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!
up close of the shelf....maybe someone can tell what type of wood it is??

Top Hometalk Projects

13 Spectacular Ways To Display Your House Number
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
14 Cool Ways To Upholster Chairs That You Can DIY
31 Coastal Decor Ideas Perfect For Your Home
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
17 DIY Decor Ideas To Get The Party Started
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
23 DIY Wall Clocks That'll Transform Your Whole Room
22 Ideas To Make Your Terra Cotta Pots Look Oh-So-Pretty
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
31 Creative Garden Features Perfect For Summer
31 Space Saving Storage Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
30 Essential Hacks For Cleaning Around Your Home

Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Cathy Thompson
    on Dec 29, 2018

    I have two similar bookcases in a very dark brown. The wood is cheap so sanding and painting are out. There are two doors at the bottom. I would like to have them much lighter as in white.

    Any ideas how I could this, or just sell and buy new.

Join the conversation

2 of 23 comments
  • Ese8934807
    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
    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.

Your comment...