William Warren

London based product and furniture designer

Shelves for Life

These shelves are designed to last you a lifetime. The wood will colour, the surfaces will mark and stain and over the years and the furniture will become a part of you.

When you die, the shelves can be taken apart and reassembled as a coffin. The brass plate under the bottom shelf, that tells the story about this transformation, is then flipped over and you’re dates inscribed on it.

The shelves were first launched at the British Library during the 2005 London Design Festival.

Please email me if you would like the measurements and instructions to build your own shelves. You will need to include your height and build. I’d like to see your homemade versions please so email me the images if you’ve made any already.

119 Responses to “Shelves for Life”

  1. Andy says:

    I thought it was very interesting the objects you chose to photograph the shelf with.

    I am doing a project on this piece and would be interested in seeing instructions for 5’9″, 140lbs. Also if you have any user submitted images you can share. Thank you.

  2. Maike Sander says:

    I first saw your Shelf for Life in 2006 – it’s great!
    Please send me instructions for 6’20”, 198 lbs. Thank you!

  3. deaghlan finn says:

    what a good idea would love to make one as i have just less than a year, can you supply plans please, I am 5’8″ and 16 stone 50′ waist and 58 chest.

  4. brendon attwell says:

    i would love to build this.
    brilliant idea!
    im 100kg 5ft 10

    any chance you have plans etc? or a drawing


  5. Dave Roberts says:

    I would indeed love to know how to make my own shelves for life. 6’2″, 22″ across the shoulders. Thank you much!

  6. Tim W says:

    Dear Sir,
    How Would One come across a set of plans for your “shelfs for Life” I would Love to build some as a gift.
    height 5’11” Weight 190lbs”self(gift 5’7″ 170Lbs)

  7. […] it is constructed of wood and designed by William Warren to weather and age with you, it might be a good idea to take care of this bookcase while you are […]

  8. Manley says:

    This great. I’m definitely making one possibly two. Please sent details for:

    5’10” / 190lbs
    5’9″ / 140lbs

    Thank you

  9. […] – I think I would prefer a shroud!) For the practically-adept there were plans available for William Warren’s ‘Shelves for Life’ which can be transformed into a made-to-measure DIY […]

  10. Kelsang Lachpa says:

    1,72cm / 75kg
    (5`65″ / 165lbs)

    Thanks a lot for this great idea!
    What kind of wood do you recommend?

    Kind regards

  11. marshall says:

    Thanks so much for offering Shelves For Life for others to enjoy. What a unique idea! I need measurements and instructions for height of 5’4″ , 280 lbs, 24 inches across chest to outside of each arm. So excited to create my Shelf for Life. Thank you.

  12. […] memberi suatu contoh produk desain yang sangat disukainya. Produk tersebut bernama “Selves For Live” yang didisain oleh William Warren dari Inggris. Produk Warren adalah sebuah buku yang dapat […]

  13. Travis Byrd says:

    Please send me the plans for making the coffin, I am 5’9″ and weigh approximately 140 lbs.

    Thank you,
    Travis Byrd

  14. cliff wills says:


    Great design ….Love the look and functionality the bookshelf. I am interested in building one.

    i am 5ft 11in and weigh 17st.

    If you could send me build instructions i will be happy to send photos once constructed

  15. GIUSEPPE says:

    it’s great for the most environmentally friendly economic reasons, two for the price of an object, the coffin when you die who lived with you dies with you I did not understand But how do you provide it to you the kit? How much? thanks

  16. Kelly Wasson says:

    Thank you for this ingenious design!
    Would you please send me plans?
    I am 5’4″ about 165 pounds.

    Many,many thanks!

  17. astrid ennui says:

    Would love instructions to build my own.
    I am 5ft 11in and weigh 195 pounds.
    Thank you!

  18. Norm Farnum says:

    Greetings from the Missouri Ozarks!

    Novel concept! I am interested in plans for your Shelf for Life bookshelf/casket project for (1) myself, and (2) my mother.

    For Me: 5’11” / 150 lbs.
    For Mom: 5′ 2″ / 100 lbs.

    Is there a charge? Thank you!


  19. Bruce LeGresley says:

    Would love to try an build one of these. I am 5’9″ and weigh 200lbs.

  20. Olly says:

    What a great idea! Please could you send me instructions for 6’4″ 16 stone weight. Could you also give some specifications for the timber used. Thanks!

  21. Chuck Griffin says:

    I have just found your wesite concerning your Shelves For Life concept and design. I am interested in building a coffin for myself. Please send instructions foa a man 6ft 2in tall, weight 200 lbs and 24in across the shoulders, Thank you

  22. Pamela Canton says:

    I am 5’6″ and weigh 160#, I am turning 60 with the new year and I would like to try to build this for myself. Please help with the measurements? Aloha and peace Pamela

  23. Pamela Canton says:

    Also please send the build instructions. Aloha and peace Pamela

  24. Viktor Pejic says:

    I am 6 ft 180 lbs and would like to build a shelf for life.
    Thank you!

