaped nursery bookshelves are so beautiful, AND you can add pegs to hang items on. Choose from one of three colors for $63 on Etsy.
Fly a kite and store your baby’s books! This wall-hanging kite bookshelf is absolutely gorgeous and would give the perfect whimsical look to any nursery. Price starts at $73 depending on the color and whether you want a backlight included.
Let your reader climb mountains with this set of three mountain-shaped nursery shelves. Choose from two different colors for $53 on Etsy.
Multi-Use Nursery Bookshelves
As a parent, I love efficiency. Furniture with multiple uses is always a plus, and it’s no different for bookshelves. Bookshelves that double as a place to hang clothing or bags are always useful. This category is for all the parents and caregivers that prefer function over form.
Let’s start this category off with the ultimate multi-use, modular option. This pegboard nursery bookshelf gives you the ability to set your shelves and pegs where you want them. It’s hard to not put every bookshelf on ShelveeUK’s Etsy page in my cart. $109.
This wall bookshelf with hanging rod is perfect for storing books and hanging outfit options. Hang up a sweater on a chilly day before taking your child to your local indie bookstore to fill up that space! There are multiple sizes and finishes and prices start at $30 on Etsy.
Sometimes you want a more classic look for your bookshelf, and this wall bookshelf is sleek, beautiful, with pegs for hanging decor and other nursery items. $42 on Etsy.
Keeping Building Your Home Library
In Bringing Up Bookmonsters, the authors state “studies in numerous countries around the world have shown that no matter where children live or what language they speak, having a substantial number of books in the home is important for gaining great reading skills.”
Whether a new baby just entered your home or you want to start creating a reading-friendly space for your toddler, one option is to start with the nursery and branch out. Pick a bookshelf that is right for you and your child. It can be whimsical, functional, or all the above. Let it be a tool, an “adventure starts here!” sign for your little one to gravitate toward. Let your nursery bookshelf be a home for your child’s books.
When you’ve found your perfect nursery bookshelves, perhaps you’ll want to add some more bookish nursery decor to your young one’s space, too.