Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

Decor, DIY, Furniture, Organization, Storage

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.


The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape.


Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports.


Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.



Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.


I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.


The tension rods are so simple and they work great!


The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.


Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!



  1. Jan

    Well done! I was going to put a bookcase in my bathroom and now regret not doing so. You can also put a couple of doors on the bottom portion for stuff you don’t want seen, or even a little curtain. I put those half shelves in all my cupboards (even the lower shelves, a bit wider for those) especially to hold boxes of teas; perfect size. Great job. You’re so innovative. I always look forward to seeing what you’ve done.

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Thanks so much Jan! Yes, I agree, I’ve done some of those other things to bookcases too, like adding a curtain – easy to do with a tension rod!

  2. sherry fisher

    Hi Isabelle! I’m always happy to see a new EYS episode in my email! The bedroom makeover is so nice and gives me a lot of ideas. It’s great how you repurpose and reuse things. I love everything you do and still hope you get your own show on HGTV!

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Thank you Sherry, glad to hear I gave you some ideas you can use!

  3. kate

    I was also delighted to receive an email today after what seems like a long interval. I enjoy so much your clever, innovative ideas which have so much appeal in their ingenuity. One of the best subscriptions I have made – I’m pleased you are still out there and look forward to receiving more news from a very clever designer who is really worth watching (it’s raining hard today so I’m a little more effusive than I would be – but you deserve it!!!)

    • Isabelle LaRue

      Thanks so much for your kind words Kate! Means a lot 🙂

  4. D-Marie

    Thank you so much.Your videos are inspiring. One question I have is what kind of drill do you use? I have a small drill but was told I needed a hammer drill for a brick..any help is appreciated

    • Isabelle LaRue

      This is the 12V Dewalt drill and hammer drill set that I have and I love it: It’s light and the battery lasts a long time and it does the job for just about every type of project I do. An 18V drill would be more powerful but for what do, what I have is perfect. I use my drill most of the time but it’s nice to have the hammer drill for the rare occasion when I have to drill into brick or concrete. Hope this helps!


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