Do Bookcases Need to Be Fixed to the Wall?

Bookcase Wall

Whether it is for decoration or whether you need a place to store your books and ornaments, a bookcase can be a solid addition to your living area. However, if you are adding a bookcase, you may be wondering whether you need to fix it to your wall to protect it from falling over. So, do you need to fix your bookcase to the wall?

Bookcases do not need to be fixed to the wall unless circumstances call for it due to safety reasons. It is recommended that you fix your bookcase to a wall if you have pets or small children, or if you live in areas that are prone to earthquakes. 

You should analyze your situation and decide whether you want to fix your bookcase to a wall. In some cases, it may not be necessary. In this article, you will get a better idea of whether you need to fix your bookcase to a wall and the best way to do this. 

Do Bookcases Need to Be Fixed to the Wall?

The choice is up to the owner, but it is unnecessary to fix or bolt your bookcase to the wall. A bookcase can be a stylish addition to your living area, but if you were to bolt it, it would make redecorating more of a hassle. You only need to consider fixing your bookcase to the wall if:

  • You have small children
  • You have a dog or a cat
  • You live in an area that is prone to earthquakes

Some bookcases are a bit flimsy and can tip over with the slightest force. Small children might try to climb the bookcase, which can lead to a very dangerous situation for your child and your bookcase. Dogs and cats might also try to climb the bookcase or may just run into it with enough force and momentum to knock it over. 

If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, such as California, you should probably consider fixing not only your bookcase, but other types of furniture to your wall just as a precaution. Earthquakes are sudden and you often do not get the opportunity to plan for it on short notice, so it would be wise to always be prepared. 

If these situations do not relate to you, you can still fix your bookcase to your wall if that is your preference. Just make sure to keep in mind that it would be an inconvenience should you want to redecorate your living space or if you are moving to a new home and plan to take the bookcase with you. 

Different Types of Bookcases

Another factor to consider is what kind of bookcase you are using. Smaller bookcases are much less hazardous than larger ones. If your bookcase is small and can just fit in a corner of your bedroom or living room, you may not need to get it fixed to the wall at all. However, the bigger the size of the bookcase, the more you should consider fixing it. 

Open bookcases that do not have a backside are a lot less secure than one that does. An open back bookcase adds a different dimension to the overall security of your bookcase and the things you have in it. If your bookcase does not have a back wall, you should consider fixing it to the wall regardless of your living situation. 

Aside from being less secure, fixing your open back bookcase will also give your bookcase more order. When you have that extra layer of protection, you can move your books or decorations all the way to the back of the bookcase knowing that no part of it is hanging off the edge of the shelf. 

A corner bookcase is another example of a bookcase that is typically reliable, but may be better off reinforced onto a wall. The corner position gives this bookcase extra sturdiness, but the slightest vibrations through the wall may move this type of bookcase away from the wall and could cause items of the shelves to fall off the bookcase. 

How to Fix Your Bookcase to the Wall

If you decide that you want to fix your bookcase to the wall, the best way to do it is through the use of brackets. Make sure your bookshelf is positioned where you want it to be and then place the brackets on top of the shelf. Use a pen or marker to mark the areas on the wall where you need to drill holes in. 

After the holes in the wall are drilled, follow the same steps, but this time marking and drilling holes on top of the bookshelf. Once the holes on the wall and bookshelf are drilled, use a screwdriver to secure the nails into the bracket. After these steps are completed, your bookcase should be safely fixed to your wall. 

If your concern with fixing your bookcase to the wall is that it will damage the wall and the bookcase, you can rest assured that the holes are small and easy to patch up once the bookshelf is removed from that area. You can also use other mounting strategies such as velcro or straps, but they are not as reliable as drilling. 

Choosing Not to Fix Your Bookcase to the Wall

If you decide to leave to not fix your bookcase to the wall, you can still do things to help it stay secure regardless of your living situation. Again, the type of bookcase you own plays a role in how you should securely set it up and decorate it going forward. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Placing heaviest books/items/decorations in bottom shelves for extra balance
  • Placing the bookcase in a corner of your living area
  • Avoid over-decorating or over-stacking the bookcase
  • Always consider weight distribution and placement 

If you place the heavier books or items on the bottom shelves of your bookcase, you are adding more stability to the bookcase through solid weight distribution. This will make the bookcase harder to move or tip over should your kid or pet attempt to climb or push the bookcase at any point. Prioritizing balance can help keep your bookcase secure.

As mentioned earlier, a corner spot of your living area could serve as a good place to secure your bookcase because it secures at least one side of the bookcase by having it pressed up against the corner of your wall. This strategy is highly recommended for bigger bookcases that take up a lot of space.

Finally, you can limit the hazard of your bookcase and the amount of potential damage should it fall over, by not over-decorating the bookcase. However, if you choose to add a lot of items or books to your bookshelf, make sure you are considering weight distribution when setting everything up. This gives your bookcase more sturdiness.


While you do not need to fix your bookcase to the wall, it is recommended. Even if you do not own pets or have family, fixing your bookcase to the wall at the very least can provide you with more space to use in your home. 

Make sure to consider your living situation because if you have children, pets, or live in an area that is susceptible to earthquakes, your best option will be to fix your bookcase to the wall. You will also need to consider the type of bookcase you own. If you decide not to, you should still make sure to find other ways to secure your bookcase.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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