Space-Saving Bookcase

I’m always looking around the house for extra storage space. From the basement to the attic, I’ve scoured every square inch searching for spaces that I could convert to storage. However, I learned that sometimes the answer is right in front of you.

A few years ago, my son Chris had run out of shelves for his growing book collection. But his 10’x 12’ room already housed a bunk bed, computer desk, stereo cabinet, two large windows and a closet, so there wasn’t any room for a freestanding bookcase or wall-mounted shelving. Then I stumbled upon a novel idea:

I cut a hole through the end wall of his closet and installed a built-in bookcase. The bookcase is only about 9” deep x 18” wide x 40” high, but its four shelves hold an impressive number of books. And best of all, it doesn’t take up a single square inch of floor space.

I built the bookcase from 1”x 10” pine and used 1/4” plywood for the back. The shelves are set into dadoes routed into the sides. After screwing the bookcase into the hole in the closet wall, I trimmed around it with Colonial casing to give the project a clean, built-in look.


  1. Thanks, John, glad you liked the bookcase. The best part of all is that it takes up zero floor space. And it only protrudes into the closet about 4 inches, where the top of the bookcase provides a shallow shelf.

  2. Dear Joe, I live in a little country New Zealand, at the botton of the world. I bought your shed building book, for ideas in regard to building a chicken house (a flash one) and eventually a 9 Tsubo japanese style studio for my orchard, however with not much experiance in carpentry, I need to know the absolute basic of how to make an angle for a pitched roof, ie done with a hand saw not a posh mitre saw, as I dont have one, there must be a simple way,,so I find myself unable to go past, “GO” in your otherwise excellant maybe you could when reprinting show a progressive series of photos on how to do this with basic equipment.. (e.g.saw and an angle thing ) or maybe do a book (Ignoramis’s guide to building measurements, and angles) I would be very grateful for this. With Thanks Denise .

  3. Hi Denise,

    Nice to hear from someone from New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to visit NZ, I understand it’s a beautful country.
    First, thanks for buying my shed book; I’m glad you liked it. Now, regarding roof rafters, the first thing you need to know is the pitch of the roof and the length of the rafter. Since you’re dealing with a small building, and are a novice carpenter, I’d suggest drawing a full-scale layout of the roof onto a garage floor, driveway or other large, flat space. You don’t need to draw the entire building, just the top of one wall, the center line of the building and the height of the roof. That’ll allow you to determine the roof pitch (or angle) and the length from the building center to the top of the wall.
    Once you know the pitch and size of one rafter, you can cut it and then use it as a template for marking the others.
    Sorry I couldn’t be more specific, but hopefully you’ll be able to use that well-known New Zealander intelligence and ingenuity to work out the details. Good luck!–JT

  4. Thanks, Craig, and you’re right: Walls provide quite a bit of surface space, so we may as well utilize it when we can. In fact, I’m building a new closet in our master bedroom and plan to set a tall, shallow storage space into the end of the closet–similar to my son’s bookcase–as a dedicated shoe corral for my wife. I’ll be sure to submit photos when it’s done. Take care, Joe T.


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