Bookshelves are so functional that we often don’t think of creative decorating ideas for this piece of furniture. We may devote more time to what we put in the bookcases and shelves than to their general appearance. However, with no more than an hour, you can use one of the following ideas to change the look of this item. Since bookcases can dominate a space, why not allow them to be a showcase of style? Use paint, fabric panels, or wallpaper to add appeal to bookcases and shelves.
Decorating with Wallpaper or Gift Wrap Paper
This technique creates an attractive backdrop to the items on the shelves. If your shelves aren’t crammed full of books and knickknacks and you can see the back of your bookcase, consider this technique.
You can do this one of two ways. One, remove the bookshelves from the main unit. Measure the interior of the bookcase. Use the measurement to cut a piece of wallpaper or sturdy gift wrap paper to size. Roll the paper into a tube. Follow the instructions for wallpaper border paste to permanently affix the paper to the back of the bookcase. For a short-term change, use loops of masking tape or double-sided tape on the backside of the paper. Replace the shelves when the paste dries.
The second way of doing this is to leave the shelves in place and measure the space between the top of one shelf and the bottom of the other. This way you’ll work with a smaller piece of paper that will fit between bookshelves. Follow the above directions for attaching the paper. In either case, don’t worry about perfect results ‘” once you set things on the shelves, minor mistakes won’t be noticeable.
How to Decorate with Fabric Panels
A bit more time consuming than the above directions, if you have bookshelves that aren’t overstuffed you could make several sets of these panels and change them with the season, the holiday, or your mood.
Measure the inside dimensions of each section of the bookcase. Use a box cutter to trim a piece of Foam-core board to fit the space. Check that the slides in without being tight. Now, cut a piece of fabric so it extends an inch beyond all four sides of the rectangle. Use a spray adhesive over the foam-core and apply the fabric, smoothing it in the direction of the edges to eliminate wrinkles. Use hot glue to adhere the excess fabric to the back of the board. Slide the board into place. To prevent it from moving, use a piece of double-stick foam tape in the center of each board.
Decorating Ideas with Paint
Don’t limit yourself to thinking that the only bookcases that you can paint are unfinished wood. You can even paint the inexpensive shelves you got at Ikea or the local flea market. Use a couple of layers of spray paint for a quick change or take more time and use masking tape to create blocks of color. For an antique look, use two or more layers of latex paint and then rub the edges with sandpaper. Paint each layer a different shade of the same or complementary color (navy, pale blue, blue-gray) so that as you wear at the paint the different colors will appear.
Since bookcases are such a large piece of furniture, updating their appearance can give a fresh look to an entire room. For more ideas, learn how to Organize Your Bookshelves and Create a Library You’ll Love, How to Use House and Home Decorating and Design Magazines, or Turn Your Clutter into a Collection You Can Display.