What Is the Average Space Between Shelves on a Bookshelf?

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A bookshelf with spacing of at least 12 inches between shelves.
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If you're making your own bookshelves -- which is a good DIY project for an intermediate-level woodworker -- the dimensions you need to consider are the height, width, depth and spacing between shelves. Shelf spacing varies depending on the size of the books you plan to keep in the bookshelf.


Average Shelf Spacing

A good average spacing for shelves is between 8 and 12 inches. If you have oversize books to store, you might prefer to increase the spacing to 15 inches. If you're storing a combination of large and small books and need to vary the spacing between shelves, keep the wide spacing on the bottom; this prevents the bookshelf from becoming top heavy and tipping over.

Adjustable Spacing

If you're building your own bookshelf, you may choose to make the shelf spacing adjustable. Drill a series of holes on both sides of the case that can accommodate metal or plastic shelf supports. When you want to change the spacing between a pair of shelves, remove one of the shelves, move the supports up or down as needed and replace the shelf.


references & resources

Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.

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