A New Bookcase (and Bookcase/Picture Light) for the Guest Room

And just when you thought there wasn’t room for one more thing in my guest room…

A few weeks back I mentioned in a post about a sagging/bowing issue I’ve had with the Ikea Billy Bookcases here in my home office.


In the comments of that post, a few BNOTP readers mentioned that Ikea had come out with an all-wood bookcase that was quite similar to the Billy. Thanks, Magdy and Kim for sharing about the Hemnes–I had no idea!


Unfortunately, the Hemnes wouldn’t work in my home office since it’s a few inches wider than the Billy Bookcase. I’d have to give up my little blue fridge to replace my three Billy Bookcases with three Hemnes Bookcases, and I really don’t want to do that. I love having this fridge here in the office.

Blue Retro Refrigerator for Home Office


But I was hoping I’d eventually have an opportunity to check a Hemnes bookcase out. I was intrigued by the fact that it’s all real wood, a little deeper than the Billy (great for those bigger books!) and a bit wider.


You may remember that I mentioned recently in a post that I had ordered a Hemnes for another spot in my home. I put it together a few days ago and today I’m sharing how I’m using it.

Note: I found this shelf a little more challenging to put together than a regular ‘ole Billy Bookcase. It goes together in a completely different manner and there was one spot where the instructions (which are really just images) were a bit muddy. I ended up having to take the entire blooming bookcase back apart to redo one of the earlier steps. Surprising it only took me about 25 minutes to do that from start to finish. So if you buy this bookcase, be especially attentive to every step and don’t accidentally swap any pieces! A few of the pieces are identical except for a few tiny holes that you’ll need later.


You may remember when I shared my handbag collection recently, I shared how I was mixing in a few of my favorite handbag/fashion books for interest.

Handbag Storage and Organization


It was a challenge doing that–mixing in books, but I managed to squeeze them all in tucking them under bags or alongside them.

Chanel Book, Coffee Table Book for Home Decor


The problem with this book storage method is I knew I’d eventually run of space as I added additional bags or books to my current collection, especially since organizing and displaying my bags has served to pique my interest in handbags and fashion houses even more.

Organize and Style Handbags with Fashion Design Books


So, just when you didn’t think I could squeeze one more thing into this room,  😉 I got out my wall-stretchers (as my sister used to say) and found a spot for Mr. Hemnes. I placed the Hemnes bookshelf on the opposite wall from my handbag storage cabinets and I like how it balances out the height of all the other taller pieces in this room like the secretary between the windows and the Billy Oxberg cabinets I’m using to display/store my bags.

Ikea Hemnes Bookcase for Bedroom


I don’t have that many fashion/handbag books at this point so I’ve mixed in a few boxes and other decorative items to fill in the space until my collection grows. Most of these boxes have come from ordering lipstick or perfume from various fashion houses over the years. They always send everything out packaged so beautifully and I always save the boxes. I’m glad now that I did since they have come in handy for filling in the empty spaces until my book collection fills out a bit.

Fashion Books, Handbag Book, Hemnes Bookcase


You’ll see things getting moved around in the pictures in this post. I’ve moved things again since these photos were taken as I keep playing and trying things in different spots. The toile hatbox on top of the bookcase is a purchase I made in a local shop about 15-20 years ago. Since it was made in France, it was a bit of a splurge back in the day, but I do love how it looks here atop this bookcase.

Did you notice the light at the top? As you know, I am light/lamp obsessed, so I love squeezing in a lamp or additional lighting anywhere that I can in a room. After I added the bookcase, I was toying with the idea of adding a small lamp to one of the shelves but then I got the idea of adding a light across the top that would hopefully shine a little light down the front of each shelf. So how did that work out?

Hemnes Bookcase for Book Storage


It has actually worked out very well!

Hemnes Bookcase with Added Light


Here’s a photo taken at night–probably not the greatest example of how the light illuminates the front of each shelf.

Adding a Hemnes Bookcase to Bedroom


In this photo below, you can better see how the light illuminates just the front edge of every shelf. That’s perfect for lighting up the titles of the books. Do I really need a light for that? Probably not since I have plenty of lamp light in this room and can see the shelves just fine.

Fashion and Handbag Books Storage


But I sure do love how this bookcase looks when I turn the light on in the evening. ♥

Adding a Hemnes Bookcase to Bedroom


This picture below shows a bit better how the light illuminates the titles on each shelf going down. This light was originally designed to illuminate a painting but I amended/flattened out the mounting mechanism to make it work for my bookcase, an idea I got from reading some of the reviews for this light. It only took me about 10 seconds in the garage to hammer out the metal mounting thingy so I could attach it to the top of the bookcase.

