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The Ultimate Guide to Bookshelf Curtains

25 Jan 2024 0 Comments
best curtains for bookcase

As the owner of, a custom curtain store catering to homes and offices for over 10 years, I often get asked if curtains can be used with bookcases. My resounding answer is yes!

In my experience, bookcases beautifully complement curtains for both stylish and practical reasons. Their open shelves prominently display books, decor and memorabilia, but also expose contents to light damage, dust buildup, and prying eyes.

This is where curtains come in! As a decorator with expertise in home furnishings and interior design, I recommend bookcase curtains for:

Functional Benefits

  • Dust protection - Curtain barriers prevent dusty buildup on prized tomes.

  • Light control - Sheer linens filter intense lighting while blackouts block it completely.

  • Privacy - Drawn curtains conceal personal library contents from guests.

Decor Enhancements

  • Softened edges - Flowing curtain fabrics soften rigid bookcase lines for a warmer aesthetic.

  • Hidden clutter - Closed curtains artfully disguise messy shelf disarray!

Types of Bookcase Curtains

There are several curtain styles suitable for bookcases:

  • Sheer - Lightweight, translucent fabrics for a delicate look.

  • Blackout - Thicker opaque fabrics that block external light.

  • Short - Curtains ranging from cafe to sill length.

  • Long - Floor or puddle-length curtains for maximum coverage.

  • Stationary - Permanent unmoving curtains.

  • Sliding - Drawstring curtains that glide side-to-side.

With the right style, bookcase curtains boost functionality and style. Keep reading for my decorator tips on choosing and installing the perfect curtains to showcase your shelves.

Choosing the Right Curtains for Your Bookcase

velvet curtains for bookcase

When selecting curtains to pair with your bookcase, there are a few stylistic and functional factors to consider first:

Match Your Bookcase's Existing Style

What aesthetic does your shelf currently have? As a custom curtain provider for over a decade, I've seen bookcases showcase all design styles:

  • Modern - For contemporary bookcases with clean lines, try solid-colored linen or cotton curtains.

  • Traditional - Ornate carved bookcases suit softly pleated velvets or damasks.

  • Rustic - Worn sturdy shelves pair well with burlap drapes or checkered curtains.

Choose curtain fabrics and colors that align with your shelf's overall motif. Contrasting shades can work nicely too for an eclectic style.

Complement Your Room's Decor

Don't overlook your room's current palette and textures when selecting bookcase curtains either.

Your shelves likely share space with other furniture and design elements.

As a general rule of thumb, opt for:

  • Matching - If your room follows a tight cohesive theme, match all fabrics and hues.
  • Contrasting - For laidback decor, lightly contrast the textures while keeping colors in the same family.

Consider Shelve's Functional Needs

Beyond style, identify if your shelves require any specific functional properties from curtains:

  • Light control - Do you need blackout fabric to block outdoor light from aging books?
  • Privacy - Should curtains conceal private medical textbooks from my children?

Fabric Considerations

  • Material - Lightweight cottons and linens or rich velvets and silks? Match weight to room formality.
  • Transparency - Sheers diffuse light nicely while still showing shapes. Blackouts block external brightness fully when drawn.
  • Patterns - Small consistent prints or fluctuating motifs? Busy shelves suit simple curtains best.

Color Considerations

  • Solids - Single neutral, pastel or saturated hue. Easiest to match with decor.
  • Patterns - Repeating motifs, florals, checkerboards, plaids, etc.
  • Prints - Unique colorful images and artwork on fabric.

Hardware Considerations

  • Rod pocket - Top sleeve slides easily onto curtain rods.
  • Grommets - Metal rings thread onto rods, some slide open.
  • Tabs - Vertical tab openings for rod insertion.
  • Tie-backs - Attach ties mid-panel to draw curtains back.


Measuring and Installing Curtains for Your Bookcase

Once you've selected the perfect curtains for your bookcase aesthetically and functionally, it's time to take measurements and install them properly.

As a custom curtain creator for over a decade, I have some handy measuring and mounting tips:

Measure Carefully

When measuring for curtain length, consider two options:

  • Exact bookcase height - Curtain hem falls flush with top and bottom of shelves. Offers full coverage.

  • Below final shelf - Hem hangs just beneath lowest shelf's underside. Shows off base trimwork.

