Bookshelves flanking a window, with the curtains hanging from the ceiling in front of the bookshelf. This picture also incorporates horizontal shelving as a window seat, but can definitely face bookshelves outward (into the room) and omit the window seat.
Spruce Up Shelves - apply contact paper, scrapbook paper, or fabric to the back of a bookshelf. If you don't want to commit to one design, measure the bookshelf's back panel and mount the material on poster board cut to the size of each shelf.
Turn awkward home features in your favor. Tap odd corners or narrow closets for storage or a cozy seating area for one. In this living room, two narrow nooks provide storage for office and crafts supplies, and curtains can be drawn to conceal the spaces.