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Not-Ugly Vinyl Record Storage Options (Beyond the Kallax, Because Brian’s Driving Em Crazy With Records Everywhere)

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I LOVE A NICHE POST FOR A VERY SPECIFIC PROBLEM. Welcome to the roundup that I was born to write! I’m glad you’re here! Here’s the background: a few weeks ago, Em mentioned that Brian’s burgeoning record collection was getting out of control and that the Hendersons are in need of some new storage options.

And this is a problem that I know VERY well!!! My record collection is enormous. Prior to joining the team at EHD, I worked at labels, in streaming, and spent years on a vinyl startup, so I also have hundreds of LPs hanging out around my apartment.

But here’s the thing: trying to find visually attractive ways to store these records is THE. FREAKING. WORST. The universal go-to choice is the IKEA Kallax, and while it’s sturdy and affordable (I had a full warehouse outfitted with these at my last job!), it’s not necessarily an aesthetic fit for every home. So today, I’m here with a collection of not-ugly vinyl record storage solutions for all types of decor styles!

Brady Tolbert Citizenry Emily Henderson Living Room Refresh 9 Edited
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: brady’s living room refresh with the citizenry

But first, some parameters to help you on your future search:

  1. They’re Big: For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say that the average LP is 12.5″ tall by 12.5″ deep. Units with adjustable shelves or open backs will be your friend.
  2. They’re Heavy: In my experience, it’s safest – for your furniture and your flooring – to assume that 50 records will weigh about 30 pounds. LPs are DENSE. These 50 records will also only take up about 13″ (read: not that much space), so you need to keep shelving’s weight limits in mind. Do not overload!
  3. Store Them Upright: You want to keep records as vertical as possible at all time to prevent both warping and damage to the outside sleeve (which can happen if there’s any unbalanced pressure). You also want to keep them out of direct sunlight if possible, but I digress.
  4. Keep it Local: If you’re into mid-century pieces, check Craigslist/FB Marketplace first for vintage pieces that were specifically designed for vinyl. If MCM isn’t your style, I’ve got you with picks below 🙂 And honestly, once you get into larger collection territory – like, 300 or 400+ – it’s probably worth connecting with a local woodworker (or with one of the Etsy makers below!) to make something custom for your needs.
  5. My Recommendations: Since I always get asked – this is the best turntable for starting out (get it with the built-in preamp) and these are the best speakers to pair with it. It’s actually the setup I use because it’s beautiful AND it sounds great 🙂 (Suitcase turntables are affordable and very cute, but anything with the speaker attached to the unit and without an adjustable arm will damage your records a bit during play.)

Now that we’re on the same page, LET US BEGIN…

1. Tabletop Vinyl Holder | 2. Album Frame | 3. Tabletop LP Holder with Now Playing Display | 4. Record Ledge | 5. Vinyl Storage Rack | 6. LP Storage Rack

If you’re just starting out (under 50 records), these are perfect for you. #2 and #4 are classic wall options if you’re interested in displaying a few records as decor! #5 and #6 are very cute, but I’d remain cognizant that these should not be placed in direct sunlight and that they should be left with some breathing room (just like how Urban styled them) to keep your records safe and undamaged from weight or pressure.

The real winners here are #1 and #3, which can hold around 50 LPs and can be placed on top of an existing tabletop or sideboard or bookshelf. They’re compact AND you can flip through your records while they’re forward-facing, which is way easier than trying to find things based on the spine. For Em and Brian, I’d recommend grabbing several of #3 (it’s just a little more special with that ‘Now Playing’ slot up front!) for the Mountain House 🙂

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a mid-century eclectic living room with kilz primer and paint – the dark room problem solved

Onwards to the medium options for my pals with ~100 records! Before we get started: YES, there are full-sized bookshelves here. NO, that does not mean that you have the freedom to pack all of the shelves with LPs. These are choices for medium-sized collections only! Please be mindful of weight limits (again, records are thin but dense) so you don’t end up with shelves bowing or breaking.

