If you’re a book fiend and love reading, you probably accumulate books at an alarming rate. They overflow your bookshelves and start stacking up on the floor, on tables, in just about every nook and cranny of your home no matter how weird or inappropriate. Books stacked on the toilet tank? Sure, why not.

You might be able to handle this by buying more bookcases—until you have literally crammed as many bookcases into your space as the laws of physics will allow. And yet I can guarantee that even when you have filled every possible space in your house with books you will continue to buy more books. Such is the nature of this disease. If that describes you, don’t start purging your books just yet. There are ways to double the book capacity of the bookshelves you already have.


One of the easiest and most impactful ways of increasing your bookshelf capacity is to add some risers at the back of every shelf. This instantly and literally doubles the amount of books you can cram onto each shelf, as seen below. Essentially you’re creating a slightly raised second shelf, sort of like a display in a store. Then you can line up a whole second row of books in the back—they won’t be quite so accessible, so it’s best to put the books you don’t grab every day back there, but the extra space is magical.

You can do this the DIY route easily by using unneeded shoeboxes or egg cartons—just line them up in the back and cut them to fit. Or you can make your own—if you’re moderately handy with woodworking, a few pieces of wood will make a sturdy riser with very little effort. Or you can buy risers made of acrylic, like these—they come in a variety of lengths, so you can mix and match to accommodate the width of your shelves.

The riser solution works best with paperback books; hardcovers are larger and probably can’t be doubled up like this on standard shelves. If you have adjustable shelves, you might be able to raise the height of your shelves to make this work with hardcovers and larger books, but that will reduce the space for the other shelves so it might be a wash—you’ll have to do some measuring to see if it’s going to work.

Palette holders

One TikTok user shared a brilliant solution for increasing your bookshelf capacity: Makeup palette organizers, like this one, or this one. By filling these with books, you can horizontally stack your books and easily pull them out when you want to browse your collection—six or seven books deep, typically. The holders are easy to pull out, and you can mix them in with some traditionally vertically-stacked books for a more attractive look—or use as many as you can to get as many books as possible in there.

Additional shelves

A basic but effective way to increase your bookshelf capacity is to add one or more shelves to the unit. You probably won’t double your capacity this way, but it’s an easy, cheap way to get more books in there. If your bookcase has pre-drilled holes for shelves, this is pretty easy:

Sort your books. First, organize your books by height.

Organize the shelves. Place your shelves so that each one has exactly enough height to fit a specific grouping of books.

Your goal is to be as efficient as possible, opening up enough space in the case for at least one more shelf. You can get standard-width (30-inch) shelves from Ikea individually that will match up well with most finishes (don’t forget to get some extra support pegs if you need them).

If your bookcase doesn’t have pre-drilled holes you’ll have to drill your own, of course. You can buy a shelf-pin jig that can make this a lot easier (and neater). And you can save a small amount of money by buying wood and cutting and finishing it yourself, of course, though you’ll pay in time and sweat equity.

Stacking horizontally

Finally, if you don’t want to physically transform your shelves, you can just stack your books horizontally. If you organize your books carefully, horizontal stacking will generally squeeze a few more books onto your shelves because you can use all the vertical space. You can probably put two layers of books on each shelf—although the back layer will be hidden and difficult to access. This won’t yield a ton of extra space, but it might be worthwhile if you just need to cram a few more tomes on those shelves.