Rain Gutter Bookshelves

I’ve mentioned a couple of times to visiting friends that I decorate with books. We have many shelves placed wherever there’s wall space and they’re just bursting with titles. I can’t think of any shelves we have that aren’t spilling over with books as opposed to say, dusty trinkets and collectables. Maybe just the dining hutch because I don’t want to crowd in the china.

Certainly, being a homeschooling family has only added to our book lust. And despite the ability to free ourselves of the desire for many material goods, Tony and I can’t refuse a good book. On any given week you can find close to 50 library books in our house. (Honestly, it would be much worse if we could carry more than that in one trip.) It’s clear we’ve passed this love onto the next generation. So it was only a matter of time before we found a way to use that blank wall by the steps to help our habit.

It started with this pin.

photo (1)

I couldn’t use a pin for rain gutter bookshelves when I pinned it but I filed it away. Then later when we ripped out some built-in bookshelves during our kitchen renovation, we lost the area we typically used to display books. After my last hasty rearranging of the living room it finally looked liked I could use the idea after all. Tony purchased the white, plastic gutters, cut them to the correct length and hung them with screws and washers into the wall. He’s pretty sure he hit at least one stud somewhere.

rain gutter shelves top view
rain gutter bookshelves front view

Two views of the rain gutter bookshelves; at the top, looking down the stairs and from the living room, looking straight on. These pictures were taken pre and post library visit for the week so you can see a few different titles peeking out.

rain gutter bookshelves close up view

I love the idea of strewing, but it’s not something I’ve been able to implement too successfully in the past. Even on our previous display shelf books typically got lost at the bottom of the stack. Same problem with storing our library books in a dedicated box next to the couch. Our need to keep our floor plan open (for the wheelchairs) means no coffee table. Many time I found myself returning books that had only been read once, simply because they’d been forgotten about. Plus, our own shelves are loaded with children’s books the kids, especially the younger three, had forgotten about.

rain gutter bookshelves installation

I love finally having a way to display all our titles by theme and mix old and new titles with library books. Since seeing them on display, the kids have never read so many science books .

kids reading in front of rain gutter bookshelves
For some reason, the inside back cover was fascinating.
rain gutter bookshelves zoom in

Even Teddy can reach up and grab books and has been asking for more than his usual dump truck book. And while there are still some titles that go unread, it’s a much smaller percentage. Sometimes I’m very surprised by what one child will pick up. Edie, our 7-year-old, asked to read the ‘Stories of Shakespeare’ title at the top. While she wasn’t able to read very much on her own, I never would’ve considered giving it to her to try.

Our rain gutter bookshelves worked out so splendidly that I’m going to hang two shorter scrap pieces of gutter next to the girl’s bunk beds.  (Did I just use the word “splendidly” in talking about rain gutters? You know it!) The girls are notorious for carrying armloads of books to bed at night without realizing they still have a dozen titles scattered amongst the Pillow Pets, comforters and whatever else. (Sometimes I hate to look.)

So put this Pinterest project in the win column! And special thanks to my husband for not rolling his eyes when I first excitedly told him about hanging rain gutters inside our house.


  1. Book lover here too! I love books and am really in love with those rain gutter book shelves! Thanks so much for sharing. Definitely sending this link to DH. Just one more thing on the ‘ol to do list!


  2. I wanted to do this as well a couple of years ago but (for whatever reason, I can’t remember now) my husband nixed the idea. And he’s the one with all the tools so I quietly let it go. This looks really great!

  3. Ha!Ha! I think most homeschoolers need to find places to store our piles, mounds and stashes of books. BTW I love the name of your blog,

  4. “Since seeing them on display, the kids have never read so many science books.”

    Or had so many nightmares about spontaneous combustion and people with holes in their heads. Thanks Stunning Science.

    1. Tony, let me guess the picture is of a man burnt to a crisp sitting in an arm chair??? I read the same book at age 11.!! LOL spontaneous combustion is the real deal!!

    2. It was actually the “Weird Science, Mad Marvels From the Way Out World” book in case anyone wants to check it out. Science is more than Mentos and Diet Coke you know!

  5. Haha, I like Tony’s comment.

    I saw these on Pinterest a couple years ago and meant to do it somewhere in the house, and never have! Its awful! But I think that’s the perfect use of space at the bottom of a set of stairs.

  6. OMG!!!!!! I am freaking out. Last year I took all the holiday books located throughout our house and told the kids (with much whining) that they could only read them during the “holiday.” I “beautifully” displayed them in a old broken caboodles make up case, (yeah, remember those) and wrote on the front of it holiday books with a sharpie. BUT NOW, seeing this displaying them on the wall???? Masterful Yoda I will use the force on Adam and get it done right!

  7. GREAT idea! (Except I’m hyperventilating at the thought of mixing library books with we-own-these books…!) I’m already starting to figure out what wall space I can use for this! Thanks!

  8. I love it! I’m a book addict, too, and there are so many that get buried and don’t see the light of day for months (mostly the kids ones). I wonder if I could find some wall space…

  9. Lovely, inviting shelves you’ve created there! You do have the book love bad (like we do) – I like the shots that show the stack of books on the floor and on the stairs. In my house we just call them Auxiliary Book Piles and smile and nod at them, wherever they pop up. I also like the shot of the shelves in action with the demo – See, you just take a book off the shelf and sit down and read it right here. Book love!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.