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New Uses for Your Old Bookcase

Updated on September 30, 2012
Remove your old bookcase's shelves and you can turn it into a freestanding closet.
Remove your old bookcase's shelves and you can turn it into a freestanding closet. | Source

If you have an old bookcase in your attic or basement, don't assume that there's no place for it in your home just because you don't have any books to store. You can give any bookcase new life by making a few simple changes that turn it into an entirely new piece of furniture. If you want to repurpose your bookcase, look around your home for any obvious needs -- you may be surprised at how well an old bookcase can fill it.

Create a Closet

If your home is short on storage space, try turning your old bookcase into a closet. To hang long clothing like coats or dressers, you’ll need a fairly tall bookcase, so be sure to measure the items you plan to store and the bookcase to ensure that it’s a good fit. Remove the shelves and install an adjustable closet rod at the top of the bookcase. You can make a door to fit the bookcase’s opening, but it’s usually easier to attach a window shade to the inside – you can pull the shade open when you need to access the closet and leave it closed to hide the items inside the rest of the time. If your home already has plenty of closet space, an old bookcase can also make an ideal shoe organizer inside one of your closets.

Replace a Dresser

If you need storage for folded clothing, turning your bookcase into a closet probably won’t work. However, you can easily turn your bookcase into a dresser for storing shirts, sweaters, socks, underwear and other folded items. Start by measuring the width and depth of your bookcase’s shelves. Next, find baskets, crates or other box-like containers that fit inside the shelves - you may even be able to use drawers from an old dresser that you have at home. If you can’t find a single basket or crate that fits on the shelf, try using two or three side by side. Add your folded clothing and you have an instant dresser for your bedroom.

Use as an Entertainment Center

If your living room or family room is a jumble of media equipment and you don’t want to shell out big bucks for a specialty piece of furniture, turn your old bookcase into an entertainment center – just make sure it’s wide enough to house your television. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need to remove some of the top shelves to accommodate it, though. Use the lower shelves to hold your DVD or blu ray player, video game consoles, remotes and movie collection. Just as with a bookcase turned closet, you can add a shade to the inside of the bookcase so you can hide your television and media equipment when you’re not watching your favorite movie or television show.

Build a Headboard

In a small bedroom, there’s often not enough room beside the bed for a nightstand to hold your alarm clock, lamp and other items. Using an old bookcase as a headboard is an ideal solution because it provides storage above the bed but doesn’t take up any additional floor space. Make sure that your bookcase is at least as wide as your bed and that its shelves aren’t extremely deep. For the sturdiest headboard, bolt the bookcase to the wall with brackets. You can place your alarm clock, a reading lamp and a few of your favorite books on the shelves behind your bed where they’re within easy reach when you’re lying down.


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    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 3 years ago from Indiana


    • jenniferblair profile image

      jenniferblair 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thanks, Jamie!

      Using your bookcase for a buffet is a terrific idea. I think it's fun to imagine new uses for furniture - and if it helps stretch my decorating budget a little further, all the better.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      I love the ideas you have shared here... I actually have a bookcase right now that we are using as a TV stand (it's more wide than tall) but I've been thinking a lot lately about refinishing it and making it into a sort of buffet top in our dining room and I plan to put some baskets in it to store things too. Great hub, voting up!