The bookcase has seen many incarnations over the years. The Victorian Era saw the addition of glass fronts and short legs, for example, and many bookcases also doubled as China cabinets. As time went on, the simpler, flatter Mission and Arts and Crafts styles gained popularity. The mid-20th century saw the introduction of new materials such as laminate and metal, and new forms such as backless shelves and corner bookcases.
Beyond bookcases, shelves and even shelf brackets can be used to create a focal point in a room, as well as to provide a place to display or store one's library. Glass shelves allow the look of the books to dominate, while cast-iron, brass, or carved wooden brackets can be found in a range of styles to complement or contrast with the rest of a room's furniture.