Bookcase Makeover

From a coat of paint to decorative paper, make a forgotten bookcase stand tall once again.

From a simple coat of high-gloss paint to decorative paper, check out these projects to make a forgotten bookcase stand tall once again.

One Bookcase, Three Looks

With one unremarkable bookcase you have three choices to reinvent it in one-of-a-kind ways. Give your own bookshelf a facelift, or apply these easy techniques to other forgotten furniture in need of a refresh:

Look One: Two-Tone Color

Transform a boring bookcase into dazzling décor: Cover the entire case in one color, then accent the back panels with something different. Try a white bookcase with cheerful yellow panels, or a soft gray one with vibrant amethyst panels. Or do the same with tables (legs one color, tabletop another) and chairs (chair one color, cushions another). For a unified look, pull colors from your room’s overall décor.

Look Two: Paper Panels

Show off your love of the written word with book-inspired panels. Repurpose tattered, worn-out books, newspapers or sheet music to decoupage your bookcase. Layer pages from illustrated botany books and dictionaries, or add a playful touch to a child’s room with a comic book or classic fairy tale-themed bookcase. Once you’ve got that down, you can use the same technique with storage boxes, side tables or picture frames.

Look Three: High-Gloss Paint


Go bold and make a statement by coating your bookcase in high-gloss paint. To cheer up any room, try a bright color like tropical teal, granny-smith green or cotton-candy pink. For touch of glamour, choose a rich color like plum, cobalt or burgundy.

Tip: For something truly unique, repurpose furniture to build a custom bookcase. Try stacking and screwing together picnic benches, wooden fruit crates or even deep drawers. Paint them all a single, solitary hue — try taupe gray or deep plum — or mix and match complementary colors.

Composition Tips
Change the look and feel of a typical bookcase by arranging books and decorative items in unexpected ways.

  • Add charm with natural elements like containers of pretty little plants or jars of fresh-cut flowers. For year-round, hassle-free beauty, create your own faux floral arrangement.
  • Display some books upright and lay others on their sides to create height variation. Organize books by color for a rainbow effect, or turn the spine sides in for a simple, sleek look.
  • Incorporate accent pieces: Turn pottery, small statues, heirlooms and souvenirs into bookends or proudly display something you collect, whether it’s vintage clocks or antique teapots.
  • Use your bookcase to organize! The shelves offer lots of valuable space. Keep your spark journals and gardening scrapbook there, then add a set of colorful storage containers where you can house everything from photos to recipes.
  • Show off your favorite photos, family silhouettes or handmade sun prints in fun frames. To create a cohesive look, paint or decoupage the frames to match your bookcase.



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