Projects & Improvements

Before and After: Bookworms Will Love How These Homeowners Maximized Every Inch of a Blank Wall

published Jun 10, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Office & Dens
Organic Modern
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Sparsely furnished room with white walls.
Credit: Liz Lovery

If you’re a book lover and running out of room for your beloved hard covers and paperbacks, don’t forget to look up: The space above your doorframe might fit a shelf to hold books, too. It’s a great way to draw the eye upward, and in the case of TikTok DIYer Liz Lovery, it helped to make her built-in bookshelf feel extra custom and meant-to-be in the space.

Before Liz had the floor-to-ceiling shelving of her dreams, she had a blank wall and under-utilized corner (and before that, she had a pastel-hued 1956 fixer upper that she and her husband, Ryan Fisher, have been restoring over time.)

Credit: Liz Lovery

“That whole corner felt unused and it fell flat,” Liz says. “After having to convince my husband to help me build the floor-to-ceiling bookcase, I got to work on my designs, sourced the materials, and we started building!”

For the bookcase, the couple started with the cabinetry at the bottom. Over those, they added three large bookcases, cutting the smaller shelves to fit the top part on the angled wall space above the door. All told, it took about about a month of work. “Everything was built from scratch (with the exception of the base cabinets) and completely custom for our home,” Liz says.

Credit: Liz Lovery

Liz says building the rectangle bookcases was easier than she thought. “We built them all individually and then attached them together, so I’m sure it looks a lot more complicated than it actually was to build,” she says. The challenge came, though, when taking the sloped ceiling into account and figuring out how to secure the bookcase over the doorway, Liz recalls.

“We managed to find a solution, and we couldn’t be happier with the result,” Liz says. (A major win because she says one of her biggest pet peeves in interior design is “not utilizing perfectly good space.”)

Credit: Liz Lovery

After everything was installed — including trim over all the exposed edges to make the assembly look seamless — Liz and Ryan primed and painted the shelves. “I love that we chose to paint the bookcase a bold color,” Liz says. “We ended up choosing Southern Vine by Benjamin Moore.”

For the finishing touches on the bookcase wall, Liz added brass lighting (gallery lighting and two sconces from Amazon). She also hung a framed painting at the intersection of four shelves — a great way to add art in an unexpected place and create a little hiding spot to tuck away anything unsightly that might need to go on a shelf, like a remote, speaker, or charger. Oh, and Liz placed a bookshelf ladder in the corner, of course.

Credit: Liz Lovery

Off on the other side of the wall, Liz hung a new curtain rod and drapes. She also added a new lamp and hand-me-down white armchair to ramp up the cozy vibes in the space — making it the perfect spot for curling up with a good book. Liz’s current pick is “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and Ryan’s is “Einstein” by Walter Isaacson.

Happy reading, Liz and Ryan!