5 Sustainable Bookshelves For A Nontoxic Reading Nook
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It’s no surprise we’re big bookworms here at The Good Trade—we’ve covered our favorite book club subscriptions, ways to read more, and even how to build your very own home library. And since we can’t add one more book to our TBR piles (seriously, it will fall over), we’ve decided it’s time to find some bookshelves for our homes.
Like most furniture, bookcases can be a major investment—especially when shopping for long-lasting sustainable wood shelves (FSC-certified over particleboard, please). That’s why almost all of the below brands have payment options. Of course, for the most affordable (and eco-friendly) option, secondhand is the way to go!
If you end up finding a bookshelf, tag us (@thegoodtrade) with a photo—we’re always sourcing more inspo for our own home libraries! Happy reading and decorating, fellow book lovers.
Best For | Upcycled and custom shelves
Price Range | Varies
The beauty of Etsy is that you can find thousands of pre-made and custom options in one place, including rustic wooden shelves, recycled bookshelves from OwlDesigned, and sprawling “trees” from SouthDesignCo. (Custom designs also mean they make great gifts!) The online marketplace is run entirely by renewable energy and offsets all carbon from orders—including global ones—so no matter what, your purchase will be a carbon-neutral one.
Best For | Shelves handmade in the USA
Price Range | $2,195–$2,995
Medley creates sustainable quality furniture made just for you, right in the heart of California. From sofas to mattresses to—yes, shelving—nearly every item is made-to-order! The Anders Shelf in particular comes with three different wood options, all responsibly sourced and finished with an all-natural wax. We love Medley for its thoughtful details (like brass leg caps—swoon!), lifetime warranty, and promise to plant three times the number of trees used in its products. This is the heirloom kind of furniture your grandparents told you about.
3. West Elm
Best For | Mid-century modern styles
Price Range | $549–$2,937
West Elm makes sustainable mid-century style more accessible. This socially responsible company sources FSC-certified wood, partners with Fair Trade certified factories whenever possible, and collaborates with nonprofits like the Human Rights Campaign. We especially love these bookshelves for larger spaces—buy two to balance out a space or place side-by-side for a wall-to-wall library! As a bonus, many come with storage so you can showcase the books you loved and hide the ones you didn’t. 😉
Best For | Heirloom quality, modular shelving
Price Range | $399–$6,384
If timeless, functional design is your jam, you will love NUMI‘s modular shelving. Inspired by Japanese woodworking, these beautiful shelves are made from FSC certified wood and eco-solvent finishes, by a small team of artisans and designers in California. Choose from one to sixteen units and four gorgeous finishes to create the perfect sustainable shelf that will grow with you anywhere you go.
5. Inside Weather
Best For | Customizable shelving
Price Range | $663–$2,622
The Alto Shelves from Inside Weather are made from FSC-certified, kiln-dried, solid ash wood and baltic birch plywood. When the brand calls this adjustable, sustainable collection “customizable,” they aren’t just referring to the modularity (though there is that!): Choose from latte, or espresso finish, then customize further from their options provided. Each unit is made fully to order at the company’s California Crafthouse. Manipulate the set in myriad ways: hang as a floating shelf; stack into a floor-to-ceiling display; brace units back-to-back to delineate zones in an open plan room. With a zero-inventory model, each piece is made in-house then shipped directly to your door– no middlemen, markups, or wasted materials!
Featured image is from Numi