Categories / Design and Interiors

Top 20 midcentury modern shelving units

Top 20 midcentury modern shelving units
Top 20 midcentury modern shelving units (image credit: La Redoute)
Note all articles are independently researched and written by myself. However, if you buy via one of the links it may be an affiliate and I may earn a small commission.

Bookcases, room dividers, call them what you will. But I’ve gone for the top 20 midcentury modern shelving units in this round-up.

I’m not sure there is a defined term. It’s basically a large unit with shelving, whether that’s for books or decorative objects. For using against a wall, attaching to a wall or splitting the space in the room.

It was once the preserve of vintage and junk shops, but with the growth of the midcentury modern market, the shelving unit has been reborn both on the high street and by any number of small independent makers and sellers. There’s quite a choice right now, which has made it all the more difficult to narrow this selection down.

But I have and, hopefully, mixing different styles and price points. But all have two things in common. A midcentury modern look and, of course, plenty of shelving.

If anything else catches my eye, then I’ll increase the list appropriately. But for now, check out the 20 best to my eye at the moment.

 

1. Larsen retro bookcase at La Redoute
1. Larsen retro bookcase at La Redoute (image credit: La Redoute)

1. Larsen retro bookcase at La Redoute

Pure nostalgia – and that’s a good thing, by the way.

La Redoute is really good at getting retro and midcentury modern just right. Functional for the modern era, but with that ‘is it or isn’t it’ vibe that will have your visitors guessing if it is an original or not.

This is typical and, like many pieces, part of a larger range. A unit that wouldn’t look out of place in a home from the 1960s or 1970s, this offers plenty of shelving, a couple of large cupboards and a lovely curved footing.

£1119.20 isn’t cheap, but it is very eye-catching.

Find out more at the La Redoute website

 

2. Midcentury modern bookshelf by Pastform
2. Midcentury modern bookshelf by Pastform (image credit: Pastform)

2. Midcentury modern bookshelf by Pastform

Not just a favourite shelving unit, I think this is one of my favourite modern-day, midcentury modern designs right now.

You might know about Pastform, which is a label I have featured in the past. Their range is all about quality and authenticity. This is absolutely on the money when it comes to reproduction midcentury modern furniture. As is the rest of the range, which you really should check out. Especially if you need some classy vinyl storage.

This one is more of an all-rounder, offering shelving, display areas and storage as a focal point to a room. Everything from the design to the grain of the wood works.

Handmade and not a cheap option (perhaps because of that), it retails for £2,138.77. But it should see you through for many, many years.

Find out more at the Pastform at Etsy website

 

3. Norell room divider/shelving at Made
3. Norell room divider/shelving at Made (image credit: Made)

3. Norell room divider/shelving at Made

Less stylistically midcentury modern but functional and also a piece that would fit into any MCM interior well.

That’s because this is a wooden room divider, which also works as a shelving unit. Two finishes of wood for this one are available, with both being something of a blank canvas. That’s a good thing, by the way.

Load it with your interior design books, carefully place your vintage collectables and glassware around it and this will look amazing. If you have a large space that needs separating off, all the better.

Oh, and best of all, much cheaper than some on the listing. In fact, this is in the sale for £875.

Find out more at the Made website

 

4. Redpop bookcase at La Redoute
4. Redpop bookcase at La Redoute (image credit: la Redoute)

4. Redpop bookcase at La Redoute

More than a touch of the 1950s in this Redpop bookcase.

Again, part of a larger range with a similar look (see the retailer’s site for the rest), this is a distinctive design that mixes wood and cane to great effect.

Functional storage, but with the camera door and brass feet to add a bit of extra style. Not that the cane door is there just for a look, it hides some very useful cupboard storage underneath the upper shelving. So plenty of storage options, both visible and invisible.

Another in the sale too (it’s a great time to buy at the moment), down to £581.25.

Find out more at the La Redoute website

 

5. Quilda bookcase at La Redoute
5. Quilda bookcase at La Redoute (image credit: La Redoute)

5. Quilda bookcase at La Redoute

Another (and the last) from La Redoute and featured because it serves s purpose many others do not.

Basically, not everyone has a lot of floor space. With that in mind, this could be the perfect solution for anyone who wants a bookcase but might struggle to fit one in.

I’m a huge fan of the Quilda range, which is one of the best and most extensive on the high street. So, of course, it has bookcases. This one is narrow, which might be what you need, but still has both the look and plenty of storage capacity. Three drawers and three shelving areas with plenty of depth. Love the wood finish too.

Yes, in the sale too. Grab one now for £568.75.

Find out more at the La Redoute website

 

6. 1960s-style Morland shelving at Made
6. 1960s-style Morland shelving at Made (image credit: Made)

6. 1960s-style Morland shelving at Made

Again, the function is at the heart of this design, But more than most of the others, this one hits heavy on the style too.

