Cost to Build a Bookcase – 2021

| Last Updated: August 24, 2021

National Average Improvement and Repair Cost







$ 978

$ 275

Would you do this project? According to our survey, 79% of respondents preferred DIY compared to hiring a pro.

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The average price to Build a Bookcase noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself.

How much does it cost to build a bookcase? The DIY cost to build a basic bookcase is $275 compared with $978, the cost of hiring a carpenter. 

Before you decide to buy a bookcase consider the cost of building it yourself and compare the carpenter cost with doing it yourself. A freestanding bookcase solves a storage problem, and no matter who does the work you’ll appreciate it for years to come. For a custom job, you can build a bookcase into a wall that adds warmth and charm to a room by becoming an architectural element.

A carpenter will charge $978 to build in a 6-foot-by-6-foot bookcase made of clear Pine, or Birch which includes the labor and material. If you have carpentry skills and tools, you can do the job for $275, the cost of the materials, which include 1-by-12 lumber, glue, fasteners, and shelf hardware. By building it yourself you’ll save 72 percent and earn a great deal of satisfaction.

Building the bookcase with 1-by-12 lumber eliminates the need to ‘rip’ (or cut along the length of) the boards, a time-consuming process. You’ll need basic carpentry tools, and a circular or table saw will make the job easier and the cuts more accurate. This isn’t considered fine woodworking, but it is precision work that will take at least a weekend, plus additional time to finish or paint the unit.

You can customize a built-in bookcase to accommodate and store large books or a collection. Measure the depth, width and height of the items and make sure that in the plan you allow for shelving large enough to hold it.

Check to see that the floor is level and the walls are straight before locating a built-in bookcase and if you build a free-standing unit fasten it to the walls to prevent it from toppling over.

Building the bookcase is straightforward, but fitting it into the wall takes time and precision workmanship. You’ll need to remove the baseboard trim in the room and make adjustments to custom fit the bookcase. Spend time planning the project and follow the old adage “Measure twice and cut once,” as a mistake or miscut can add considerably to your cost.

That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to build a bookcase lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor.

Looking for more ways to change up your space? Here are some other cost comparisons:

Welcome! We hope you’ll find the job costs of home improvement projects useful when you’re deciding whether to do a job yourself vs. hire a contractor. We’re the authors of 20 home improvement books, most notably Home Improvement for Dummies©, Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies©, Carpentry for Dummies©, Plumbing for Dummies©, and Painting and Wallpapering for Dummies©. Our most recent book Fix It and Flip It is in its second edition. We’ve appeared as home improvement experts on television programs such as CNN, Dateline, the Today Show, HGTV and many others.