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. Lyn says:

    I am most interested. It will take me a little bit to build, but will gladly send a photo of end result.

    5′ 4″, 120 lbs.


  2. Tracy says:

    WOW, this is beautiful and would suit us perfectly…….

    Could you please send me the instructions for 2m (6 ft) tall and 90kg (198 pounds)?

    Thanks in advance….

  3. Teddy Rome says:

    I love this idea. Love the shelves. Brilliant

    If possible send for 5’4″ 160 lbs


  4. p ilsley says:

    can you send me information including a price list please.?i am approx 5feet 10ins weighing in at about 9 stone 7.thanks

  5. Martin Hugi says:

    Hi William, I love the concept. I am a woodsman coppicing Sweet Chestnut. I have a portable sawmill and make wooden objects from planked Sweet Chestnut and other woods that I come across in the woods. Please could you send plans for 5’10” 9.5 stone. I am all about promoting the use of sustainable locally produced products and this seems like the ultimate in not using resiurces unnecessarily. Am I allowed to make them to sell to order to others? Many thanks Martin

  6. Ian M says:

    I have just found your website after reading the good funeral guide, I am a joiner by trade and love this concept. I would very much like to make my own shelves for life. Here is the challenge? I am 6ft 2″ tall and 250 lbs and 26″ across the chest. I imagine I would get a few books on my shelves.

    Thanks and what a fantastic idea!

  7. Love this idea! I want one in my office. I’m 5’5″, 130 pounds

  8. Laura says:

    Brilliant design. I’m 5′ and weigh 7 stone 12.

  9. Jakob says:


    Just saw this bookshelf on Facebook and would love instructions for 6’3″ 200 pounds.


  10. Neil Peacock says:

    Love the idea!

    Please send me the dimensions and material list for ‘shelves’ for my wife and myself.

    5′ 10″ and 120 kg
    5′ 6″ and 105 kg


  11. Janie Darcy says:

    This is a fabulous idea, Mr. Warren. With a mind towards natural burial would so love to implement it with your plans and build instructions (for height of 5’8″, 115 lbs). I’d both like to make things easier for my loved ones when the time comes, and for myself in the meantime. If I were to build it; would be more than happy to send you photographs of the finished Shelves for Life. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

  12. Violanna says:

    I really love this! It’s such a great idea.
    Would love instructions to build my own. 164 cm 60 Kg

    Thank you so much for your inspiration!

  13. Jose says:

    were I can find ?

  14. Michelle Parsons says:

    Hi, having surfed all sorts of eco coffins, these are amazing and with no storage worries for the next however many years I would like plans please.
    For a 5’7 person, thinking future proof that I will put weight on let’s go for 12 stone.
    Many thanks

  15. […] only things that people purchase for themselves and never actually use in their lifetimes. Buying a Shelves for Life system allows a person to rest in peace knowing that their coffin was repurposed from a piece of […]

  16. Tamba says:

    I would love to have a set of these shelves to hold all my death related books. Would you please send me a set of plans? I am 164cm,my weight varies, I think I was around 95kg at my heaviest. I love the idea of a dual purpose. One of the concerns that comes up at Coffin Club UK is the storing of coffins,after decorating them.

  17. Robert Latham says:

    Hi I would love to build these for my wife and i and probably build one each for the kids at some point …

    my height is 170cm and weight 92kg…..i’ll see how this goes and start weighing up the family in due course!!!

  18. Audrey Reed says:

    Hello. Thank you for designing such a wonderful piece of furniture. I would like to build one. I’m 5’7″ and weigh 150 lbs. Thank you again. hugs and love to you from Texas!

  19. […] this by planning your funeral ahead of time, getting some burial insurance, making your own coffin from a bookshelf, or choosing your cremation urn ahead of […]

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