Bookcase headboards - good or bad?

As a former owner of a bookcase headboard I would like to address those folks who are planning to increase the amount of book storage space in their bedrooms. I assume that the pros of having a headboard bookcase are pretty clear - you can reach for a book anytime you are lying down, and when done reading (which at bed time can be within minutes), there is no need to get up and return the book to the shelf. Now, let's look at the cons:

  • It is not easy to have adequate storage in a headboard bookcase. Most manufacturers, with good reason, limit the number of bedside shelves to only two or three. If you hope that you will be able to finally have enough room for your ever growing book collection by simply adding one of these bookcases, forget it!
  • It is simply not safe to have objects towering above your head when you are sleeping. Even a modest paperback can considerably startle you when you are sleeping, and a heavier volume can cause serious injury. Astonishingly, people even place decorative elements and various other objects on their headboard bookcases!
  • If you think that by adding a headboard case you use your bedroom space smartly, you are mistaken. You are in fact creating unusable space below the level of the matrass, because you cannot store books directly behind the bed, as they would be inaccessible there. Also, the edge your bed will end up too far from the wall, possibly blocking passage. This was the main reason that made me say goodbye to my bookcase headboard.
  • To be perfectly honest, having books behind your back is a good way to forget that they exist. I remember how the books that I used to store in such a bookcase would just stay there without ever being read!
  • Personally, I think that bookcase headboards look dated...

Are there any situations when the use of a bookcase headboard is a good idea? Absolutely. If the shelves are deep enough or you have a sliding door to keep them from falling out, AND you have too much empty space in the room, such a design can make your bedroom appear less empty. Also, if you have a large bedroom and the bed is located in the middle, a headboard bookcase with shelves ON THE OTHER SIDE will look just great. Otherwise, just stick with a bedside bookcase or an end table.