A wood and metal frame, plus bags of storage. Nothing outlandish about that. The difference is this one being more angular than many other options and that wonderful patina used on the frontage, which is the kind of thing that wasn’t unusual to see in the ‘60s but not really seen much today.

Again, a big unit and, again, one that can currently be found in the sale. £750 right now for this, which seems great value.

Find out more at the Made website

 

7. Yucca shelving unit at Maisons Du Monde
7. Yucca shelving unit at Maisons Du Monde (image credit: Maisons Du Monde)

7. Yucca shelving unit at Maisons Du Monde

Two similar designs coming up. One is a design classic, and this inspired by it and on the high street.

Well, the high street isn’t quite right. Perhaps I should say mainstream retailer. The Yucca unit here offers sliding doors and stained acacia shelves, as well as metal supports. It’s inspired by a midcentury modern classic and sells for £1,515.00.

You probably want to check out the original and see if a similar configuration comes in cheaper. And funnily enough, I’m looking at that next.

Find out more at the Maisons Du Monde website

 

8. 1950s String shelving system
8. 1950s String shelving system (image credit: Stiong)

8. 1950s String shelving system

Well, there are two options here. First off, go find some vintage Ladderax shelving. An icon of midcentury modern storage, and with so much of it being made, there is plenty of the modular shelving system available online. It looks amazing and is worth the effort to find the configuration you want.

Alternatively, go for the Scandinavian equivalent that is still being made today. String shelving.

It was designed as part of a competition to create something practical and stylish for books and other storage in Swedish homes. Nisse and Kajsa Strinning designed the String system, and it was a hit from the 1950s onwards, both in Sweden and worldwide.

Like Ladderax, the same consistent look carries across the range, although the finishes vary. And, of course, you get to configure it just as you want in terms of functionality and space. You make it how you want it.

Which makes it hard to pin down in terms of price. But I would estimate a run with three drops of storage comes in at around £2,500.

Find out more at the String Shelving website

 

9. John Lewis midcentury modern Grayson shelving unit
9. John Lewis midcentury modern Grayson shelving unit (image credit: John Lewis)

9. John Lewis midcentury modern Grayson shelving unit

I like the Grayson range, which is high street midcentury modern at its best and with reasonable price tags too. This unit is from it and available in a dark or oak finish.

Again, one for a more modest space, which is something a lot of us could do with. Four surfaces of varying depth to display your finish bits and pieces, tapered legs and something that’s prominent in this range, the cabinet with slatted doors.

A strong look, and it is a useful unit too. £599 if you want one in your home.

Find out more at the John Lewis website

 

10. Habitat Marston bookcase
10. Habitat Marston bookcase (image credit: Habitat)

10. Habitat Marston bookcase

Looking for something similar and, more importantly, a bit cheaper? I might have just the thing for you.

Habitat currently does some lovely designs for reasonable money. I mean, it has always done some nice design, but it used to be a little heavier on the pocket. Now it’s part of the Argos group, not so much.

This one, like the last one, is available in a dark and light finish. And it has a similar layout (maybe one extra shelf, but not much in it). Ok, it doesn’t have the midcentury modern/Scandinavian design tweaks. But it does look the part in any MCM setting.

Best of all, at £320 it’s much cheaper than the John Lewis unit. And right now, every penny counts.

Find out more at the Habitat website

 

11. Volak-inspired room dividers by Skleica
11. Volak-inspired room dividers by Skleica (image credit: Skleica)

11. Volak-inspired room dividers by Skleica

Something a little different, inspired by a Czech classic of the day.

These are room dividers which can also work as shelving, all made out of bent plywood (varnished or oiled beech wood) and inspired by furniture designed by Ludwik Volak for Drevopodnik Holesov in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s.

Each divider consists of two modules, with four feet (two at the bottom, two at the top) and two connectors (in the middle). You can see the full dimensions on the seller’s page.

They look amazing as well as being practical pieces. Guaranteed talking points and, of course, handmade. Priced at around £665, depending on the size option you go for.

Find out more at the Skleica Etsy website

 

12. Mid Century Modern bookcase by P Wood Pro
12. Mid Century Modern bookcase by P Wood Pro (image credit: P Wood Pro)

12. Mid Century Modern bookcase by P Wood Pro

Another handmade piece, and although operating in a similar ballpark to other designs above, very much on its own in terms of look and functionality.

Note there are variations of this (see the site for more), but I love this larger version, both in terms of the look, the wood finish and what it offers in terms of storage. Yes, room for your books and decorative objects, but there’s also a cabinet in here, plus (unusually) space for vinyl records.