1. Record Player Stand | 2. Walnut Bookcase with Drawers | 3. Mid-Century Bookcase | 4. Two-Row LP Storage Crate | 5. Ladder Bookshelf | 6. Album Crate on Wheels

I’ve owned #1 and I will vouch for its quality – it’s a great solution, the top is perfect for even larger turntable/pre-amp setups, and the maker is awesome at changing colors or patterns. I picked it up from him in person before he relocated to Nevada and he’s also a lovely guy that you can feel good about supporting. 🙂

Now, the bookshelves: we’ve used #2 in a project and while the upper shelves aren’t necessarily super deep, wall-mounting gives some space at the rear so your records aren’t falling off the front. I had #3 in my own home for a while and packed the bottom two shelves with LPs (they’re the only ones that will adjust to fit) while using the top three shelves for books and decor – it was a great solution at the time! And despite having awesome dimensions, the weight limits on #5 mean that you should really only put 20-30 LPs per shelf – this is a good pick if you really want to mix all types of media in one place.

I’m newly obsessed with #4 and #6, though. I LOVE THESE. They’re graphic alternatives to the standard milk crate, they’re movable, and they look SO CLEAN AND FRESH. They’re off the ground and stashed upright, but it’s also low enough that you could slide these under a console table or a bench. I’m thinking about grabbing 5 or 6 of these for my own MOTO 🙂

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: emily bowser’s “refreshed for function” small living room makeover

And now…the big guns. Solutions for my pals with hundreds of albums! I’ve sourced a lot of open-fronted options buuuuut if you’re trying to cut down on visual clutter, there are a few credenzas, too.

If you’re planning to go with a piece of closed storage (from here or from anywhere!), PLEASE just verify that the shelves are adjustable. In some cases, you may end up stashing that adjustable shelf in a closet – LPs are too tall! – meaning that this will be a piece solely dedicated to your record collection. That said, it’s nice to have a place that can serve as your vinyl storage and your record player stand all at once.

1 Media Console | 2. Hi-Gloss Media Credenza | 3. 8-Cube Bookcase | 4. Pull-Out Record Cabinet | 5. BESTA| 6. 4 Deck Album Сrate Сart | 7. Modern Media Console | 8. Minimalist Record Player Stand | 9. Two-Tone Credenza | 10. Natural Credenza | 11. Trace Black Wire Mesh Cabinet Credenza 12. Record Cabinet with Component Shelves

I’m most bullish on #5 here as an alternative to the Kallax. It’s another unit from IKEA, but you can customize it with pre-made cabinet fronts from a brand like Semi-Handmade and feet with a brand like Pretty Pegs to make it a little more special. (Speaking of the Kallax, #3 is a nice lookalike that feels a little more intentional and a little less “BAM, here’s my record collection in my glossy laminate box!!”)

When it comes to closed storage in general, CB2 will be your best bet for sourcing as they have an awesome variety of credenzas with adjustable shelving. (Harder to find than you’d think!) Out of all the ones sourced up there, #11 is my favorite – it has a mesh front so you’d be able to see hits of album spine without it being too overpowering. It also comes in brass!

I’m also very into the construction of #4 – the pull-out bins are awesome and a worthwhile investment for anyone with a huge collection. (This maker also manufactures larger sizes!) There’s something so nice about bringing the record store bin-flipping experience home.

But for someone like Emily, whose home has such a distinct aesthetic, I’d have to recommend a custom option like #1 – it is so Scandi and minimalist and beautiful. Etsy options can be a little expensive, but if you’ve purchased enough vinyl to need this much space, it’s a good idea to invest in keeping it safe 🙂

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT: the vinyl album storage solutions that I have tried (or that my friends have tried) over the past half decade, along with my recommendations for the Hendersons.

My questions for you: who else has had to figure out where to put their vinyl? Does anyone wanna trade Discogs info? What’s your most valuable record??? (Here’s mine, I think, though I still have a couple hundred that I haven’t added to my account. Too off-topic? Either way, I want to know.) LET’S CHAT!

