Here’s Why Putting a Bookcase in This Unexpected Living Room Spot Is Actually a Genius Decorating Move

published Aug 17, 2022
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Small-space dwellers know every single square inch of a home is valuable real estate. They see opportunities for additional storage in unconventional places, like the spot above a doorway, on top of a radiator, or underneath and behind literally any piece of furniture. To that end, renters Bryce and Stefan really got creative layering furniture pieces to not only create more storage in their 1060-square-foot town home but to also proudly display their prized belongings in a beautiful and unique way. Spoiler alert: It involves putting a bookcase behind their sofa, and while this layout idea isn’t for every space, it’s worth considering depending on your floor plan.

Bryce and Stefan live in an historic 1920’s row home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Row homes, like the one Bryce and Stefan rent, are single-family homes sandwiched together that share walls and line up perfectly in a row along the street, hence the name. Due to their construction, row homes typically have long, narrow layouts, and the flow of the spaces generally progress from the front of the home to the back versus side to side. Bryce describes in their house tour. “The townhome layout has been a major challenge since it… can be tough to layout furniture,” she says. “The staircase bisects the living and dining rooms, and figuring out how to arrange furniture in our small, dark living room in a functional way was a big challenge.”

While Bryce had intended for her bookcases to be fully open to the room and accessible, the narrowness of the space made her get creative with positioning. “I found them on Facebook Marketplace, and they ended up being way too big for the space I originally had planned,” she says. “I loved them so much that I had to make it work.” So she placed them behind the sofa. Not only did this solution provide the additional storage (six whole shelves’ worth!) the room was lacking, but it also created an opportunity for Bryce and Stefan to display art and other decorative elements in their living room on top of the shelves. It’s the classic and beautiful gallery-wall-above-the-sofa situation but reimagined.

Sure, if you make this move with a bookshelf or shelves, you’re not going to be able to access the perches that sit below the sofa with zero effort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. Keep the things you need handy on the higher shelves and things you only access every so often in the spots that the sofa occludes, and you shouldn’t have a problem.