I know there are people out there who ruthlessly live by the “one in, one out” policy where books and other possessions are concerned. Those people would have little sympathy for whines about how even a moderate (my estimate of denial) collection of books requires so…much…storage space. But it does, and unless you’re willing to have custom shelving built for a rental apartment (behold the lack of flying pigs) you’re more than likely going to end up with the Great Wall of BILLYs…
Unified looking vintage shelving solutions are surprisingly difficult to come by, at least if you desire more than one unit. The most obvious thing for us would be to continue the predominantly Mid-Century Modern feel in the living room and hunt for some Poul Cadovius shelves. The current trend for all things 50s, modernist, and teak has driven prices for these up considerably, but there are sometimes still reasonable deals to be had on ebay, especially when you consider that a shelving system made of beautiful and solid wood that has been functioning perfectly well for 50 odd years is always a better buy than particle board with cardboard backing.
I do have some reservations: the Cadovius units that I have seen all require wall mounting, which in turn requires a festival of drilling, which again means many deep holes to patch up before we move out of here one day. A further consideration is that we would need two (or three?) slimmer units rather than one uninterrupted large shelf-our livingroom opens onto three different rooms and the only long wall without a door in the middle is taken (sofa.)
Other ideas: industrial shelving (a sturdy and cool, but very hard look that I may tire of quickly); or used library shelving like so:
Minus warehouse creepiness, plus hardwood floor/Kilim cushions/Oriental rug/kitties lazing about vibe, obviously. I have gone bonkers/my ideas are awesome? I’d love to hear about how you store your books and house other clutter, especially if you have moved beyond the BILLY.