Opening Image Credits: Photo by David Tsay | From: Rustic Modern House Tour 

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val

Some of the best money my husband and I ever spent includes: (1) the massive record collection itself, and (2) the massive oak shelves we really splashed out for. They were our first “adult” furniture purchase, but we reasoned we’ll have them forever. No more fear of buckling–the weight of thousands of records is no joke. My only rule is that we only fill every other cube of the shelves, so we have some airy space for displaying other objects, and the living room never looks like a record shop.

brit

Val, where did you source your massive oak shelves? Looking for even larger amount of storage than shown in this round-up. thanks!

Kristyn

I love this post! I may have to get the short roll cart (#6) for an always expanding collection. Another bargain choice is the Ikea PS locker console cabinet ($99). I have two of these pushed together like one long credenza. I store about 200 albums in each cabinet, but I did not install the adjustable shelf.

Brooke

Just an FYI – I had the #3 target console from the large storage list and it eventually bowed under the weight of the records. I ended up building something custom from 2x4s and it’s working so far! https://www.instagram.com/p/CDPW4r3ByOs/

Ashley

1. Whoa that shelf is amazing!
2. I saw your location tag and I also live in Nashville, which seems just about right for this post.
3. I’ll be extra creepy and add that I saw in a recent post that you used to work at the agency that my grandfather started 🙃 Small world!

Martha

Just saying hi to my fellow Nashvillians! I think there are more than a few of us here who love this blog. 🙂

Brooke

!!! Wow what a weird coincidence! That’s so cool!

Kj

Brooke, that’s amazing. Your whole house looks amazing. Is there a “tour” of it anywhere?

Brooke

Ah thank you so much Kj!! No I just have what’s on Instagram but maybe someday I’ll get around to taking photos of everything!!

Lucia

Checked out your insta and those shelves are amazing! My husband collects records and has maybe in the 10,000 range so I can just dream about having such beautiful record storage. He has thousands of 45s in his collection and no one ever mentions storage for them. I guess I’m just stuck with having a closet dedicated to boxes of 45s.

Ashley

Hey Lucia! I had the same problem. But! You can fit 45s in legal width file cabinets side by side (I just made little dividers out of balsa wood). The drawers hold ~500 each. We got 4 legal file cabinets secondhand and then put an ikea countertop on top (they’re the perfect size). Just got it set up last week so still working on getting everything in it, but here’s what it looks like:comment image

Wendy

Love all these options! We still have a huge IKEA Expedit bookshelf that works perfectly for our vinyl and books. These tabletop bins made by a small Chicago company are awesome for smaller collections or keeping some favorites in! flipbin.com

Ashley

1. Whoa that shelf is amazing!
2. I saw your location tag and I also live in Nashville, which seems just about right for this post.
3. I’ll be extra creepy and add that I saw in a recent post that you used to work at the agency that my grandfather started 🙃 Small world!

Ashley

(Oops posted on wrong thread)

Amy

Any suggestions for packing records for a move?

Ashley

Uhaul small boxes! They fit perfectly and are strong enough for the job as long as you’re reasonably careful. We hauled 18 of them in our last move.

Chantal 💁🏽‍♀️🇬🇧

When I moved with about 65 records, I used a large storage bin from Target that was on a dolley.

MelissaB

We have a LARGE collection (think three of the largest Kallax cabinets 5×5 packed). We’ve also moved times in 10 years so yeah it’s a pain. I found that Staples sells a cubed moving box that works well, they are a little pricey but worth the investment!

Debbie

Can you elaborate on the potential damage to the records you mention with the suitcase style turntables? I was considering one, but now I may need to look at other options. Thank you for your very informative post!

Lilz

The balance of these players is usually off enough to warp vinyl records as they spin around.

Ashley

I am SO HERE for this post. I’ve been working on redoing our record den for the past month. We worked with a carpenter and converted a closet with custom built in shelves for the LPs so they’d be out of any direct light. The bigger challenge was how to store my husband’s massive 45 collection since there are so few storage solutions for those (he has about 2000). After a lot of searching, I figured out that they can fit side by side in legal width file cabinets, so we bought 4 of them and an IKEA countertop that fits perfectly on top and provides a stable platform for the turntable. Don’t judge the photos because we’re still mid-process, but here’s how things are looking so far: https://imgur.com/gallery/vUuSlAc

Kj

Ashley, this and your 45s solution are also amazing!