  25. dennis dugan says:

    I would love yo make my own shelves for life 5’9”x22” 185ibs thank you dennis

  26. Max Isles says:


    great idea, love it. The books and other times on the shelves tell the story of who you are whilst alive and when you change form they do also and continue to serve you and be a part of you.

    I would love info on a kit if available and would also love instructions. I am 5’8 (173cm) and 135lb (62 kg)
    More than happy to provide pics

  27. Curtis Y. says:

    This is amazing!! Measurements are 6’4″ and 235 pounds.

  28. Angela cofre says:

    Hi I absolutly love this and all you other designs would like the plans to make this is the any room in you design to move the shelves s would like to use it as a entertainment space for the tv etc.
    I am 5’4 and 238 pounds

  29. Yvonne LeFave says:

    Interested in shelves for life. Measurements are 5’2″ and 125lbs. Thanks in advance!

  30. Todd Hollar says:

    I think this great and would love to buile one. Please contact me with more information.

  31. Ian D. Swart says:

    Just stumbled onto these shelves tonight! What a wonderful thing!

    Would love for you to send me the measurements for this shelf. I’m 6 ft.

    They are a thing of beauty, and a great way to be more kind to our earth.

  32. SONJA says:

    Would love instructions for making one for a myself. I am 5’9″ 160 pounds. THANK YOU

  33. Fran Schechter says:

    I am very interested in this project. Please advise as to the cost of bookcase/coffin plans for a 7.5ft, 180lb. person. Thanks

  34. mark says:

    Found you hrough having read “making an exit’ – what a great idea am sharpening my tools as I email – I can keep my Making an Exit book on it too !

    6’1 and 95 kg

  35. David says:

    I am really impressed with this as a friend came across them and asked me if I could build them for her. I would say she is 5’8″
    160 lb. Plans would be great or even if you had a general plan set i can customize for it.

    Thank you

  36. Jamie Zincke says:

    I love the idea of doing this ahead of time for my family, but was fond of the idea of a fully assembled coffin propped up in the corner of the garage. Could you send plans for 5′ 7″ 260lbs. 28″ across the chest. Feet are11″ long, 18″deep at the chest.
    Thank you so much for making these plans available.

  37. The Website is under construction, I an 6’1″ 300 lbs tall and would like to get scaled planes if possible, I do a haunted housed every year for Halloween, so until the time of my demise these would be shelves 300 days out of the year and then decorations the rest of the year and then finally it would hold my remains.

  38. Wood is the heart of design! says:

    Wow, creative &
    May I know the measurement and cost of it? I need 6.5″ feet and 170 pounds.

  39. […] o Festival de Design 2005 em Londres e pode ser feita de acordo com a altura do dono. Projeto de William Warren é para quem é prevenido e não quer dar trabalho e custos extras para os familiares em um momento […]

  40. […] it is constructed of wood and designed by William Warren to weather and age with you, it might be a good idea to take care of this bookcase while you are […]

  41. Don Johnson says:

    I am very interested in your design for Shelves for Life.
    My height is 5″ 11″ and my weight is 230 pounds

  42. Christine Thornton says:

    I have just come across your page and think this is a brilliant concept. Would you please send me information on how to build my own shelves for life. I am 5′ 2″ tall and weigh about 9 and a half stone. Having no dependents I want to sort out all my funeral requirements well in advance and this will also be an opportunity for me to test my woodworking skills 🙂

    Thank you

  43. […] him through the GFG that we’ve had to send him a complimentary copy of the book. Find William here and his bookcase coffin […]

  44. William Ainger says:

    Awesome design! Just saw the work at Melbourne’s agIDEAS design conference. Environmentally and aesthetically pleasing. Can you please send instructions for 75kg, 178cm, med build please.

    thanks 🙂

  45. Carrie Eley-Durbin says:

    I love this idea – coffins are so overpriced! I am wondering if this coffin could be used for cremation, too? Please send me plans – I am 5 feet tall and weigh 200 lbs. My husband is 5’10” and weighs 150 lbs.

  46. Kenton Brownridge says:

    Hello I would so love the instructions 165 pounds and 6’1.

  47. David Rowntree says:

    Brilliant idea could you send me plans please, 5’6″ 168 pounds.
    Many thanks

  48. Paul Hudson says:

    Found one of your images on a blog I follow and became instantly intrigued. I like the idea of a simple box especially one made by my own hands. I am 5’11 185 pounds American.
    Best Regards,

  49. Geroge says:

    I am in love with this!!!!! Can you please send me details for how to make my own! 5’9 230Lbs.

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