12 Ways To Use a Bookcase In Your Home

12 Ways To Use a Bookcase In Your Home

Sarah Rae Smith
Oct 5, 2010

In our home, we've used bookcases for just about everything. They're not just for books anymore and can be mounted, turned on their side, or used in closets. See our top 12 list after the jump!

1. As a Bookcase: It sounds stupid, but we figured it should probably top the list. We don't repurpose things just because we can and as always, this multi-functional piece of furniture can always do what it was intended to — hold books.

2. As a Closet Organizer: While living in Minnesota the small apartments available didn't have anything in the way of closets. Instead of being sad, bookcases were simply used instead. Use baskets on shelves to hold underpants and socks and fold the rest of your clothes. If you have things you simply must hang, try adding a hook on the side to hold a few hangers. Once you get used to folding, you might actually miss it if you ever return to a "normal" closet.

3. Media Console: Many bookcases these days (especially those from IKEA) are turned on their side and used as a place to house your DVD player and other entertainment devices. If you need added support, consider adding a thin piece of wood or plastic to the back to sturdy things and casters never hurt!

4. Seating: Just like the media console idea above, turning a bookcase into a bench is a snap. Just flip and add casters or short legs (if you so desire, though we at least suggest felt pads to protect the floor). Make a long custom cushion for it and no one will ever know it was a bookcase in the first place! You can create the look with a standard bookcase (instead of a skinny one) by adding additional horizontal shelves into the bookcase for extra support and potentially a step stool for little tots — presto instant window seat!

5. Faux Walls: In open loft spaces or even a basement or attic that doesn't have much in the way of walls, bookcases can be a huge help. Turn them on their side to make half walls that can move around to block off space as you see fit. With the addition of feet they can be a great way to have storage in a basement area that might occasionally have water leaking in. It will keep things off the ground and keep it all movable to pick right up or roll out if needed. Add in extra shelves as needed.

6. Back-to-Back: Put two bookcases back to back (on wheels) and you have an instant roving library. Because they're back to back they support themselves and can be placed against a wall on their side, creating a reading nook or place to put on your coat in the morning (the shelves make great storage for gloves and hats).

7. As a Door: Although this idea might require a little more work (and some hinges) you can easily turn a bookcase into a door. Sure it might sound silly or like a secret entrance to the bat cave, in small spaces, the only real expanse of wall you have is the actual door. Make the most of it and have a swing out bookcase!

8. As a Desk: Smaller bookcases (think 3 shelves tall) make great supports for tabletops to create an instant desk. If you move often, it's a great way to change up the size of your desk for the space that you're in. Use something small for a top or even a hollow core door in larger spaces, the choice is up to you, but either way you'll always have room for printers, computers and more with the storage that the shelves provide.

9. As a Bed: The oldie but goodie Readymade bookcase bed is still one of our favorite designs. It's simple to do and works for most, plus it provides ample under bed storage at a height you can get to without laying on the ground fishing for your lost shoe with a broom.

10. Shoe Organization: We love the idea of keeping your shoes by the front door, but that only really works if you have serious storage for them in that area. Otherwise, it just becomes this avalanche of laces and mismatched pieces fighting for your attention. Try putting a bookshelf here, even if you have to add more shelves (or find a smaller one) to get the job done.

11. Bed Side Table: Bed side tables can be awkward things that collect dust, but we do like to have a place to keep books, a beverage and a lamp for reading. A small bookcase takes care of all of those things for us and even gives us a bit more storage for other bedroom must haves.

12. As a Headboard: Although it sounds a bit chunky, check out this past post over at Apartment Therapy New York for some inspiration. This seems like the perfect way to make a statement in a room without filling your walls with photos.

Do you have another idea on how to put a trusty bookcase to use? Let us know below!

(Image: Jamie's Bookcase of the Day, Design Sponge, Better Homes and Gardens )

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