Adding a Light to Bookcase


The light has a fairly long extension rod that’s adjustable, so I could pull it much further out from the bookshelf if I wanted to use it that way. I did try that out of curiosity but I quickly discovered that pulling it further out doesn’t really increase the illumination of each shelf, and I much prefer how it looks when it’s pushed closer in.

Fashion Books, Handbag Book, Hemnes Bookcase


I didn’t realize until I started reading the reviews for this light, but apparently, most picture lighting is very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars. I Googled “picture lighting” after reading that review and they were right! Some painting/picture lighting costs as much as $300 for one light! This light is less than 1/6 of that! (Light is available here in several finishes: Picture Light.) Update: I think this may be the exact same light for an even slightly better price: Picture Light.

Hemnes Bookcase with Added Light


I’ve had some fun adding a few more books on the subject/topic of fashion to my somewhat meager collection. I will have plenty of reading for this fall and winter!

Books for Hermes Lovers


I stumbled across this book while perusing books on handbags/fashion and the reviews were excellent so I ordered it.

Dear Paris The Paris Letter Collection


I wasn’t familiar with the author but from reading the reviews, Janice MacLeod originally had a job in advertising, a job she acquired right out of college. After working in advertising for 10+ years, she felt burned out, quit her job, and bought a plane ticket to Paris. Sounds like the start of a good movie, doesn’t it? This book, through a series of letters and beautiful drawings, details what happened next.


This beautiful book is available here: Dear Paris.


The drawings/paintings look wonderful and the author has also made her beautiful art available through paintings, notecards, bags, etc… via her online shop here: Janice MacLeod.


My copy just arrived on Thursday and I can’t wait to start reading it! (Book is available here: Dear Paris.)


I probably should have saved this room update for Metamorphosis Monday, but I have another small update that I’m looking forward to sharing for that. By the way, so far the Hemnes is showing no sign of bowing, so I’m optimistic this all-wood bookcase is going to work for my hardcover, fashion-book library. Will keep you posted if I start to notice any bowing or sagging shelves.

Ikea Hemnes Bookcase for Bedroom


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  1. I turned our huge attic, guest bedroom into a lovely, cozy library since no one wanted to sleep in a room with three massive bookcases filled with about 1200 costume and fashion books. My books were my resources for a vintage clothing newsletter, fashion shows and costume lectures. I am a vintage clothing collector with about 1000 vintage clothing items from 1860 to 1960. I once had several mannequin heads with vintage hats lined up on the dresser. I was preparing for a vintage fashion show. My visiting son told me under no circumstances would he sleep in a room with those creepy, scary heads staring at him. Now, I just have my book collection in the room. When I finally move to a condo and have to downsize, I will donate my entire costume library to a university. No point in having a guest bedroom that guests won’t sleep in. I love my beautiful room now. Finally, I have my own personal library where I can relax, read, study and write. Make your room, your own personal paradise. Collect what you love, display it and enjoy it. Let the guests sleep elsewhere. When my son visits, he sleeps on the sofa. He’s happy.

    • That is so fascinating, Nancy! I would love to sleep in a room like that, except I probably wouldn’t get any sleep from being up all night reading the books! That’s hilarious about your son and the mannequin heads! 🙂 I’m so glad you have your own personal space/library now, it sounds perfect and like a personal paradise!
      When my son and dil visit, they sleep in the upstairs living room that has a comfy queen-size sofa bed. They tell me it sleeps great and they prefer it over the full-size bed in this room. My grandsons prefer the sleeping tents I bought for them since they are still little. I don’t have any other living relatives so they are the only ones who visit except for the occasional girlfriend who I think would very much enjoy this room. This room has gone from being a room that was rarely used to one that’s used every day now.

  2. I love Janice MacLeod’s book. She is a talented author and artist – her story is fascinating!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, Susan. I am dying to turn an attic space off of one of my master bedrooms into a walk-in closet. I would be perfect, and I live in an older house that really does not have adequate storage space relative to the size of the house. (Why did they do that in older houses?) But I fear that the building codes in my city will not allow me to add on any more rooms to my house. They have a limit based upon the size of your lot.

    I love your collection of Hermes boxes!

    I am a book fiend. Will you please come over and style my book cases? Lastly, please tell me about your collection of books on fashion designers; Yves St. Laurent, Dior, etc.

    By the way, I know I am digressing, but I wanted to share this with you, and since you are such a genius when it comes to everything house related, you may already be aware of it: I found a fabulous method of cleaning brass. It’s Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner! OMG, I WAS BLOWN AWAY!!! I cannot remember where I heard about this, but when I tried it, I was truly amazed. Perhaps I’m the only one who is excited about this because I have an old house with lots of original brass fixtures. If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

    Thank you for the terrific post.

    • Thanks so much for those kind words, Lisa! Wow! Thanks for that tip, I didn’t know that about Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner…good to know! I love, love, love old homes and I know that can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to storage. Your attic space sounds perfect! I love attics because they have those wonderfully quirky ceilings! They can be so much fun to decorate!