Susan Carroll

For a smaller collection I purchased the Vairo stacking cubes from the Container Store for my teen’s room.

Kelly

I judge a lot of posts done by design people on record players, and storage solutions. I think this is the best post I have read that takes both the aesthetic and function into consideration. I can tell you actually own a collection.

We use a buffet, and I hacked roll out shelves (like for your kitchen pantry) with table top holders inside. It works great and looks great (get the thumb through vibe without visual clutter.) but we are starting to run out of space (in the pandemic my live music budget is going to vinyl and we just invested in a tube amp 😍) so I appreciate your storage recommendations. Enjoy the music 🎵

Jessica

Agreed! Honestly, I was expecting this post to be all Crosley suitcase players and Urban Outfitters “vinyls.” It’s really great to see such a well-informed post about records on a design blog!

My spouse and I have about 1000 records at this point, which we keep in two 4×2 Expedits (they’re over a decade old) laid end-to-end, like a long credenza. Annnd on top we have the exact same stereo setup as Caitlin—solid choice! I would only ever trade up from the Expedit/Kallax for something custom, though I’d keep the same simple shape. I just love looking at the spines of my meticulously organized collection—it never gets old.

Kiran

Any thoughts for the collectors in the thousands? My husband’s collection is enormous and currently takes up over three 5×5 Kallax shelves. Trying to find a less sightly option but very difficult to do without fully splurging on a custom solution.

Jessica

Companies make doors for other IKEA products, does anyone make doors for Kallax? Or maybe you could DIY some? People are doing interesting things putting caning in doors lately… (I’m assuming the goal of “less sightly” allows for hiding them)

SaralynE

Have the Kallax held up when fully loaded? We also have thousands of records and our current IKEA shelves (not Kallax) are buckling under the weight.

Janice

I like these ideas a lot. One idea I got from https://www.kitchenerappliancerepair.com was to use my old broken oven for a record holder but I need a metal cutter for that.

Alan

These are some good options. Everyone gravitates towards the Kallax, but I used IKEA’s Hemnes sofa table for many years. Has pretty good capacity and is solid wood and looks a little nicer than the Kallax.

I recently upgraded to the V Bar Sideboard from Article after searching for something with a bit more capacity and doors to protect my collection from kids. I like that this has a little extra capacity, and I like that it has doors as well as an open cubby to display a few records too.

Chantal

This article is so timely! I moved to my first solo apartment in June with a collection of about 65 records. I’ve held off buying more (I probably have over 100 titles on my wishlist!) because I couldn’t find anything to accommodate the records, turntable, and speaker. I have a U-turn turntable and can definitely vouch for its quality!

Out of my collection, my favorite album is my dad’s copy of “Rumors” by Fleetwood Mac from the 1970s. It was the first record I heard and the one that got me into collecting!

Rusty

Caitlin, you’ve done it again!!
Great, informative post, with all the important details.
I gave my record collection to my nephew.
My sister inherited our family collection which is massive! She also has the credenza that stores it … antique, massive, and strong as.
My parents had every, single kind of genre you could imagine. (Marching, reggae, classical, jazz, children’s, pop, Christmas, movie soundtracks, German beer drinking [my dad’s parents were German] rock, you name it. Even Abba?!)
My favourite music memory is every now and then clearing the living room furniture to the edges and all of us sitting around (7 kids) watching our parents dance. Like, ‘proper’ dancing. 🤩

Those things are waaay heavy!!! I m9ved them too many times!

Pamela

I’m wondering… best online places to buy records? Both new and used? We currently have a smallish collection, but my husband has asked for more for Christmas:). Just wondering if there’s a good go-to site. Thanks! Great post!

Megan

Discogs, the site Caitlin mentioned, is a great place for used

Jessica

I second this!

For new records, I shop on Bullmoose.com—it’s a local-to-New-England chain that ships!

Hilda

Look up https://symbolaudio.com, they have amazing options that are designed specifically for this. A client just introduced me to them since he needed a bunch of storage for records.

