Remember when bookshelves used to be a rectangular piece of furniture that you stuck in the corner and forgot about? Today bookshelves are still functional but perform a dual function as decor.  From acting as room dividers, to using up hidden vertical storage in a hallway, bookshelves can be ornate or streamlined.  If you are trying to add more storage to your space, and add a decorative touch, read on to see how bookshelves can double as decor.

  • Hidden storage: Bookshelves are the ideal location to house books without taking up a lot of space. Hidden storage can come in many forms such as over doorways, in front of windows, and vertically up to the ceiling. Remember bookshelves don’t have to have a back panel. They can be see-through to allow a window, or another room to show through the unit. This enables you to store books and have décor at the same time!
  • Stairway opportunities: Stairways have always been an opportunity for a designer to be creative with a somewhat ‘unusable’ human space. Depending on how high your staircase rises will dictate how much usable space is available under and adjacent to the stairs. Bookshelves can be built below a staircase and if there is enough headroom, a reading nook, or bench can be built along side.
  • Wall efficiency: In most homes the walls are prime real estate for decorative shelving. Instead of only having a few choice placed shelves, how about transforming the entire wall into a bookshelf? This works beautifully around a focal point such as a fireplace or entertainment center.  Choose symmetrical or random shelving in a custom bookshelf to coordinate with your décor style.
  • Children’s rooms: Book shelves in children’s room can be whimsical and match the color scheme or theme of the room. Ensure little hands can reach most books and double the bookshelf as decorative storage. Use fabric lined baskets, plastic tubs, and small drawers to keep track of toys and missing game pieces.
  • Room divider: Are you trying to break up a space visually without making it feel closed in? Bookshelves offer a unique opportunity to functionally hold books and décor, but also offer separation between spaces. For noise issues, consider using back to back units with a paneled back. If noise traveling isn’t an issue an open geometric bookshelf is beautiful and adds visual interest.
  • Color coordinate your display: If you are an avid reader and have a large collection of books, consider separating them color of the outside binder. For the person who loves decorative furnishings to color coordinate, books can be placed in a wide array of pleasing color palettes to suit your taste.

Bookshelves have come a long way and your home can benefit from one in most of the rooms in your home. Measure out your space first and determine how many books you have to store. The more space you have, the more decorative you can be, remember you don’t have to fill up every shelf. Ensure your décor takes full advantage of the dual functionality that bookshelves can bring.

Freshome readers have any unique suggestions for using bookshelves as décor? Anyone use the shelving below the stairs trick? We’d love to hear your comments.