      I just purchased all the “Catwalk” books over the past two weeks and have only had time to glance through each of them. Almost every page in the book is a full-size picture so they are exciting to read/view! The books chronicle the history of the fashion house and their styles through the years. It’s so much fun to see how styles have changed and to remember the styles from the past. I was hoping the Prada book would show the Prada wicker bag I purchased a few years back, but I didn’t see it in the book. The “Catwalk” books are all bit pricey but they are HUGE. I think one is over 600 pages long, so you definitely get your money’s worth!

      I will do a post sometime soon sharing more about those and the other fashion books I’ve purchased. As you can probably tell, I’m having a ridiculous amount of fun with this new adventure. 🙂

  4. Linda Page Gurganus says

    Susan, I love what you have done to my room!!! It looks wonderful with the new display cases for your purses, the new picture and the new bookcase! ❤️❤️


    Hi Susan! The room looks great! In addition to your books on the fashion giants, consider reading some on the cosmetic giants such as Helena Rubenstein, Charles Revson, Elizabeth Arden, etc. Fascinating how all these companies began.

  6. Love everything about your new bookcase! The display is just lovely. The picture light is terrific. My only suggestion would be to go back to pulling the light extension out slightly and aim the light back toward the case a bit. ( I know the light can be moved this way since I followed your lead and looked it up to purchase my own.) As it is set now the light seems to shine in the eyes some. (Perhaps it is only in the photos.) You always have such beautiful, great, and creative ideas. Always a pleasure to see what you do next!

    • Thanks, MG! I have it bent down and toward the bookcase as far as it will go. When you’re standing in front of the bookcase in person, the light really isn’t in your eyes, although I can see how it would give you that impression from the photos. Fortunately, it does illuminate about 2-3 inches in on each shelf which lights up the titles/bookend of the books. When you get your light, let me know if you are able to rotate it more. Also, let me know if you want me to share a photo of how I flattened out the mounting piece. If you’re using it on a painting, you won’t need to do that.

  7. Love it all!–the books with the purses, the shelves, and the light. The book about Paris is a great find. I may have to go into my bibliophile fund and buy that one–I fear my family will find me under a mountain of books one day, struggling to get out–but only to get to my computer to order yet another book. Thanks, Susan, for sharing everything.

  8. Cyndi Raines says

    Looks good Susan. I think this room is now your “ladies lounge”. Hehe. Enjoy!

  9. Oh, the new shelving looks great – and the light is perfect! Yes, I love those Janice MacLeod Paris Letters…I think you can subscribe and get a letter each month. I have to check on that – that my be in my future. Paris is so magical…we were out walking in our nearby downtown Lancaster, PA on Saturday…lunch at a creperie, and then strolled down the art district and found a print by a local artist of the Eiffel Tower at sunset…with a couple strolling with a red umbrella. I measured the framed print and I think it has to come home with me next time. So much fun adding little touches and new things to our homes !

  10. That is a beautiful book- the Paris one! I just might have to order a few for gifts. The room is so much fun.

  11. I love how this room is becoming you Susan! The bookshelf looks great, I love all your fashion boxes and books on it. I even love the light at the time. I know you will keep adding to it and tweaking it! So happy this room is getting use now and not just sitting there anymore. I am loving the new Paris book, it looks so interesting and the illustration’s look amazing. Can’t wait to see what else is up your sleeve! lol Hugs, Brenda

  12. We bought6 or 7 both narrow and regular size Hemnes bookcases two years ago when we moved into our new house after the Harvey flood in Houston. I didn’t want built ins: too expensive and I want nothing anymore that I can’t take with me! We had a flex room which we turned into, as my granddaughter said, “the library” and we bought the IKEA library lights that “lean” out over the top shelf. Adorable and cozy. I covet a library ladder, but! We have our leather recliner(saved from the flood) and a TV, plus two wing chairs…and our cowhide rug..cozy and dark…no windows,mi love the IKEA library lights.

    • I love the sound of your library, Holly! Cozy is totally my vibe when it comes to a library! I didn’t realize Hemnes came in different widths–I wonder which one I have, the narrow or the wide? Mine is around 35-36 inches wide. I looked at bookcase lights on the Ikea website but couldn’t find any that were quite what I had in mind. What are your lights called? I want to look them up on the Ikea website. I like this light because it’s very slender, so almost like it’s not there. If I had a library room with multiple bookcases, I would want the lights to be more “visible” and stand out more, but for this room, I wanted something really subtle, almost invisible. I would love to see the lights you chose, really I’d love to see your whole room! I know what you mean about only buying things you can take with you. I often think about that when I do things in this house…if it’s something that will stay with the house or if it will go with me one day when I move.

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