How to Hide Wall Shelves

Wall shelves provide storage, holding everything from favorite books to mystery items.
This leads to the problem of shelves making a statement about the household's storage habits rather than adding to the home's harmony and spaciousness. There's a simple and inexpensive solution: To restore visual peace, screen the open shelves so that they remain accessible yet present a covered face to the room.

Step 1

Measure the area of the wall shelves to hide. For example: to hide a floor to ceiling wall shelf unit measure from the floor to the top of the highest book shelf. Extend the tape to the top of the area you want to cover. Measure the width. Measure twice. Make a note of the measurements.

Step 2

Make a budget for the project. Screens come in a wide price range, and it may be possible to find a previously-owned screen that will fit.

Step 3

Shop for a room screen to suit your room and cover the wall shelves. Find a screen tall enough and wide enough to cover the area you need covered. A privacy screen needs to be slightly folded to stand securely, so get one longer than the wall shelves. For example: use an 8-foot wide screen to cover a 6-foot wall shelf. A room screen has the advantage of being portable, so you can hide the shelves when you wish and fold the screen out of the way to restore full access. Look into shoji screens. Traditional Japanese room screens made of rice paper in wooden frames keep a sense of light in the room. Screens with photo frames, fabric, bamboo or louvers also work well. Check the weight of the screen before buying.

Step 4

Examine the screens to make sure they're in good condition. Most stores and online retailers will exchange damaged merchandise.

Step 5

Set up the room screen. Place it so it covers the wall shelves. Angle the panels so it stands solid.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Shoji or other room screens


  • If you want to leave the top shelf exposed, or one section of shelves exposed, measure only the area that you want to hide.
  • Choose a flat room divider on a stand if you prefer a flat surface instead of a room screen.
  • A privacy screen works well to cover a craft station when not in use.
  • Heavy wood or metal screens present more risk of injury or damage: Avoid these if there are pets or children in the household.


  • Keep enough of an angle in the room screen's hinged panels when you put it in the standing position so it doesn't tip over.
  • If there are cats, dogs or small children in the home, a stationary room divider will be a more stable choice. These rest on stands, and there is less risk of knocking them over.

About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.