A handmade statement piece, one of many by this marker and seller. Around £2,200 if you want one in your home.

Find out more at the P Wood Pro Etsy website

 

13. Tikamoon solid teak double bookcase
13. Tikamoon solid teak double bookcase (image credit: Tikamoon)

13. Tikamoon solid teak double bookcase

Another wall unit, made of solid teak and with functionality at its heart.

Scandinavian in influence, this is made of reclaimed teak with the occasional imperfection that adds to the originality. Plenty of storage space for books and small or large ornaments on the seven shelves and three compartments, two of which are closed by a drop-down door.

Probably works as an impromptu desk as well. Just in case you can’t get to work. £1,299 is the price.

Find out more at the Tikamoon website

 

14. Castella retro storage console at Urban Outfitters
14. Castella retro storage console at Urban Outfitters (image credit: Urban Outfitters)

14. Castella retro storage console at Urban Outfitters

Not the first place you would look for furniture, but UO does have the occasional interesting and retro piece in its range, including this one.

Another that works with your record collection too. Yes, you could fill in with your Taschen and Phaidon art books and your favourite display items. But as you can see from the image above, it offers more.

Yes, room for your record deck, a speaker/amplifier and bags of room for your vinyl. Versatility as well as a strong look.

And it’s also cheaper than many alternatives. £534 for this as it’s in the sale.

Find out more at the Urban Outfitters website

 

15. Fresco mid century wall unit by Swoon
15. Fresco mid century wall unit by Swoon (image credit: Swoon)

15. Fresco mid century wall unit by Swoon

I used to mention Swoon a lot, but they fell off my radar a bit. Saying that, the company still has some interesting designs, and this one is perfect for this particular rundown.

A strong midcentury modern influence (or mid century if you prefer that way of writing it), the Fresco uses mango wood and brass, with tapered pegs for support.

Lots of storage options, whether that’s on the open shelves or in the two sizeable cupboards below. £749 for this one.

Find out more at the Swoon Editions website

 

16. Laurent bookcase and room divider at Wayfair
16. Laurent bookcase and room divider at Wayfair (image credit: Wayfair)

16. Laurent bookcase and room divider at Wayfair

Featuring this one for three reasons. First off, the functionality, secondly the range of colour options and thirdly (as well as most importantly) the price.

Yes, you can get this in a wide range of colours, have a look at the site for the full selection. Quite a big unit, too; whatever colour you pick and one loaded with your MCM bits and pieces will look quite the statement piece.

But despite that, it is cheap. You can grab this from Wayfair for just £131.99 right now in the sale. Great value.

Find out more at the Wayfair website

 

17. Elements retro bookcase at Dunelm
17. Elements retro bookcase at Dunelm (image credit: Dunelm)

17. Elements retro bookcase at Dunelm

I should do a feature on the whole Elements range at Dunelm, as it’s a great collection of affordable retro and MCM design. But I’ll kick off with this.

It’s an understated gem with subtle curves and plenty of storage. It reminds me of a designer piece that Heal’s had some years back, which is no bad thing.

At £299, it is worth checking out.

Find out more at the Dunelm website

 

18. Wingrove retro media unit at Made
18. Wingrove retro media unit at Made (image credit: Made)

18. Wingrove retro media unit at Made

Including this one due to its function being slightly different to the others.

Yes, a media unit at its heart, which is no bad thing at all. But not just a place for your TV, add-ons and wires.

This one has room for all your bits and bobs, too, whether that’s books or vintage glass and pottery. Best of all, it’s in the sale too, heftily discounted to £895 if you want one.

Find out more at the Made website

 

19. Atkin and Thyme deco marble shelving unit
19. Atkin and Thyme deco marble shelving unit (image credit: Atkin and Thyme)

19. Atkin and Thyme deco marble shelving unit

The name uses the word ‘deco’, but I suspect that’s not the era being referred to. This is very much in the midcentury modern era.

More cupboard space than shelving, but good for display regardless – and possibly a drink cabinet, too, judging by the image above. Compact enough to fit in but big enough to make an impact.

If you want one, £899 gets you one.

Find out more at the Atkin and Thyme website

 

20. Habitat Jessie wall shelving unit
20. Habitat Jessie wall shelving unit (image credit: Habitat)

20. Habitat Jessie wall shelving unit

I’ll end with something affordable and minimal. But ideal for a midcentury modern setting.

A floating unit, so you’ll need to be handy with DIY – or know someone who is – to get it just right on your wall.

Do that, and you get some space-saving shelving as well as an emergency desk. Great for a bedroom, you would think or any living room where space is at a premium.

I said earlier that Habitat is more affordable these days, and this doesn’t disappoint. £160 is the price.

Find out more at the Habitat website

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