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Can I Put a Curtain on the Front of a Bookshelf?

No one likes looking at clutter. While some people are diligent about keeping it at bay, banishing it before it has a chance to build up, others can't seem to keep it under control. If you belong to the latter group and have a clutter-filled bookcase or bookshelves, try an easy trick to instantly calm down your clutter: Simply cover it up with a curtain.

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Curtains for Clutter

While the argument can be made that the best solution for clutter is just to get rid of it, everyone has those items they'd like to keep around but that are simply unattractive, especially when piled in a heap. Toys, magazines and crafts supplies are just a few items that fall into this category. Clear out as much clutter as possible before covering your bookshelves with a curtain because, once the clutter is hidden, you'll be less likely to see it and be bothered by it. Organised shelves make finding your items easier, and your curtains will look more attractive if they're not full of bulges and bumps.

Choosing Your Fabric

Assess your room and choose your fabric wisely. While plain white muslin is inexpensive and available in handy wide widths, it can also be boring. On the other hand, bright colours and prints may add too much visual clutter to your room. Use your best judgment, remembering that the objective is to tidy your room up and make it appear cleaner and calmer. If you are covering a low, small shelf, a print or bright colour may be just fine. For larger shelves or more than one bookcase, plain white or some other calming, solid colour is more restful to the eye.

Gathered Vs. Flat

Once you've chosen your fabric, you must select the curtain style. If you hem your fabric panel to the dimensions of the open front of the bookcase, your panel will hang flat and smooth for a clean, tailored look. Make your curtain panel twice as wide as the open front of the bookcase, and it will gather on the rod for a softer look. Pleating the fabric is another way to add gathers, fullness and softness.

Bracket Rod Vs. Tension Rod

As far as rods are concerned, cafe curtains work well on bookcases because they are lightweight, have a low profile and a small diameter. If your shelves are wooden or some other material that you can successfully drill, install the brackets directly into the front of the shelf's side panels at the top of the bookcase. If you cannot or would rather not drill into your bookshelves, hang your curtains with a tension rod; however, know that tension rods may be yanked out of place if you tug on the curtains too forcefully.

Hook-and-Loop Tape Solution

If your bookshelves are open on the sides, meaning they do not have side panels, or if they are made out of resin or plastic that you cannot drill into, attach curtains with hook-and-loop tape. Versions of this tape are available with a sew-on side that you sew onto the top edge of the curtain and an adhesive side that you stick onto the top edges of the shelves. Hook-and-loop tape is a useful solution if the sides of your shelves are open as it allows you to cover all three open sides with one continuous curtain.

Safety Concern

Secure your bookcase to the wall for safety as children tugging on the curtains could be seriously injured if they pull the bookcase down onto themselves.

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About the Author

Sandra Rousseau

Sandra Rousseau has been writing since 1990, covering such topics as home decorating, fashion, health, beauty, gardening and cooking. Her articles appear her hometown newspaper, the "Aledo Community News," and on various websites. Rousseau holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and advertising from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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