Trisha

LP storage is tricky!! We went with the Crate and Barrel Aspect line- we mixed and matched to build the right solution for our space- and have been thrilled with how solid it is (the shelves are the perfect height and you can pack each one full of LPs).

https://www.crateandbarrel.com/aspect-walnut-47.5-modular-open-storage-unit/s505079?localedetail=US&a=1552&campaignid=10461646938&adgroupid=103999389739&targetid=pla-829943719883&pla_sku=505079&pcat=FURN&ag=adult&scid=scplp505079&sc_intid=505079&gclid=Cj0KCQiA8dH-BRD_ARIsAC24umaojR06IGJZ3LOdE7XNO8Lc4tWejnTbbD254QfTp1imKc_uZfxRWy4aAlelEALw_wcB

SaralynE

I love how these look! Did you fill them with records? Did you stack any of the units full of records? We have thousands of records and accommodating the weight is no joke.

Kelly

I love these. I didn’t know I needed the Aspect line until this comment…but they are now in my cart. Thank you for the recommendation.

ross

I’ve got a largeish collection of around 700 records. I’m using restaurant shelves – steel shelves easily handle the weight – I think each shelf is rated for 600 lbs.

Megan

Just popping by to say I assumed this would be a post of cute things that are unrealistic solutions (like how any roundup of bookshelves is for people who own like 20 books).

I was so happy to see that not only was it not that at all, you actually recommended not getting Crosleys, which made me so happy bc not only will they damage your records but their sound quality is shitty.

We have 2 5×5 kallax units (kallaxes? Kallaxi?) which I know we’ll upgrade one day but for now we just keep them in a music room with my husband’s instruments so I don’t have to look at them. We have a small cute wooden box that holds about 50 records, and we keep that out next to the record player and then just change them out every month or so. It’s actually nice to have a small assortment of things we’re into right now to put on instead of having to look through thousands of records at a time.

Jessica

I absolutely stan the “now playing” section. We use a simple clear acrylic tabletop stand that is intended for leaning a picture frame against. I can load about 20 records on it, which is perfect for, like, “this week’s favorites.”

Susan G

Sorting discogs by value is super fun! My most valuable right now is https://www.discogs.com/The-Cramps-Creature-From-The-Black-Leather-Lagoon/release/7787299

SARAH

This is so timely. Thank you!

Kate

For anyone in Australia, the jex is great for holding a small number of records (fits up to 20).

https://idlehands.design/product/jex-vinyl-stand/

Natalie

My husband has close to 1,000 records, so we have used several different Ikea solutions over the years. Currently, an entire wall of our living room is Kallax shelving and I have hated it since the day they arrived. I’m glaring at all 18 cubes as I write this! Cubes everywhere! I hate that the back is open because the records get pushed in too far, since the molding and wall brackets have these sitting about 4 inches from the wall. Also, it’s nearly impossible to find the album I want because husband is messy and the wall o’ records is overwhelming. I am very intrigued by #4 in large storage with the records facing forward so they’re easy to read and the pull-out function is fantastic. However, with our huge collection, I think it would definitely look even more like a record store than the Kallax. Sigh. I think your etsy finds are the best-looking options I have seen, so thank you for sharing! This is something I think about almost daily and you gave me a lot of inspiration.

Reanna

This was a really fun post! You’re DEF an expert on this one!

Faith

Thank you for this post!! My teen son started collecting records 2 years ago and it has not been easy finding storage. THANK YOU!

Such an important topic! Finally! We own thousand of 12” and 7” and it is a storage nightmare.
I looked up Pinterest for years and years. A very cool and modern solution is the Vitsoe Shelf, designed by nobody less than the iconic Dieter Rams!

https://www.pinterest.de/melaniedressel/vitsoe-love/

Thanks so much for the mention!! We absolutely love what we do and specifically working with our customers to create the prefect record storage cabinet they are looking for. We’ve done all kinds of requests (pull-out turntable, flip bin tops, flip UP tops, massive built ins). So glad vinyl collecting is alive and well – its a passion of ours as well.

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