What to do with 6' bookcase? Too short

dab07September 7, 2012

I went to Brimfield for my first time yesterday! I found something that i loved, and might go back for tomorrow. It's a bookcase, I guess, or more likely general storage for the old European home it was built for. The problem is its height. It's about 6' tall, 4'wide. It's unique and has graceful, curved lines, but at 6' it's lower than the two door frames it would sit between in the upstairs hall. I won't be using it for books, more likely to store linens. It's got open shelving, but maybe I could hang a fabric in front. Maybe this particular piece isn't practical, but I often see antique cabinets of this height, and they're awkward in 8' tall rooms.

Any ideas about what to do to make it fill the space better? Besides putting things on top of it? I guess that's worth trying. I'm even considering building a 2' tall chest to sit under it, and painting them the same color. It needs a coat of paint anyway.

I get frustrated when I see a beautiful piece of furniture but don't know what to do with it! Thanks for your help.

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I have a lowish piece of furniture that sits too short for me also. What I did was find a rectangle picture to go above it and it's perfect! The picture is kind of narrow which looks better than a large rectangle shape. Does that make sense? lol

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Why not just buy another vintage piece rather than building one? It doesn't have to be the same width, as most of the time the bottom of a china cabinet is wider than the hutch part. As long as the style is similar, it would work.

You lucky duck, I've heard so much about Brimfield! I'm in Austin and will be going out to Round Top in a couple of weeks. If the weather would just cool off!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Could you put legs on it....that way it would be around 4 inches taller. Or put something on top...basket, plate, figurines etc. to fill the space. As for what to put on the shelves...linens folded nicely, pretty jars/bottles, decorative boxes, pretty books etc. Sounds like nice furniture.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 3:59PM
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Why not mount more shelves on the wall above it?

Buy or build a bookcase with cubby size sections designed to hold drawer type baskets. That will give you some closed storage either above or below the new cabinet.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 6:40PM
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both lucky ducks, brimfield and roundtop- i am not near either one.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:11PM
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I have a bookcase along side of me, and it needed to be higher, so my hubby made a nice base from plywood, and stained it, put trim on top & bottom, set bookcase on top, trim makes it secure and it looks like it is all one piece, turned out great!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Thanks for your ideas. I guess the options are pretty much limited to adding something to the top or to the bottom.

Looking at the picture I took, I realize the cabinet was probably used in the kitchen. (Duh, dishes are displayed in it!) I saw a few interesting ideas on Houzz: one had a similar sized cabinet on a bench-like platform, another finished off the top with an exaggerated crown-type molding.

Further question: what do you think of the idea of hanging fabric over the front to keep dust off the contents of the case (and to hide it)?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:04PM
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If you are going to put curtains on it, you will want to be able to move the fabric easily and quickly. Use curtain rings--they slide easily. Or have a curtain hold-back mounted on the side of the bookcase, so that you can easy tuck the fabric there when you want to get something off one of the shelves.

Honestly, I cringe every time I see a home makeover show use a curtain for a closet door. They always use rod-pocket curtains, which don't always slide easily on the rod. So every time someone wants to get something out of the closet, they are fumbling with the curtain, and having to use one hand to hold the curtain out of the way, while trying to get what they want with the other hand. I spent a semester in college in an apartment with a curtain for a closet door. Never again.

Curtains can work, but you have to plan them carefully.

You could also look into baskets or attractive bins to hold things, instead of covering them up with a curtain. Then the bins act as drawers--you pull one off the shelf and get what you need.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:27PM
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I don't care for the curtain in place of doors look, but if I felt I had to do it on a cabinet, I might be able to live with it if I used the prettiest fabric I could find.

I think the part that always looks so wrong to me is the gathered fabric projecting from the cabinet. I'd use a treatment that looks good when it closes FLAT against the cabinet. Either a roman shade (it will not give you very easy access but it will certainly hang flat), or grommet panels that have only enough fabric to close flat against the cabinet.

I think we really need to see the cabinet in question though!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Okay, you both convinced me! I've never used a curtain this way, and now I'm not going to try. It was a last ditch hope of using a nice cabinet that really doesn't work for me. Thanks for your honest responses!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:57PM
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I am only about an hour away from Brimfield and I have to force myself not to go! Obviously, you could not have seen the whole place in one day unless you just skipped through. Go back and find something more to your liking. Don't just buy it because you "have to buy something".

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:13AM
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