Deep set built in bookcase.... I hate! HELP

This is in the entryway to our house and I loved it at first. Now, it has become a complete shoe rack, diaper dispensary, piggy bank, jewelry box, and playground for my fearless 20 month old. Rest assure, it does hold books, but it is so deeply inset (I would say at least 30 in) that I have to bring the books all the way to the front and there is tons of dead space behind.
q home improvement bookcase deep set built in, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, wall decor
q home improvement bookcase deep set built in, diy, shelving ideas, storage ideas, wall decor
  15 answers
  • hello.. 2 ideas for you, 1 - you could build a custom fit 'shutter' type door (white maybe?) and hide the mess behind or 2 - fix some battery powered LED shelving lights (IKEA) and display some nice ornaments so you will be less inclined to dump stuff. Maybe keep a large basket on the stairs instead for those items! Good luck!

  • Prissy Prissy on Oct 14, 2014
    Get a big enough door for it and make it a picture frame put fam pics and you can use the rest as storage

  • Chinzorig Jigjidsuren Chinzorig Jigjidsuren on Oct 14, 2014
    Yellow LED lighting will give it a charm. I wouldn't shut it with a door.

  • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Oct 14, 2014
    What did you decide to do with all that space?I think I would put some rectangular wicker baskets on each shelf(the long way, so the short end is facing out), and put books in one or more( baskets), put stuff that's on its way up the stairs in another, and decorate a few ahelves if you don't need baskets in all of them.I'd put anything decorative/breakable on the upper shelves, due to the 20 month old, books or whatever else on bottom shelf.Show us the 'after' picture:)

  • Melissa B Melissa B on Oct 14, 2014
    I love the wicker basket idea... each kid (and you) get their own labeled basket. The shutter idea isn't bad... but just shutter the bottom two shelves... leaving the top 2 for pretty display. Hide off-season display things behind the books.. great storage. I agree with painting... either a dark color to show off light things, or a light color to make it pop. i don't know if your floor plan would allow, but you could put a small storage bench underneath to make "dropped items" more likely to be collected to be put away. It's a great space... I'm jealous! oh... the other idea I had is that a tall (even rectangle) wall display... like a tall picture or a collage of your family could be hinged over the front to make a hidden storage if you wanted to go that way, instead of doors or shutters.

  • AvonelleRed AvonelleRed on Oct 14, 2014
    If you don't want it to become a catch-all, then remove the shelves and put a tall ficus or topiary or something in there. If you worry your child will get into it, cover the bottom area with a sheet of plexiglass so it can still be seen, but he or she can't reach in to the pot at the base of the plant. Add a little lighting in there, and it would look great.

    • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Oct 17, 2014
      Great idea not to encourage everyone dumping things on the shelves! same philosophy that says if you have a smaller purse you'll have to put things away where they belong, instead of carrying them in your purse.

  • Lorre Hopkins Lorre Hopkins on Oct 15, 2014
    Put a big basket on the floor under it to catch all the clutter and diapers, etc. Then take a step back and look at it and decide what is the best use of the space. If it was me I would put books in it and pull them to the FRONT, with other books behind them to fill up the space. (Sideways if you need to because of space limitations) I would then put family pictures and pretty knick knacks mixed in with the books-such as a half shelf of books and a few pictures, or even a row of books and a row of pictures, etc. Putting the books near the borrow will make it harder to place other things on it.The main thing is to fill the shelves up completely so there is no room for dropping off clutter as you pass by. Having the big basket on the floor and bringing the books to the front should accomplish this. It's a very pretty alcove and I'm actually jealous of you for having the shelves for books, etc.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Oct 16, 2014
    With 30" depth, I'd remove the shelves, get some slatted doors and use it for a closet. If it's high enough, the top shelf could be used to store hats, etc. in baskets.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Oct 16, 2014
    Remember, this is a home, not just a house. All too soon you will not have the kid's clutter and then you will realize most of it is your's anyway. For now, get some pretty baskets and put them in this space. Later on, it t can be used for pretty "thingies" you want to look at! Also remember all the beautiful "settings" for backpacks, shoes, jackets you see here are shown just as they are finished...not when they have been used for a season! HA!

  • Tracy Tracy on Oct 16, 2014
    Thanks everyone. Think I've decided to (drumroll please) cut the bottom portion out and drywall to make a reading nook for the little one. He loves books about as much as he loves climbing, so I think it'll be a cute place all his own . May do a hinged (from the top) door on the shelf above the nook and leave the top one as my bookcase. I've tried the baskets... They drive me crazy because then you can't find anything unless the little monster has pulled them off the shelf and now all the contents are laying on the floor. The doors would be a great idea, except that directly next to it there is my coat closet. I think he'll love the nook, and it is directly across from the kitchen, so he can watch us. I guess the drumroll should actually come after the project is complete, but I think an applause should go out for the ideas! Thanks again!

  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Oct 16, 2014
    I think you made a good decision. Your son will be old enough, sooner than you expect, to respect what you ultimately do with the space. Having said that, when that time comes, I recommend that you remove all the shelves and incorporate some form of moderate to low lighting, Since this space is in your entryway, you could make it the focal point of the area. Once you've installed the lighting, either have a large mirror cut to fit the back. Add side brackets (painted to match the rest of the woodwork) and span the brackets of shelves made of 1/4- to 3/8-inch thick glass. This space could then be used to display family photos or special mementos. Trust me, your child can be taught to enjoy the "pretties." I raised 8 children and know from experience that one can have lovely things with children in the house. Have fun.

  • Sheryl Dunham Sheryl Dunham on Oct 17, 2014
    I would put in false walls to make the space shorter and be able to hide valuables behind baskets in the front. great place to put camera or other small valuables that you want near the door but still out of sight.

  • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Oct 17, 2014
    what if you lined the sides and back of each shelf with pretty wrapping paper, fabric or family photos. then maybe the family members will be motivated not to cover up the walls of the shelves.

  • Jje369280 Jje369280 on Feb 19, 2015
    I'd add some LED lights and lighten the side walls with a lighter coat if paint. Then on the back wall apply a fun textured wall covering or even a mirrored or glass tile if you're up to the challenge to bring life to the dark depth you currently have. There are tons of cool options that could really make it your own style. To tackle clutter, I'd try a cute stair basket that is just for the purpose your shelves are now being used for. It collects items for your next trip upstairs in an oh so cute manner!

  • Debra Grieve Debra Grieve on May 06, 2015
    I love the idea of a small area for your 20 month old! As for the rest of the shelves, think about full drawer extensions and "sliding" shelves, with or without a lip on them. You can get at things much easier when you can pull out a shelf instead of reaching in the back and guessing as to what is on there. Sorry, just saw the dates, I'm a bit