For width, note the span from outer bookcase edge to edge. Add 6-12” total for optimal light control when drawn.

Remember to account for any decorative hardware too

Weigh Installation Options

There are several DIY-friendly methods for mounting curtains onto bookcases:

  • Rod pocket - Slide onto tension rod secured behind case.
  • Grommets - Thread onto rod or enclose unfinished inner wood lip.
  • Tabs - Insert directly into drilled inner shelf holes.
  • Tension rods - Friction mount temp rods inside case void.

I recommend grommets threaded into pre-drilled holes for clean hidden accuracy.

Strive For Professionalism

To achieve an elevated built-in look:

  • Hang hardware precisely equidistant at top corners.
  • Ensure panels are evenly distributed and smoothly overlap when drawn.
  • Consider adding coordinated valances along the top for a finished custom feel.
  • Steam or iron out all visible wrinkles and bunching in fabrics.

Voila! Your bookcase curtains should now look strikingly clean, purposeful and pulled together.

Creative Ideas for Using Curtains with Bookcases

Drawing my decade of experience providing custom interior treatments, there are endless creative applications for bookcase curtains beyond basic coverage. Consider these decorative upgrades:

Layer Mixed Fabrics

Strategically layer two separate curtain panels in complimentary fabrics for extra depth:

  • Hang a sheer behind a burlap panel
  • Combine striped linen fronting floral cotton
  • Overlap differening lengths like long velvet above short lace

Mix textures, patterns and lengths for dynamic shelving style.

Showcase Tie-Backs or Tassels

Accent solid toned curtains with thick tie-back ropes or delicate tassel trims vertically throughout the panels.

Then gracefully draw back and bind one or both sides to spotlight favorite collectibles or framed photos on display.

Craft Custom Valances

Valances - horizontal fabric pieces commonly installed over curtain tops - provide another opportunity for personalization.

For bookcases, measure desired upper shelf length and height to professionally construct a matching slipcover. Then decorate further with trim, piping or contrasting fabrics.

Ignite With Patterns

Highly decorative jacquard, damask, tapestry or ikat patterned curtains breathe exciting fresh life into mundane book nooks.

Intricate motifs spice up monotonous wall voids and enliven the shelves' treasures.

Discreetly Hide Cords

Do pesky power cords or extension wires drape untidily around certain shelves? Layer a secondary narrow curtain in front to artfully shroud the chaos! Custom hem to specified shelf requiring coverage only.

I hope these useful style suggestions inspire you to get creative with your own bookcase curtains! Please let me know if you would like me to elaborate on any tip.

Here is a draft Section V overview of's custom bookcase curtains offered:

Shop Best Curtains For Bookcase at

At, I'm thrilled to offer home decorators a vast range of high quality bookcase curtains in various custom dimensions, fabrics types, colors and hardware options to choose from.

Specifically for bookcase projects, current category highlights include:

  • Premium blackout fabrics: velvets, cords, faux silks, cotton duck
  • Light-diffusing sheers: lace, linen, voile, embroidered cotton
  • On-trend ombre gradating, watercolor and brushstroke prints
  • Metallic shiny touches: glitter edges, foil stamping, mirrored accents
  • Childrens' options: vibrant colors, playful characters, erasable markers

As standard, our pieces are tailor-constructed once ordered to flawlessly fit the exact measurements supplied per unique storage case.

Quality Craftsmanship Guaranteed

All curtains are meticulously sewn in-house then rigorously inspected to verify professional grade durability, appearance and function. I stand behind every perfectly customized order!

For additional convenience, standard turnaround averages under 2 weeks from ordering, with rush production available.

Value Pricing

Despite expansive upgrades in inventory scope, sizes and materials over the years, we proudly maintain reasonable base price points across all categories - with periodic limited discounts too!

Our standard bookcase curtains start at the guaranteed lowest market price of $26.99 USD for conventionally common dimensions.

Adding enriching accoutrements like tiebacks, trims, embroidery or designer fabric selections understandably increases costs incrementally.

Free Shipping

We happily offer free standard shipping straight to your door on all orders over $199 USD worth of merchandise.

For larger bulk requests, don't hesitate to contact me directly at about booking special white glove in-home installation services as well.

Please explore the custom drapes options at, then message or call with any questions. I'm always eager to personally assist fellow literature buffs and interior design devotees imagine new creative possibilities.

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