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What can I do to "liven up" this bookcase?

I have a bookcase that my grandfather built years ago, before I was even born, and I remember it being in their house all my life growing up. So I love it because it was made by his hands. It's a great bookcase, large, sturdy, but over the years it's become worn. I think he painted it brown (see pics). My living room is white mostly although I do have their coffee table as well that is dark wood and extremely HEAVY as well. I want to paint my living room (again don't know what to do color-wise, I'm not good at picking colors) and I want to do a collage of old family photos on the wall next to this book case. Any ideas as to what I can do to liven up this bookcase that won't mess up the wood? I have NO IDEA what type of wood it is??? Thanks!
  • what can i do to liven up this bookcase, painted furniture
  • what can i do to liven up this bookcase, painted furniture

Got a question about this project?

  • Joy Kelly-Warner
    Joy Kelly-Warner Lincoln, NE
    on Sep 24, 2012

    I would paint it?

  • Stacey Cannon
    Stacey Cannon Rathdrum, ID
    on Feb 23, 2015

    I saw somewhere where they used different color cordinated bookcovers. It was like a work of art.

  • M. M..
    M. M.. Pleasant Hill, CA
    on Apr 26, 2016

    Wait a bit to do the bookcase, then depending on what colors/themes you choose for the wall/room,try decorative paper inside the back wall of the bookcase, not a busy pattern, but something to lighten up the wood. I might restain/repaint the bottom half of the book case a darker brown then do the top half in a brown more like the original.

  • Esetzer816
    on Oct 18, 2016

    If you like to keep it brown sand it and give it a fresh paint job with a gloss stain or a high gloss paint and don't put to many what nots on it because it takes the look away from it put books on low shelf, and maybe putting something colorful on it because what you have on it everything really really to dark, hope everything works out for you

  • Marion Nesbitt
    Marion Nesbitt Canada
    on Oct 18, 2016

    Board - could use as a chair rail. Lots of ideas - bottom or top could be wallpapered. I'd strip an inconspicuous spot on the bookcase. If it's good wood, then I'd strip and stain. In my opinion only, there is too much on the bookcase. Instead of having the books all lined up on one shelf, you could move some to another shelf - maybe lay these on their sides instead of having them upright. Then edit until you have a pleasing, uncluttered display.

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